After many years of heavy glasses, I was introduced to contact lenses for my keratoconus.
My first pair of glasses were prescribed in 1959 at the age of 8. They were a very fetching pair of white frames that I got from the first OPSM store in Australia in Collins St Melbourne.
I was short sighted, and every year my prescription increased, until my glasses became very thick and heavy.
In those days lenses were made of glass only. They were not the kind of thing a self-conscious teen aged girl wanted to be seen in. I stopped wearing them at high school and would only wear them in class. This meant that I became very reliant on friends, especially when we went out at night. I was effectively blind without them.
My family moved to Sydney in the early seventies, and I started to wear my glasses more. I was learning to drive, and clearly needed them to get around.
Then one day in 1973 my optometrist suggested I try the new soft contact lenses. I remember the day I got my first pair of contact lenses. The optometrist inserted them and explained how to look after them. I later took the train home and remember looking out the window and being able to see individual leaves on the trees – it was like a miracle.
My elation was short lived however. What followed was the torture of removing them, and inserting them myself. There were a few frustrating tearful days learning how to use them, but my glasses became a thing of the past.
My prescription continued to increase, but I began to become astigmatic as well. Various optometrists experimented with different lens combinations, but eventually my astigmatism became keratoconus. Soft lenses just weren’t working any more. I tried hard contact lenses but found them painful and they would slip around my eye.
We began talking about a corneal graft and but first thought I would try and get another opinion. I found Jim Kokkinakis through a recommendation on the internet in the early 2000’s.
He introduced me to piggyback lenses – a hard lens over a soft lens for my keratoconus. These are comfortable to wear, easy to maintain.
Luckily my prescription seems to have stabilized, and I live a normal life.
It’s amazing to think that I have been wearing contact lenses for nearly 50 years!
I have seen many changes in contact lenses over the years – the main change being the shift into disposables.
It has been a long, and at times scary journey with keratoconus. My contacts are a part of my life now, and I am very grateful for them.