I started wearing contacts when I was twelve. In those days, hard contacts were so thick they were like little pebbles in ones eyes, but I didn’t care. I was finally out from behind my coke bottle-bottom glasses. Over the years, I switched to soft lenses, which didn’t correct my astigmatism, and finally ended up with gas permeable lenses: more comfortable than hard lenses, with all the vision correction lacking in soft lenses.
For 24 years, I wore contacts from morning ’til night. Then I got pregnant and things started going wrong with my eyes. Apparently pregnancy triggered dry eyes. I could still wear contacts, but it was an effort, because they just hurt too much. By the time my son was born, I gave up. I retreated behind my glasses again. Glasses worked — no pain, good near and middle vision, adequate far vision. For martial arts, I got a very special pair of expensive soft contact lenses that sort of corrected my vision without interfering with my dry eye.
Early this year, three things changed. My astigmatism worsened, I got to the point where I needed bifocals (or trifocals, depending on my vision goals), and I started taking Omega 3, ’cause a friend’s doctor recommended it to her after Lasik surgery. My new options seemed to be limited to ever more complicated glasses, whether bifocals or trifocals, or two or three pairs of glasses. Since glasses for me are always hellishly expensive, and since my health care eye benefits don’t kick in for several months, I decided to see what could be done in the contacts world.
It turns out that a lot could be done. The Omega 3 treats my dry eye so well I effectively have no dry eye. That dramatically increases the types of soft contact lenses available for me. (My eyes are still too sensitive ever to return to gas permeable.) I ended up walking out with contacts that, while they don’t directly correct my astigmatism, nevertheless mask its effects. Also, to solve the long range/short range problem, my dominant eye is corrected for long range vision, and my other eye is corrected for close vision. For the first time in over a decade, I can see both far and near without putting glasses on or taking them off.
Next week, I go back in to check if my eyes are happy with the new arrangement. I know that I’m happy. I don’t think I’ll ever again be able to wear contacts 12 or 16 hours a day, but I might be able to wear them a significant part of the day and see really well, whether I’m doing far sighted things such as driving a car or watching ballet, or near sighted things such as reading a book or working at my computer.
There are a lot more crow’s feet around my eyes than the last time I seriously wore contacts, but I’m still thrilled at the thought that I’ll be able to wear eye make-up again. I’ve always liked eye make-up (applied with subtlety, of course), and I’ve missed it for the past decade.
So this has been a very happy day.