When I was in my twenties, I wore contact lenses. I was very happy wearing them, much preferring that to the option of glasses. However, when I was writing for the Daily Express, I was offered the chance to try laser eye surgery to correct my sight. You will not believe it, but Boots had a surgery at the back of their store in Bluewater (Kent), so you walked past toothpaste and hair remover to get to a fully functioning surgical theatre! And, that’s where I had it done.
It’s not a nice procedure but very, very brief (I won’t go into gory detail but remember, you can’t shut your eye while it’s being ‘done’) and the results are spectacular. So, as time has gone on, the surgery needs re-doing, this time for a slightly different, age related issue. But, it costs a fortune and I’m umming and ahhing about whether I want to lay down £8K on it. My sight is at a point where nobody would say it’s bad – I’m blessed with fairly decent vision – but it’s not the same as it was; there’s a general fuzziness that I find annoying every single day.
So, I’m going to take my time to think about the refractive surgery, but in the meantime I’ve been experimenting with contacts again. Now, you can’t get contacts that deal with near and far vision together, but what my new lenses are doing is dealing very well with my distance vision, sharpening things up and losing that fuzzy thing, but for near vision (needle threading and so on), I still need a pair of readers.
However, I’ve realised that taking a mix and match approach to age related vision is a really good idea. For evenings out and weekends when I’m not doing close work, they’re brilliant. For day to day close work, I can switch back to my regular near sight glasses or use the readers with the contacts. The thing is, now I have a choice. I’ve also realised that contact lenses have come a very long way since I first used them!
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I’m trialling both the Acuvue Moist For Astigmatism lenses and the Focus Aqua Comfort Plus, both of which suit my eyes well. After a bit of struggle with one of them (it was just a question of getting my hand back into wearing them) everything is going great guns now. I forget they’re even there. With my very first lenses, it was impossible to forget they were there! Both sets are daily disposable – is there any other kind now?
I had thought that laser would see me through, but couldn’t have predicted a different problem that would require more surgery if I am to have perfect sight. I had a very long chat with Brendan, the Vision Direct optician, before I agreed to take on this trial and he was refreshingly direct in telling me that I’m not going to solve both near and far with lenses alone. But, I like the idea of bespoke use for lenses – as and when I need them – rather than feeling it’s either lenses, surgery OR glasses, when actually, mixing and matching glasses and lenses to my needs is working very nicely.
Other than ensuring meticulous hygiene when applying (which I am sure I don’t need to tell you), there doesn’t seem to be a disadvantage to way I’m using them. They haven’t interfered with or changed how I wear my make up or even what make up I can wear. Nothing’s changed at all, other that I can see! I feel even a bit silly that I hadn’t thought to take charge a bit better myself, and it took a conversation with Brendan at Vision Direct to make me realise that flexible lens use and a bespoke approach that suits me is perfectly okay. He was just really kind, totally understood that we aren’t dealing with a severe vision impairment, just a daily age related irritation, and his recommendation for Moist for Astigmatism and Aqua Comfort are both spot on. I think I’m lucky that both suit me equally well – if you’re considering lenses for flexible use then that may not be the case for you and a bit of trial and error might be needed. It goes without saying that you should speak to your optician if you’re considering lenses for the first time, not least because they’ll be able to recommend the right lens for your specific needs and spot any problems with a general eye health check-up.
From there, it’s actually very easy to order lenses online though sites like Vision Direct (do make sure it’s a reputable lens seller – someone you’ve at least heard of or has been recommended) and all you need is a current lens prescription available.
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