The world seems clearer now

January 1, 2008
By Victoria Yee, Westminster, CA

I get the honor of toting three new items to school every day.

These esteemed items include a small blue compact mirror, a blue and green lens case, and lubricating eye drops.

All items listed above are for the new necessity of my pathetic, teenage life:

contact lenses.

It is the result of the optometrist visit that I have hinted, pestered, and pleaded to my parents for two years now.

It doesn’t help that my optometrist is in LA because my parents 1) don’t trust American doctors 2) want someone who can speak Mandarin/ Cantonese 3) but most importantly, they want someone who doesn’t require co-payment.

Ah, the miserable life of a middle-class Chinese child where every rice grain is counted.

It took hundreds of “I can’t see what the teacher is writing on the board!”s to convince my parents to let me go to the optometrist and receive an eyeglasses prescription before I started high school.

The optometrist visit more than three years ago was quite uneventful. I was extremely nervous because I reasoned, from watching my older brother, that they would shoot compressed air into my eye to check pressure.

It looked quite painful from the way he abruptly jerked back.

And that’s not mentioning his profane curse of shock.

I realize there are things better left untold, but if it’s anything I trust another person to do, and especially to my body, I believe it is my right to know. If I go into surgery, tell me the procedure. If I’m receiving a shot, tell me what’s being injected. If I put my eyes under your inspection, tell me what’s going to be done to them.

So, whenever they told me to “put my eye here”, I was wary, questioning, uncooperative, suspicious. They never did the pressure check for me, though.

By the time the appointment was over however, I was immensely irritated and when asked to choose the frames for my glasses, I nodded to the first one they presented to me.

And that was that.

To this day, I am not fond of them. With its round, burgundy frames, it accentuates the plumpness of my face, is annoyingly cumbersome, and uneasily fragile. Call me stubborn or silly, but I am reluctant to wear it outside of class despite frequent mistakes in identifying friends or locating streets.

For the past few months, my eyesight has been getting progressively worse. I would get headaches after wearing my glasses; upon removing them, I would see spots, glare, and cataract like hazing. Frequently, I’d shut an eye when reading to decrease a pain in the other. My eyes, already unbalanced in degree, felt wondrously unbalanced in weight and strain.

I had already undergone eye infections with all the grotesque crusting over the summer, so it took fewer complaints and hints to my parents to coerce them in bringing me up to LA for a check-up.

Hey, I mean, if I can’t go to the dentist for about two years, I should be able to go to the optometrist after three, right?

I thought I’d just get a degree reevaluation and a new eyeglass prescription.

But alas, that diagnosis in Chinese has probably changed my life forever: “The reason she’s having headaches is that the degree difference between her eyes are significantly polarized. Her brain’s having difficulty adjusting and coordinating the two. Many people choose contact lenses for aesthetic reasons, but for this girl, I’d highly recommend contact lenses.”

Uh oh.

Did anyone mention that I have extreme, extreme difficulty opening my eyes when people are trying to stick stuff into them?

Even for eye-drops? Hello? Anyone hear me?

Nonetheless, I spend the next half hour in front of a mirror pulling my eyes and removing several eyelashes in the process attempting to insert these flimsy, transparent things, then removing, cleansing, and repeating.

My 400 degree plus, double vision left eye is more resistant than my 100 degree plus right. (I don’t remember the exact degree anymore. Yep, only after a few hours) It was only after numerous contact lens drops, disinfectant rinses, paper towel eye-dries, and an impatient hiss of, “Ugh! This is so aggravating. Why don’t you just go in,” did my left eye finally accept the will of its master.

The world definitely seems a bit sharper, a bit brighter. I can see street names when I walk by. I can see faces, not blobular shapes.

It’s quite the revelation—to have the ability of clear sight.

But it’s also quite the bother.

The world is so sharp, that I’ve already bumped into four people today. (Don’t ask me how) I am not accustomed to have flimsy, transparent things in my eyes and the responsibility of inserting/ removing/ cleaning them.

What happens when I get sand in my eyes?

What if it tears in my eye?

What if I can’t get them out?

But first and foremost, will I ever get to zero period Journalism as editor-in-chief on time?!

“Okay, you guys. We won’t have anything to do today…I have to get these blasted contact lenses on…”

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