March 20, 2005

The Trial

Last week my optician informed me confidently that there had been many advances in contact lens technology since my last traumatic experiment with taking my glasses off, about fifteen years ago.
Yesterday he stuck a plastic lens on each of my eyeballs and sent me out into the street to cling on to Pete’s arm and blink a lot. I spent a lot of time staring up at the security mirror in a hardware store, thinking, so that’s what I look like without my glasses.
Then I went back for my lesson in taking them out and putting them in again. The right lens came out at the second attempt.
My lesson was supervised, not by the dishy Irish optician, but by a lady in the scary-nurse style, who obviously knew I was going to give her trouble. After explaining the technique to me once, she spent most of the rest of the time sighing, while I struggled to put my fingers in my eye and remove a lens which remained mysteriously invisible, despite feeling like it was roughly the size of a dustbin lid.
Every so often, scary nurse pointed out that I wasn’t pulling my lower eyelid down far enough. I would fail to move the lens again. She would sigh again. She mentioned that we only had an hour, and that I needed to take them out and put them in again twice more before I would be allowed to take the trial pack of lenses home.
The left lens didn’t emerge until Pete was called upon to coach me. I managed to put them back in with no difficulty, but my eyes were so bloody sore, and my fingers so shaky, that dishy Irish optician took them out and sent me home, with another appointment to go through the fun and games again in three weeks’ time.
If I really want the lenses, apparently, I’ll find a way.

Do I, though? I have been safely tucked behind various different sizes of spectacle since I was 13. At 20 I had a month’s contact lens trial and an allergic reaction. I don’t yearn to be free of my specs; they’re part of my identity. Spending an hour without them and being able to see is mildly mind-blowing, and accounts a little bit for my inability to concentrate on taking the lenses out.
I know scary nurse does contact lens lessons every working day of her life, but she didn’t seem to have much idea about how psychologically weird it was for me to be able to see myself clearly in the mirror, right up until the bit where I had to poke myself in the eye. Having to process all that, while being sighed at by that bloody woman, was not relaxing. Gratifyingly, she was slightly miffed that I was able to do it as soon as she went away and Pete sat down with me; unfortunately she didn’t take the hint and fuck off entirely, as I heartily wished that she would.
My eyes hurt a lot today. I’m not at all certain that I want to go back and go through that again. The advantages are what? To walk into a pub in winter and still be able to see. To wear cool sunglasses. And for that I have to put my fingers in my eye. I don’t think so.


16 thoughts on “The Trial

  1. hi
    I’ve just read your earlier post about me and Disco 2000 by pulp …. how bloody weird … I nearly picked … I spy by pulp … would it have ment so much to you … would you still have read my blog?

  2. And that is pretty much why still wear glasses. Although I am vaguely tempted to try lenses since everyone categorically assures me I have a better chance of meeting girls that way. Apparently our society is really shallow.

  3. And don’t forget, men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.

    Karen on March 20, 2005
  4. I wore contacts a few years ago, but gave up. Adding an extra 10 minutes to my “getting ready for work” time perhaps stood me in good stead for being a parent in later life, but it was a bloody nuisance when I had to spend a panicky ten minutes attempting to poke my eyes out for the sake of vanity every morning.
    Then there was the time one lens ripped in half at Reading Festival on the day with the highest pollen count in the history of pollen ever (and I had run out of anti-histamine). I was half blinded with gooey pus streaming out of my eye by the time Neds Atomic Dustbin took the stage (but then they have that effect on me anyway).
    The week after I ditched the lenses, someone commented “Ooh you look different, have you had a hair cut?” People are shallow, yes, but they’re also mostly unobservant and incredibly stupid.
    Save your money, Adrian. If a girl *really* likes you, she’ll like you whether you’re wearing specs or not.

  5. Top tip, Sevitz: pick up girls who wear glasses. Girls like guys who are sympathetic to their needs, and glasses-wearers have a particular set of needs that non-glasses-wearers don’t understand.

    Karen on March 20, 2005
  6. It’s quite simple.
    Sticking your finger in your eye isn’t natural. The eye wasn’t designed to accomodate for that, so I don’t see why I would even want to try it. So I haven’t. No contact lenses for me.
    Plus it’s icky.
    In fact MAINLY because it’s icky.

  7. Oh Karen and OccAde I totally agree. And half the reason I haven’t tried contacts is it bugs me intensely that the fact I wear glasses could even be perceived as a negative thing. In fact I find girls with glasses quite sexy.
    But at some point, you think, oh well maybe I’ll give it a try, what’s the worst that could happen.

  8. I have the world’s most sensitive eyes.
    My eyes begin watering if someone just *talks* about eyes watering.
    When my optician suggested contact lenses, therefore, I naturally laughed in his face.

  9. I’d agree with all of the above – I’ve thought about contacts on occasion, but in general I prefer wearing glasses, tobe honest.
    As for finger in the eye – *shudder* is all I can say. It’s one of the very few things that just makes me heave, the idea of doing that – I can’t even watch Herself putting contacts in/out.
    Part of that’s due to an accident a long time back where I got in the way of a flying stone – or to be more accurate, my glasses did. Cue glass in eye, two ops, and a life-long aversion to stuff being that close to my eyeball ever again.

  10. with everyone dissin’ contacts, i thought i’d step in and defend them… i’ve been wearing them for a long enough time that i can’t remember when i got them, and it takes me about 5 seconds per eye to put them in and take them out… i don’t think it took more than two weeks for it to become easy for me.
    but maybe it’s because i was quite young when i started. my father just got contacts, and according to my mother he sits at the kitchen table with a mirror for 20 minutes each morning before going to work.
    really, it’s not about contacts v. glasses, it’s about having a choice–some days i feel like wearing glasses, and others i’m thrilled not to go out in the rain and have drops impede my vision. whatever you decide, karen, it will get easier and your eyes will stop rebelling!

    steph on March 21, 2005
  11. The lenses you keep in for a month might be the option for you if putting them in is too much hassle.

  12. Laser-eye surgery, dudes, it’s the only way to go!
    As Gordon points out, sticking your fingers in your eyes twice a day and then keeping a piece of plastic over them just leads to, at the least, intense eye irritation (and you STILL can’t go swimming or get tackled).
    Laser surgery just compiles all this irritation into three intensely painful days.

  13. Because of an existing condition, these are one-day disposables, and I’m advised not to use them more than about once a week. It’s purely to have the option, to look a bit different, to try something else. I understand that laser eye surgery can’t yet correct astigmatism, anyway.

    Karen on March 21, 2005
  14. I like my lenses (well, I did until I ran out over a year ago and haven’t actually got around to getting some more yet). One-day dispys too. I didn’t wear them very much but I have to say they are great when it is raining, and very good for exercising too – saves you having to feel your way round the gym or attempt to keep your head upright while contorting through a yoga class.

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