A while I had a conversation with Julia, a friend I met at the TV dinners that I go to in Reading. She was wearing glasses, like me. She used to wear contact lenses and was thinking of giving them another try. It made a lot of sense to me at the time. I mean ... we girls spend a long time learning how to apply eye shadow, liner and mascara. To then hide it all behind a pair of spectacles seems a little illogical. OK ... I admit that the very concept of a guy going to all that trouble to make his eyes look pretty is not what everyone might view as being eminently logical. But ... well ... to a transvestite it maybe makes perfect sense.
So ... for months and months I had been planning to give contact lenses a try out.
A couple of weeks ago I called in at Specsavers in Slough to check about making an appointment. I needed to have an up-to-date eye test – but the good news was that they had a special offer so that the contact lens consultation was free.
Last Saturday I called in at the shop to keep my appointment.
Step 1 ... I look through a thing at a scene with and a hot air balloon. First one eye and then the other.
Step 2 ... the man blows off air onto each of my eyeballs. A test for glaucoma.
Then I sit back in my chair and wait a little while.
Step 3 ... a lady checks my eyesight. Looking into the eyes and seeing what I can read on the charts.
The good news is that my current prescription is fine ... no change at all. With my glasses on I have great vision. The bad news is that it cost me £20 to find this out. And ... I was pretty sure that this would be the case ... they haven’t changed at all in something like ... well ... more years than I care to remember.
I’m back in the chair and waiting again. But not for long.
Step 4 ... a man starts to look at my eyes. This is the beginning of the contact lens consultation.
I’m not really sure what is happening or why. I think he’s checking the state of my eyeballs to see if they are likely to work ok with lenses. He asks me if I’ve given any thought to the type of lenses I’d wear and how often I’d be likely to wear them. I tell him maybe once a week or so ... and I’d been thinking of the kind that you just wear for a day and then throw away.
It was kind of funny ... I’d been wondering how I would answer the question “why are you thinking about trying contact lenses?” and how I would answer it. I think I would have mentioned the eye makeup thing. But I never was asked anything too specific.
Step 5 ... a lady shows me how to put the lenses in.
Oh ... wow. I suspect that most people that haven’t worn contact lenses never know what it os like to press a finger against an eyeball ... especially when it is their own.
I guess I can now add this to my list of “things to do before you die” that I have done. But take my advice ... don’t add it to your List if you can help it!
The right eye went in almost easily. The left one ... definitely more of a challenge.
Step 6 ... a lady takes me into a room to check my eyesight with the lenses in and to check how they fit my eyes. It feels weird. I don’t remember the last time I could see things clearly at any distance further than a foot or so (about 30 cm). I can see just about as well with the lenses as I can with my glasses.
Step 7 ... I get taught how to take them out. This makes putting them in seem like childsplay. The right eye wasn’t so bad, I guess. But the left one was a real struggle. Eventually I got them both out. But my eyes were so bloodshot by this time they thought it was maybe a good idea not to put them back in again.
I booked a review appointment for the following week and was given 6 pairs of lenses. The idea is to wear them for 3 hours the first day, 4 the second and so on until the appointment.
It’s Sunday night at 8:00 pm. I sit by the mirror and start to poke at my eyes. The lenses go in with now to much hassle. I’d spent a while that day watching a guy on a website demonstrate how to do it.
Now it’s 11:00 pm. Sitting at the mirror. The right lens comes out pretty easily. But the left one? Days later I noticed that the left lens is actually just a tad bigger than the right one. At least I now have some kind of idea as to why it was more of a challenge.
11:15 pm and I take a break.
11:30 ... I still have a contact lens in my left eye.
11:45 and I take a break.
Sometime a little after midnight my left eye has unfocused vision and I think that the lens is out. But if it is I don’t know exactly where. Being a naive kind of contact lens wearer I need the reassurance of knowing where the heck it has got to.
Eventually, after a fair bit of scrabbling around on the floor my wife finds it.
By a quarter after midnight I have vowed that mascara isn’t worth it.
By Monday morning things don’t seem so bad.
Tuesday I give the lenses another go. It’s still a struggle ... but not so bad.
By Thursday I need to put them in at work to avoid having to stay awake until 1:00 am to take the things out. . For some reason the left eye takes a record breaking length of time to sort out. At one point the lens just disappeared. One moment it’s on the tip of my finger. The next, it’s nowhere to be seen. After a while it turns up and after an even greater while I manage to get it to stay in my eye.
Thursday night I begin to think about things. Do I put the lenses in before or after the makeup? I can see a lot better close range without the lenses in. But getting them in after I have makeup on would likely mean I need to redo the makeup to fix up the damage that I’ve done.
And do I remove the makeup before I remove the lenses?
Out comes Google and I do some research. And now I discover that eye makeup and contact lenses may not actually be the best of partners. And so, after a while I decide that maybe I should put the whole concept on hold for a little while. Predictably enough when I sit down in from of the mirror, even the one in my left eye pops out without a fight.
Of course, not long after cancelling the appointment at the optician’s I’m discovering that maybe contacts and makeup go better together than I had thought, so it’s back to the drawing board!