Happy Day.

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.

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  • http://www.righttruth.typepad.com Right Truth

    Have you considered surgery? Then you would not need glasses or contacts.
    Right Truth

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    I’m too near-sighted for successful Lasik surgery (-12.5 diopter plus astigmatism).  Even if they can correct me, it’s only temporary, and I’ll be back in glasses again in a few years.  The alternative is lens replacement, which is essentially the same surgery they perform on people with cataracts.  The only problem is that, if you don’t already have cataracts blinding you, it’s risky surgery.  As long as my vision is correctable, I’d prefer to avoid surgery’s risks.

  • http://furtheradventuresofindigored.blogspot.com/ Indigo Red

    I am so happy for you, Book! It was a very good day.

  • http://thoughtyoudneverask.blogspot.com/ zabrina

    Yay! I’m happy to hear your happy news.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Good for ya Book

  • http://home.earthlink.net/~nooriginalthought/ Charles

    Congrats Book; and ditto on that “it’s only temporary” comment.  I’ve worn glasses since I can remember and thought about lasik surgery; However, the handful of folks that I know who have gone the lasik route ALL needed glasses for reading within a year or two.  So, why bother to take the risk. Afterall, these are your EYES that we’re talking about – you only have two of them.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Wow, Book. For a moment I though that you were describing my own eyesight (or lack thereof). I use soft daily-wear contacts but take them out overnight. Each set lasts me about a month. 

    The new ones really do a good job on astigmatism.

  • SFC Dave

    Glad to hear you can get back in contacts.  I’ve only worn them one day since 1990; my wife and I got them for the wedding.  Military career and contacts do not mix – field conditions, exposure to various agents (natural and man-made), and long working days are definite down checks for the lenses.  I understand your position on surgury – I’m in the same boat.  My wife might be able to do it in a couple years after getting hormone issues settled (thyroidism runs in her family). 
    I’m very, very happy to hear of your happiness.

    SFC Dave
    “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone;
    I can see all obstacles in my way.”

  • Gringo

    Glad to hear that your eye situation is now more to your satisfaction.  You are one of the few people whose eyesight is worse than mine.
    I tried contact lenses  some 20 years ago. I found it very uncomfortable to get them on in the morning, so that was a short lived experiment. I much preferred the ease of putting on eyeglasses in the morning. I went back to the  professional who had  treated me. After  he  put in my contacts , he told me  that my eyes were drier than the norm -which would account for the issue.
    Fortunately, more recent lenses can be thinner, so I no longer have to deal with coke bottles.
    I share a reluctance for operations.

  • Cheesestick

    I have the exact same problems…severe near-sightedness but with mild astigmatism.  Just in the last two years, I’ve had to start putting on reading glasses when wearing my contacts though for seeing up close.  Yet, if I’m wearing my regular glasses (not contacts), I have to take my glasses off to see up close.  It is very confusing…lol.  I worked in an eye dr’s. office for a short time several years ago and knew of patients who had prescriptions like the one you just got.  I don’t completely understand how it works but the few people who get them like that seem to be really happy with the arrangement.  The patients who attempt bi-focal contact lenses were never too happy with them.
    Good to know about the Omega-3 though.  I only started taking it regularly about 2 weeks ago to deal w/ cholesterol issues.  I have dry eyes as well so hopefully it will help that also.

  • goddessdes

    My husband had corrective eye surgery over 20 yrs ago (when in was done with scalpels) and yes, he wears reading glasses now, but then so do I. It has more to do with age than surgery. However, he was nearsighted without astigmatism so that made him a good candidate. It’s great that you found contacts you can wear for part of the day – I wear multifocal for convenience, I really need them to read but not for distance which they rather distort, anyway. I suffer from dry eyes so I might try Omega-3…

  • Charles Martel

    I’ve worn contacts for 35 years. I have mild astigmatism that the lenses can correct. I can’t read with them in unless I wear reading glasses around 2.50 diopters. When I take them out at night, I can read fine although it means holding the pages of a book or magazine somewhat closer to my eyes than when I have the lenses in.

    I’ve considered Lasik but am content with my decades-long pattern. I’m fortunate that contacts have never been even a minor inconvenience for me. If anything, they’ve been a godsend, like OTC allergy tablets and aspirin.

    No dry eye problems yet, but I’m happy to see the recommendations here for Omega-3 if that occurs.