Adventures in Eye Care
I had my eyeball buffed this week.
Jamming things into my eye has become a recurring problem in my life. As a talent, I possess the inherit ability to inflict personal ocular trauma. This is not a talent that I wish to have. Literally, any other talent would be preferable. Even the opposite talent would be preferable; the divine ability to AVOID foreign objects lodged in my retina. But nooooooooooooooooo. I manage to poke, scratch, burn, and embed crap into my eyehole at an alarming rate. While some people are able to go their entire lives without donning an eye patch, I can usually go about ten minutes. So, for those of you not “in the know,” I am going to run down my Top Ten list of the most horrific encounters of the eyeball, just so you know what you’re up against.
In order from mild to miserable, I present:
Top Ten Most Horrific Eye Injuries (incurred by me and recorded for posterity and the purposes of scientific evaluation upon my inevitable eyeball-related death.)
10. An eyelash.
Pain level: .001 on a scale of 1-10
Ha. An eyelash. That’s hilarious. I remember getting an eyelash stuck in the lower lid once. I thought I was never going to get that sucker out. It was scratchy feeling and the tears were a’ flowin’ making removal impossible. This is the lowest form of eye pain that exists. This is the kind of eye pain that only middle school girls who attend horse-riding themed private schools whine about. I get about 40 eyelashes in my eye on a daily basis. Frankly, at this point, it feels good. Bring it on. I’m not scared of you, eyelash. That’s right. It feels like a cool, summer breeze on my retina. I don’t even notice you. You’re like the buzzing of flies to me.
9. Contact inserted inside-out
Pain level: annoying
When I first got contacts, I clearly remember the eye doctor explaining to me how to properly insert and remove these little magnificent bastards. He placed one carefully on the the tip of his index finger and held it in front of my face telling me that I wanted to make sure that when I put it in my eye, it didn’t look like a World War II Dutch army helmet. If it did, then I was putting it on inside-out.
I smiled and said okay. What I should have said was: “How many of your 17 year old female clients have an exceptional knowledge of WWII helmet shapes, varying by country? Do I appear to be a person who knows WTF a Dutch war helmet looks like? Well, I’m not. I couldn’t pick a World War II Dutch army helmet out of a lineup of football helmets, war helmets, and 4-slice toaster ovens. Are you kidding me?
Regardless, I taught myself what was inside-out by placing an inside-out contact onto my eyeball 400,000 times over the course of the next year and a half. I don’t know how I would describe the minuscule difference in shape from the properly-sided insertion other than the slight tingling in the back of my head that senses impending evil when it is inside-out.
8. Eye allergies
Pain level: annoying as fuck.
In the last few years, I have developed random and mysterious eye allergies. This is the go-to response of eye doctors when I tell them that I randomly suffer dry, burning, teary eyes that flare up immeasurably in movie theaters. That’s right. For some reason, the brightness of the screen and the darkness of the room combine forces to create a fiery, tear-filled mess in my face. According to eye doctors, that means I have eye allergies. According to me, that means that I had to leave the final installment of Twilight with red, puffy eyes and mascara-tracked tears down my face. Now everyone thinks I cry at Twilight. Thanks face. Thanks.
When I ask what I’m allergic too, I get the patented medical personnel blank stare. Apparently my eyes are allergic to sparkly vampires. And to living. Thanks eyes. Thanks.
7. Drinking straw.
Pain level: mildly unpleasant
I have a few different kinds of laughs. Sometimes I laugh so hard that only dogs can hear it. Sometimes I throw my head back and laugh like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Sometimes I throw my head back and laugh and when I try to right myself back to a sitting position, I miss the trajectory and jam my eyeball face-first into my drink, resulting in stabbing myself in the eye with a plastic straw. I do not recommend this. That is not the way to have a Coke and a smile. It’s a way to have a Coke and a corneal abrasion.
6. A chip in your contact.
Pain level: rather unpleasant
I don’t know what it is about contact lenses that makes them randomly fall apart while I’m wearing them, but the majority of my eye afflictions are caused by a random chip in the lens. This usually occurs when there is absolutely nothing that I can do about it, such as being stuck at a cash register with a line stretching from the bath section to the “beyond” during the middle of the holiday rush at noon on Christmas Eve. Or while I’m two hours into a 6 hour road trip and all of my extra contacts are in my bathroom drawer at home, just four hours from my current location in rush-hour traffic. I don’t know what causes it, but I know within minutes that my lens has a chip and it will spend the foreseeable future rubbing an irritating hole into my cornea and making life exponentially more and more miserable until I can get that chippy demon out of my face. I hate you, contacts. I hate you! Just kidding, I can’t stay mad at you. Come make me see…. make me see all the things.
5. A torn contact. Half of which is still in your eye.
Pain level: searing.
Thanks to my mystery allergies, sometimes my eyes get incredibly dry. When that happens, my contacts become one with my cornea. They are fused together with a mystical bond of burning attachment, the likes of which rival history’s greatest love stories. Trying to separate them isn’t going to end well. Suddenly the surface of my eye is having a 50 Shades moment with my contact and the next thing I know, I have a finger full of half a lens and and an eyeball full of pain. Screaming ensues.
4. Getting snapped with a towel
Pain level: horrific with a side of god damn it.
I once had a friend who earned his Master’s degree in being a dumbass by snapping a towel. AT MY FACE. In my eye, to be more specific. It’s the kind of thing that you hear about in urban legends, only it seriously happened to me. I’ve never been punched in the face, but I imagine it feels exactly like this. The pain starts on your eyeball and radiates out to your brow bone. For two days I couldn’t look in any direction because of the horrific pain and swelling inside my eye. It watered constantly. You would think this is the worst thing imaginable in the way of eye injuries. You would think wrong.
Pain level: ungoddly torture
Yeah, I’ve gotten deodorant in my eye. I don’t even know what to say. One of my armpits always smells worse than the other, so when I finished violently applying anti-stink cream, I shoved the plastic cap back on and shaved a little of that white, chalky crap onto the counter.
That’s the only thing that really makes sense. From that point on, everything is a little hazy. No pun intended. I opened a new lens. I put it on my eye. Somehow it had a chunk of deodorant on it. I saw Jesus. He wasn’t happy.
2. Sizzling your eye with cleaning solution
Pain level: blindingly, massively horrible.
I flew into Ocean City, Maryland on the 4th of July to see a friend. For whatever reason, I didn’t bring contact solution and I had to run to walmart to pick up a bottle. We had been excited about going to the beach to watch the fireworks and hanging out on the boardwalk, so I was naturally distracted when I combed through the travel aisle for a small bottle that didn’t cost a lot. I recognized my usual brand and tossed it into the cart without much thought. I should have given it some thought.
The next morning, when I got up, I opened my contact case and took out one of my lenses. It was gooey as if it had been covered in mucus, and kind of sticky, as if it had been slowly melting overnight. You would think that would be a red flag and that I wouldn’t just jam it into my eye.
You would think wrong.
Well, it turns out that I had bought hard contact lens solution for my soft lenses. In case you didn’t know, they are NOT the same thing. I now had an eye full of chemicals and the burning was more intense than you can possibly imagine. I was convinced that I was going to go blind. Fortunately, as bad as it felt to sizzle my eyeball with a cesspool of chemicals applied directly to my retina, the pain receded in about 24 hours making an ocular chemical burn only the second worst pain I’ve suffered through with my eyes.
01. Random piece of nature
Pain level: Oh, the humanity
The mystery chunk of tree that embedded itself into my eyeball has become the worst, most horrific, most impossible to heal and unbelievably craptastic pain of my entire life. I never even felt anything enter my eye. I couldn’t point to a specific incident that would have caused it. There was no towel snapping or slimy, burning liquids. Just a minor irritation after a run. I assumed I could sleep it off, even. But oh no. I woke up the next morning with blurred vision, a swollen, red eye, tons of irritation, sensitivity to light, burning, and tearing the likes of which convinced me that my cornea had been scratched and/or possessed by a demon.
I went to the doctor and sure enough, I had a piece of fucking wood embedded into my eye. They had to numb it and get “instruments” for removal. Then, they had to BUFF my eye to rid it of the remaining debris. I am currently on day three of this bullshit. I have two different anti-biotics and have been stuck in glasses for the duration. Three days later and it appears to be getting better but I still can’t open my eye all the way, I still can’t wear contacts, I still can’t see well, and I still want to go around randomly punching trees to teach them a lesson for all the bullshit they have caused me.
So the next time you find yourself whimpering over a speck of dust or an eyelash, just remember, it could be much worse. You could need to have a tree buffed out of your face.