This blog post is sponsored by Rhoto Dry Eye. My experiences with this product are honestly represented.
Call me 4 eyes. Go ahead. I won’t mind. I’ve been wearing glasses and contacts since I was 8 years old. I’ll never forget that first optometrist appointment. What was I thinking when I picked out those black, rectangular frames for my tiny, freckled face??
When I was 12, I graduated into wearing contact lenses. Back then there were only hard lenses and that’s what I used for the next 3 decadesor more. With each annual appointment, my optometrist, Dr. Miller, would tell me, “We have to strengthen those contacts again.” By the time I was in my early 30’s, my eyesight was 20/800, on a good day. As I got older, dry eye became yet another frustrating condition.
It should come as no surprise that when my kids were born, my mama-bear instinct took hold, and I began to worry about my poor eyesight. By then my vision had pretty much stabilized, but I was worried about not being able to protect myself or my kids on a dark night if an intruder broke into the house. Would I attack that blurry, dark shape coming toward me only to find out too late it was one of the kids? I know of no bad guy thug would wait just a few minutes for me to put my contacts in before robbing the house, or worse.
When one of the kids cried out in the middle of the night, it was frustrating to stumble to their bedrooms, unable to clearly see what lay in my path. If they needed medication for a tummy ache or headache, I had to hold the bottle of medicine 5 inches in front of my eye in order to read the dosage.
On camping trips, dealing with contact lenses out in the wilderness was a hassle, and, again, there was always that low-key worry that if something happened, I wouldn’t be able to react quickly enough with a vision rated at legally blind.
“Hold on there, forest fire, while I put my contacts in!”
As a strong and confident person, this weakness has been hard to accept, so in 2016, I decided to begin the long journey toward getting my vision permanently corrected.
The long journey to improving my vision
This began with a visit to an optometrist in my new hometown who, after a thorough exam, informed me that I wasn’t a candidate for LASIK surgery. Those hard contacts I had worn for so many years (now gas permeable, but still “hard”) had affected my corneas. They were too thin for any type of corrective surgery. Fortunately, though, she believed that lens replacement surgery would finally give me the permanent, almost-like-new vision that I longed for. This is the same surgery performed on cataract patients.
That was the good news. The bad was that its cost would be twice that of LASIK.
After much disussion and thought, my doctor prescribed a treatment, a journey, really, that would last for many months but would prepare my eyes for that surgery, restoring my corneas as closely as possible to their original, natural shape and thickness.
First, my gas permeable contacts were replaced with soft lenses. This step allowed my corneas to return to their natural shape. These new lenses were far more comfortable than my hard lenses but provided less-than-stellar vision. Night driving became somewhat harrowing for me, if not my passengers, since headlights, streetlights, and signs appeared to be smudged and difficult to see until I was just a few feet away.
Along with the change in contacts, she emphasized the need to address the dryness of my eyes. My corneas would only begin to heal and re-shape as long as I kept my eyes moistened. There was no particular brand she recommended, but Rhoto Dry Aid is one of the brands I could choose from. It has a non-blurry tear repair formula can last up to 12 hours and actually helps to restore the natural tear film. Their website explains how your eyes have a tear film with 3 layers — you can read about it here.
These were the easy steps toward restoring my vision. Every 7-14 days or so, I had to go back to the optometrist’s office for regular tests to see how my corneas were responding to both the contacts and the eye drops. Even the smallest improvements called for a new contact prescription! I went through 5 or 6 prescriptions before my eyes finally stabilized. My doctor told me the magic number she was looking for was 30. Thirty days in which my corneas remained stable. At that point, we could start discussing the next steps to take, including surgery.
Surgery is still at least 4 or 5 months away at this point, but I’ve continued to use Rhoto Dry Aid drops as part of my routine, first, to keep my eyes feeling comfortable and not scratchy and, second, to make sure my corneas remain healthy for future surgery. This brand of eye drops is the most natural-feeling I’ve tried and soothes that burning, scratchy feeling I sometimes get from dry eye, and I like how each drop is measured to come out one at a time. (By the way, my ever-so-helpful sister-in-law informed me that dry eye comes with advanced age. Such a thoughtful reminder!)
I’m so glad I did this
Even though this entire process has taken almost a year, from the first optometrist appointment until the final, “You’re good to go,” approval for surgery, it has been worth it. As soon as my schedule allows for at least 10 weeks of little driving and plenty of time to allow my eyes to recover, I’ll schedule the surgery. As it stands now, I’ll have the lens replacement surgery on one eye at a time, and then, depending on the corneas again, there may be some touch up work done via LASIK.
With my eyes on the road to recovery, I do feel more confident that very soon I’ll be able to wake up in the middle of the night, have clear vision (for the first time in more years than I want to admit), and know that I’ll be able to respond to emergencies or just a loud thump outside. When traveling, I won’t have to stress out about having a spare set of contacts with me or wonder if I could find an optometrist in some random location who just happened to have my brand and contact prescription on hand!
I’ve experienced enough sudden emergencies to know how important eyesight is. Are you dealing with vision issues? Have you made plans for dealing with them in a sudden emergency or crisis?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Rohto. The opinions and text are all mine.