Eye to Eye: Wearing contact lenses

Eye to Eye 
By Walter Ang
May 28, 2000

I started out wanting to wear contact lenses because I hated my heavy clunky glasses. Aside from the fact that it dug, nay, excavated holes into the bridge of my nose, I was in high school and I flat out refused to wear the thick black plastic frames that I was supposed to get. (They may be all the rage now, but back then, it was a different story.)

In addition to not wanting to look like a doofus (even moreso), I had a more serious reason for convincing my parents to agree to the contacts. My prescription was increasing by as much as a hundred in one year. This prompted me to ask my optometrist if there was any way to slow it down. Fortunately for me, it turned out that contacts could significantly reduce the pace of prescription increases. Woohoo! Even though I still have to wear glasses (whenever I'm not wearing contacts), I got my contacts. Soon, the craters in my nose started to fill out and my prescription stopped increasing as quickly as before.

Contacts offer freedom from restraint. In case I have to chase somebody for whatever reason, I don't have to worry about holding on to my glasses as I run down the street. Not that I'd ever had to or would want to do that. Conversely, I may have to run away from someone chasing me.

But as with all good things, there are certain consequences that you have to live with. The hassles and perils of wearing contacts knows no bounds.

Every time dust gets in my eyes, I'm reduced to a whimpering, blinking fool. My eyes tear up as I ask for tissue and reach for my lubricant to wash away the intrusive particle. It'd be fine if this happened indoors, but it usually happens to lucky me while I'm crossing a street. I get stuck in the middle of the lane and holler at who's ever with me not to, for the love of heaven, leave me. And to think I live in the Binondo area, where 90% of the dust is composed of horses' droppings (courtesy of the calesas). Shudder!

I used to wear soft contact lenses, but they were a pain to wash and maintain: there are about ten thousand solutions and tablets that you need to buy and use. It was messy, confusing, frustrating, and very tiring. I didn't want to have the act of washing my lenses serve as a metaphor for my life. My life was messy, confusing, frustrating, and tiring enough without having to devote time to cleaning lenses when I could very well use the time to do other things (like being confused, frustrated and tired). So I shifted to gas permeable lenses because you only need tap water to clean them.

I must point out, however, the revelation that I had during my short relationship with soft lenses. I'd seen a poster for another brand wherein a pair of hands stretched and twisted a lens to prove its strength and durability. So one day, I decided to try it out on my own lesser known brand of lenses. That's when I found out why my brand was not as famous: the moment I tried to stretch the lens, it ripped apart in half.

Contacts are very capricious objects. They serve well, but then there are days you wish you'd rather be blind than have to get anywhere near a pair. Every time someone in the household loses a lens, we all have to get down on all fours and grope like fools. We'll spend many tension filled minutes looking and looking, scouring the floor and making people lift up their shoes so we can check the soles, only to find out the lens was "in my eye all along!". Either that or it'd be stuck on the wearer's nose, plastered on the tip like a clown's red ball nose.