Oh, the irony of it all: a contact lens intolerant person who can only see by way of scleral contact lenses. Well, we tried.
Last week, I returned to my optometrist/lens fitter after trying out my second pair of sclerals. Vision-wise, the first pair seemed pretty good for someone who really can’t see well, but a couple things were off: I still couldn’t see close-up at all, the TV created some weird, double vision—compared to my normal, ghosted vision—and night driving was still a ghosted mess when I looked at anything illuminated. I should add that sclerals do help with my light sensitivity, but I still can’t drive into the sun, which is rather hard to avoid unless you can consistently drive north and south and never turn.
Due to the aforementioned issues, my optometrist changed my prescription as he felt my first pair was too strong, and hoped that would help with the near vision and the TV issue. Well, something was very odd about that second pair and I’m blaming the lab, as my doctor is really good. They seemed okay in the office, but I went to a big box store afterwards—the best place to test out your vision—and I was back in the graveyard, also known as the ghosted mess. I couldn’t see people’s faces again and everything in the store was in multiples, and not because it was a promotion.
Then, I got very worried as I had doctor appointments I had to drive to the next week and couldn’t see, even though I drove with no contacts for 8 odd months; well, it’s not like I had a choice. Back to the optometrist I went the following week and he was utterly confused. We tried all the lenses in front of my eyes with the new sclerals in and nothing was making sense, hence my belief that the lab screwed up. My doctor gave me my old pair back and told me to really compare them—and to not get them mixed up—and report back. Well, I already knew that pair 2 was awful, but I was happy to get the old ones back.
Of course, I decided to play doctor in my room here at the motel. Why not mix the pairs up, try different contacts in different eyes, and so forth? Well, that’s just what I did, but I had to have charts to make sure I didn’t forget which lens was from which pair. I also made notes, complete with diagrams of eyeballs as to not confuse things, to figure out the difference between each lens.
I realized a couple things: the left lens of pair 2 was total garbage. While that is my worse eye due to another corneal opacity that my dumb, corneal specialist failed to diagnose and treat, I had horrible ghosting with that lens in, but not the left lens from pair 1. So, I crossed that one off the list and put the left lens from pair 1 in. Oh, I did try that lens in my right eye, but had no idea the sphere was different so don’t try that one at home.
Now, I had to figure out what to do about the right eye. That lens from pair 2 seemed too strong, when it was actually weaker, and gave me headaches. Nonetheless, I stuck that in my right eye, and mind you, these are plastic bowls filled with various solutions that are extremely difficult to insert as you have to be parallel with the floor, so I think I was at hour 3 at this point. Well, lo and behold, the right lens from pair 2 didn’t give me an instant headache with the left lens from pair 1 in. As this is very confusing—you should have heard the conversation with my doctor—I’ll simple state that my right eye had the new prescription and my left eye had the old prescription. Would I see better, worse, or the same?
I looked at the computer and the font was so crisp and black, but I still needed it blown-up, probably due to my convergence insufficiency. The TV seemed crystal clear and the room looked okay with no ghosting. Then, I went to the window and I could see very far and was able to read the signs across the street with ease, see clear images of the parked cars, and the leaves on a big tree were in detail. I just had to wait to test out the mixed-pair of sclerals in a big box store and drive at night to be sure.
I did have to do errands within the next few days but got a ride due to the sun. I noticed that in the big store, things were at about 90%, when they were at 100% before distance-wise. I could see faces in detail, but not as well and not from a very far distance, and if I looked towards the end of an aisle, things were blurry and mildly ghosted. It wasn’t bad, but the first pair was better for distance hands down. Everything else seemed fine and I didn’t see multiples of things on shelves. I also could read the print on various items as long as it wasn’t too small.
Soon enough it got dark, and even though I wasn’t driving, my vision conked out again. The illuminated street signs were very ghosted, as was anything else that was lit up. I saw halos and had glare from the street lights and headlights of oncoming cars, but I figured this was due to my corneal opacities that cause images to further scatter.
I decided that mildly worse far vision in exchange for better near vision and normal, TV vision was a fair trade. That would be the end of this story, except for that part about being contact lens intolerant. I have severely dry eyes due to numerous conditions and someone like me can’t wear contact lenses for more than 10 minutes, or really at all. The dryness is so painful that it can only be understood by sticking your eyes in front of a hairdryer non-stop. I’ve tried every artificial tear, and due to the contacts, they can’t be too viscous or they muck up the lenses. When I don’t wear the sclerals, I have lubricating ointment made of petroleum jelly and mineral oil in my eyes 24/7—what to do?
After seeing my doctor last week who agreed this was the best pair—fancy that—and that he couldn’t make my vision any better, as well as pointing out that irritating irony that I can only see with my sclerals, but am contact lens intolerant, he said he would research anything I could possibly use so that I can wear my sclerals every day and without issues. I really do appreciate a doctor in this city who will research anything, but I’m not holding out hope.
So, presuming my optometrist won’t be able to find the miracle cure as no one else has, I’m still left in the keratoconus ghost yard, aside from the 2 days or so that I’m forced to leave and wear my sclerals while pouring vials of artificial tears into my eyes every 10 minutes and swearing I’m going to rip my eyeballs out.