Thursday, 16 September 2010

Adventures in eyecare

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis.  Just saying.

Okay, so I've been wearing contacts for about five years.  Toric, because I have pretty significant astigmatism, 14-wear 30-day disposables that I change every six weeks or so (because, as it turns out, I'm stupid).  Wore them about 1/3 of the time for the first year, then probably 2/3 of the time for a couple of years, and then just about evey day (not always weekends, if I'm just hanging around the house) for the last couple of years.

This turns out to lead to problems, especially when you don't change your contacts on schedule.

So for a few months, I've definitely notice that my vision is worse, even with the glasses, than perfect, and since the last time I got glasses was 2002, and it's been two years since they checked my prescription, it was time for a trip to the optometrist.

Also, just as an aside, for a couple weeks, I've had the feeling that there was something in my eye, not something owie/scratchy, but just 'something' under my left eyelid, when I took my contacts out at night.

So, turns out, I did.  Little bumps. Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis.  Basically little allergic bumps under my eyelids, from the build-up of proteins in the contacts, which I don't change often enough.

Readers of this blog will recall that I have any number of chronic health conditions, mostly well controlled, but that put me at risk for all kinds of things.

So while GPC is not 'dangerous' in any absolute sense, it can take a long time to heal, and diabetics take longer to heal than non-diabetics.  For instance, being a diabetic means I'm not a candidate for laser eye surgery.

I also have a lot of mild but maddening and never ending environmental allergies.  So once I start to break out in something, like little bumps, it doesn't go away quickly.

So I've been off the contacts completely for two weeks, and the eye doctor is 'encouraging' me to dump them completely, or at least be smarter about wearing them. Like not wearing them every day, and tossing them on schedule like a responsible adult human being.

So that's the first part.  Second is that it is, in fact, time for new glasses, since my left eye in particular has changed a whole diopter.  I'm still not 100% sure what that means, except that I can't really see distances with my left eye, even with lenses. I still think I see better than a lot of people who go through life, say driving, but whatever. Time for new glasses.  Also, time for progressive lenses, since if they correct my eyes for distance, I lose near vision, and need 1.25-1.5 diopter magnification to see up close.

So astigmatism, high-index refraction, UV coating, anti-glare coating, and progressives add up to some expensive lenses.  Then there's the frames.

I have a huge melon head.  A pumpkin head, according to my optician, who, by the way, I adore.
I adore him because he can always find frames that a) fit my huge head and b) look good on my increasingly fat face.  So I try some cheap frames, no go.  I try some moderately priced frames, mabye.  And then Howard hands me the expensive ones.  The high end ones. Titanium. Silver and black. Rimless lenses with cool floating frames around them.  Gonna take some serious fitting to get them to sit right on my fat head and my uneven ears.  But HAWT.

So, $560 for frames. $830 for the lenses.  Add another couple hundred for the clip on shades.  *sigh*

I need to check how much is in my healthcare spending account.  I think it's $500 or $520 or so.

But if I have to start wearing glasses again (except when I expect to be in a position to get other people's face (and sometimes other body part) prints on them), they'd better be a) good looking and b) actually correct my vision.  So there we go.

Oh, and no more contacts for a while, if ever, and lots of eyedrops in the meantime.  Check back with me in about 3 weeks when the glasses come.  Maybe four, as I get used to the progressive thing.

Getting old sucks.