*this is a post written in partnership with Johnston & Johnston about my journey to getting varifocal contact lenses. I was provided with a trial of lenses to review. All opinions are my own*
The alternative title to this post should be “actually, I can read my phone screen better and I don’t have to squint to read my book, even when I am wearing my glasses because I have fancy new contact lenses”.
When I went to the opticians last year, for my annual check-up, I mentioned that sometimes the screen on my phone, or any books I happened to be reading, were a little blurry, even when wearing my glasses.
After all the tests and checks were complete, he casually mentioned the words I was SO not ready to hear…
“It may be time to consider bi or multi focal lenses for when you are working or reading”.
Cue abject horror from me. Bi focal glasses are for OLD people. I am NOT old.
My gran had bi focal glasses. I remember being fascinated by them, because they had a sort of window in them that you could see clearly in the lens, and it made everything seem bigger. She was old. I am not ready for this.
I know glasses and lens technology has moved on since then, and bi focal glasses are made so it’s not so obvious you are wearing them, but it’s a big thing for me to admit that my eyes are not as young as they were (a bit like the rest of my body) and that I might need extra help.
Apparently when you reach a certain age, your eyes can develop presbyopia, which is a condition caused by the lens of your eye being less flexible, meaning it is harder to focus on nearer tasks, even if you are wearing glasses to correct your other eye sight conditions and it would seem I have started to develop this.
I have been wearing glasses since I was about five years old, so I am no stranger to them, but for me accepting bi focal glasses is a step too far, just yet.
But squinting at screens and my books isn’t good for me either.
So what is a girl to do?
When I found out that there are mulitifocal contact lenses that are available to help if you have presbyopia, I was thrilled. I have also worn contact lenses for a long time, on and off, and find them very easy and convenient, so to be able to wear a lens that could help me see generally and also correct the presbyopia, sounded too good to be true.
Having worn contact lenses since I was twelve, and remembering what those first lenses I had were like, and now looking at what science and technology has come up with in making lenses softer, easier to wear, safer to use, and more convenient, it does blow my mind a little bit. Understanding how a contact lens could correct my other vision issues, whilst helping me to be able to focus on near work, helped me to be even more convinced that I was keen to wear them.
If you have worn contact lenses you will know that you have to have your eyes checked, to make sure you can safely wear them, and that you know how to put them in, take them out and care for your eyes whilst wearing them. This is slightly different from an eye exam for glasses.
I had two visits to have my eyes tested and checked to make sure I was a good candidate to wear the lenses, and to make sure there were no concerns about my eyes. I actually quite enjoy a visit to the optometrist, and it’s usually a fairly calm and painless process. They were very thorough, talking me through my eye sight, and checking my eye health as well as a basic eye test to check what my prescription was.
I did ask exactly how the lenses work, because obviously a contact lens is not the same as glasses, and you can’t have a specific little window to magnify like you do in your glasses.
These multifocal contact lenses have specific regions of the lens designated for far and near (and sometimes intermediate) viewing. Depending on the object being viewed, the wearer’s eye uses the region(s) of the lens that provide the sharpest vision.
It turns out I am suitable to wear multi focal lenses, so after some care instructions, and having them fitted, I was sent away to try them for a few days to see how they worked for me. Having not worn contact lenses for a couple of years, I was excited to getting back into using them, and being able to ditch my glasses, as well as not having to squint when reading or trying to use my phone.
I can see clearly, and it looks like these lenses mean I can pretend I am not THAT old, for a little bit longer…