Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Eyes

I've needed some sort of vision correction since the third grade. It wasn't really surprising to anyone. Both of my parents had bad eyesight.  I had a pretty dramatic shift somewhere between fifth and sixth grade. I usually got my eyes checked right before the start of school so I know everything was ok at the start of fifth grade. Somewhere around the end of school, I was coming to my mom in tears on more than one occasion begging her to take me back to the eye doctor because I couldn't see anymore. It took weeks to be able to get me an appointment (which still irritates me to no end, now that I think about it!) and apparently my prescription had doubled in the 8 or 9 months between the two appointments and it was recommended that I get contacts. It took some getting used to, but once I did I loved my contacts because they really did help me to see better than my glasses did. I especially loved it when I got a new kind around my senior year of high school and was told I could sleep in them! I could wake up and see! What a novel concept!

Fast forward to the summer after my first year of college. In my math class, I realized that sitting in the back of the room the board was a little fuzzy. I was used to seeing everything on projector screens (thank you technology) so having to focus on dry erase marker on white board was a shift. I knew I probably needed to go back to the eye doctor. I called to get an appointment but again it would have been weeks (like at least six!) and there were no appointments to be had that fit with my class schedule. I figured it wasn't that bad and I'd get around to it later.

Well, now that it's been probably 9 years, I finally got around to it. Yes, I have noticed my eyes getting even worse. Don't ask me how I managed to make my stash of disposable contacts last this long, but I know it involved my parents ordering me more from my doctor with my old prescription which was better than nothing, finding random contacts (both in their original packaging and in my contact cases) in old make up bags and purses, going almost a year without wearing them and relying on my old glasses, and at times only wearing one contact.

After far too long, I finally got around to getting my eyes checked. It was a little embarrassing and I did get "the look" at least once when he gave me new "sample" contacts to wear home since I wasn't even legal to drive with my old prescription (which I kind of figured, but oh well!) My eyes have gotten pretty dramatically worse to where my contacts are now deemed "medically necessary" and my glasses are so thick they HAVE to be special, thinner lenses to fit in the frames. There was definitely some frustration when, after a phone call to my insurance I (and the eye doctor) was told that they don't cover any extra, it'll still only cover part of my glasses OR 1/3 of my contacts. Grrr. Oh well. I've got to have them both! Thankfully, my benefit year starts over in a few more weeks so I'm technically getting the glasses in "this year" and my contacts in "next year." Still, I can see so much better now and I'm kind of excited about my new glasses because I think they'll be kind of cute.

In the midst of my appointment I asked and was told that I'm pretty much guaranteed not to be a candidate for LASIK, which I already knew but asked anyway. However, I did learn about something I never knew existed - implantable contacts! It's actually similar to cataract surgery and while it's a slightly bigger deal than LASIK, it's something I would actually consider. I'll have to wait at least 6 months to a year to see if I would qualify and make sure I've finally stabilized enough to make it worth doing, but it's definitely on my mind. The only down side is that insurance doesn't cover it. I don't even think they offer a discount (like they did on Jeff's LASIK) so it would be entirely out of pocket. Still, considering it'd last forever and how much I'm going to be paying for glasses and contacts otherwise, it seems like a wise investment! Stay tuned!

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