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Contact lense help getting a bit desperate

(27 Posts)
YorkshireRolf Mon 08-Aug-16 13:52:53

Hi ,

Not sure if this is the right place to post but here goes.I've worn glasses since I was seven and have wanted to wear lenses for years. Just to be clear I do actually have quite nice glasses and would only really want lenses for nights out. At least to start with. It's just that I can't help feeling a bit envious of friends who do wear glasses most of the time but can ditch them for social occasions, friends who can wear contact lenses permanently, friends who've had laser surgery and friends who only need to wear glasses for reading or driving. I also have motor coordination problems and can't hep feeling that life would be a lot easier
if I had a wider range of vision. My eye sight is 20/20 with my glasses which is great but I still have no peripheral vision.

My problem is that I am very eye phobic. For example I can't cope with eye drops. If anyone tries to come near with me I panic and have to fight off an urge to push them away. I can put my own in but I don't like it. Fortunately I don't have to do it very often. The thought of putting anything in my eye or anyone else doing sends my heart racing and makes me very upset. I hate this. I'm not needle phobic at all. I can cope with heights and spiders and it really distresses me that my body seems to have this reaction to something I want so much. I don't know if it's relevant or not but I very rarely wear eye make up because i have big eyes with long dark lashes and it's difficult for me to see to put it on anyway. This means I haven't got used to having things near my eyes on a day to basis.

Every few years I get up the courage to try lenses at my opticians and every year it goes wrong, I get very distressed and end up leaving. This is at Specs Savers by the way which I've always found to be very good so I don't think it's their technique. I think it's me.

Recently I decided to buy my own lenses cheaply online. With hindsight I think this was a bad idea but my reasoning was that I do know how to put lenses in. I just find find it really hard. I thought maybe if I could practice putting them in in the privacy of my own home it would be good for me.

It's been three weeks now and in spite of trying to put the lenses in for forty five minutes a day nothing is working. I have tried the following:

Touching my eyes with a clean finger to get them used to having something near them and to deaden my blink reflex a bit. I can touch my right eyeball now but only when I'm not looking in the mirror. Also when I do look in the mirror I see three eyes (I have astigmatism) which makes it all very distracting. My left eye seems to have a much stronger blink reflex and my lashes will start fluttering like mad if anything goes goes near them. Because the right eye isn't as bad I thought I'd try concentrating on that to begin with but when I tried doing the hold both lashes up out of the way and place the lens in with the spare hand technique it was very difficult and I couldn't hold my lashes hard enough to stop blinking anyway. I know a lot of people find the method I've described really easy and can do it without blinking (haha) but combined with my eye phobia and coordination problems (particularly fine motor skills) it's just incredibly difficult for me.

I've tried looking to the side, looking up and looking down so that I can't see the lens directly.

I've tried using a sort of plunger designed to put the lens in for me.

I've tried putting them in standing, sitting and lying down.

I always make sure that when I try to put them in that I'm calm, relaxed, in a room with good lighting and won't be disturbed for a while.

Nothing is working. I'm about ready to give up but I've decided to go to an opticians one more time so at least I can say I tried. This is the part where someone reading this might be able to help me.

I know that hypnotism can help people overcome phobias but I don't have any spare money. Does anyone know of any websites or cheap hypnotists in South Yorkshire? I have a mile stone birthday coming up soon so I might be able to ask for a relative to pay for a few sessions if they're not too expensive.

Failing that can anyone recommend an opticians in South Yorkshire that specialises in eye phobic customers? It's strange actually. I know you can get dentists who work with phobic patients and there seems to be a lot of help for needle phobic people but not so much for people like me. I'm sure I can't be the only one.

If I can't wear lenses then I will accept it and carry on wearing nice glasses but I want to explore every avenue before I give up.

I'm going out very soon so if I don't reply until this evening I'm not ignoring and will reply to messages as soon as I can.

Thank you for any help you can give. smile

CodyKing Mon 08-Aug-16 14:00:31

Well you're nothing but determined! That's half the battle!

No advice but I would suggest a different opticians - I think they should've given you a pair to try out!

Jenny70 Mon 08-Aug-16 14:03:30

To be honest putting them in is MUCH easier than getting them out in terms of eye invasiveness (I don't think that's word). I think you're going to struggle to get them out with the issues you've described. Desensitisation would need to be pretty effective to make it work.

And to get the lenses in, then not be able to get them out can be quite serious - I can't think how an optician (or doctor) could force them out of your eye if you were unwilling/unable to cooperate.

Given that your reasons aren't compelling, it's not like your life would be dramatically different with lenses, I'd be sticking to nice glasses. Go online, order a variety of frames to suit every occasion - they can be very cheap.

This may not be what you're wanting to hear, but honestly I would look at it like skinny jeans (or some equivalent fashion item) - some can pull them off, some can't.

sluj Mon 08-Aug-16 14:10:11

When I first started with them 30 years ago I found it easier to pay a mirror flat on the work surface and stand over it to insert the lenses. Then at least if you drop one it's on the mirror. Somehow it stopped my eyes closing up too.

Also use loads of saline in the lens before you insert to make it more comfor table

Good luck

specialsubject Mon 08-Aug-16 14:12:55

How did get lenses without a prescription? If you bought from a site that doesn't demand a current prescription, throw the lenses away.

Pencilplant Mon 08-Aug-16 14:21:26

Contacts are amazing and you get such good vision. Not sure what to say other than just get some and go home and keep on trying. Once you can do it the whole thing takes seconds. I have gas permeable lenses I clean them pull my eye lid up and bit and drop them in. Good luck

piddleypower Mon 08-Aug-16 14:30:12

I have found that some lenses are easier to put in than others. They do vary in size and some are more floppy than others, so that might be worth discussing with the optician.

If you can put it in quickly, swiftly without too much fussing thats better. I have no idea whats its like to be eye phobic, but trying to touch your eyeball sounds horrid. I have worn contacts for 30 years and I couldn't do that!!

Freshprincess Mon 08-Aug-16 14:34:23

Have you never managed to put them in? Or you can do it but it takes ages?

Helenluvsrob Mon 08-Aug-16 14:46:20

Find a specialist contact lens practce rather than spec savers.

ArieltheMermaid1720 Mon 08-Aug-16 14:57:10

I wear contact lenses and have done since I was 16. The first time I got them it took me about an hour each eye to get them in. I too hate eye drops etc and am a nightmare when they do the test with the coloured dye. I would say persevere, I don't use a mirror, never have and actually find it really off putting. It will get easier with practice, can't remember how long it too me but I've no bother now.

WipsGlitter Mon 08-Aug-16 15:01:26

I've had mine since I was about 14! I wear gas permeable ones so the are hard and don't flop about. Agree a mirror on a flat surface is good.

ParadiseCity Mon 08-Aug-16 15:02:52

To reassure you, I am cack handed and very clumsy but haven't had a problem with contact lenses so you CAN do it, physically. 'All' you have to do is get your phobia conquered. Easier said than done I know.

I reckon once you have done it once your confidence will shoot up and you will be away, you clearly really want to beat this. For that reason the quickest and cheapest tactic I would consider, BUT utterly irresponsible, is to get a bit tipsy and try then. This is REALLY BAD ADVICE but is honestly what I would do.

YesICanHearYouClemFandango Mon 08-Aug-16 15:06:34

Oh bless you. Listen, I've been wearing contact lenses for nearly 20 years, daily, and there is NO WAY I could touch my eyeball. The thought of it makes me feel a bit faint. You don't need to touch your eyeball at all - you're just placing the lens on your eye.

When I first started using them, the best way I found to stop myself blinking was to use both hands to hold your eye open - so a hand for each eyelid. So assuming you're right-handed, place the lens on your right index finger, hold your eye open using both middle fingers, then place the lens on your iris. I find it easiest to do when looking directly in the mirror. Once you get it close enough to your eye, the lens just sort of suckers on to your eyeball.

To remove, I use the knuckle of my index finger to stretch the outer corner of my eye toward my ear - this makes your eyelid as taut as possible - then blink hard. Your eyelid will catch the edge of the lens and it sort of flips out on to your cheek.

I love my contact lenses, they genuinely changed my life when I started wearing them. I hope you can find a way that works for you!

CrotchetQuaverMinim Mon 08-Aug-16 15:10:10

I had to learn to do it without a mirror, as they wanted me to be able to do both whenever/wherever (particularly taking them out, but both is good). I think it made the fear bit easier, as I wasn't watching myself doing it or seeing it happening. If you can touch your eyeball, that's way beyond where I was at first. I found having the lens quite wet with solution helped, and having my eye quite teary too, so that the liquid in the eye kind of just melded into the liquid on the lens, and before I knew it, it was in and floating around (feels odd at first and blurry, just to warn you!). Takes quite a few blinks for it to settle down. After anything went wrong, I would have an extreme blink reflex for a while, but I'd eventually get over it. I'd use one hand to pull the top eyelid up, and the other hand (middle finger mainly) to pull the lower one down, with the lens on the index finger of that hand. That way I was stronger to overcome the blink reflex if needed.

Ginmakesitallok Mon 08-Aug-16 15:14:00

First - don't be ordering random lenses on line without a prescription!

I agree with pp - I've been wearing lenses for over 20 years no problems, but I couldn't just touch my eyeball.

When I hold my eye open to put a lens in I don't just hold my eyelash - I hold my eyelid.

I'd go back to a different optician if I was you.

YorkshireRolf Mon 08-Aug-16 15:46:46

Thank you for the replies everyone. Really appreciated. I will answer properly when I've got a moment.

tothesea Mon 08-Aug-16 15:55:25

Can you ask your optician about gas permeable lenses? I am very squeamish about eyes but I have been wearing gas permeable contacts for 30 years. They just pop on to your eye and I just pull the side of my eye and it pings out. So the touching of the eye area is limited.
I couldn't wear soft lenses..gives me the willies!!!

CointreauVersial Mon 08-Aug-16 16:19:59

I've worn both soft and gas permeable lenses, and agree that GPs require much less "eye touching". GPs go in very easily, whereas soft ones have to be carefully tipped onto the eyeball, then you have to look around a bit before you blink to help centre them. And for removal; with soft ones you have to almost pinch your eyeball, but with GPs they just pop out if you stretch your eyelid and blink hard.

But opticians are less keen on GPs nowadays, although they will prescribe them.

And I do think you are so phobic you should have some sort of therapy/help before you go any further. I'm not sure what to suggest that doesn't cost money, though....

YorkshireRolf Mon 08-Aug-16 21:03:53

Just came back to say thanks for all the responses. This is the first time I've posted on Style and Beauty smile.

I don't know if I'm going to be able to reply to everyone but I hope I can answer a few questions/comments and add a bit of information myself.

I have a very nice pair of red glasses with black and silver side pieces. They suit my face shape and I would be happy to go on wearing them for the rest of my life. Well not those ones because my prescription will change but similar ones. However I would be even happier if I could go without them at least occasionally. It's probably silly but I had this vision of me turning up at my thirtieth birthday party in a few weeks without my glasses on and surprise people a bit. It looks like that probably won't happen now. Plus seeing my friends and family and having a good time is more important than what I'm wearing on my face. They'll be pleased for me if I do ever manage to switch to lenses but they don't care that I haven't iysiwim.

A few people asked (quite reasonably. I forgot to explain before) how I got the lenses without a prescription. Confession time alert blush I have a very recent glasses prescription. I took that, found a website which told me how to convert it to a contact lens prescription and ordered my lenses on this website:

I have never been able to get any lenses into my eyes.

I agree that I probably do need some kind of therapy and the therapy will cost. I've tried online but there's any amount of help for a lot of phobias but none for eye phobia. This makes me feel a bit of a freak to be honest. It's something I really want to overcome and I can't do it alone. I'm thinking about contacting MIND. I've had dealings with them before and they might be able to think of something which would help me.

I have considered gas permeable lenses although I think they sound a bit scary. My mum's been wearing them for decades and has never had any problems. In the meantime I am going to carry on wearing my glasses and will get on with my life. I haven't given up them. I want to be the person who says "they've made such a difference to me and they make things much easier." I want to wear something which I'm not having to clean all the time and which doesn't get steamed up in the rain. I also want to be able to see up, down and side to side without turning my head. I also want to wear non prescription sunglasses. I hate this feeling that my glasses are slipping down my nose all the time. I will have to get them tightened tomorrow. However I am realistic. I will find a way to work on my phobia and then I will try again.

Thank you once for replies and suggestions smile

andintothefire Mon 08-Aug-16 22:01:33

OP - have you tried keeping your eyes open for as long as possible and just looking at them in the mirror? May sound a bit strange but I think it gets you used to keeping them open as you approach them with lenses! It's tough because wearing contact lenses is actually really easy and you don't know you are wearing them once they are in - it's putting them in that can be hard at first! I would just keep persevering because I suspect that when you get to the stage where you can put even one in, you will realise that it is actually nothing to be scared of.

Silly question, but I assume you are putting them in before doing make up? Putting lenses in with mascara is always a nightmare!

Diddlydokey Mon 08-Aug-16 22:08:40

I was taught to put them in as follows

Sat at a desk with a magnifying mirror
Starting with the left eye - open packet and put lense correct way up on forefinger of left hand
bring right hand over forehead and use middle finger to hold open your upper lid
Use middle finger on the left hand to hold open lower lid
Move forefinger with the lense on to put the lense on the eye.
Close the eye and look up, down, side to side and open

DesolateWaist Mon 08-Aug-16 22:13:32

Hi op. I've only skimmed the thread so sorry if I'm repeating something already said.

I wear lenses but moreover I used to work in optics teaching people how to use contact lenses.
My suggestion would be to try a new optician. Specsavers are fine but they do want to get you through as quick as they can.
When I was teaching people how to use lenses it would take at least an hour.

To put the lens in get the lens on the finger of your dominant hand. Put the other arm up in the air, like you have your hand up to ask a question. Put that hand over the top of your head and hold the top lid out of the way. With your dominant hand hold the bottom lid out of the way. Then slowly bring the lens towards the eye. You'll find that it will almost jump onto your eye. Before you blink look all directions to get rid of any air bubbles.

As for buying them online like that, well although the vision might be ok there is no guarantee that the fitting is correct, they come in different sizes too.

You are much better to go to a high street opticians to start with.

specialsubject Tue 09-Aug-16 09:26:28

Vision direct are a kosher site but I'm surprised they let you do what you did. Reading the site, they do - but they also tell you not to self prescribe and to get a checkup, and that first time lens users should get lenses fitted by an optician.

You haven't done any of those things. No harm done as you can't actually wear the lenses, but if you get as far as being able to do that please do things properly. Specsavers will do free trials and an annual checkup is only £20. You don't get spare eyes !!!

Good luck with the therapy and hope it works out.

CoolCarrie Tue 09-Aug-16 09:45:45

I have had contacts for 30yrs and it took me a while to get used to them, , but I got there, and so will you. As others have said they totally changed my life too! You have a great attitude, keep trying and good luck

YorkshireRolf Tue 09-Aug-16 18:04:54

Just thought I'd give you all an update.

I went to a small family opticians that my mum uses today and explained my situation to them. They are very used to dealing with people like me and I will be going in for a half hour/ twenty minute session with a contact lens specialist once a week. Apparently it takes some people five or six sessions to get used to them. I don't know what the result will be at the end but I know that a lot of phobias are cured/kept under control by gradual exposure. So if I can't wear lenses by my birthday this year maybe I'll be wearing them next year and if not it's not the end of the world. smile

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