A strand of Christmas lights and two blue bulbs next to each other that look like a set of eyes.

The Contacts That Changed My Life

I was 35 years old. My optometrist and I had spent years trying to figure out the best prescription and brand of contacts for me.

Extreme myopia

It shouldn’t be that hard, I know, but with my extreme myopia, nothing about doctor’s visits ever seems easy. That particular year, I remember really struggling to see. My amazing doctor kept having me come in and adjusting here and there to try to get my vision as close to 20/20 as possible. So, back and forth I went to see her, trying to get my vision ‘good enough’ to continue to live a ‘normal’ life.

Struggling at work

I am a teacher and I remember not being able to sit at the table in the back of my room and see the clock on the wall at the front of the room. Let alone, squinting to grade papers from those who didn’t have the best handwriting. Papers that were right in front of my nose. I was scared. I thought, this is it...it’s all downhill from here.

Hybrid contact lenses

Thankfully, my optometrist would not give up. I knew that hard contact lenses would help with my vision, but I’ve tried those a few times in the past and they were just too uncomfortable for me. After many months of attempting to change my prescription, my doctor called me and told me there was a new type of hybrid contact lens she wanted me to try. It was ‘hard’ in the middle, to help give crisp vision, and surrounded by a soft ‘skirt’ for comfort.

I can see!

At that point, I was ready to try anything to be able to see. I was excited about this new hybrid lens so I told my doctor to order them. I will never forget going into her office to pick them up. With both of my young sons in tow, she had me try them on and personally showed me how to take them out. She was as anxious about my new lenses as I was! I should have paid better attention to the 'getting them out part' but I was too overwhelmed with being able to actually see.

Removing hybrid contact lenses

These lenses don’t really require any more care than a regular contact lens, but they were a tad tricky for me to get out at first, more like a hard lens. They'd literally 'pop' off of my eyes at first and fly across the bathroom landing in odd places. I ripped one (my first ever ripped contact lens, believe it or not!) and lost another down the drain...so I sadly had to pay out of pocket for extras. These contacts are priceless to me, so I gladly paid.

Happy tears

You guys, the very second I put them on, everything was crisp and clear...for the very first time in my life. And, they were comfortable! My optometrist and I have a special relationship, I think because of my extreme case. She personally saw these new contacts through to the end with me. I looked up at her and tears just started rolling down my face. She smiled her beautiful smile and said, “You can see, can’t you?” Then, we laughed and hugged because, YES, I could! I sure hope she went home feeling really good about herself that night. She has changed my life in more ways than just this one over the years and I will be forever grateful for her.

Discovering sight again

On the ride home, my children kept asking me if I was okay. I was crying and calling all of my biggest supporters, my parachutes, to tell them the good news. My boys kept asking me, “Can you read that sign, Mommy, can you read that license plate?” And I could! The biggest change I noticed was that the halo around all of the brake lights in front of me was gone. It was Christmastime and I could see each individual light on strands. I could see individual branches on trees! I thought to myself, THIS is what it’s like to see! Wow. Just wow.

Don't give up

One of the things I love most about online support communities is when someone finds something new (or new to them) that works for them, they share! Friends, I almost gave up on my vision. I nearly rolled over at 35 years old and accepted that I would just never see well. Shame on me. I’m here to tell you, never give up! Keep looking for newer and better things. Be your own advocate. Find a doctor who believes in what they do.

I’m not sure if hybrid lenses would help you, but something can! I have been blessed with amazing doctors who never give up on me. Doctors who celebrate with me when we accomplish things together. I have spent my entire life struggling to see clearly. For right now, I can say that I can see. I wake up every single morning grateful for that.

Don't roll over,

Andrea Junge

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