It is hard to remember a time in my life where I had great vision. I started wearing glasses when I was in first grade and moved up to contacts the summer before seventh grade.
The week before I left for college, my ophthalmologist told me that I had been over-wearing my contacts and needed to give my eyes a break by wearing glasses. Not liking my appearance with glasses on, I wore my glasses in moderation and continued to wear contacts. The redness died away and I truly believed that everything in my eye was fine. I had monthly disposables and would, at the latest, dispose of them a few days over when I was supposed to. You could never find me sleeping in them, and I cleaned them often and well. There is no doubt that I was a healthy contact user.
There were a few rare days when one eye would get red again; however, it never lasted too long. This also kept the thought that anything was actually wrong, away from me.
It was a Monday evening in mid-November when things took a turn for the worst. My eye had been red that day, which did not mean a lot to me, but this time, a significant pain grew as the night went on. It hurt to close my eye too tight as well as to keep it open. Eye drops would simply fall out of my eye and did nothing to help me. I woke up many times and got very little sleep. In a constant state of fatigue, I woke up much later than usual and headed to class.
Walking there was a journey within itself, as I went back and forth from holding my eye, attempting to force it open, and closing it all while dodging traffic.
After getting to my class safely and early, I sat, holding my eye for about ten minutes. My T.A. noticed my behavior and after I explained myself, she demanded that I went to the Health Center. I fought her on the subject since I hate missing class.
But, eventually found myself inside the Health Center in defeat, and I could not be more grateful that she had made me go.
As the nurses violated my eye with their unusual scans, they told me that I had a scratch on my eye. They prescribed eye ointment, which I did not even know existed, and said that I should probably go to the hospital. My mother, on the other hand, assured me that we would see an ophthalmologist when I would come home for Thanksgiving break.
Once home, we visited the ophthalmologist and were shocked to hear what he had to say. My eye did not have a scratch on it, my eye had an ulcer. He said the reason was what he called "Contact Over Wear Syndrome". Even though I had been taking care of my contacts, there had been a miscommunication. What I thought were monthly disposable contacts had been two-week disposables. It is unclear if my contacts had been that way for years or more recently.
But, if I had continued to wear my contacts, it is likely that the ulcer would have caused permanent damaged to my vision.
As a Graphic Design major, it is impossible to deny that vision is a key element. If I had lost my sight or even a part of it, it is likely that I would have had to change my major. My life in general would have been changed altogether. And this could have become my reality if I had not been forced to go to the Health Center.