The day I got my first pair of glasses was magical. Although I desperately don’t want to reference Twilight here the book does describe the feeling of new sight so well when Bella first transitions to becoming a vampire and sees so clearly for the first time (Watch it here, skip to 3 minutes in). That’s how it felt to me, I was born again into a whole new world as if for the first time. That may sound very dramatic, but it honestly was for me, to find out at 12 that this fuzzy way of viewing the world wasn’t in fact normal. I remember sitting in the optician’s chair, he put my glasses on me and I looked at the carpet, I could see the individual flecks of colour, it was textured, not a grey blob. Leaving the opticians I glanced up at trees and saw leaves not just a mass of green. Now my eyesight by no means is particularly awful but I am considerably short-sighted and have quite a strong astigmatism (rugby ball-shaped eyes).
As I grew up I moved from glasses to contacts and have never looked back since. So what would my tips be for new contact lens wearers?
- Clean hands. Clean hands always.
The first time you take your lenses out after chopping a chilli is a very painful day, I know, because I’ve done it, and the chilli stays on the lenses as a reminder so wash them well with your solution before putting them back in in the morning! Clean hands are vital for avoiding eye infections, we touch a lot of gross stuff throughout the day and ordinarily, it would never get anywhere near our eyes. We lense wearers get a bit blasé about touching our eye-balls but it’s important to remind yourself that this isn’t natural. Remove the risk of infection and wash your hands.
- Get lenses with a handling tint
Even now 12 years on I still wear lenses with a handling tint. A handling tint is a slight colour that makes your lenses more visible, mine are slightly blue, in fact, if you look closely enough at my eyes you can see the lenses but don’t worry this tint isn’t noticeable when you’re walking around day to day. You’ll be thankful for the tint when you drop your lenses or are fishing them out of their container, it turns out a small, clear piece of plastic can be very hard to see, especially when you’re blind without them in! Who would have thought?
- Rest your eyes
I used to wear my lenses for about 12 hours straight every day and suffered from very dry eyes. Having lenses in makes you great at staring contests and means you can chop onions without crying but it also means you can forget to blink. If like me you seem to do that then it’s important to give your eyes some time to re-adjust and moisten before you go to bed, I switch into my glasses as soon as I’m home to give my eyes a few hours or normal blinking. If I’ve had a particularly hard day at the computer and I can feel my eyes getting strained then try using an eye mask. This one by Feel Good Contacts can be frozen (as pictured) or warmed in the microwave to soothe tired eyes. I prefer to use it cold and find the frozen pearls gently de-puff my eyes and reduce my chance of getting a headache. You can get 10% off your first order with Feel Good Contacts using the code LOVEFG03.
- Have regular check-ups
If you have contacts the chances are your prescription will change as you age. Mine certainly has. It’s vital that you schedule in regular eye appointments to make sure your prescription is not too weak or too strong. Too weak and you won’t be seeing as clearly as you should be. Too strong and you’ll likely get headaches. I try to get my eyes tested once a year, though you may need to go more or less often depending on the advice of your optician.
- Clean your lenses
I use monthly lenses which means I wear the same pair every day for a month. Over time your lenses get dirty, not only with makeup but with the protein that’s in your eyes. Clean your lenses to stop this build up. The chances are your optician has shown you how to do this but a quick recap never hurts. Place your lens in the palm of your hand and squirt a little clean solution onto them, give them a gentle rub either side and then rinse with more clean solution.
Do you wear glasses or contacts? Do you remember the first time you could properly see? Let me know in the comments!