Through a Contact Lens Darkly

My memories of the time when I used to wear contact lenses are a little blurry. It’s been a long time. It was well before the days of throw-away lenses.

The kind I had required daily maintenance. Cleaning. Dropping on the dirty floor. Finding. Cleaning. You know, maintenance.

I’d have to soak the lenses in enzymatic cleaner overnight. Then, in the morning, I would wash them insuffieciently with saline solution and put them back into my eyes. This would sting. A lot.

I also vaguely recall some sort of liquid soap I had to put on them and wash off. I’m sure I got that in my eyes too. If it would hurt, I would put it on the lenses and then into my eyes…It was my way.

When I look back on that time, it seems that I could’ve just simplified the ritual by eliminating the use of the lens as a medium for getting the chemicals into my eyes. Pouring the soap directly onto my eyeballs would’ve been a quicker, more efficient way of handling the matter, but I was young then and full of pretense.

Then there was the eye dryness. I used eyedrops constantly. If I didn’t have drops for them, the contacts got angry and scratched me. They were like vicious cats with sharp claws resting on my pupils. These were the “soft” contacts, mind you. I shudder to think of the alternative.

Also, during this time my eyes were perpetually and cartoonishly bloodshot. Remember the old Roadrunner cartoon where the Coyote falls into enzymatic cleaner? My eyes looked just like that.

So, during these sensitive teenage years, rather than getting compliments on how great I looked without glasses, I’d get greetings more along the lines of “Have you been crying?” Or, occasionally, “Got any weed?”

Oh, I was attractive.

Needless to say, I started wearing glasses again mainly as a safety precaution. If some loathsome fiend should try to sneak up and poke a contact into my eye, my glasses will serve as a barrier to foil his attempt.

You don’t even want to know how quickly I interrupt an optometrist who tries to suggest contacts. Let me tell ya, he’s a mighty fast talker if he can get that “con” syllable out.

If he’s persistent and continues his spiel after I say I don’t want contacts, I respond as I would to any potential threat – I assume the fetal position and cry until the danger is gone.

So, yeah, maybe I’m a funny lookin’ critter in my pink sunglasses with the little gems on the side, but you’d appreciate the look a little more if you had seen what I looked like when I tried being pretty.

Comments 10

  • I got contacts in 5th grade (1979-80) and wore them mainly through the mid-90’s.
    I swear to God my eyes manufacture more eye boogers than any other mammal on the planet. I spent hours total per day swabbing hoarks out of my eyes. The good long ones you actually PULL away from your face.
    THAT’s attractive.
    I miss miss miss my Malcolm X glasses – they broke a few years ago and THAT’S when I knew I was ready for Lasik (because stupid Artcraft stopped making my frames).
    Check it:
    My point is – until you’re ready for :shudder: the scalpel and some beaming lazers to burn, er, correct your eyes, I think your glasses look FABULOUS. Even if I haven’t really seen them.

  • Debbie, I had an interesting talk with my dentist the other day about the laser eye surgery because he went through it a few years ago and it isn’t at ALl what I thought it was. I told him I would NEVER let ANYONE near my eyes with a laser or cutting and he laughed and said I had misunderstood the entire process. Apparently, what they do is put a small cup over your eye for about 5 minutes while you’re awake (there is no pain) and the eyeball is squeezed a little. Sometimes they can do only one eye but through the magic of the brain, both begin to see clearly without glasses within a day or so. Even in the last three years since he had it done, there has been even more progress made and now they use radio waves and not laser. Either way, it’s not at all the scary procedure I thought it was. He enthusiastically recommended it, said it was super-easy, super-simple, no recovery time and a piece of cake. And now he can see without glasses. He says this one medical procedure is, in his opinion, most fantastic thing we’ve come up with medically for the last 50 years. Just this simple little thing.

    So, now I’m thinking of looking into it, since it’s not the “operation on my eye” I thought it was at all. Just FYI. 🙂

  • Have you thought about lasik? I had it a little over a year ago and I love it madly every single day. I can see! Actually see!

  • So, has anybody heard about Lasik surgery?!! 😉

    Ok, you all talked me into officially thinking about it.

  • My SO had lasik a few years ago and hasn’t regretted it for a minute.

    Sadly, I’m not a candidate as my vision is so bizarre it’s not to be believed. Let’s just say that I see fine out of each eye but my eyes don’t play well with each other. I am, possibly, the only predator in the history of creation to have no parallax.

  • I had a college professor who wore hard contact lenses, and apparently they would dry out about 2 times during the lecture of the day. Her method of fixing this was to continue lecturing without taking a break, she’d take them out and put them in her mouth – leave them there a few seconds, take them back out and put them in her eye – all while lecturing quite lucidly on music theory. As a result, I have never worn lenses – except the glasses kind. I just can’t. I was traumatized.

  • I feel your pain. I revolted at one point and wore glasses too.

  • debbie, where are you? hope all is well!

  • You know i just got new glasses and i never had a clue how old i was looking. So all i’m saying is “seeing well is not all its cracked up to be”