Can everyone get used to contact lenses?

I am very bad with stuff coming near my eye. I just close them as an instant response. When the eye doctor does the test where he touches your eye, it takes forever, and usually ends up involving the eye drops.

OTOH, I’m getting sick of my glasses. Had them for a long time and they are a pain. I suppose Lasik is an option, but it’s a pretty severe and expensive one, so I was thinking of trying contact lenses for now. But I don’t know if it’s possible to get past my wacky twitchy eyes.

Any thoughts from other four-eyes?

I’m like you. I don’t like things coming near my eye. I have to put 2 different kinds of eye drops in my eyes twice a day now during the allergy season, and it’s something I’ve been doing for over 20 years. But every single time I hold the dropper over my eye, I have to brace myself, and I hesitate and flinch a little.

A few years ago I foolishly attempted to get some colored RX contacts. I think I’ve been able to keep them in my eye for an hour at the longest, and I’ve only worn them a handful of times. Each time, putting them in and taking them out was near torture. And I felt them with every single blink of an eye.

My husband wore contacts for a couple of years before getting Lasik, and every time I watched him put them in or take them out, my eyes would water.

I’ll never wear contacts. I know I could just never get used to them.

I’ve had the oversensitive eye thing, but managed to overcome it years ago. It turns out it’s only the iris that’s really sensitive; the white part of the eye is not sensitive much at all. And when you put the lenses in, you effectively put them on the white part (by rolling your eyes up). They’re pretty comfortable, modern contacts are, especially when the optometrist gets the curvature right.

The answer to the OP is “Yes”. My youngest daughter, now almost-15 and the most squeamish person I’ve ever met, wanted contacts in the worst way when she was in the 8th grade. It took about two months of screaming and squalling and caterwauling in the bathroom every time she had to do something with them, but she persevered, and she is now officially “used to them”.

So, “yes”.

If you really hate your glasses that badly, and/or you really like how you look in contacts, you will get used to them.

IMO the whole “OMG I’m putting something in my EYE!! I can’t do it, i-can’t-do-it, i-can’t-do-it!!” reflex is something that anyone can get over, if La Principessa can. The secret for her was apparently to focus on how badly she needed to flaunt contact lenses for the rest of the 8th grade. YMMV.

Ditto. It took me two hours to get my lenses in the first time I went to put them in by myself. Now, no such problem.

You do get used to having things near your eye. Just take it very slowly. Try washing your hands and then simply moving the tip of a finger close to your eye to get used to it. (Note: I have short fingernails. I do not know whether it’s possible to install contact lenses with long fingernails.)

It takes some getting used to. Some people can just never get used to it, or never feel comfortable with contacts in their eyes.

Most of the stories about people who first get contacts involve how long it took the first month or so to put them in and take them out. Eventually, with time and much patience, many people get used to it, and sometimes even used to the feel of something foreign in their eyes. Others cannot, either because it remains just too uncomfortable to keep in their eye, or can’t get over the squickiness. (nothing wrong with that, either, I could never be a doctor/nurse, because at the mere mention of a needle or blood I feel faint - everyone has their squick level!)

Myself, I’ve been wearing them since I was fifteen. Took a while to get used to, and I, too, used to twitch, blink, and generally flip out whenever anything came near my eyes. Now I can pop them in and out at will, without a mirror. I’ve removed, cleaned, and inserted them both as a passenger in cars several times - though I would not recommend this to everyone! :wink: I remember mentioning to my father once, when I was about seventeen, how weird I thought it was that I had no trouble with my contacts, when only a couple years earlier, I couldn’t touch my eye with my finger (as I had seen some boys do in school, trying to gross the girls out). My father said, “The eye is stronger than most of us think it is, it’s not jelly-like.” For some reason, this comment took a lot of the ick-factor away for me. Contacts, eye drops, heck, even eye-liner was suddenly easier to use.

The only one who will know if you can get used to them is you. Do you have the patience to get used to them, and the technique to put them in? Do you have the will to get over the ickiness? Past that, are they comfortable? Are they unbearably uncomfortable? Sometimes discomfort isn’t just a “get used to it” issue, sometimes they are and always will be uncomfortable. It all depends on the type of contacts you are wearing, and/or what type you are able to wear, and how sensitive your eyes are (they will naturally be sensitive at first, they’re not used to having anything in them). Most contacts today, I find, are very comfortable, as they are soft, flexible, and breathable. But for some, they’re just not.

Good luck.

It’s possible, if you’re* used * to having long fingernails. I went from short nails to press-ons, couldn’t do it (but then, just going to use the washroom had me nearly lose an eye, so it wasn’t just contacts that were giving me trouble). Threw out the press ons, slowly grew my short nails out. As they progressed, I learned to use them. I now have long nails, and no trouble with my contacts at all. YMMV, of course. :slight_smile:

I’ll add that seeing how much my vision improved after the eye doctor’s assistant put my new lenses in my eyes the first time was the other motivation to get used to it.

For the first time I had clear undistorted vision and true peripheral vision. No more the curved view through thick glasses surrounded by a blur. I had an astounding field of view, and it was all seamless, and it didn’t change shape as I moved my head. Looking straight ahead, I could hold my hands out over both shoulders and wiggle my fingers and pick up both motions, left and right, simultaneously.

Right there in the shop, I cried, “Cinemavision!” It was literally the difference between looking at a TV set and looking at a IMAX big-screen movie. I could see things. I could drive. I could avoid knocking into things. And no more was I required to endure the slow blurring of vision as my glasses got dirty. My tears keep my lenses clean.

The need to carry contqact-lense supplies with me, and my glasses as well, in case my eyes get irritated (because of dust, pollution, or whatever), and I have to take the lenses out, is a small price to pay.

It was, and is, great. :slight_smile:

I hate hate hate eydrops. I can’t put 'em in myself - I have to ask my husband to pin my head down and do it for me. (That’s true love right there, baby!)

That puff-of-air glaucoma test? It’s never been successfully performed on me. Every year, they try half a dozen times, but my blink reflex is too fast, no matter how hard I try to hold my eye open.
I’ve been wearing contacts for 19 years - since I was 11.
You might consider talking to your doctor about gas permeables, which is what I wear. Although they’re very far out of fashion, I think they’re tons easier to manage if you have icky eye issues. I never have to touch my eyeball. I just hold them thiscolose and they move the last mm all by themselves (something about the surface tension of water.) The thought of pinching a soft contact off my eye makes me nauseous. Mine remove simply by pulling on the corner of my eyelid and blinking. Pop! They don’t turn inside out, tear or fold in at the sides. Once in a great while, just like a soft contact, you will whack it oddly and it’ll go off the iris and onto the white of the eye. This is rather uncomfortable, but instead of picking at your eyeball with a fingernail like soft users, I have a little bitty suction cup that I wet and just pluck it off with.

As an added bonus, I never need saline. Gas permeables, while they do have their own cleaning/soaking/rinsing solution, can be rinsed in tap water before insertion - so I don’t have to carry saline around with me.

Cons? They’re more expensive. But they also are not replaced every two weeks or a month. I get new ones every two years. They’re also a bitch to sleep in. You’re not supposed to sleep in them at all, but I will take naps with them in and they’re fine. On the occasions (usually involving alcohol and laziness) I sleep all night with them in, my eyes yell at me in the morning.

The idea of a rigid piece of plastic may be even more daunting, but after watching my mother and husband struggle with soft lenses all these years, I remain very happy with my gas permeables.

**Sunspace **- do you remember walking out of the office for the first time and seeing INDIVIDUAL LEAVES ON THE TREES?! Ohmigod, I had always thought they were big smears of green for everyone! :smiley:

I had no trouble getting used to them when I started wearing them in high school. But I had to give them up when I was around 29. The lenses would spontaneously slide up under my eyelids.

I don’t know if it was because I was a little older and my eyes had gotten drier, or because I had just taken a job in the San Fernando Valley. But what with the hassle of cleaning and storing lenses, and the expense of fluids, it was actually a relief to stop wearing them.

:: nods ::

And there was the experience of seeing that all the details extended in every direction

I can’t speak to getting over putting something in your eye, because I don’t remember ever having that problem; plus, I was first fitted for contact lenses 20 years ago, at the age of 13. But I have a couple of comments about gas permeable lenses vs. soft lenses:

I wore gas permeable lenses from 1985-2005; I finally got fitted with soft lenses a little over 2 months ago. I had to stop wearing gas perms because they were starting to actually scratch my eye, and then when a scar built up they would rub against the scar tissue. I was starting to do serious damage to my eyes. I switched to wearing mainly my glasses about 1.5 years ago, saving the gas perms for “special” occasions (dates, concerts, times when I’d be outside and want to wear sunglasses, etc.). I have a weird kind of astigmatism, and my ophthamologist of nearly 7 years just could not fit me with soft lenses; they’d never stay put on my eyes. I hate wearing glasses (which I started doing at the age of 7), even after getting new frames and giving myself time to re-adjust to wearing them again, but I just couldn’t keep hurting my eyes like that.

This year I decided to find a new eye doc, and went to a nearby optometrist. He said a new soft lens for astigmatics had just gone on the market (Acuvue Advance for Astigmatism), and he was sure it would work for me. And it did! My vision is not as sharp as it was with the gas perms (I miss that terribly), and sometimes it’s even downright blurry in weird lighting conditions, but most of the time it’s good enough for what I need to do. What makes it worth it is that I can wear them for an entire day and my eyes never get red or irritated or bloodshot – and I can see! I don’t remember the last time I wore the gas perms for any length of time without eventual pain and redness.

As I said, my vision was sharper with the gas perms. And they definitely were easier to handle, like WhyNot says. But if you can be fitted for soft lenses that you’re happy with, I recommend going for them first. It took about 16-17 years for me start having problems with the gas perms, but why take the chance? Plus, I got the impression from both the ophthamologist and optometrist that eye docs are moving away from gas perms.

Unless you have the same kind of astigmatism I do: my lenses are daily wear, replaced every two weeks, and if I did the math right they’ll wind up costing nearly twice what I used to pay for gas perms (I get one 6-month supply at a time).

I don’t mind the fact that they get replaced so frequently, though: it’s awesome to know that I’m putting fresh, clean, brand-new contacts in my eyes every other Thursday. And I don’t have to be as anal retentive about cleaning and disinfecting them, because they only get worn for 14 days.

Until I can afford laser vision correction, contact lenses rule. :slight_smile:

I tried a couple of months to get used to contacts and just couldn’t do it. I’m not at all squeamish about the touching of the eye and I had no real problems learning to get them in. My problem is the eye dryness. It got seriously uncomfortable within 10 minutes of having them in and at times they would dry out so badly that they’d just drop out of my eyes.

My dad says he’s had the same problem, hence why he’s never worn contacts, either. On top of that, I have chronic sinusitis, so I’m pretty much constantly on some kind of decongestant or something similar, so that dries me out even further. And thus, glasses are my destiny.

I used to be so squeamish of stuff going in my eyes that my mother had to hold me down to give me eyedrops when I was little. I even got yelled at once by my optometrist for not being able to keep my eyes open when he tried to examine it closely.

But I’ve been wearing contacts for the past few years and have gotten pretty used to it. Granted, it took me more than an hour to put them in on the first try (not to mention a very patient optometrist’s aide), but after they I got past my habit of squeezing my eyes shut anytime anything came close to it, it felt GREAT. I couldn’t feel the contacts at all. And my second try at putting contacts in took only a couple of minutes. Now it’s down to a couple of seconds. And it doesn’t hurt that I extremely hate the way I look in glasses and never want to be out in public with them again.

I would say go for it. I second everyone else’s “yes” to the “you CAN get over the wacky twitchy eye thing”.

That is typical of people with dry eye syndrome. So no, not everyone can get used to contacts.

I was the same way as the OP, before I got contact lenses a few years ago. I was really creeped out by the idea of anything coming close to my eyes, and couldn’t conceive of ever being able to put contacts in and take them out again. I finally got them, and now really love them. So much nicer than wearing glasses all the time.

You’ll get used to putting them in your eyes, and probably surprisingly quickly. It’s simply not bad at all, once you make yourself do it a few times.

One thing to note – they gave me Accuvue contacts at first, which I never got used to. I could only wear them for a few days a week before they started irritating my eyes. I was about to give up, believing that my eyes were just too sensitive for contacts, but a friend recommended a thinner brand called Proclear Compatibles, which are a dream. So if your eyes don’t take to whatever brand they give you at first, don’t give up.

I’ve tried about 12 different types of contacts. Apparently, if you’re wearing a white smock I’ll believe anything that you say because the eye doctor always told me the same thing: “These new lenses are WAY more comfortable than the ones you’re having problems with”. I was never able to get past 8 hrs, even with soft lenses. One thing to consider is that few eye doctors actually fit them properly in the first place. If you can find a doctor who will spend serious time fitting you then that will make a difference.

I loved the clarity of contacts simply because they let more light into my eye. It made night driving a lot easier. If the cost of contacts are not something you would mind losing then give them a go. I would add caution to the advise to apply contacts to the white part of the eye if hard contacts are chosen. You could cut into the cornea with the edge. Good luck

I do the same thing (soft lenses) – put them on the white of the eye, never directly on. I also have trouble with the blink reflex on the glaucoma test, too.

On eyedrops, I don’t do the “head-tilt-drop-from-above” thing. I have an easier way. Pull the lower eyelid down just slightly to make a little “pocket”, then just squeeze the eyedrop into the pocket. Works just fine, and you don’t have to see a giant drop of liquid flying at your iris with the acceleration of gravity. :wink:

I think that if you are calm about it and use soft contact lenses, you will find it suprisingly easy.
I’ve been phobic of things touching the surface of my eye since birth - when I was 4 and needed to have eye-drops inserted, it took the eye-doctor (who luckily had known me since I was 2 weeks old!) 3 hours to get them in my eyes due to the tantrum I threw. :smack:
Anyway, I have been wearing soft contact lenses for myopia for about 6 months. I’ve always hated it when the eye-doc or optometrist tried to touch my eyes or insert drops - I’ve tried to stay still, but I always automatically squeeze them shut.
When I got fitted for contacts, I asked the optometrist lady if I could try inserting them, as we were having no luck with her trying to open up my eyelids to insert it. After 2 hours I managed to get the first one in; after 15 minutes I managed to get the second one in.
I now can put them in within 10 seconds; they never hurt, and unless my eyes are dry, I’m not aware of them. I find my vision is better with contacts than with glasses.
The funny thing is I still can’t stand it when others try to touch my eyes, but I’m fine with touching my own eyes. You’ll probably find it easy to get over the “I’m touching my eyeball!” thing easily enough - but can you trust other people’s fingers? :confused: