It’s all about 3-2-1 contacts

Published 11:42 am Saturday, March 7, 2009

When I was about 10, I received a birthday card from a friend of the family. The note on the inside said, “You have already grown up so fast, before you know it, you’ll be graduating from high school.”

What it should have said was “before you know it, you won’t be able to run as fast as you do now, your favorite new music will soon be known as retro and your eyes won’t be able to see 100 feet in front of them.”

Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige once asked, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?”

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He’s got a good point there, but even though I can remember how old I am doesn’t mean I’m not showing signs of aging.

I can notice it most in my eyes.

I’ve worn glasses pretty much since college.

My eyes were fine growing up through high school, but somewhere between reading “The Tale of Two Cities” and endless chapters on Vietnam history, French and earning a diploma, my eyes became as bad as a failed “American Idol” audition.

Eyesight is something we take for granted. We don’t realize how much we depend on it until we can’t see very well.

I’ve never really liked glasses on me much, but I’ve never really liked the alternatives either.

My other choices, of course, were: I could deal with not being able to see or I could try wearing contacts.

Contacts have never really been an option because I don’t really like sticking anything in my eyes.

Two weeks ago, though, my glasses broke, and I thought it was finally time to give contacts the benefit of the doubt.

The optometrist said my distance vision was shot, but that it could be corrected. She handed me a trial box of contacts to use for two weeks to get used to them and to figure out if they’re really what I wanted to wear.

I could then make an appointment and order my first six-month supply.

The policy at the eye place I went to, as I’m sure is the case at most places, is that you have to get the contacts in and out at least once before you leave.

The purpose of this, I suppose, is to simply teach you how to do it and so you don’t call the optometrist at 1 in the morning complaining that you were able to get the contacts in after the exam, but you have no clue how to get them out.

My first experience was off to a good start. It took about a half an hour, but sure enough, with the cheering of the trusty eye assistant, I was able to get the contacts in and out and in again.

That was the case through the weekend.

Monday came around, however, and the contacts somehow became stubborn and wouldn’t go in and then one protested and ripped.

My sister Kathryn is a longtime contact wearer, and I called her for advice.

“It ripped?” she asked. “Yep,” I said. “Throw them out and put new ones in,” she said. “I can’t. These are trials, and the only pair I have,” I said. “Call the eye place back; you need another trial pair,” she said.

That sounded logical enough, and the optometrist’s office was very kind and provided me with trial pair No. 2.

The assistant this time was different and when I tried putting them in, she looked at me and said, “You need to open your eyes more and look straight ahead.”

That was good advice.

It only took me 15 minutes this time and for the past week, they’ve slipped in and out with relative ease.

I bet I can get used to contacts, although I already know I need to get a backup pair of glasses to wear in the evening watching TV or just relaxing.

In the meantime, I think I’ll just sit back and relax, enjoy my improved vision and enjoy listening to some retro music.