Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Little Educational Rant

Alright, I'm going to force myself to be quick because I'm hungry and tired (a terrible, terrible combination in my condition).

I had an eye appointment today, and I felt very hopeful! My eyes have gotten worse in the last couple of months. It's not a surprise, since it happens to lots of pregnant women, but it didn't happen with my first. I have felt pretty bummed about it because my eyes are already really bad, and now I'm having to squint to read road signs.
Well, I wear rigid gas permeable contact lenses. They shape the eye and fix astigmatism better than other contact lenses (the difference between RGP and "hard" lenses is that the RGP are more "breathable," I'm told). The way they mold the eye has some fairly lasting effect, which is wonderful for the health of the eye, but it can make things tricky for obtaining a prescription.
So I thought I was prepared. At my last appointment, the doctor explained that he couldn't get the precise prescription for my eyes because I'd come to the appointment wearing my contacts. Bah! When he hesitated and gave me the simple end, he should have trusted my challenge and told me all the hairy details. Because he left some important things out. Here's what I learned at my appointment today:

  1. If you wanted to get a perfect GLASSES prescription, you would have to go 3 weeks without wearing your RGP lenses for the initial molding to dissipate and an additional week for every decade you've worn RGP lenses in your life (for me that equals 4 weeks). 
  2. That above statement is only helpful if you are permanently switching to glasses or are planning on having Lasik surgery (or any comparable eye surgery). 
  3. Which means that if you simply want glasses with a matching prescription to let you see correctly when you remove your contacts in the evening to read your book in bed, well gee, keep your contacts on right up until the appointment because your eye will be the molded shape it takes every day when you switch to your glasses. So my 3 days of wearing glasses? Pointless. Oh man. That bugs me worse than the "waste" of time my appointment was today (it wasn't, in the end, but still!)
  4. If you want a contact prescription, same deal. You can wear your contacts. The optometrist will just take a reading from them or something wacky like that--I apparently missed the details on why that works, but it doesn't matter. The doctor didn't try to explain that part, anyway.
  5. Last of all, don't freak out if your eyes are changing during pregnancy, because SURPRISE! It may likely be temporary! Wow, how did I miss that?! Did you know that? Is that supposed to be given knowledge? AAAAH!!! Somebody give me a good, annoying Cathy Guisewite "ack!"
  6. To drive legally and safely, you supposedly only need to be able to read the top line of the eye chart. I can read all the way through the last line with my contacts on. Oh, so nice. But really? Because I still have to be so close to the street sign at the lights before I can tell what they say! I come up slowly like a granny if I'm afraid I'll miss my turn! *sigh* I'll just have to trust that other drivers can forgive me. And if not, too bad. 
Yes, I could humble myself and try regular contact lenses (but remember that if I'm making that a permanent switch, I have to go 4 weeks in glasses--UGH!). But one reason I chose to switch to RGP when I was about 13 or 14 was because I have such terrible astigmatism, and these RGP lenses give me the sharpest prescription compared to the others. Another good reason? My mom wore them, and her optometrist was so grateful she had when some other eye problems came up for her. He said that the RGP lenses had saved her years of degeneration in her eyes (I'm not sure it was macular degeneration, probably not cataracts, but something of that seriousness). My mom's dad has horrendous macular degeneration. So if I've got anything of my mother's genes in my eyes--which I seem to, since my eyes are SOOOO bad--then I'd like to save some years, too. I really like being able to see.

That's why I really didn't enjoy wearing my glasses the last three days. They're just not good enough. They're cute, sure, but I can't see very well still. Plus the hinges always manage to snag little hairs; after three days, I pretty much have bangs with all the hair snapping that's been going on. And it's hard to put on makeup with glasses! How do you glasses-clad ladies do it?! I'm so blind with nothing helping my eyes, it's horrible! It's really, really horrible the way my eyes have worsened in the last couple months. :( Oh, boohoo...
I'm grateful Michael isn't upset that his time was spent in a waiting room today. I had him drive me since driving with glasses is out of the question for me. We lugged Ender and Audrey along--thankfully they were well-behaved. And the doctor was kind enough to check my eyes anyway just to see how bad they are after 3 days compared to when I'm wearing contacts (it's significant). 
Kind of scary. After 4 weeks of not wearing contacts, would I be legally blind??? I'm definitely considering a future investment of $5900 for that crazy liquid-contact injection...sign me up! Save my eyes! (Another "ack" would be appropriate, I believe).
I think the doctor thought I talked to much. He seemed a little annoyed at all my interjections, but I couldn't help myself from gasping in shock when he said I needed so many WEEKS of going without contacts! Really?! I said that sounded horrible, and he came back with how some other woman went 6 weeks without hers so she could get her special operation (lucky pants)--and it seemed like he was saying I should just suck it up, you know? Like "other people do it, so big deal." I was only would be really awful to have to stick to glasses so long. :( Really, really awful. For me. 

Ah, well. I'm terribly sorry if this is completely irrelevant to you. Not many people wear RGP lenses. But maybe you didn't know a prescription change can be temporary in pregnancy? And therefore not worth the exam cost? 
I had to get it off my chest. I feel a little bit miffed, a little bit sorry for myself, and still very hungry and tired. I do not call this a short post. I let a little too much ranting happen to keep it tidy. ;)

PS: I do not like the looks (real or imagined) that people give me when they see me pregnant and hauling a carseat baby. With Ender in tow. I'd like to wear a sign that says "NO, this is NOT my 7 month old baby next to my 6 1/2 month pregnantness." And if it were? "YES, I chose to be like this." Or maybe just a sign taped to Audrey's carseat that says in very large caps "BABYSITTING!"


  1. Arg. Glasses. Contacts. Eyes. Poor eyesight. Such fun.

    What IS your prescription? I'm -750 and -850. I used to my prescription like a badge. For some bizarre reason, I loved that after Mom, MY eyes were the worst. That is, they were until Rae passed me up. Hers are something like -800 and -1100?

    Eric has some astigmatism too and used to wear RGPs for a long time. He's been wearing Toric lenses for the last few years though and LOVES them. So much less irritating.

    I'm sorry your appointment was so annoying. It's really a good thing you DID go. Because while it's true that eyesight changes in pregnancy CAN be temporary, that doesn't mean they WILL be. Rae's weren't. And in the meantime, you still need to be able to SEE girl.

    I hope you have a better rest of your day and have some rest and yummy food. If you were here you could rest on my bed and eat the cookies I made last night or the dough that's still in the fridge to make some more. :D

  2. oops, used to WEAR my prescription like a badge...

  3. Abby, my prescription is at least the same as yours, if not worse. I seem to have the number -1300 stuck in my head, but I don't know why...let's hope it's not me remembering my actual prescription! Aah!
    I've tried Toric (thought it was torique, hahah!), and I liked them better than any other soft lenses. But I still feel like RGP are best in the long run. :\ I don't know, maybe I'll change my mind!
    Thanks for the cookie offer. :) I love you!


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