When My Contacts Aren’t Cooperating...

Last updated: September 2019

Is it me, or does it seem like contacts are not only a life-changing savior but also kind of a pain in the rear? Don’t get me wrong, my contacts are one of my most prized possessions. But in reality, we contact wearers are all putting small pieces of plastic onto our eyeballs... purposefully. It’s not always comfortable. And, excuse me, but can we please turn off the ceiling fan? It’s drying out the tiny pieces of plastic I suction onto my eyeballs so I can see. Thanks in advance!

The truth about contacts

It’s been my experience that when contacts want to cause a problem it always seems to be at a really bad time. Being at the mercy of a small piece of flimsy clear plastic has its moments some days, doesn’t it? Without my contacts in I’m legally blind. If something happens to them, Houston, we have a problem. That was the case this morning.

Glasses? Do I have to?

Sure, I could put my coke bottle glasses on to at least be able to kind of see what I’m doing. I could at least see well enough to read if I squint really hard or just not want to knock into things as I try to function around the house. But, that’s asking for a literal headache. Glasses have always given me the strangest headaches right behind my ears and at my temples. On top of all of that, being as myopic as I am, glasses don’t give me clear vision. They just allow me to see a little bit. I need contacts to see well.

A few other things I dislike about glasses are the funny looks people shoot my way because they make my eyes look teeny tiny behind the lenses. Or, how about those awkward encounters with people who say strange things like, “Whoa, can I try on your glasses?” Ummm. “Sure...do you want to borrow my toothbrush too?” This all just brings me right back to being made fun of in elementary school, ‘Four Eyes’ style.

I got my first pair of contacts at the age of twelve, as soon as my parents would allow. I haven’t looked back since.

Optometrist visits once a year

My next appointment with my optometrist is soon, but not soon enough. It’s time for a new prescription and a new set of lenses. These lenses have been irritating my eyes for about a month now because they’re just worn out from wearing them all of my waking hours of the day.

You may be thinking, “Can’t she just get the disposable kind?” Unfortunately, I can’t. Contact lens manufacturers don’t all make contacts in my ridiculously high prescription, and those that do make the kind that can only be changed every six months. It's well worth it though to be able to see clearly. I just need to vent a moment because my eyes hurt today.

The end of a contact's life

Anyone who wears contact lenses that aren’t disposable knows that the end of contact’s life means they feel uncomfortable when on the eye. As if we need that fun obstacle on top of our other eye struggles. I can’t see well AND my eyes hurt today... yay.

This really could all be avoided if my insurance would allow me to see my doctor when I needed instead of just once a year. I assume the majority of the population can make it a full year without needing to see their eye doctor, but some of us need a little extra TLC for our eyes.

Grrrr... insurance

It would also be helpful if high prescription contacts were affordable out of pocket, or any prescription really. In my opinion, we all have the right to see well. Like, maybe it should be added to the Bill of Rights – The Freedom of Sight.

I shouldn’t complain because I have an amazing optometrist who always makes sure I have what I need to be able to see as best as possible. And, I at least have health insurance and I know many don’t.

My contacts are medically necessary

Quick Tip: My doctor always marks my contacts as ‘Medically Necessary’ in her billing paperwork because they really are...so I get them for much cheaper than I would otherwise.

This is a huge help in the money department, but honestly I could use at least twice as many pairs as I’m allotted for times like these: when my contacts have ‘worn out’, if I’ve accidentally torn one, washed one down the sink, or get pink eye from one of my children or students. Can you tell all of these things have actually happened to me?

Conversations with my contacts

My contacts have been irritating my eyes the last few weeks, but this morning none of my ‘tricks’ to make the right eye feel good enough to wear, worked. I went down the list all crazy lady style talking to myself:

  • Okay, I’ll wiggle the contact around, maybe it just needs a little adjusting… ouch, ouch, ouch, now it’s stuck on the top of my eye... pull pull pull, blink, look around, annnnd it’s back.
  • But now extra irritated. Awesome. I hope I didn’t scratch anything.
  • Hmm, I should try completely removing the contact, cleaning it again, and putting it back in…Shoot! Of course that didn’t work, this can’t be that easy today.
  • Meanwhile, from the other room my oldest son is yelling to me, “Mom, the dog is throwing up on the carpet! MOOOMMMM!”.
  • Deeeeep breaths. One thing at a time. This first...
  • Now I get to examine the contact with the flashlight. Is it torn? I don’t think so... Is there a tiny baby ‘hair’ or ‘fuzz’ on it from something? I don’t see one... but then again, I’m not sure I’m the best person to blindly search for a tiny fuzz on a tiny clear contact while ‘blind’. I’ll clean it again and if it still hurts I’m just going to push through.

And that’s exactly what I did...for an hour.

My whole world seems in a bit of chaos

Think eyelash in the eye, but no visible eyelash. I cleaned up the dog barf, and went on my morning walk thinking the fresh air and keeping my mind off of it would help it settle. No dice. So, then it was time to pull out my ziplock bag full of ‘old’ contacts that I keep in case I need a spare. Luckily, I did have an old but brand new contact... it’s not the right prescription or the right type of lens... but it will work until my appointment in a month an a half. If you see me, nevermind that one of my eyes is now a different color blue than the other.

I am eternally grateful for my contacts (even my glasses), especially this new hybrid type I recently discovered that help make my vision almost 20/20 clear. But, man, when something goes wrong with these things, my whole world seems in a bit of chaos.

End rant.

Andrea Junge

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