I am one of the older contact lens wearers on the planet. A combination of Mr. Magoo nearsightedness and a misplaced vanity made me seek them out back in the late ‘50s. At that time they were big thick things that covered the whole eyeball and were reputedly very difficult to adjust to. My eye doctor at the time knew I was going to be living in Germany for a couple of years and he suggested that I get them there. He said they were cheaper and of far better quality.
A few months later I stopped into an optometrist in Mannheim and walked out two hours later able to see better than I had in my lifetime. I found out that leaves on the tall trees are not fuzzy at the top and that there are far more stars in the sky than I had ever imagined. I adapted in a hurry: I was motivated.
Over the years _ 45 by now_ I’ve had my misadventures with the lenses. Occasionally I would lose one, but always got it back. My kids knew that when they heard me shriek in a panic it meant a $5 reward for anyone that could locate the wayward lens. Once in a while, after hours of searching with a flashlight to make the lens twinkle in its hiding place, I would find it still in my eye, but off center. Or sitting on my shoulder.
Then there was the saga of the puppy. One evening I had just taken a shower, having safely stored the lenses in their white plastic container. When I came back into the bedroom I noticed our adorable new dog munching on something white and plastic, I reached in to his mouth and pulled out the mangled piece of white plastic and realized too late that I should have put the thing out of puppy reach.
I opened the dog’s mouth and immediately found one lens stuck on his lower lip. While he choked and gagged I searched every inch of his mouth, even sticking my hand down his throat as far as I could. Nothing.
The family scoured the room as the reward for finding the thing increased hourly. Nothing.
The lens cost $200 that we just didn’t have for a frivolous expenditure and besides, I could see only with one eye.
The next step was clear; there was no way out.
We put the puppy in the garage and told the kids not to let him out under any circumstances. And then we watched him. Each time he did his business my husband (well, he had two good eyes) combed through it with a screwdriver. Each time he came up lensless. We kept the pup in the garage and examined all deposits made during the night. Nothing. The kids went off to school and my husband off to work. I sat on the garage floor and watched.
One more plop, I told him, and he obliged. I found it.
I called my doctor who acknowledged this was a new experience for him and he would have to call the lens company. They came up with a 24-hour regimen of cleaning, soaking and polishing that they felt would sufficiently sanitize it.
Everybody got a good laugh out of it and I got my vision back. Of course there were jokes, the best being “I guess you have a new outlook on life.”