If you know me personally then you know that I wear contact lenses and I am incredibly nearsighted.

Even though I think I look better without glasses, the reason why I do not wear them is because of my fear of scratches and blemishes on the lenses.

I started wearing glasses regularly in the fourth grade. From popped lenses to broken frames, I was pretty reckless with them. One time, my mom fixed my broken frames with some sketchy-ass copper wire.

Every annual trip to the optometrist was a reminder of my genetic fate. Regardless, I felt partially responsible for my dwindling vision. This was reinforced by my mom constantly nagging me to read in well-lit rooms, take computer breaks, and eat carrots. Ah, Asian moms and their paranoia! To this day I feel a little queasy standing in front of a microwave.

I can’t exactly determine why my glasses became a trigger. I definitely believe it had to do, in part, with my fear of damaging them and the disappointment I felt with having poor vision. Nonetheless, keeping my glasses pristine became a harmful coping mechanism for my anxiety.

High school was the peak of this trigger. I compulsively inspected my lenses under a bright fluorescent light with a magnifying glass. I washed and wiped the lenses down in a specific manner and timing. Despite never being reckless with my glasses, I had believed that there were permanent scratches on the lenses. I forced my mom to get the lenses replaced several times (total understatement). I refused to wear them and tried to dispose of them. Looking back, I am both amazed and grateful that everyone involved put up with my demands.

During one of my episodes, my optician suggested that I try out contact lenses. I have been wearing only contact lenses for over five years now. Wearing them has eliminated the glasses trigger, but I still struggle with other material triggers which cannot be eliminated as easily.

As great as contact lenses are, they come with a lot of drawbacks. Your eyes dry out if you wear them for too long. They are fairly expensive. You can get infections if you don’t keep them clean. Fortunately, I rarely experience discomfort and I have never experienced infections despite wearing them over 10 hours and replacing them monthly (supposed to be biweekly).

It’s terrible, I know! In the end, your eyes are being depleted of oxygen. Knowing this, I still could not bring myself to confront glasses until now (dun dun dun).

I did a full eye examination on campus because I had no time to go to my family optometrist in Toronto. Walking in, the optometrist immediately asked me, “Where are yo glasses gurl?”. Too embarrassed and lazy to elaborate on my mental illness, I simply told her I forgot them. She totally gave me this “WTF? Who forgets their glasses?” face. At the end of my appointment, I found out my prescription increased significantly and that I was at high risk for retinal detachment because of it (no bungee jumping for me ever).

I left the office on a sunny day with extremely diluted eyes and a glasses prescription. If you saw some girl that day walking around flailing her arms and squinting, that was me. The university is stingy as fuck – they won’t take ten seconds to convert a glasses prescription to a contact lenses prescription. Instead, you have to set up another appointment and fork up more money (as it is not covered under the health plan). They also make it seem like you are doomed for all eternity if you don’t purchase glasses or contact lenses from their store.

Fortunately, my family optometrist did the math for me online. With the two prescriptions, my sister suggested that I also get glasses because they were free. She reassured me by saying, “You don’t have to wear them all, just keep them there in case of an emergency”. So I decided to order both glasses and contact lenses online. I will admit, it was fun picking out frames.

When they arrived in the mail a month ago, I avoided opening the package with my glasses like the plague. One morning, out of curiosity, I decided to try them on. It’s hard for me to explain, but it was very difficult – almost painful. A lot of memories came flooding in and instinctively, I inspected the lenses for scratches. After wiping and sanitizing them, I finally put them on my face.

I tried standing up and I almost fell over! After not wearing glasses for over five years, my eyes had a lot to re-adjust to. I had an awful headache that day and I kept comparing my glasses prescription with the online order to make sure it was correct.

So far, I have only worn my glasses three times, twice at night. I still compulsively check and wash them. Slowly, my eyes are adjusting. I don’t think I will ever wear them permanently. All that matters to me right now is that I am confronting them.

P.S. If I am buried or cremated with my glasses on, I will haunt errybody!

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  • When I first had my eye examination, it was way back in elementary school. I had trouble seeing the board and was the last one to write out the notes. Even in high school. I had to be in the front of the class. Just to see! I’m not sure when I finally got my glasses, but they were a neon green color. Of course, my lazy butt decided to leave them somewhere where the dog can get to them and he chewed on one side. I was pissed, but more pissed at me than the dog. I’ve always liked glasses. I thought and still think they’re cool. I honestly would have left the mental illness out of the conversation. That is for you and your doctors only to discuss about (Primary, and Psychiatrist). I’ve learned that the hard way as well. I would talk about my cases a lot. However, people would back fire and use it against me. So I rarely talk about it unless it’s with family and/or my doctors. Never any outsiders. They will try to use it against you. A friend of mine online always talks about her mental illness. I keep trying to tell her this, yet she refuses to listen. One day she will learn. Now, back on the glasses subject. When I was extremely over-weight (due to poor diet and lack of exercise) I was told that with the right diet and exercise, I could potentially lose my glasses. I walked around the block at least 3 times, ate relatively healthy (salads and such) and I was able to lose my glasses for a year or more. When I went back to my old eating habits…before my landlady got on my case about it I had to go back to wearing my glasses. When I started to clean up my act once more due to my boyfriend and landlady (at the time) my eyes started to “see” better. I’m doing kind of bad with my diet now, but it’ll get better. I go on these binges. As far as wearing your glasses…I would just wear them when I’m on the computer, phone, and watching t.v. and of course doing homework. You don’t have to wear them all the time. That’s what I was told basically. I do have astigmatism in one eye, but other than that half the time I don’t have to wear them (it sometimes gives me headaches, but I think it’s the heat as well and dehydration.) as much. Exercising, eating healthy, and staying hydrated are keys in this role for your eyes!

    • Yeah, I agree that only primary doctors and psychiatrists should be informed of mental illnesses. But at the same time, it’s important that you tell others who will be tip-toeing in that territory what’s going on. It saves any future frustrations or misunderstandings.

      Sorry to hear that you have had people in your life who used your mental illness against you. That is awful that people can be so self-centered. From my experience, there are people who “over-rationalize” someone else’s condition and make it all about them. You can only do so much to alter their clearly damaging perceptions.

      Whoa, that’s amazing that you fixing your diet removed the need for glasses. Unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to my nearsightedness. I’ve been told my vision will level off in my 20s. It’s not really happening! LOL.

      Good luck with your diet. It’s crazy how much people around you can affect your well-being. Thank you for sharing your experience and advice!
      I think I will try wearing them for a couple of hours before I go to bed, and try to make a habit out of it.

  • RE: Speaking of person A/B, you know. It may suck that they’re shutting me out like this, but it just goes to show you that they are NOT professionals, even though they claim to be. It sucks that they’re doing this, and over chump change as well. Oh well, at least I know now not to ever give them a THIRD chance. Ha!

    • Yeah, even businesses are human. People always act on their emotions. Now you know for next time! Good luck with the hosting search!

  • I always think there is something on my glasses! It also frustrates me when I’m talking to someone and I can see dust and fingerprints on their glasses, like how do they deal with that?
    I was tested for glasses when I was about 16 but it was decided they weren’t necessary at the time, I guess i hadn’t spent enough time on the computer at that point 😛 I ended up going and getting tested again when I was about 24 and since then have worn glasses to work and sometimes at home.
    I can’t wear lenses, I haven’t even tried but the idea of them creeps me out. I don’t want to have to put something in my eyes! So glasses it is for me.

    • Yeah, that’s so annoying! Sometimes wiping it makes it worse too haha.

      The idea of having to put your finger in your eye is a little scary. I remember the first time I had to put contacts in – it took several attempts. In the end, I had to hold my eyelids open so that they won’t close as soon as my finger came close. You get used it to after. It’s becomes second nature. Kinda gross, but sometimes I touch my eyeballs thinking there are contacts on them, but there aren’t XD

  • Michelle

    Ah, I can understand about the glasses and having problems with them. I used to have a lot of glasses when I was younger, and they happened to get broken or lost. I can’t believe my parents kept buying me them after all that. I’m glad that you were able to get over the trigger. You look super cute in your glasses 🙂

    • Haha yeah, as an adult now I realize how much money was wasted!

      Thanks 😀

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