Seeing: Is it a contact sport?

Posted by Lipglossiping On December - 2 - 2012

After 26 years of pretty good vision, it came as quite a shock when I visited the opticians and was told that I’d need glasses.  Growing up, I’d had a lazy eye and was one of those poor kids that looked like an extra out of Pirates of the Caribbean with my NHS-issued patch.  Thankfully, I only had to wear it for a few hours a day… but I remember being assured repeatedly that it meant I wouldn’t need to wear glasses when I was older.  It’s funny how those things stick in your mind, as plainly untrue as it was, it did its job and I wore my patch dutifully.  Sometimes.

When I sat in the darkened optician’s cupboard 20 years later and read all the letters on the bottom line of the Snellen chart incorrectly, I knew I was done for.  I’d made a valiant attempt at guessing them, which made it look all the worse as he then encouraged me to repeat the next line up just in-case I’d gotten extremely lucky.  I eventually left the opticians clutching my prescription, hating all the glasses that I’d been shown by his assistant.

contact lenses

I found three pairs of frames online… even nabbing myself a cool vintage pair on the ‘bay, and sent them off to be fitted with my prescription lenses – the difference they made to my vision shocked me.  I guess you could say that I simply hadn’t noticed how much I’d been missing out on.  I remember the first couple of weeks wearing them, I’d keep lifting them to check out the difference between looking at things.  Sharp, blurry, sharp, blurry.  Simple things, simple minds and all that…

I now have three beautiful pairs of glasses.  And I rarely wear them.

They look ok on me, I think they’re kinda fun to wear as they force me to change up my makeup and I can’t help but feel a little bit smarter in them(!) but you know, they just don’t feel like ME.  I feel like I’m playing dress-up in them.  I work on the computer A LOT and I wonder if I’m going to regret my lackadaisical attitude to my eye-wear when I’m older.  Please tell me I’m not the only one who doesn’t wear the glasses they’re supposed to, I’m sure that I should have grown out of this childish-ness back when I grew out of the eye-patch.

The obvious alternative is to become accustomed to contact lenses.  Out of my friends, I’d say that the glasses/contacts split is around 50/50 and I wondered whether that trend continues online?  Do you wear them and if you do… how did you make the transition?  I’m keen but apprehensive!

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35 Responses to “Seeing: Is it a contact sport?”

  1. Gilly says:

    I made the transition from glasses to contact lenses years ago. I have been a glasses wearer since a teenager and was fed up of the way that they fogged up when you went from outside into a warm room. Not a good look. I’ll never forget the day I went for a contact lens fitting and the optician told me to walk around for half an hour or so to get used to them. I could see myself WITHOUT glasses for the first time in years. I had the biggest grin on my face. I haven’t looked back. Yes, I do have a pair of glasses (and very expensive they were too) but I prefer my contact lenses. It is pure vanity for me as well as finding it easier to do my makeup!

    Personally, I would recommend it :)

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    • That’s really good to hear, I’m a bit worried because my eyes water profusely in anticipation of applying eyeliner and you’d have thought I would have gotten used to that by now! I can imagine that it must have been a real “moment” seeing yourself without specs!

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  2. TrishB says:

    Go for the contacts. Without my prescription, there is no eye chart at the end of the room, just a white blur with some vague pale gray smudges up top. And now with the joys of being over forty, reading glasses are required to make any sense of the code I write all day long. I will NOT wear bifocals until there is no other choice. My little cat’s eye rhinestone studded readers over my contacts are plenty fab for right now. Since the reading prescription is so much lighter than my distance scrip, the glasses aren’t adding too much to the permanent dents on the side of my nose.

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    • Hi Trish, the test I talked about was over 5 years ago now and I haven’t been back since despite a few nagging letters. I know that my eyesight has deteriorated a little… not a lot but I think I’d struggle with that 2nd from bottom line now.

      Thanks for the encouragement, I shall face the music and book in for a retest after Xmas I think!

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  3. Rina says:

    Having worn glasses since age 7 and not being able to function without them I have never been tempted not to wear them :), but having recently bought my first pair of “big and obvious” glasses I can say it does take time to get used to. I took a couple of months to stop feeling my glasses were really obvious, but at the same time they’re the only pair of glasses I’ve ever got compliments for…

    Contact lenses, for me, come and go. I’ve been through periods of almost exclusive contact use, and periods of gym use only. They’re easy enough to get used to and very comfortable, but involve that (very) little bit of faffing around in the morning… Also, I find big glasses enable very lazy makeup :).

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    • Hi Rina, I think that because I came to glasses later in life and spent my whole youth and teenage years without them, I’m just not used to them as you say.

      It doesn’t help that we’ve gone through a period of people wearing them for the effect (bloody hipsters), so now I feel a bit… try hard or something whenever I do wear them!

      Lazy makeup?! Shame on you! :D

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  4. Catriona says:

    I’ve needed glasses for distance since I was 13 and I’m now 24. I don’t wear them around the house as I don’t need them unless watching TV but I wear them when outside.

    I got contact lenses 4 years ago and they’re handy. The main drawback is that I can’t use them at computers as my eyes dry out quickly (you don’t blink as much when staring at a computer). I’m not using cheapy lenses, they’re 2nd best out of the 4 that Specsavers offer as standard. I tend to put contacts in first thing in the morning but take them out when I get home.

    I don’t particularly like wearing glasses, my current ones are too heavy-looking for my face but I can’t find ones I like! They’re also annoying in the rain and steam up when I go onto the underground (in Glasgow).

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    • Hi Catriona, Ahh you raise some really interesting points – your vision sounds quite a lot like mine.

      I only went to the opticians the first time around because I stopped being able to make out the EPG on Sky TV when I was lying in bed. I was like “The telly hasn’t moved further away from the bed and the bed hasn’t moved further away from the telly. Something’s up!”

      And now you’ve just blown my mind because I didn’t know that Glasgow had an underground train system.

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  5. Charlotte says:

    I got glasses at age 8 for herditary short sight, not sure where the short sight came from as no one in my family has the same problem! My sight got worse very quickly through puberty and I had a habit of walking into walls atschool and needed new glasses every 3 months!

    By the time I was 18 my sight settled down and I attempted contacts, first I had dailys just so I could go glasses free for nights out, now 10 years on a wear the 24 hours extended wear lenses you can sleep in as I find this straightforward as I work long hours.

    Some lenses are more comfortable than others too, so take advantage of free trials to see what works best!

    But I still have glasses and enjoy wearing them (they make me feel bright)

    I recommend wearing both as you can choose what works for you best on the day be it lenses or glasses, and if you have lenses you still need glasses incase you get an eye infection or can’t wear them for a couple of days like when you get a cold.

    Not wearing anything when you need sounds to me like you may end up straining your eyes!

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    • Hi Charlotte!

      Both my parents wear glasses but both have old-age related eye issues rather than hereditary poor eyesight, so I wasn’t really expecting to need them just yet.

      The extended wear option sounds really interesting and wasn’t something I knew was available, you hear all the horror stories about not taking them out at night etc. etc.

      Thank you for your advice, much appreciated!

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  6. TrippyPixie says:

    I love my glasses! I first had reading glasses when I was 10 years old, but then I needed “all the time” glasses a year later. (Very crappy eyes run in my family. Without my glasses, I start walking into things.) I am so used to them that they don’t bug me. They cover up my horrendous dark circles, and I can get away with wearing more eye makeup. Since I’m a college student and spend hours upon hours doing homework on the computer, I find that doing so with glasses isn’t as tiring on the eyes as with contacts. (Is it also vain of me to say that I feel like I look smarter when I wear them?)

    I’ve tried contact lenses, but they just don’t work for me. I have conjunctivitis (ocular allergies, which I’m on eye drops for, but they don’t really help with wearing contacts), and I’m on another prescription medication that causes intolerance to contact lenses. My eyes simply reject contacts — they get bloodshot and itchy within 15 minutes.

    Of course, there are tradeoffs with each. Glasses are easier in terms of maintenance. You have to be really careful with contacts, since it’s very easy to screw up with them and hurt your eyes.

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    • Hiya,

      Definitely not vain, bigger glasses = bigger brains right?!

      I think that some of the contact lens horror stories have definitely put me off in the past and it sucks that your issues ensure that your eyes reject them as foreign bodies. I’m lucky not to have any health issues with my eyes, other than an eye-rubbing habit that I will HAVE to break (obv) if I get contacts.

      Glad you’re pleased with your specs!

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  7. cinseven13 says:

    Contacts allow me far better peripheral vision; I feel safer driving in contacts than glasses. I’ve tried many different brands and types over the years, ones that last for a year, bi-weekly, weekly, and now daily disposables. I’ve tried lenses for astigmatism and gone back and forth many times.

    Try for as many sample pairs as you can, you may find a particular lens or brand to be more comfortable than another. Daily disposables are a great option for allergies and/or protein buildup, although they’re more costly.

    I do take my lenses out by 6pm each night and put my glasses on to allow my eyes extra oxygen and time to “rest”, and sometimes just keep my glasses on when I’m home all day. You’ll find what works best for you, just don’t be afraid to try. Seeing clearly is definitely worth it.

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    • YES! The driving in my glasses thing bugs the hell out of me. Plus, because I favour squarer shaped frames with thick sides, I really get a horrible letterbox effect when I’m behind the wheel. Sometimes it makes me feel quite nauseous.

      I think the biggest thing I’m taking from this is that if I give it a go – not to give up if I don’t like the first set I try. It sounds like everyone favours different styles, which is just as well seeing as the choice seems quite overwhelming at times!

      Thanks for your advice :)

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  8. Nienke says:

    I was prescribed glasses when I was around 15. I didn’t want to wear them so I got hard contact lenses straight away. After a few years my optician told me about dream lenses (might be called differently in the UK). You wear them while you sleep and they change the shape of your eye temporarily so you can see fine during the day without anything. For a while that was great but the optician had forgotten to tell me to use eye drops every morning before taking them out. So by not doing that I permanently damaged my eye. I tried soft lenses for a while, went back to glasses (but really not liking them). Around 1 year ago I decided to go for eye laser surgery and am so happy I did. No complications at all, great results. I’m happy that I did it while still being young (24) so I can benefit from it for a long time.

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    • Ahhh, I’m glad that tale had a happy ending!

      My brother had corrective laser when it first came on the market… gosh, I would have about 12 or something at the time. I remember it costing something crazy like £3500 an eye. Still maintains it was one of the best things he ever did.

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  9. Natalie says:

    I’ve been a die hard contact lens wearer for 14 years. I am currently going through a week of wearing my glasses due to a mild bout of viral conjunctivitis and I am so lost and frustrated!!

    Contact lenses rock my world, I do anything for an easy life and contacts give me that. I wear continuous wear ones, I sleep, shower, bathe, swim and everything in them. I take them out once a week for cleaning. They changed my life!

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  10. Zahra says:

    Ahem…veteran speaking :)…I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 5, so that puts me squarely in the “20 plus yrs of experience” category! Made the switch to contacts pretty late in life, but they’re a lifesaver…. especially love that contacts don’t ever fog up!
    Like some others have mentioned already, yes, I find I HAVE to pay attention to makeup when I wear contacts (not that I’m complaining!!)….. so glasses are handy for rushed days. Besides, a geeky-looking pair like mine comes in handy to make me look wayyyy more intelligent than I am ;P
    It may take a few trys and a few brands to find contact lens that you’re comfortable with, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Am trying to muster up the courage for laser surgery, coz I’ve forgotten what it feels like to wake up and NOT search for my glasses on the nightstand :)
    Good luck Charlotte!

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  11. Janie says:

    I’ve been a spectacle wearer on and off since I was around 5.

    I stopped wearing glasses in my teenage years, just because I hated them so much, so even when they were prescribed, I didn’t wear them.
    My eyesight was pretty poor, but somehow I struggled on! I used to have to get friends to meet me outside bars etc as I couldn’t walk in alone as I could never see them otherwise. How vain!

    When I went to University I would wear glasses to my lectures, but the rest of the time didn’t bother. It was only when I moved to London in 2004 that I realised it wouldn’t work any longer as there wasn’t just one bus for me to catch at the bus stop, but potentially 10!

    So I got contact lenses, and haven’t looked back since! I’m now a -4 in both eyes, and my eyes have deteroriated a lot since my early 20’s, although are hopefully now stabilising as I look towards the big 3-0 in 4 weeks time! I try to wear glasses at least one day a week, but find they give me headaches, and I just find lenses so much more convenient.

    I wear daily disposables, and have never been recommended anything else. They’re hygienic and easy and would thoroughly recommend.
    Just remember that if you do get contacts to always carry a spare one or two with you, as well as your glasses!

    xxx

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    • Hey Janie!

      Ahh that’s not vain! I get rising panic when I know I’m supposed to be meeting someone, terrified that I’m looking straight at them and not SEEING them. Always awkward.

      Happy birthday for next month missus, the 30s are fun! (apparently) :D

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  12. loobylou14 says:

    I have several pairs of glasses which I don’t mind wearing but I don’t wear them when I should. I’m supposed to wear them for reading and close work but they all leave red marks on my nose which I don’t like, especially if I’d had them on at work all day and have the horrible red marks for my journey home. I really must wear them more often.

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  13. NeenaJ says:

    I wanted glasses so bad as a kid that I actually threw an eye exam! Didn’t fool the doc, though. My wish came true at age 23 when I needed them for distance. Wore them for 8 years and I favored the heavy plastic frames which eventually altered the bridge of my nose. I did get some contacts to wear for special occasions but never wore them much as my eyes would always get sore after a few hours in them (they were the right fit but, my eyes are sensitive). Finally, as my vision got worse and I found myself in glasses nearly all of my waking hours, I got aggravated and when I saved enough I got the laser ablation surgery. It’s not the same as Lasik. With laser ablation, they don’t cut your eye. Instead, they use the laser to shave off the outer layers and reshape your eye. That was 7 years ago and it’s still the best money I ever spent. Won’t need glasses again until it’s time for readers.

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    • Oh Neena, that’s hilarious! Imagine if you had fooled him, the novelty would have worn off pretty quickly and you’d have been stuck between a rock and a hard place!

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  14. Katrine says:

    I started wearing glasses for short sightedness at 10, and stayed with it until 16. There’s a very big difference between my eyes – 3,5 diopters, and the worst at 5,25, so even with expensive glass the difference between the two is obvious. One eye looks markedly (well, to me!) smaller than the other, so the switch to daily disposable lenses was a very happy one. Additionally, both eyes improved an entire diopter, which they have since caught up, but as I was still growing I’m counting that one as permanent ;) It could have been even worse!
    At 23, my astigmatism is getting bad enough that it should be corrected (I can never tell what bus is coming, or how many cars), and I tried lenses for it last year. You could see them from the side. It was freaky. I stopped. Now I wear bi-weekly disposable lenses, which are extra breathable since you are meant to be able to wear them for a week without pause, and they correct my vision better than my old daily disposable ones. I take them out every night, but for people with hardy eyes (is that a thing?!), the week is a possibility. I love them. So much better than glasses, even if there are make up related rules, like no liner on the waterline. I haven’t ever managed to get an answer as to exactly why, though. But as others have mentioned, it’s not a one type fits all business, as I used to think – try different ones!

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  15. I’m a lensey. I became a lensey age 11, as at the time, you could not but windscreen wipers to fit on your glasses, and I lived in the North West and it rained a lot.

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    • Haha, it still does rain a lot! Do you know, it shows how often I shun my glasses that I’ve been “supposed” to be wearing them for 5 years now and I don’t think I’ve ever had that problem!

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  16. Stephanie says:

    I was terrified of trying contacts…I got them about 3 months ago and had a right ‘mare getting them in. Like you, I thought my eyesight was fine until I started to wear my glasses more. After getting sick of waving at people I didn’t know I tried contacts and have been wearing them solidly ever since. Honestly they’re brilliant. Tip though when putting them in: look away! I line them up and then look away to put them in. Cannot do it whilst looking directly at the impending finger in the eye.

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    • Hi Stephanie, I can’t apply eyeliner while looking anywhere near the pencil, makes my eyes sting like crazy – so I imagine that your tip will be hugely valuable. I wonder if we’re in the minority with that quirk.

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  17. Volyund says:

    My eyesight was good until I turned 20, and then started deteriorating (bad genes). At some point I realized I needed glasses to drive safely. I tried contacts, but apparently my eyes produce very bare minimum tears, and its not quite enough to comfortably wear contacts. I’ve tried 5 different kinds, from long wear to daily ones, high water content to low. But I couldn’t wear any of them for more than 6 hours without suffering from really really dry eyes. So now I wear glasses when outside most of the time, and have a backup of daily lenses for when I can’t wear glasses – under goggles skiing and snorkeling, and when I have to get out in the rain, cause I hate water droplets on my glasses. When humidity is super high I can wear them for up to 6h, then my eyes get itchy and I take them out and throw them in the nearest trash can.

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    • That sounds like such a pain, you’d think they’d have been able to combat all these scenarios by now with technology. I’m not sure if my eyes are “wet” enough, I supppose it’s one of those things you find otu when you try! Thanks for sharing your experiences, I feel much more prepared now!

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  18. Sabine says:

    I am short sighted, but usually don’t wear glasses or lenses. I can drive ok, juts can’t read road signs, which is a bit of a pain. I do like contacts though. I tried dailies and found them ok, but not as comfortable as the continuous wear ones. I am just about to get new ones fitted as my eye sight has gotten worse.
    If you have mild astigmatism ask if you can give lenses/contacts back if they give you a headache. The optician insists it needs correcting for me every time and even though I insist that it doesn’t he sneaks in lenses/contacts that do and they not only give me a headache, they make it impossible for me to reliably judge distances, which is highly dangerous when climbing stairs and driving. So I give them back and get them changed for a pair that only corrects my short-sightedness. I wish Opticians at our local Specsavers wouldn’t change all the time…

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