Eye've Been Had

After three weeks of wearing glasses, I’ve been getting somewhat impatient to resume contact wear. To that end, my followup appointment came up yesterday. As expected, a topographical scan of my corneas revealed they have indeed reverted to some ideal state unencumbered by daily plastic assaults. The doctor described my eyes as a textbook example of healthy corneas, astigmatism and myopia notwithstanding. Apparently the contacts had been slightly flattening the surface, slightly suppressing my astigmatism by about one point. For those of you with normal eyes, most people with corrective lenses don’t even have one point of astigmatism, evidenced by the rarity of toric contact lenses. I have over four points, and the contacts had reduced the worst eye to 3.5. This would explain why my vision slowly deteriorated after getting my new glasses. As my corneas healed, my glasses which were only designed for 3.5 points of astigmatism had to suddenly correct 4.5.

As a little explanation, astigmatism is unlike mere nearsightedness in that it causes light refraction. This means when an image hits my eye it gets bisected, hitting the back of my eye in two distinctly different locations. The topographical scan of my eye reveals light forming an upright figure-eight, instead of a clean circle over the optic nerve. While the optic nerve and my brain are fully capable of interpreting a slightly off-center signal, two of them present a unique problem, causing a peculiar double-vision without stereoscopic vision. In other words, I see double with each eye. Uncorrected an astigmatism as heavy as mine results in disorienting double-vision, and undercorrected as a light double-exposure halo around everything I see. This makes using a computer excessively straining, as words are in focus but somehow simultaneously not.

With that in mind, consider that my eye-doctor called me after I left the office. He had contacted the lab and sent the prescription for my contacts as modified by the recent exam, and he was quickly rebuffed. My astigmatism, they complained, was just over the cusp rendering mere hemispheric lenses insufficient. I now not only required gas-permeable hard contacts, but toric gas-permeable hard contacts. You bastards! As expected, these also cost twice as much, since they are not merely ground in a cusp shape, but instead fit the unique curvature of my eye which is not consistent on any axis. The fit will improve accordingly, but it’s yet another invisible line I’ve crossed toward being practically blind. He also informed me that the reason I can only be corrected to 20/25, is due to the continued stretching of my eye. This spreads out the rods and cones, reducing resolution to the point it’s physically impossible to achieve perfect vision regardless of lens precision as defined by optical physics. Eventually I’ll be limited by 20/30, 20/40, and so on as my eyes continue to degrade.

Obviously this prompts the question: why the hell are my eyes still changing at my age?! I’m almost 30, yet I lose a point of vision nearly every year. Most people don’t even have a single point of myopia and I currently have 15. Every exam from every optometrist and opthamologist I’ve encountered reveals that my eyes are healthy. Oh really? If this is healthy, I’d hate to see what they consider unhealthy. All told, I’ve spent $1100 in the last month upgrading my eyewear, and like every other company out there, mine has awesome dental and absolutely abysmal vision insurance, so every single dime has come out of my pocket. And consider I usually replace my contacts yearly, and my glasses every two or three years simply because my prescription refuses to stabilize. If I didn’t have a good source of income and insurance, my heart and eyes would put me in the poor-house.

Can I just get a new body? Don’t they have that technology yet?

Until Tomorrow