My last notable accomplishment of 2014 was to make it to the optometrist before my annual vision benefit on my insurance ran out. I have a pair of glasses I wear occasionally, but I thought, since I didn’t need new frames, I should get some contact lenses. I was surprised to find out that I have grown about a point more nearsighted in each eye…so I actually probably will need new glasses now–but we were already going down the contact lens road, so that’s what I got.
I tried on a few different brands of contact lenses–which I guess were all super-premium, because in the exam room the doctor said they were all the same price, which he wasn’t sure of, we could talk about that in the other room, and in the other room, once all discussion was over, the “same price” was appalling and more than a hundred dollars more per 3-month supply than others in the case. I had liked my experience up until then, as the doctor was very friendly and knowledgeable, but in the “other room” he and his assistant also informed me for the first time that because I was a new patient, they were obligated to do an eye exam, and this was separate from the contact lens fitting–not in terms of occurrence, but in terms of billing. I walked out of the shop $250 lighter despite my coverage, though they pointed out, delightedly, that I had “saved more than I was spending.” Maybe I should have anticipated this when I chose an optometry center with “Beverly Hills” as part of its name.
That said, having the lenses is kind of amazing. I guess everyone always notes that the leaves on the trees look so distinct…but it is always something I notice. Also, street signs! Driving is a different and more pleasurable experience.
The last time I wore contacts–in my youth, pre-Lasik surgery, I wore rigid lenses…so the soft lens thing is also remarkable. It’s like putting a little curved piece of Saran-wrap on your eye–and once there, it’s truly invisible and largely unnoticeable in terms of feel.
A downside is that unlike the last time I had lenses, I am now old–and seeing far away means I have a hard time adjusting to seeing up close. For some reason, I thought that wouldn’t happen to me…because I’m magical I guess…but not so. I will be needing some reading glasses. Which the doctor (not a big surprise here) recommends I don’t but from the drug store, as that could damage my eyes with long term use. Is this true?
Another downside thus far is that I don’t seem to be so good at removing the lenses. They are so invisible, they are difficult to find, and almost impossible to get hold of with short-nailed fingers (I actually resorted to tweezers tonight to get them out). I usually succeed by getting it to wrinkle up on my eye enough to see so I can pull it out, where upon I can’t help thinking that it looks and feels like a very tiny used condom.
All that said though, seeing without glasses is super-cool. It crosses my mind that I might even play tennis again someday.