My first appointment with the Maidstone contact lens clinic was mid-2008. I saw a man called Tim Wooley, who was very reassuring, and helped me to tune my prescription using the usual board of letters and the mountain of lenses that slot into that pair of torture-chamber-looking glasses you have to wear.
He then placed into my eyes my first pair of lenses- a pair of Rigid Gas Permeable things. Having never worn any lenses before, l was quite taken aback at quite how much my eyes didn’t like having them in; it felt like I had grit in both eyes, they streamed with tears, and I could see the edges of the lenses moving around on my vision. It was a bit of a culture shock.
Nevertheless, he made a pair up for me, which on the UK’s NHS cost at the time £50 per eye, and a few weeks later I came to collect them.
Trying to put them in my eyes at first was like anyone new to lenses. There is the initial ‘I hate poking my eye’ feeling, shifting your eyelids, and, with the small RGP lenses, trying to make them sit still on the tip of my fricking finger when they are filled with conditioner, without them plopping off onto the table or floor and having to sterilise again. But eventually I built up the knack, and before long they were sitting pretty in my eyes.
Several things came up over my wearing of these lenses in the weeks that passed, that to anyone just starting out on this journey might find useful. One, they are meant to move around slightly in your eye- I found each time I ‘blunk’ I could see them moving before sucking back into place. This, I was assured, is quite normal and promotes healthy use of the lenses. Two, it is normal for your eyes to be red and painful for a good while whilst you adapt to wearing them. Three, for gods’ sake don’t rub your eye with them in! Or else you feel like you’re scraping your eyeball with a scalpel!
All the above aside, after a while I built up my use of the lenses gradually, until I could pretty comfortably wear them for a good 12 hours a day.
It is a while ago now, but I think that I got a good 6-7 months use out of this ‘batch’ and they much improved my quality of life in spite of the moderate irritation of having them in my eyes. I hung up my specs as well for the most part.