Something Came Up | Issue 22

Something Came Up | Issue 22

None so blind

I'm not good with glasses. I keep taking them off and putting them on, covering them in sticky finger marks, and shoving them onto my head where they drop onto the floor. One of my friends pointed out, politely, that they were very dirty. I was surprised. When I'm wearing them, it feels like something’s wrong. 

That's why I was very excited to get Contact Lenses. Each lens is supposed to last for about six weeks. I have two different lenses, for right and left eyes. They are little, colourless bits of nothing. Even with 20/20 vision they are not easy to see. So typically this is what happens: I open up the new packet of fiddly little plastic that has a lens in it. My glasses fall on the floor. I am now certifiably blind. I know there is a little round bit of vision in a small bit of plastic in front of me. I stab around until my finger feels the wet patch of lens solution. I think I have put it on the end of my finger and poke my eye. Sometimes it goes in! A triumph of odds! Mostly, it doesn't. I call out for my partner. He sometimes finds it, a little crusty and worse for wear, on the floor or the table. The dog licked it up one morning.

And the reverse happens at night. I have two little cases, marked faintly with L and R. The first lens (in my right eye, as I am left handed) comes out not too bad - I lick my finger, stick it around my eye and there it is, shiny and magical, on the end of my finger. The next one I can't see as well, but I am confident I have put it in the case marked L.  

In the morning I discover either that both lenses are in the same case. (I have a 50 percent chance of getting the right lens in the left eye). Or one is missing. If it's found, it's crispy.

The lenses I have are called "disposable”. They didn't mean it daily apparently. They are meant to last a month. So I'm getting the hang of it now. I prefer them to glasses. And I’ve mostly stopped putting on my make up and eating chips before I put my lenses in. Both of which gave me literally eye-watering pain. Wearing them in the shower is useful. I don’t wash my hair with shower cleanser any more.

There are numerous bottles of lens solution dotted around my desk and the kitchen table. Within reach of a blind person (me). I did use tap water, but then I read that there is a naturally occurring amoeba that occurs in tap water, and which can cause blindness (or in my case enhanced blindness). Remarkably, I have had no eye infections (that I was aware of) Which is good, because the antibiotic drops apparently eat the lens material.  The lens cases are quite cheap, about $1.50. If I’ve had to reinstall the lens during the day and think I may have confused right with left, I put it in a lens case and open a new pair. I have lots of lens cases around my desk. Poke-it-in go.

I’m going back to my optometrist soon. It will be a year. He’s a man of few words: “You have astigmatism. Your long vision wouldn’t pass a driver's test. Your eyes are dry.” They don’t include active listening in the Optometrist training. But he’s the keeper of the lenses, so he’s my hero.

I read a tip recently. If you turn out the light and shine a torch around the room, the light will reflect off the lens. I’m going to try it, as soon as I find my glasses.

This article first appeared in Issue 22, 2016.
Posted 11:53am Saturday 10th September 2016 by Isa Alchemist.