I dipped my finger into my contact case, extracting the wispy bubble of the lens, carefully balancing it on the tip of my finger. I blinked my eyes, attempting to produce some moisture to assist in helping the lens stick to the curve of my eye; but since RA arrived, the moisture in my eyes dried up, chased away by the presence of the old lady.
I held open my left lid with my fingers, trying not to blink, which would inevitably result in the frail lens rolling up like a hedgehog, and me having to douse it again in solution to unfurl it to its original shape; with great patience, I slipped the lens over my left eye feeling the suction as it stuck in place. I reached for the right lens, balancing it on my fingertip, and brought it to my right eye, but this time, it did not slide gently into place; instead, it kissed the curve of my eye, retracted from the automatic spastic blinking and landed on my cheek; there was more moisture on my finger than there was in my eye.
I remembered telling my ophthalmologist that after only mere hours of wearing my contacts, my eyes would get extremely dry. She suggested some eye drops and informed me it was part of the disease, an inconvenience, but nothing to worry about. I tested my eyes every six months, and each time they received a glowing report of health; except for the dryness that never seemed to abate.
I tried inserting my contact again, only to have my eye reject it with another uncontrollable blink; I rinsed the lens, added more solution, trying to imbue it with enough moisture for my eye to accept its cupped body. Like an infant trying food they dislike for the first time, my eye spit it out, sending its transparent body onto the white towel covering my counter. I tried several more times, watching it end up on my finger, my cheek, my clothes, almost everywhere except its proper place in my eye. The clock informed me I was going to be late for my engagement and after several attempts, I removed the left contact, grudgingly shoved my glasses onto my nose and plodded out the door, grumbling over the deceitful delusion of my temperamental RA eyes.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.
I have this happen quite often. If you have other dryness (dry mouth, er, uh, “female” dryness, etc.) you might be like me and also have Sjogren’s which often accompanies RA and has a major symptom of dryness. My rheumy has diagnosed Evoxac for me which has made an amazing difference. It is a systemic medication so if dry eyes are your only complaint, it may not be for you. I have found if I put lubricating drops in my eyes BEFORE I insert the lenses, they go in much easier and are more comfortable throughout the day. Hope the old lady takes a long vacation. Thanks for the great post. Your writing is always enjoyable.
Thank you Carla. I may look into the possibility of Sjogrens next time I visit my rheumy. It is mainly my eyes, but in the last month or so, I’ve noticed increased dryness in my mouth. I’ll have to see if that continues 🙂 Thanks for visiting, always a pleasure. Enjoy your morning coffee 😉
Ooops, I meant my rheumy has “prescribed” Evoxac for me — not diagnosed it! (I need my morning coffee!)
Unfortunately, that is part of the disease. Sometimes the burn from the dryness is incredible when I first open my eyes in the morning. But the lubricant drops are right at my bedside for when I really need them. I hope the old lady leaves your eyes alone for awhile, or at least is more cooperative..
Thanks Irma, I hope she will be too 🙂