The miracle of sight

If there are errors in this blogpost, please forgive me. I began it yesterday, while trying out some new contact lenses. The first day of my five day trial didn’t go especially well for two reasons:

1. I couldn’t read my screen clearly. It’s all very well to be able to see the world at large clearly, but if I can’t read my Twitter feed and answer an email, what’s the point? [Ironically, I’d mentioned the fact that my last lenses were useless for this purposes multiple times during my eye test. These were meant to be an improvement.]
2. It took me twenty minutes to remove them. I may still be something of a lens novice, but removal has never ever been an issue. Honestly, little panics me as much as not being able to remove lenses from my eyes when I really, really want to be sleeping. (Have you heard horror stories about what happens when you sleep in them? Not pleasant, trust me.)

Eyesight is a miraculous thing, which you only truly appreciate when your own is becoming impinged. Or, as is the case at the moment, when your friends’ very cute son has been diagnosed with optic nerve issues related to Albinism. (Having said that, his cuteness factor has increased with his recent acquisition of mini-specs.) However, permit me to rant – just a little – about the perils of life as a speccy four eyes.

For a start, why was I trying out new lenses in the first place? Because I am a vain human being who has days which aren’t complete without some amazing eye make up which does not deserve to be obscured by some frames – no matter how hot they are.

These would be my new ‘not so sensible’ frames.
(You don’t want to know how many self-portraits of my new glasses now exist in my phone…)

Glasses are fine, I generally don’t mind them, and they’re an excellent tool with which to flirt with babies, but do you realise how difficult it is to ensure that these accessories match everything in one’s wardrobe?? At least many opticians offer two for the price of one, enabling me to own ‘sensible’ and ‘not so sensible’ frames, but still, it’s a limitation on life…

More importantly, do you realise how difficult it ease to buy glasses? Think about it. You need glasses, so you try on countless frames. But, because you’ve taken off your current glasses in order to try out new pairs, you no longer have perfect vision. So, you’re stood in front of a mirror in an opticians, trying on countless pairs and peering through finger print smudged lenses (of no prescription) covered in stickers, and attempting to work out whether they’ll suit your face. Yes, some opticians now have fancy photography systems where you can take several photos and compare frames, but it’s still tricky. They also seem to judge you if you stand in the store with your phone taking photos of your face, posting them on Twitter and wait for a response from your followers.

Sometimes, you get new glasses, are delighted with them and the response they receive from others, but within days you realise they don’t fit properly. Perhaps they fall off your face in the middle of a sneezing fit? (This did not happen to me during last week’s cold, not at all…) So, you have to return to the opticians and wait for them to be adjusted under an industrial hand dryer. (On the plus side, your glasses are then toasty warm for several minutes afterwards – handy for an arctic January day.)

Then there’s the absence of spectacles – like when you wake up with no memory of where you’ve left your glasses. Or, when you choose to engage in physical activity where glasses aren’t practical, or even permitted. It’s only been in recent years that I’ve realised what a hazard it was that my father (bespectacled all my life) was the ‘responsible adult’ who took us swimming in childhood. (Well, more responsible than my non-swimming mother I guess.) But how on earth did he know which frolicking children were the ones he was meant to be watching??

Finally, you have to endure the teasing of friends who for some reason think it’s ok to mock your disability. Though, on reflection, as they only ever mock you on occasions when you’ve removed your glasses out of vanity (and haven’t put contacts in), perhaps they have a point?

OK, so there’s at least two self-portraits.
(Though, in my defence, this one was for playing with Flickr app filters.)
There is an answer though – which came through as a tweet from a friend yesterday when I was whining about my lenses: laser eye surgery. This friend had it last year and it’s transformed her life. I’ve got to say, I’m tempted. There it is people, my first admission of a desire for cosmetic surgery. It’s a slippery slope…

The joy one gains from poking oneself in the eye…

The highlight of my Saturday a couple of weeks ago was spending 150 minutes in an opticians. In case you’re wondering how you could possibly spend that long having an eye test and choosing new glasses, it went something like this:
2.20 – Arrive for eye test
2.40 – Eye test takes place
3.00 – Investigate options for new glasses
3.25 – Discover non-existence of rounded frames (previous favourites)
3.30 – After ridiculous conversation with sales assistant who clearly knows nothing of the whims of women, head back upstairs to talk to someone about contacts.
3.40 – Another eye test
4.10 – Book follow-up appointments
4.15 – Look at glasses again
4.20 – Give up, pay for eye test and leave. Go to the Boots next door to look at more glasses.
4.25 – Find things to be even more dismal in Boots and return to Specsavers
4.40 – Finally have sensible female sales assistant who assists in choice of complimentary frames for face shape and skin tone.
4.50 – Leave opticians having ordered new glasses.
Phew. Even recounting it exhausts me!
It was something of a relief that when I returned the following Thursday I was able to pick up the new glasses as well as complete phase 1 of contact lens induction, saving me another visit on Saturday.
So, I’ve ticked another of the original 2010 Firsts off the list. I have successfully demonstrated that I am able to poke myself in both eyes twice – once to insert lens, once to remove it. I walked away with four days’ worth of daily disposables and was overjoyed that I could see perfectly without specs on.
In fact, such was my joy that I nearly wrote this post last week in the immediate euphoria. However, pride cometh before a fall…
The following day I spent half an hour in the office toilets trying to put the lenses in. It had clearly been a classic case of first time lucky the day before. Of course, while I stood poking myself repeatedly, three contacts-wearing colleagues appeared offering varying degrees of helpful advice. Eventually I reappeared at my desk looking as though I’d just suffered a traumatic emotional crisis.
It didn’t end there. Something wasn’t quite right with the right eye. Perhaps it was inside out, maybe it was dirty after so many failed attempts – whatever it was, it was highly irritating. It got to the point where I was holding my eye open in an effort not to blink and a friend who’d put up with a couple of hours sat opposite me over coffee doing strange things with my eyes suggested it might be time to take it out.
[Note: If one takes out one lens, one ought to take out both. One should not attempt to walk along a busy road with just a single lens in, it lends the world a rather bizarre quality.]
I’ve yet to return to the lenses. There are three pairs left and I’m a little apprehensive, but it’s important to jump back on the horse isn’t it?
And why do I want lenses in the first place? Because I am vain.
I like my eyes and don’t want them covered up by glasses.
I’m quite a fan of good eye-make up and the glasses get in the way.
It’s annoying when rain falls on them or I enter a warm room and they steam up.
Don’t worry, I’ll persist. I’ve not come this far to give up at the final hurdle. [Is that two horse-racing metaphors in three paragraphs? Oh dear.]