Ways of seeing

I've worn glasses since I was six, to the dismay of my (equally short-sighted) parents. They blamed it on me reading in the dark and bending too low over my work when writing at a desk. I blame it on reading too much, period.

Since then, it's been an ongoing struggle between the desire to read more, read faster, read smaller-print books, read text-heavy webpages, and the toll it takes on abused eyes. To my parents' consternation, my prescription went up by an average of 100 degrees every year when I was in school, stalling only around my 'teens.

And then I discovered contact lenses --- and all the world was clear again. Peripheral vision, man. I still remember how bizarre it felt the first time I put on a pair of lenses. Everything seemed bigger, broader, brighter. My feet weren't a blur, out of focus below the rim of my glasses anymore. I didn't have to readjust my glasses against the bridge of my nose every few minutes. No more smudges, no more glasses sliding off my nose. My prescription even levelled off, stabilising for the first time in years.

Also, frankly, I looked better.

But those days were not to last. A year after moving back to sunny island Singapore, my eyes started acting up after wearing soft lenses for a day or two. Several mild eye infections later, I made the heart-sinking decision to make an actual proper pair of glasses (i.e. one that didn't date back to the late '80s) and gave all my extra contact lens solution away.

The funny thing was that through all the years of contact lens abuse overseas, I'd never had any serious eye problems. Impromptu decision to sleep over at a friend's? Just go to sleep with the lenses still in. Starting the day with an early class and ending with post-midnight clubbing? That's what extended wear lenses were for, right? Itchy eyes? Well, rub them, duh.

It's a miracle I haven't entirely lost my eyesight yet. Mom, I hope you're not reading this.

I still wore contact lenses off and on --- a wedding, a party, a photo shoot --- but just daily disposables, the logic being that if they were only worn once, they couldn't possibly aggravate my eyes any further. Because this was for vanity purposes, it never occurred to me, natch, that people might wear them for more functional reasons, e.g. while exercising. I've been jogging off and for the last couple of months with my glasses and attended two kickfit classes likewise, all the while cursing the damned glasses.

Then on Sunday night, it dawned on me --- wear the damn disposables, already. By Monday morning, I'd forgotten and blithely set off for work in my glasses, but a trip to Holland Village solved that problem. I thought I was just going to get an extra box of disposable contact lenses, but wound up with a new prescription and a sober suggestion to change my glasses as soon as possible. (I begged off doing it that day because I was in a rush to get back to work after an excessively leisurely lunch.) What made it worse was that the young man who examined my eyes was just that --- young, yet utterly serious. I felt like a duly chastised child.

However, in lieu of actually, y'know, changing my glasses to the correct prescription, I've decided to experiment with contact lenses again. Since my prescription is still so unstable, I might as well invest in little batches of disposable lenses and see how it takes, rather than drop a bundle on new glasses. Lasik surgery certainly isn't in my future. At the rate my prescription fluctuates, it'd probably last a couple of years at most before I fall short-sighted again.

Today's my third straight day of wearing lenses and it's been going okay so far *knock on wood*. Eyes are a little dry, but that's to be expected (forgot to buy eyedrops today, doh). As I told Sprite last night, everything's brighter, crisper, clearer again. Damn, but I missed this.


At 11/10/2004 8:07 am , Blogger SilverBullet said...

I want lasik!!!! But have to wait for another year and a half first.

Contact lenses are perfect for exercizing in. I miss kickboxing and pilates :(

For eyedrops, Tears Naturelle come in tiny little vials and work miracles on my dry eyes.

At 11/11/2004 2:26 am , Blogger Unknown said...

I've worn glasses since four, and hit 900 degrees by the time I was in my teens. Mine was caused by reading in bed and watching too much tv.

Ah, contact lens. Must be careful. I wore a badly made pair of hard lenses too long and it cut my eyeballs to the extent that now, my current pair of lenses have to be custom made to be smaller so that they won't touch the scarred tissue. Soft lenses also have the danger of infection, because people tend to wear them too long.

I want lasik too. But at $2600, or $1300 per eye (which is already cheap), I think I will have to wait. That's enough money to get an iMac G5 leh.

At 11/11/2004 6:14 am , Blogger cour marly said...

Yeah, I love contacts but am damned to glasses because my eyes don't produce enough tears.... Only wear them for occassions and even then I usually forget. Tsk.

At 11/11/2004 6:43 am , Blogger Agagooga said...

It's genetic lah

At 11/11/2004 1:06 pm , Blogger Terz said...

Been told to wait for the prescription on my eyes to stabilise first (in about three years) before getting them Lasik'd. Not good to get them done so soon and then having age cause them to go bad again.

Just as well. Three years is plenty of time to earn the $2600 for the procedure.

At 11/12/2004 11:13 am , Blogger SilverBullet said...

$2600!!! Hmmm.... if our new health insurance after we move when we finally get to move doesn't cover it, maybe I'll get my eyes lasiked in Singapore after I wean the baby. Excellent! Another excuse to fly home.

At 11/13/2004 12:03 am , Blogger Tym said...

mb --- $2600 can buy iBook also!!

It's been four days with daily disposables and one day with the wear-for-two-weeks kind. So far so good. *fingers crossed* (What to do when a girl is hiao...)


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