I would do anything to see (without glasses), but I won't do that
Sunday, November 24, 2019
Ah, the things we think we'll never try! For me, one of those things was contact lenses. But that was before I became an optician, or even knew such a job existed. As a new optician, I was still repulsed by the idea of having a foreign object in your eye all day just to get better vision. What I didn't know then, but would soon learn, was that I was an emerging presbyope. (Beginning to need help with near vision). I blamed my struggles to read entirely on doctors handwriting. But eventually, I gave in and had my first eye exam. I was not at all pleased with the results. The doctor told me I would need glasses to see clearly and I told him that after living all these years with no glasses, I really did not want to start wearing them now. But, I needed them to see and since presbyopia is not a condition corrected by Lasik I didn't have a choice. Sigh. So reluctantly, into glasses I went. Full on bifocals- first pair. Nothing better than being told you're blind and old all at once!
Fast forward to a few months ago. I saw a picture of myself wearing glasses. Apparently I'd forgotten to take them off and someone snapped a shot. It wasn't terrible...it just wasn't ME. The realization hit me that that's what I look like to everyone who sees me every day. I didn't like it. At all. Glasses make me look sad. Even when I'm smiling. Even the best possible frame out of all 1200 that we sell makes me look sad. Or tired. Or just glassesy. I don't know. Whatever it is, I decided I needed to make a change.
Over the last few years working in optical I've assisted in insertion and removal training for new contact lens wearers. This has opened my eyes to the fact that anyone can wear contacts if they are motivated to do so. Kids as young as 10 years old can wear them. Seniors past the 80 year mark can wear them. Anyone, including me, can wear them.
I decided to give insertion and removal a trial run at home before I jumped in with both feet. (FYI, this is very bad practice and NEVER recommended by any OD or licensed optician because you can get a CL stuck in your eye and it can damage your eye and cause vision loss. Don't ever do it.) My son has the same RX in his right eye (minus the presbyopia) as I do and has contacts. He never wears them and I thought they were just going to waste so I figured I'd give it a shot. Got it in without much of a problem. Removal, however, was panic inducing because I couldn't get the darn thing out to save my life! My fingers felt like gigantic clown hands and my eyes seemed like tiny mole eyes that slammed shut whenever I went in there to grab it so there was no just "pinching it" and pulling it off my eye. Google made it look so easy. After a fair amount of fear that it was stuck and I was going to have to sleep in it and ashamedly ask one of my optician coworkers to remove it the next day and trying several google taught removal techniques, I finally got it out. After that, I got determined. I was going to get good at contact lens insertion and removal whether I ever actually decided to wear them or not. After all, every optician should be.
So with my last eye exam, I asked for a contact lens fit to be included. Never in a million years would have I imagined myself making such a request, but I did. So now, we're working on finding the right strength for me with the challenging bifocal contact lenses. Once we do, I can't say I envision myself wearing them daily, but who knows. 5 years ago I couldn't envision myself even wearing glasses, and now I'm in contacts. How quickly things change! And I will admit, it is kind of nice to be able to see clearly without glasses.
Footnote: Removal is still a challenge and I am using a rather unconventional method, but at least I know I can get them out with confidence now.
Here's to trying new things in 2019 that will lead to 20/20 in 2020...sans glasses!