A Sight for Sore Eyes
(or how I gave ‘contactless limit’ the first ever meaning)
As far as inheritances go, this one I could really do without. Nearsightedness runs in the – paternal side of the – family. I never suffered particular symptoms from it and if it wasn’t for the school doctor and attentive teachers, it would have probably taken even longer before it was discovered. As it was, it still took too long. By the time I went for my first pair of glasses, I was about 6 and the damage was already pretty serious.
Apparently when still growing up, my already bad eyesight deteriorated with the same speed. You could say I am so used to it, I cannot even remember the time I did not need glasses, or as I would come to use, my contacts. I thought it was great to be able to pick out new glasses about every year. And btw, let me just mention this because obviously there are still people who think otherwise: No, I Do Not Have Better Vision Than You, because of my contacts…I actually need them to see about 80% of what you are seeing… ** insert…oh just…
Next to being nearsighted, I also developed astigmatism in both eyes. Now this all sounds very heavy and I am not saying it is fun, but the easiest way to explain for me to you is: my vision – without glasses / contacts – is not just blurry, or rather one big blur, it also feels like looking into a laughing mirror. You know the distorted images you see…it’s kind of like that.
‘Astigmatism occurs when either the front surface of your eye (cornea) or the lens, inside your eye, has mismatched curves. Instead of having one curve like a round ball, the surface is egg shaped. This causes blurred vision at all distances’. Source: Astigmatism – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic
Just before I turned 16, I had a friend who also was nearsighted. She got rid of her glasses and started to wear contact lenses. I was equally happy and horrified for her. I could definitely see the advantages of wearing contacts, but the horror of thinking about inserting them into my eyes…. And when my friend regularly was ‘crying’ and struggling because she had some or other dust particle torturing her… I was convinced I would never wear them.
That was, until my eye doctor recommended me to lose the glasses and go for contacts. He explained the benefits, of which the best was, that my eyesight would decidedly deteriorate with lesser speed. Let’s just say, I didn’t see that one coming 😉
Anyways, since my oldest brother already was wearing them, my parents saw no issue with me wearing them too. And so it happened on a sunny morning, I had an appointment to try the contacts that had been of course, specially made for me. I cannot go to just any optician, I need someone who knows what he / she is talking about. No Specsavers for me.
During this appointment I was ‘taught’ how to insert my contacts. Now I was advised to use the rigid, gas permeable lenses. They are exactly as the description says: they’re NOT soft. Back then, these were a little more common than today, believe me it took me some courage to go for a new pair after too many years, again. Much more common are the soft lenses and yes, for those who don’t have a clue, they are exactly as the description says: SOFT, pliable. Mine you can fold once lol.
Also; the soft lenses you can just start using without any adjustment time, mine not so much. That seems to not have changed after all these years. See, the rigid form should slow down further deterioration considerably. (These will actually leave an imprint on your irises, kind of molding your eyes into form, which will disappear after some days without wearing them). It meant I had to go slow when I started, adding an hour extra everyday, so my eyes could get used to it.
BUT, I am digressing haha. So this really nice guy was ‘showing’ me how to insert my lenses…yeah… Faceplanted to a mirror, trying to see what I was doing… It was a miracle to me – clammy hands and all – but I got it right with the first try, both eyes. This gave me hope. All was not lost, I just might be able to pull this off without a hitch. Of course after I got home and had to do it myself, alone, I failed time and time again. The real miracle was they didn’t end up behind my eyeballs… Once I discovered it worked so much easier without a mirror – which only distracted me apparently – it got better.
Removing them was the next hurdle. While it worked all too well when under guidance in the shop, at home it was rather difficult. You see, you need enough moisture in your eyes to not leave the contact in a vacuum. Enough blinking should do the trick most of the times, but with every blink I really felt the contacts, so I probably unconsciously blinked less than normal. Never fear tho, because for instances like that, there is this totally awesome little tool…
There was just one small thing that could make this a whole lot more challenging: I was supposed to go on a little holiday tour, by train, with a girlfriend for a couple of days. We would tour through The Netherlands, visiting / staying with different family members and friends throughout the next week. Yeah you could say the planning was a bit off there…
Before we left though, we had planned a day at the beach with some friends. It actually can be very nice weather in Holland. Since I had to get used to my contacts, I had to wear them for so many hours as per schedule. So off we went, on our bikes of course, because, Holland… And everything just looked weird…Tricky indeed.
You see I never knew what I’ve missed before and that was most definitely… Depth… It was like I finally could see 3D. Yeah you can all laugh now haha. You should think by now I should be able to see in 4D, but no. In a way, it still felt like looking into a laughing mirror, but different. Walking and hoping I was not missing any steps because of my vision that now had become a wavy blur. Talking about adding insult to injury.
The hardest and most confusing part for me was, that after I started to use them, a lot of people who previously didn’t bother acknowledging me, suddenly paid me their interest, ugh… But.Whyy. If ever I needed evidence that appearances Do Matter in this world…The effects should have been obvious though, since my friend with the contacts suddenly got a boyfriend and left every girlfriend in the cold. Fortunately nowadays wearing glasses is no biggie at all, it often is even presented as a fashion accessory. I guess I just always accepted it as such.
To be honest, I really can’t remember it all, which is probably a good thing, but looking back it was hilarious. As mentioned, we went to the beach and all was going really smooth ( still talking about me getting used to my contacts, yes). Despite the sand and the wind – because, Holland – nothing bothered my eyes and I was really happy, this was going quite well. You see I never had any use for sunglasses before, so I didn’t bring any. And then we prepared to leave for home…
Getting to our bikes, we had the usual packing up and stuff to do, before we were able to actually leave and then something really nasty hit my eye and man it hurt… We were outside, in the wind and no matter how hard I blinked, whatever was in there wouldn’t be budged. It was so bad, there was really only one other thing left and that was to remove the contact from my eye… Yeah… You all have seen those typical movie scenes where someone looses a contact and while searching for it, you only hear a ‘crack’ and that’s the end of it.
Well no ‘crack’ here, the **** thing ended in the grass…. I just had them for like 2 days…BUT, like I have been saying, there IS a God. My friend actually FOUND my contact and pretty fast for that matter too. Thinking about it, I still cannot believe he did. What with the wind and all and I mean, come on… In between the grass??
Going on the holiday tour with my girlfriend, was a blast, something to remember and treasure forever. I am not sure if she would even remember how I fiddled with my contacts, but one thing was sure: after the initial doubts – because of the adjustment my eyes needed, my eyesight seemed worst at first – I thoroughly enjoyed, the brightness, the colors, the depth. Yeah yeah a real eyeopener indeed – pun overrated 😉
I can honestly say that was the first and only time for a very very long time I ‘lost’ a contact. The second time was just last year and when already preparing for new ones. After some time the fit is not perfect anymore, which can actually lead to spontaneously loosing them. And yes I found it this time too. To be honest, I never had any big issues with them, compared to what I’d seen from my friend and others around me.
Someone told me that with my bad eyesight I would be considered blind here in Ireland. When I mentioned this to my family, our son (living in The Netherlands), known in our midst for his blatantly dry wit, just said: ‘Mom, you were considered blind here too’.
Although I can’t ‘see’ you all, I know you’re there, where ever you are on this lovely planet. Wishing you all a Happy Weekend, have some laughs will ya! ❤