After years of harboring a fear of touching my eyeballs, I finally decided that it was time for me to try wearing contacts. I’ve had glasses for almost 20 years now and I’ve always been curious about contacts, but the thought of placing a piece of glass directly on my cornea made me shudder. I’ve been told that it was painless and once you get used to it, you won’t even realize that it’s there – but there’s still the issue of having to touch my eyeball to put it on and take it out. I’ve always imagined myself trying out contacts and having to go to the hospital to get them removed because I’d be too scared to pinch them out myself. The thought of anything touching my eyes bothers me so much that I can’t even put eye drops on properly. I need to use at least 3 drops in each eye because 80% of it runs down my face. And although I’ve conquered my fear of applying eyeliner and mascara on myself (who knew vanity could be such a great motivator) I still can’t handle other people putting eye makeup on me. I would flinch and turn away whenever a hand (that’s not mine) comes close to my eyeball. I’ve been scolded several times by makeup artists at events because it’s so hard for me to keep my eyes open while they line my waterline or do anything with my lashes.
Anyway, last month I decided it was time for me to get over my silly fear and just go and get contacts. It’s all part of my goal to take steps outside my comfort zone and start conquering my small fears. Besides, I spend so much time doing my eye makeup and I hate that I have to cover them up with my glasses. I also hate it when my foundation smudges around my nose and cheeks. Once I made up my mind to get contacts I knew I had to get them ASAP before I lost courage again, so upon returning from California I went to the optometrist immediately. (It was also part of my strategy to get rid of jetlag since I knew the adrenaline rush from getting my contacts would keep me awake until the evening). I was too scared to go alone so I asked Camille to come with me.
I’ve done some research on how to get contacts, so I had an idea of what to expect. I’ve been told that once you get your first pair the doctor will teach you how to put them on and remove them at the shop. You will only be allowed to take your contacts home if you are able to show them that you can do it. The doctor I went to was very nice and kept making jokes to put my mind at ease (I’m sure he could tell how nervous I was). He put my contacts in for me first and removed them before letting me try it myself. I was so scared that even though he was holding my eye open with two hands, I would still blink whenever his finger would come near my eyeball. It didn’t help that my eyes were minuscule, so even during those time when I was able to let him touch my eyeball the lens would get caught in my lashes. Eventually, after many trials, we were successful. When it was time for me to do it myself, it took FOREVER! The doctor kept joking that I should just take him home to have him put my contacts on for me every morning. I must have used up a fourth of the bottle of their contact lens solution before I managed to do it right. But he was very patient, and Camille was there giving me advice and words of encouragement which helped calm me down. (I was so scared that my hands were shaking so badly, which made putting the contacts on a hundred times more difficult.) But eventually I was able to do it (*proud smile emoticon*).
I’ve only worn my contacts out several times since I got them. The first time I wore them my eyes turned blood red by the end of the night, and it lasted for two days. I guess it was the stress of touching my eyeballs repeatedly during practice, and the unfamiliar sensation of having a foreign object resting against your eye. Also, I wore them for 5 hours straight without putting eye drops on because I left them in the car, which was apparently a very bad idea. I had to wait two days for my eyeballs to turn white before I even attempted to wear my contacts on again. Kurt told me that I should start wearing them for short periods of time in the beginning and gradually build up tolerance. I started wearing them at home for about 2-3 hours each day to get used to them, and when I noticed that my eyes weren’t turning red anymore, I decided I could start wearing them to the office. So far my eyes have been doing okay, just a little dry. I try to give them a break when I don’t really need perfect vision and skip wearing contacts that day. I’ve been getting really good at putting them on and taking the out (at least for my right eye, I’m still having a lot of difficulty when it comes to my left eye). I’ve also been remembering to use my eye drops whenever my eyes feel a little dry, which helped a lot. It feels a little silly that I’m actually making an entry about contact lenses when it’s not that big of a deal to some people, but it’s such a huge accomplishment for me that I just wanted to write about the experience, especially since I’ve avoided it for so long 😀