Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Barely Legal

I had an eye exam last night and was unsurprised to learn that my vision is going to hell. According to the eye doctor, I'm now 20/40, "just legal" to drive in Maryland. Until 2 years ago, I didn't wear glasses or contacts ever. I got reading glasses 2 years ago, and used them only for reading, but lately, I've found that my arm is not long enough to hold the book where it needs to be if I'm to comfortably read it. I've been compensating by reading outside or under a very bright directed reading lamp, but even that only helps so much. So, I went to the eye doctor, finally.

I'm not very good about having other people's hands near my eyes. I flinch and I blink. Even if I try very conscientiously not to flinch or blink, I still do it. The glaucoma test (the one with the little puff of air) usually needs to be repeated three or four times for me. I always warn the technician that she might need to repeat the test. She always says something like "oh don't be silly. You'll be fine!" And then she repeats the test on each eye three or four times until she actually gets the air into the eye where it belongs. I've never had anyone apply makeup to my eyes because ewww! Gross! So when the eye doctor told me that I'd need to start wearing glasses all the time, but we could talk about contacts, I'm not sure why I just thought "Hey! great idea! Contacts!"  Like inserting foreign objects INTO MY EYES would be possible, even easy, without benefit of sedation.

I was in the office for over an hour (after the exam) trying to insert and remove my brand-new lenses. The technician finally inserted them for me and I couldn't believe how well I could see. She handed me a laminated card covered with sample print...phone book entries, medicine labels, menu print...all of it was perfectly clear. It was all fun and games until she told me to sit back down and take the lenses out.

Take them OUT? You mean these aren't the kind you can sleep in for weeks?
No, they're not. Extended wear lenses are not appropriate for me. I have to take these out, and I have to demonstrate that I'm capable of doing this on my own, or I can't take the lenses home.

I'll spare you detail on the nearly 40 minutes I spent trying to get the damn things out, as the technician kept reminding me not to blink. This was as helpful as having someone ask you, as you frantically search for a missing item, if you remember where you had it last. Just know that I'm wearing glasses right now. The doctor herself finally took the lenses out (in about 30 seconds, I might add) and told me that I'd have to come back and try again.

Having done some research, I now know that there are tools made for this very purpose, but no one at the eye doctor's office mentioned these. I guess they don't approve of the use of tools. Neither did pre-historic man, and life sucked for that guy. I'm going back today to make another attempt. Stay tuned.

23 comments:

WendyB said...

LOL! This is exactly me: "I've found that my arm is not long enough to hold the book where it needs to be." Soon I'm going to have to have someone else stand across the room and hold the book for me.

Spartacus said...

Hmmmm.... I see, I see.

dguzman said...

Don't worry, CDP. I was exactly the same way. It used to take me at least an hour to put in or take out my lenses. My eye doctor has BLINKER written in big letters on my chart. But after a while--a few weeks, I got better with the lenses. Even now, 16 years later, I still have to hold my eyelids open with one hand and put the lens in with the other. But it only takes a couple of seconds per eye. And it's WAY better than glasses.

3carnations said...

I've been wearing contacts for 18 years. It gets much easier. I can take them out in the dark now (if I had a reason to), and just about put them in in the dark, too.

You wouldn't want the kind that you sleep in. Waking up with lenses in is a terrible feeling. Eyes feel so dry after that.

CDP said...

WendyB--so have you succumbed to glasses, or are you just looking into the arm extension surgery? The latter seems preferable to me right about now.

Spartacus--wiseguy. That was funny, though.

Dguzman--thanks! That is very encouraging

3Carn--thanks to you, too! And you're right, I can't imagine sleeping in them; I'd be paranoid about infection.

themom said...

Good luck with the 2nd attempt...I would love to go to contacts, but after so many years of spectacles - it would be hard now. rots of ruck!

Suze said...

I've had my contacts for two years now. Yes, it gets easier. That being said, I have the kind that are supposed to last me for two months, and I've already been through 8 sets in four months already. Apparently, I haven't gotten the "exact" hang of them yet.

Dusty said...

I had my eye exam yesterday and found out:

I am old. I need bi-friggin-focals

I am very depressed. :(

At least you made me smile with this post.

Sauntering Soul said...

I wore glasses and contacts for 25 years (thankfully I don't have issues with touching my eyes). I was legally blind. My doctor said I was a "finger only" patient because they have to hold up fingers and see if you can tell them how many if you're like I was and cannot even see the huge "E" at the top of the eye chart. He said my vision was 20/400 but that I was really worse than that - that's just the worst they can measure you.

I had Lasik surgery this past January and it's the best money I've spent in my entire life. My vision is now 20/20. If I ever visit Maryland, I'll volunteer to come drive you around for the day so that you can avoid sticking your fingers in your eye.

pistols at dawn said...

I never had problems with contacts, but I put them in sans mirror, and they were never anywhere near the center of my eye. They'd end up in places like Delaware instead.

enc said...

Oh, CDP, I feel your pain, my three-initialed sister.

My eyes are no longer what they were, either.

I won't let Mr.OM get closer than 14 inches from my face when we're talking. If he gets closer, he sees me squint, then he laughs at me, and goofs on me by backing up to the exact distance I require for proper viewing.

FORGET about me and the glaucoma test. I hate it so much I have avoided the eye doctor for five years. Or is it seven? I can't read the reminder card I got in the mail.

Whiskeymarie said...

Tonight I encountered a guy in my building at work that decided to give contacts a "whirl" today as well. He looks a lot like Groundskeeper Willie form the Simpsons and he's Scottish, if that helps.

His eyes were as red as a 19 year-old stoner with allergies that had been rubbing his eyes for 14 hours straight.

You poor people. I am happy with my sporadic glasses wearing (due to astigmatism). I feel your pain. But I make fun also.

I still laughed at him and his ferret-pink eyes.
Sorry. I'm evil. It's in my contract- get over it.

Whiskeymarie said...

from. FROM.

Gnugs said...

Funny contact story. When they finally came out with those night and day leave in for a month kind, my friend started laughing at the commercial on tv and said "What? I invented those YEARS ago."

(the author does not recommend doing this, as her friend would pull little bits of her eyes off when she finally took them out. SHUDDER)

CDP said...

themom--well, I can get them in and out now. After a fashion. Still not sure if it's worth it; I don't have that kind of time everyday.

Suze--I think I have the same kind, and I'm also not sure they're going to survive my handling technique for that length of time!

Dusty--see, it's not so bad! And we don't call them "bifocals" anymore; we call them "progressive lenses". Ahem.

SS--you were one of the inspirations for me to consider Lasik. My eye doctor says that I have to wait; if I do it now I'll end up in glasses in five years.

Pistols--mine are in Wheeling, West Virginia right now. I don't miss them.

enc--you should go, because people like us drive the technicians and doctors insane. So you'll have that satisfaction at least.

WM--this is what I expect from you; I'd have been disappointed otherwise. And my right eye is as red as that of a 19 year olo stoner.

gnugs--that is both hilarious and disgusting. Shudder.

BeckEye said...

I hate that damn glaucoma test. I always react as if the doctor is about to jam red hot pokers into my eyes.

Contacts are a pain in the ass, but I'm too much of a wuss (and too poor) to try Lasik.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Give up the contacts and wear glasses. I'm betting you'll look even more smokin' hot in the right pair of frames.

FranIAm said...

Oh honey... I so feel you here. We are so often alike, except you are like all young, and cute and funny and talented. But in other things.

Oh I forgot about the Neccos. But I digress.

Anyway, I hate hate hate having anything or anyone near my eyes. I have the same problem at eye exams and have had the same "oh silly" thing happen.

Contacts? You are brave. I just finally graduated from reading glasses (prescription reading glasses) to progressives.

I await your update and pray to St. Lucy (saint of eyes) or wait - is that St. Rita?

I just hope it works for you. If it works for you, it might work for me.

Money Talks said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DCup said...

I cannot imagine putting something in my eye on purpose.

And the image of you in one of those helmuts that hold your eyes open like in A Clockwork Orange is certainly disturbing.

CDP said...

BeckEye--Well, I asked about Lasik, but I'd need to be completely sedated first. Anyway, my eyes are changing too much now; maybe in five years.

Dr. M--thank you sir. I did get new glasses, too; if the contact situation becomes unmanageable, I might be wearing them full-time.

Fran--"cute" and "talented" are words I'd apply to you, my dear. And funny? Don't get me started. I see you are on to the new terminology re "progressive" lenses. Better than reactionary lenses, right?

Dcup--I hadn't thought of that. Until just now. So thanks. See if I don't get you for that.

Distributorcap said...

iused to have perfect vision - then i hit 40 - then the arms got short, way short

now the glasses are getting stronger and stronger -- doc says it is the computer monitors

i cant read anything anymore with out them -- i find i leave the reading glasses on ALL the time lately. even to fold laundry.

i tried progressives -- i felt like i was seasick - i might have to go the contact route.

aging is so much fun. that and getting up to pee in the middle of the night

Dusty said...

Thanks DCap, for reminding me of the middle of the night thing. ;p

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