Everyone’s heard of social drinkers. Well, Mary Ann and I have become social contact lens wearers. We’ve both had long histories with the things, and now we’ve rediscovered the ease of plain old (though most styles are currently far from plain) glasses.
My saga began when I was 16, making it a half century ago. Back then, there were only hard contact lenses and I had to set aside an extra half hour in the morning to get them in, and another one at the other end to get them out. I was constantly getting dirt or other particles in my eyes that would send the little plastic spheres into convulsions, but I was young. I endured.
Dreaded, however, were the times the discs would slip off and go into the far reaches of my eyeball. Usually those recovery periods exceeded the half hour set aside at each end of the day to poke, prod, slip, and slide them into position so that I could wink the offending lens out. I remember so clearly going downstairs one day and bemoaning that with all of the pulling and tugging at my eye, I would wrinkle early in life. My dad just looked at me with that “this is what daughters are like” stare.
No matter. I looked good then. I had worn glasses since first grade, so despite the travails of hard contact lenses, the effort was worth it to this high-schooler.
They used to test our eyesight in school. I don’t know whether they still do. When I flat out failed the test in first grade, the school nurse said I needed glasses. I was amazed once I got them to see that people had faces. I had only seen shapes before but since I didn’t know anything different, I had thought that was normal. The glasses saved me from an amorphous world but they steamed up on cold days when I went inside. They slipped down my nose in the summer when I sweat. They hurt behind my ears when they became unadjusted. The contacts saved me from all of this, with the plus that I could also see peripherally!
Life got even better when soft contact lenses came into existence! A young Dr. John Mullins introduced them to me and it was love at first application. In no time, I was in contact lens heaven!
The years wore on. I followed Dr. Mullins from office to office, city to city, and 27 years later he’s still my doctor. My eyes have continued to worsen and yes, I do have those little wrinkles around them, just as I predicted. Yet, wrinkles aside, the larger problem loomed and it was the eyesight. Little did I know….
Mary Ann hit that level first. I noticed that more and more she was wearing her glasses. They really looked good on her with that reddish tint and stylish shape. Finally, she confessed. She was a social contact lens wearer. It never occurred to me that I would follow suit.
My January checkup revealed that my left eye had gotten so bad that the brand of contacts I had worn for maybe 15 years could no longer accommodate the correction I needed. I had always told Dr. Mullins that all I cared about was seeing the speed of the pitch across Progressive Field. Undaunted, he ordered a sample pair of a different brand for me to try.
Bad news: Though they felt good and my vision was clear, it took me 45 minutes to get just one of them out. I was nigh onto an emergency room visit when after much tapping, much saline solution, and much cursing, out it came. A second brand was ordered. Same thing. Dr. Mullins gave it another shot with a third brand, but something about the thinness, the material, the size — who knows? — would absolutely not allow me to get the blasted things out of my eyes! Finally, I said I’d rather see less and be able to get the contacts out, and if I needed to see the speed of the pitch I could ask Joe.
So we went back to my old brand and voila! Out they come, easy as pie.
Meanwhile, I had gotten reddish framed glasses too. I could see with them. I like them and they help to conceal those tiny wrinkles. You’ll see me wearing them more and contacts less for now, I too, am a social contact lens wearer.
By the way, Mary Ann and I are also social drinkers… though one glass of wine will do!
Pat Gorske Price graduated from Oberlin High School and taught English and drama there for 12 years. In retirement she continues to enjoy writing and theater. Comments can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.