Random Blogness: Eye Horror

Eye CloseupI’m trying out contacts for the first time in my life. I’ve been wanting to wear contacts for at least 15 years, but my severe astigmatism makes my corneas look like Madonna’s pointy bra from the 1990s. Special weighted lenses have always cost too much.

However, technology marches on and has brought the price of those lenses down while my salary has increased significantly over the years. At 18, I lived on a sack of potatoes and some Mountain Dew for a week. Now in my mid-30s, I have enough disposable income that I can buy my kids a sack of potatoes every day if I wanted to – yes, I’m pretty wealthy if wealth is measured in the number of consecutive days you can buy bulk potatoes. Also, I can now afford those long sought-after contact lenses.

The lenses have not been without their problems. For example, it took me an hour and some paralytic eye drops to learn how to remove the darned things the first time. I’ve had a couple of mishaps since then. Luckily, my doctor said something very important that gave me a lot of peace of mind – no matter what, the lenses can’t roll up and get stuck behind the eye.

That’s just science. The eye feels like it’s a free-form objects rolling around in its socket, but there’s a lot of muscle and interconnected tissue there that keeps foreign bodies from getting behind the orb. Things can get stuck in the eye, but they’ll eventually get forced out, usually without doing any damage. This is important to know, because it alleviates one of my great fears about contact lenses.

Yesterday I put my lenses in, turned around, and discovered that my vision was still blurry. I spent the rest of the morning cursing and angry because obviously I had lost a lens. Both my wife and I looked everywhere, but to no avail. The thing had just up and disappeared. And I was stuck wearing glasses again.

For the rest of the day, my eye bothered me slightly, but I had just gotten over an instance where I had scratched my other eye while removing a lens, so I figured something similar had happened. A little irritation, but nothing to really disrupt my day.

Last night, my vision became suddenly blurry. I rubbed my eye, and it cleared up. My wife asked sarcastically, “What, did you find your missing lens?”

I didn’t realize at the time that I should have answered, “Yes.”

This morning, my eye still bothering me, I took a long look at myself in the mirror and noticed something unusual. A tiny portion of the corner of my eye was discolored and had a line running down it. Looking closer, I realized the truth – my missing lens had gotten caught underneath my eyelid and spent the last 24 hours trapped there.

I pointed this out to my wife and showed her the location of the lens. She looked at me intently, leaned forward as though to kiss me, and then reached out and snatched the thing right out of my eye as though she were pulling lint off a sweater.

So yeah…my wife can reach into my eye and grab something that is thinner than the width of a dime, transparent, and partially concealed by an eyelid – all on her first try. One day I will get her angry and she will rip my cornea off.

Following this harrowing experience, I took out a fresh pair of newly arrived lenses and put them in. This experience has taught me three things:

  • I can have a foreign object lodged under my eyelid for a period of 24 hours with my only reaction being, “Huh…this is kind of uncomfortable.”
  • I am willing to let my wife – and only my wife – reach into my eye, which is the greatest single sign of trust I have ever shown her.
  • Even knowing that there is a non-zero chance that the lenses I wear will fold over and get stuck underneath my eyelid for a day or longer, I still prefer them over a pair of glasses.
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