Wednesday, October 25, 2006

THE MATHEMATICS OF CONTACT LENSES.



In a late-blooming effort to take slightly more care with my appearance, I bought contact lenses last June.

That, in and of itself, was an interesting experience. If the US is the country of “contact lenses in an hour,” then Spain apparently is the country of “contact lenses in three and a half weeks.”

But I’m not here to complain about that. I’m here to talk about mathematics.

I bought a six month supply of monthly-wear contact lenses. They’re called “monthly-wear” because you’re supposed to wear them for thirty days, toss them into the trash and then break-open a fresh pair.

It’s now nearly November. And as I was drinking my coffee this morning, I realized something startling.

I’m still wearing the *same* pair of contact lenses that I was wearing when I first left the optometrist’s office.

That’s right...my thirty day lenses have completed 150 days of service. And you know what? They’re still as comfortable today as they were on Day 1. I can’t feel them in my eyes as I type these words.

So, the mathematics problem for today is the following.

Is 30>150, as the marketers claim? Or—as my experience has shown—is 30=150? If the latter, then it seems to me that this monthly-wear thing is a bit of a scam.

I mean...Bausch & Lomb would have you believe that the damn things turn into locusts on Day 31.

And before I forget, let me make the most important point of all: COCONUT!

12 Comments:

At 11:59 AM, Blogger woman wandering said...

Stop with your subliminal messaging ... we can't all love coconuts.

Lol, locusts huh ... I see we get our scientific reasoning from the same creative wellspring.

 
At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're scaring me... all sorts of weird stuff can happen with contact lenses! (says me, having had my eyes lasered!)

Or perhaps I've just read too many scary things in my MIL's magazine collection over the years!?

What can WW mean when she says "We can't all love coconuts"
Oh dear! I see you've got your work cut out for you here with some people! :O)

 
At 4:51 PM, Blogger woman wandering said...

Oi oi oi ... I'm not work.

 
At 5:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oooops! Sorry WW! I didn't mean that YOU were work, only that you had a stronger mind than some of the rest of us... :O)

 
At 7:01 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Lady Di: I find it mind-boggling that not all rational people love COCONUT. But if I am the only one who loves COCONUT, then that has its own advantages. I can have it all to myself.

Trac: Ahhh...you're surely referring to the woman in Luxembourg whose contact lenses burst into flames and melted her head when she mixed Coca-cola with Mentos. And to think...I had previously believed that only a laser could melt someone's head.

Sal

 
At 7:53 PM, Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

Funny. When I was in Spain, my eyes were a lot less dry. Humidity, maybe?? Anyway, at the office with all that paper, carpet (YUCK!) and now the heating, I find myself coming home and taking my lenses out, first thing. I wonder. Did you feel a difference when you were in Chicago??

 
At 8:57 PM, Blogger christina said...

Ooooh, Sal, you must have eyes of steel! I suppose if the contacts are still comfortable they'll be all right if you've been conscientiously (sp?) cleaning and disinfecting them every day. I had the 30-day type once and I remember the optician saying that because of the material they're made of (thinner and more water content than regular contacts) they do tend to build up protein and lipid deposits more quickly and the risk of bacterial infection is increased if you don't dispose of them often enough. I think he also said that the plastic starts to break down as soon as you open the little sealed package and that's after 30 days out of the package, not after 30 days of wear. But on the other hand, it looks like you have proved him wrong. Maybe the guy was lying and just wanted my money? I never really got to find out if they do disintegrate or make your eyeballs fall out or melt your head because I rarely wore mine, and any and all contacts that I've ever tried have been uncomfortable right from the start. Dry eyes or something. Poor, poor me. I fear I am destined to live a bespectacled life.

But at least we'll always have COCONUT!

 
At 7:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooh how amazing - eyes of steel....but..can they do this?

 
At 9:54 AM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

C-Swiss: I notice a big difference, but not because of humidity. It's actually far less humid here than in Chicago (the Med coast of Spain, e.g., Alicante, is a different story). My last pair of contacts were 1995-6. I could feel those lenses like slabs of concrete. Many days I couldn't tolerate them at all. I went ten years wearing glasses before this current set. I asked the Spanish Optometrist why these new lenses felt invisible, whereas my Chicago pair felt like two aircraft carriers. She said that the technology has improved a lot over the past ten years. Anyway...if laser eye surgery ever dips below 1,000€, I'll do that. In the meantime, I have better uses for the current price of 3,000€ (e.g., COCONUTS).

Christina: OK....you've scared me into dumping my 150 day lenses. This morning, I cracked open a new set. They feel the same, but I think I can see better in my right eye. Perhaps it's just a placebo effect. Anyway, I am very diligent about caring for my lenses. Although it's a no-brainer now. In the old days, you had to rinse and rub the lenses each night, enzyme them once a week, etc. Now, you only need to soak them in solution overnight. No rubbing; no enzyming. It's damn easy. I have a friend in NY who had problems several years ago with corneal ulcers caused by his lenses. I asked an Optometrist about this. She said that the cause of ulcers is, oftentimes, handling your lenses without washing your hands first. Just an FYI. Bottom line: I won't go another 150 days (and, in fact, didn't do it intentionally this time...it was just a brain lapse) in the future; but I'll probably go 60 days. Maybe 67.

Wendz: No, I can't do that with my eyes. But I can do it with my ears.


All: Today is the tenth straight day of rain here in central Spain. Please send Prozac! Or a one-way plane ticket to Death Valley, California.

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger christina said...

60 days sounds like a good bet. Didn't mean to scare ya, but it's good to know what *can* happen. We just don't want to see you needing a braille keyboard in the future!

And yeah, why is LASIK surgergy so damn expensive?

 
At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Tis worth every penny... every cent... if it goes right! Best money I've ever spent on anything ever....

I'm so glad that Christina scared you into chucking out the last CL's! That was one of the scariest posts I've ever read! :O)
x

 
At 3:22 PM, Blogger Angie said...

I have the 30-day ones and I do that, too! Usually I just throw them away when they start to hurt and no amount of cleaning helps... sometimes it's 29 days, sometimes it's 50. Who has time to keep count? :)

Mausi and I have posted our favorite Halloween costumes... where's yours? (Although it seems like every day is Halloween at the VTB.)

Spain in 9 days!!!

 

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