Fish is 10. Oops, she’s 11 and she’s really starting to express her individuality more consistently. She likes shrimp, will eat a sloppy joe if it is put in front of her and her lunches are eclectic selections from the food pyramid. I no longer purchase clothes without her present. Typically if I like it, she does not. She’s been asking for contacts for a while. I’ve been stalling.
Oh, I have my reasons and they are good ones. She looks so cute in her glasses, the glasses were working, she has bifocals with transition lenses, so it is really 3 pairs in one. Distance vision, reading glasses and sun glasses. Still, getting contacts that fit correctly and corrected my vision, changed my life in my mid 20’s. How could I deny her? Why should she have to wait?
My biggest concern was responsibility. Contact lenses require care and attention or there is risk of serious infection even permanent damage to her eyes. Then there is the issue of tearing. She has astigmatism like me, so contacts weren’t going to be cheap. I didn’t want to have to deal with replacing lenses multiple times per year. Still, she has demonstrated responsibility time and time again, so we asked her pediatric ophthalmologist if she thought Fish was ready for contacts. Dr. M. whole-heartedly gave her approval.
With contacts, the correction is closer to the eye, for with someone with nystagmus (an uncontrolled motion of the eyes) the weight of the lens slows the nystagmus, thus making it easier for the brain to process images and lessoning eye fatigue. When you wear contacts, you also regain your peripheral vision and that in itself is reason to wear contacts for a child who is learning to skateboard and INSISTS on hurling herself down the mountain on skis at top speeds. Her dad was on board, so th appointment was made.
20+ years ago when I was fitted for contacts, it was at a teaching hospital in Boston and it seemed to take forever. There was the appointment to measure my eyes, then the lenses had to be ordered and that took 2-3 weeks because they had to be made. Then there was the return visit for the initial fitting. Then the trial period while my eyes got used to them. I had spend two weeks adding a little more time each day until I could wear them for 8 hours.
Yeah, things have changed. The appointment to fit her was 15 minutes max and I didn’t even feel rushed, it just was that easy. She was fitted for 30 day lenses. That means she opens a new pair every 30 days, thus addressing my concerns about ripping. She was advised to wear hers 2 hours longer each successive day and could be wearing them up to 12 hours in as little as six days.
After the fitting, Fish met with a contact lens technician for training on caring for the lenses and she learned how to put them in and take them out of herself.
The contacts solved the distance vision issue, now we had to replace the other two pairs of glasses. Off to Target, for sunglasses and reading glasses.
If I’m being honest, the reason I dragged my feet was that to me, she needed to be able to put the lenses in by herself and that was a giant step forward in responsibility and that meant she was growing up and . . . Oh! I’m not ready for that.
Still, I have to be. Contacts will help her see better and how can I stand in the way of that? The verdict so far? She loves them and she’s doing a wonderful job taking care of them. This morning, she even put both of them in all by herself on the first try.