Foresight, Hindsight

I got hard contact lenses yesterday.

Image from here.

Let me take a moment here to explain to you that I have chosen to try out hard contact lenses (or gas permeable lenses, as they are commonly known to those of us in the optometrist field {I consider myself an old pro now, with how many times I’ve had eye exams in the past month}) as a last-ditch effort before having to wear glasses full time. The kind of soft contacts I wear (incidentally, the only kind thick enough to actually correct my outrageously poor vision) were denying my eyeballs of any and all necessary oxygen, and so, in order to save themselves from suffocation, they started growing blood vessels into my corneas so more oxygen could get in there.  Which was nice of my blood vessels and all, except for the fact that they got a little power hungry and are now one step away from taking over my vision as a whole, leaving me with clouded over, permanent, irreparably damaged vision…

…Let’s just say, I can never wear soft contacts again.

What’s more is that the blood vessels in my eyes leave me at very high risk for Lasik surgery—one wrong move, and POP! goes the blood vessel, which, I guess, is bad.

So now that you understand why I am putting myself through this misery (I just really don’t want to be doomed to glasses for the rest of my life), you should understand why I am so dedicated to making this work.

I really want to be happy with my new contacts, but goodness gracious, are they ever irritating to my poor little eighty year-old eyes. Every time I put them in, I get this surge of Hulk-like anxiety because the itching is so intense. It feels like I’m blinking down on sandpaper, and all I want to do is take the contacts out and throw them on the floor and smash them under my big toe and never wear them again. A few times I have come THIS close to clawing my eyeballs out altogether—in the heat of the moment, ANYTHING, blindness, even, seems favourable to this kind of pain.

When I first put them in and my eyes were watering and blinking uncontrollably, the optometrist gave me a little pep talk. He was all, “You know, gas perms (gas perms—he even has a nickname for the little buggers) are almost totally obscure now in North America. They’re really a dying art. I mean, in Japan, 90% of all contact wearers wear gas perms, and in Europe, it’s 50%. But here in North America? Not even CLOSE. People here are so reliant on instant gratification, you know? They don’t have the diligence to work hard, to fight through the pain, even if it is the best choice for their eyes.”

I blinked at him furiously, like I was sending a message in Morse code with my eyelids, and nodded my head in agreement. I can totally do this, I thought.

Before he went on his rant, I was ready to throw my hands up and quit the whole business (I am a quitter, after all), but as soon as he said the Japanese do it all the time, I was like, wait, HOLD UP. Ninety PERCENT? Well, if ninety percent of the most brilliant race on earth can happily wear gas permeable contact lenses, surely I can, too.

True, they all probably have senseis guiding them down the path to enlightenment or eternal balance or self-actualisation, but I have my optometrist. And I have my blog readers. The one sure-fire way to make me do something is to tell me about all the people who’ve successfully done it all their lives—if they can do it, by george, so WILL I.  I am going to make these dadgummed contacts feel like dadgummed roses in my dadgummed scratchy eyeballs—roses in the proverbial sense, of course. Real roses, thorns and all, would probably feel worse than the lenses themselves.

But you guys?  Not much worse.

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at facebook.com/archivesofourlives, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
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14 Responses to Foresight, Hindsight

  1. Just love the senseis line…

    So glad that you can still wear contacts. I never realized that so many of us wore soft contacts. I myself only wear glasses (Don’t know if I’ll ever wear contacts–even the soft ones), so I never even heard that you could have problems based upon wearing them.

    The best of meditative skill in adjusting to the gas perms,

  2. niki says:

    that sounds awful. i’m sorry.

  3. Hey that’s kind of EXACTLY what happened to me. Got contacts last January for the first time ever, they were kinda dry a couple months, but I just thought that was normal. Then I had bright red eyes for three months, and then the big pain came and we finally went to the eye doctor. They gave me $90 eye pain med and I went back four times in a month (and each time they were surprised my eyes hadn’t healed yet, cuz they said they’d be good after a week) (still haven’t healed). But instead of giving me hard contacts they just gave me a different brand of soft. And I still have the problem. And the horrible pain after I wear contacts (and during if it’s long enough). And so I just wear glasses 100%. Except when I run. And then I just deal with it.

    Let me know how those lenses work out for you. I’m very interested to hear.

  4. Liz says:

    I know I told you on Twitter, but hang in there. It WILL get better. For me it was two weeks of weirdness, then my eyes built up their little callouses and all was well.

    But be really careful when you clean them. Put the plug in the drain EVERY TIME. I once lost one down the drain. Fortunately, it was stuck to the pipe just a finger’s length inside. (I know. I really did take it out, clean it off and stick it in my eye. But! I was fine.)

    Good luck, and keep us devoted blog readers updated!!

  5. Geevz says:

    :( that sounds like no fun. I will send you some happy thoughts.

  6. imaroo says:

    I am on my 5th day of wearing these ‘gas perms’, too. They are hideous. At first each eye felt like I had 5 thorny eylashes on each cornea. On Monday I was supposed to wear them for 8 hours, but when I went to take them out at work, I realized I’d FORGOTTEN MY CONTACTS CASE!! I literally cried and ended up wearing them 9 1/2 hours.

    Now they’ve moved on to feeling like sandpaper. While this is almost as uncomfortable, it is no longer as all-encompassing. I am able to concentrate on other things for brief moments at a time. Things such as “I’m hungry”.

    I second what Liz said about blocking the drain because these buggers actually BOUNCE.

  7. I got my ‘gas perms’ when I was twelve, and the first week was AWFUL. So awful. But I’ve had them for years now, and my mom’s worn them like all her life, and I have pretty much zero problems (unless something gets in them, which is blindingly painful. But, I guess, fixable). Did they tell you to slowly build up to it, like wear it a few hours at a time until your eyes get used to it? That helped me a lot. Hope it gets better soon!!!! Good luck!

  8. Rachel says:

    Hang in there, girl! You can do it. I concur with everybody else. You will adjust to them. And you should plug the drain for sure. I fished mine out many times!

  9. GRANMAMA says:

    Click, click, click! I love the ads on the side of your post. The information is so interesting. I like clicking on it to see what new item you are advertising.

  10. Chloe says:

    90% of Japaneses? That’s why their eyes are almond-shaped. And they are NOT the most brilliant race on earth… how could that be possible if they are wearing hard contact lenses?
    Hang in there!! I know you can do it.

  11. I want to keep track of your blog to be able to return, but I don’t see a followers or RSS feed. Am I blind?
    Dana

  12. Oops, just found it at the bottom.
    Dana

  13. imaroo says:

    Oh, and ANOTHER thing. The newest annoyance which, of course, seems to pertain to me. Every side-effect known to man for everything pertains to me.

    “Also, some people experience ‘spectacle blur’ with GPs: when lenses are removed, vision is blurry, even while wearing glasses. This effect is temporary, but it can necessitate full-time GP wear. This can make GPs an all-or-nothing proposition, which some people will find inconvenient.”

    It seems that, so far, the blurry vision (which is even worse than my no-glasses-vision) lasts for at least an hour. what will it be like after a year of wearing these things?

    Can we hold hands and get through this together? :(

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