The contact lens cataclysm

The step up from Sixth Form to university can prompt people to do things that they’ve been thinking of doing for a while but could never be bothered to do.

For example, my friend – famed for her long locks – sheared off her hair to a shockingly short length; another friend decided she wanted abs like Davina McCall and joined the gym. Spurred into action upon receiving a letter from my college “father”, which brought it home that I was going to leave in a couple of weeks, I opted for something less drastic: contact lenses.

I actually like wearing glasses (yes, I'm one of those) – I’ve been wearing them for so long that I feel they are part of my identity; in the mornings, I am a bit like Harry Potter in the sense that no matter what happens (even if I’m being thrashed around by the Whomping Willow, or if there are murderous Death Eaters at my door), I’ve got to put my glasses on before I do ANYTHING ELSE. But I do admit there are certain situations in life when glasses just don’t cut it – several photos of me show the camera’s flash being reflected by my glasses so that I look like a very convincing Cyclops shooting lasers out of my eyes.

Therefore, I found myself walking into my local Specsavers, drawn by their one month free contact lens trial; after a couple of appointments, I was ready for my contact lens “teach” session, during which I’d be taught to put in and to take out my new contact lenses.

Let me tell you right now that there are few things in life that are as stressful as a contact lens “teach” session (True! IT). Below, I have outlined some of the issues that led me to this conclusion:

  1. The surface area of the contact lens is larger than that of the exposed human eye, so I had to pull back my eyelids right back; the problem with this was that my eyelids – rebellious little devils – seemed to want to pop back into place immediately. And of course, eyes forced wide open always bring thoughts of the laser eye surgery mishap in Final Destination 5 to mind...lovely.
  2. I had to swap eyes half way through because the eye I had chosen initially was watering so much – due to the torment I was causing it – that I wouldn’t have been surprised if a passer-by had thought my dog had died.
  3. My “teacher” was a Specsavers employee who clearly didn’t want to teach me. When she said, “Oh no, don’t worry, it’s fine!” as I apologised for my repeated failures, I knew she really meant, “My lunch break started 15 minutes ago; you’d better get those lenses in ASAP or I will scoop your eyeballs out of their sockets myself.”
  4. Once, I thought I had put my lens in – finally! – but, when I checked in the mirror, I realised it wasn’t there. This caused a panic of Himalayan proportions as I genuinely thought the lens had gone around to the back of my eye and was going to sit there for the rest of my life, causing immense agony. I clawed frantically at my poor, abused cornea to try and get it out...until my “teacher” pointed out that I’d dropped the cursed thing on the table.

Half an hour later, I had both lenses jammed into position. My nose was running, my eyes were streaming and I looked like I had contracted conjunctivitis. My “teacher” barely looked up from her smart phone to appreciate my Herculean feat – she’d given up all pretence of being interested in my progress and had started texting – and said, “Oh my gawd, they really suit you! They really bring out the colour of your eyes!” 

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