The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Friday 5 September 2008

The Joys Of Clear Vision

I started wearing glasses when I was seven years old. Those nasty plastic NHS ones that most spectacle-wearers of around my age seem to have had inflicted on them.

Many pairs of those nasty glasses came to unfortunate ends. The first pair was lost on top of a mountain and despite my father running back up to look for them, they were lost in a peat bog forever. For reasons unknown my mother had that tolerable blue pair replaced with a pink pair. I think I lost or destroyed those even with even greater speed, although not on a mountain. But I digress.

I think in common with most people who have been lacking in clarity of vision for a lot of years, I long for good eyesight. To be able to get up in the morning and be able to see the other side of the room without fumbling for glasses would be heaven.

As much as I’d like to be spectacle-free, glasses do the job well enough most of the time (except when looking sideways or trying to hang upside down and look at something). But, the one thing that I really can’t be doing with is rain on my glasses, so if I’m going to be outside for any length of time (be it running, walking or backpacking) and it looks like rain then I’ll reach for the contact lenses.

I realised today (disorganised as ever!) that we’re setting off for a 2-week walk in a week and a half’s time, and that I only have seven pairs of contact lenses (daily ones) left.

Given the current weather, I’m not that optimistic of having six or seven days that promise to be rain free, so I started looking for a new supplier of my usual brand of contact lenses (having rather belatedly realised that Vision Express is an unnecessarily expensive source).

My Googling saw me stumble upon mention of ‘continuous wear’ contact lenses: lenses that you put in your eyes at the beginning of the month and then can wear for thirty days and thirty nights without having the faff with insertion/extraction or cleaning. I remember them being advertised heavily a few years ago but having heard nothing about them since, assumed that they had disappeared.

So, this morning I looked into them (no pun intended) online and then had a chat with a person of questionable knowledge at Specsavers. As a result I decided that I would give them a go for a month, mainly out of curiosity to see what they feel like and to see whether they would be a good solution for backpacking trips (no need to have clean hands each night and morning to fumble in the eyes, amongst other benefits).

To give enough time to get some fitted (assuming of course that they’re suitable for me), ordered and delivered before we set off for St. Bees, I asked whether there was an appointment available today.

The woman on the information desk laughed. That’s never a promising sign. Apparently one has to be far more organised than I am for contact lens fitting purposes. It’s at least a two-week wait for an appointment. That rather scuppered my experiment for this trip.

But I have the idea in my mind now and want to give them a go.

Maybe I’ll try to get an appointment in between the C2C and the WHW and try them out on that trip instead.


  1. My wife had her eyes lasered 3 years ago, relatively painless (excluding the bill!) and she has 20/20 in both eyes and very clear night vision now.
    We've paid off the loan next month, can I get over my squeamishness to have it done too ?!

  2. Please -more about this as it develops. As a fellow 'sufferer' I've tried most options except long-use. Anything to dispense with the solutions/spare specs kerfuffle

  3. Shuttleworth - the problem I have with laser surgery is that my prescription has a bit of a habit of changing, so until it's stayed settled for a few years it's not worth it for me. Then there's the fact that every time I mention it other people suck air through their teeth, shake their heads and tell me why it's a Bad Idea...

    John - I certainly will report back.

  4. My new 'eyewear' ordered from a trendy eye boutique in Brighton arrived today.

    I just wear a cap with a peak when it rains - much cheaper... and less faff.

  5. I know that a lot of people are happy with the peaked-cap solution to rain.

    Alas, I've tried it and it's not for me. It's fine when the rain is coming straight down or from behind, but when it's blowing at me from ahead or the side then I find that the peak just doesn't do it (I suppose I do have a particularly low tolerance for anything landing on my glasses) - and worse I find that I'm staring at the floor the whole time trying to make the peak more protective.

    So, sticking fingers in my eyes it is for me!