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Contact lenses always used to scare me. I remember as a kid my older brother decided to try contacts and he spent ages at the optometrist trying to put them in his eyes. He eyes ended up becoming really bloodshot and irritated after poking at them so much. I remember leaving my brother at the office to go around shopping with my mom in the meantime because he took so long. I thought to myself, I’m never going to do that. He got eye infections very often, too (but now that I’m more educated in contacts, it’s because he didn’t follow all recommended precautions).

There have been a few times where I wish I did have contacts, but the thought of touching my eye (I have a terrible blinking reflex with anything coming near my eye) and the complication of contacts made me like my glasses just fine. Today I still love my glasses for the convenience and fashion, but I’m glad that I am finally giving contacts a chance as well.

I work at an optometry office and I am going to optometry school in August (finally! T_T ) to work towards becoming an eye doctor, so I recently decided it was finally time to tackle my fears and give it a shot. I’m not going to lie, it took me two hours at work trying to get them in and take them out a couple of times (I tried with 3 different brands of contacts that day), leaving my eyes looking like I had watched a soap opera, and I still wasn’t good at it. It wasn’t the best idea to learn insertion and removal with one of the most difficult to handle lenses, but now I am very good with the “easier” lenses at least (hooray!). I used to be terrified of putting eyedrops in my eyes before. If someone like me can handle contacts, that definitely proves it is possible for almost everyone!

Read on for some general information about contact lenses and for my personal tips on how to insert and remove lenses. Contact lenses used to just be beyond me but now that I’m getting better, I thought I’d share for any hopefuls out there.

Some tidbits for those interested in contact lenses:

  • Contact lenses should be worn as prescribed to you by your optometrist. Unlike some “one size fits all clothing,” one brand/type of contact lens does not fit everyone. Eye shapes and comfort levels vary. It’s important to check that your eyes are healthy enough and check that you are a good candidate to wear contacts.
  • Check the shape of the lens and make sure it is not inside-out before wearing them. Here’s a great article on checking for the shape. It won’t be the end of the world if it’s inside-out, but it won’t be comfortable.
  • Never shower with contacts on – avoid having your contact lenses touch tap water at all times (only use saline solution and designated contact lens rewetting drops).
  • Keep nails trimmed until you are good at inserting and removing your lenses so that you don’t risk scratching your eye. People going in to learn contacts the first time should NOT wear eye makeup or have long nails (I’ve had to train people who did and it was super difficult).
  • Never sleep with contacts on. They’ll get dry since there is no blinking motion to continually lubricate them, your eyes will also get deprived of oxygen as you sleep, and you’ll be more prone to eye infections.
  • Avoid wearing contacts ALL the time. You must let your eyes take a break from contacts – they need to breathe!
  • Contacts go in first, then makeup. Contacts come off first before removing makeup.
  • If it hurts or feels uncomfortable, take it out – you don’t want to gamble with your eyes.
  • When taking out your contacts, make sure you clean it and then rinse it with contact lens solution. Do the same before putting them in your eyes if they are dirty or you drop them.
  • After your contacts have been stored in solution and you wish to put them in your eyes, rinse them really well in solution and then non-preservative saline solution so that your eye will not get irritated by any chemicals absorbed into the lenses.
  • Take control of the lens. Yes, be gentle with them, but be firm and in control. You can pinch them gently between the pads of your fingers. Don’t be afraid to handle them, or else you’ll end up dropping them countless times (I definitely did that at first).
  • When learning how to put in and take off contact lenses, don’t give yourself a time frame. Just relax and take it as slow as you need to, stretching it out to different days if you have to. Irritating your eyes and getting frustrated is no fun.

Insertion Procedure:

  • Wash hands with non-moisturizing soap (if not possible, then rinse longer – it can irritate your eye) and rinse off really well. Dry off with non-linty towel or paper towels. In my case, I always have a problem with lint & having it irritate my eyes, so now I try my best to be patient and air dry my hands (it helps to flick off as much water as possible, wave your hands around, and blow on the fingers you’ll be using to touch the contact).
  • Check the shape of the lens. Nice and round bowl shaped edges pointing straight up is the right-side out. Flared out edges and slanted edges is inside-out. Some lenses are numbered (it will read “123” if correct, or will read backwards if inside-out). Another tip is to hold the lens between thumb and index finger and pinch the bottom inwards as if you were going to fold it in half. The right-side out will look like a taco with edges pointing inwards. Inside-out will have the edges pointing outwards. Also, when you place the contact in your palm and rub it with solution, you might notice it’s more difficult if it is inside-out.
  • Place lens on index finger of your dominant hand. Having the contact on the very tip of my finger always seems to be difficult, so instead I try putting it on the side of my finger instead.
  • Use non-dominant hand to hold upper eyelid open. Use middle finger or ring finger of dominant hand to hold down bottom eyelid. Point your chin down, look up, angling your face so that you expose as much eyeball as possible. Once you get used to it, you may find it easier to just leave your upper eyelid untouched, use your non-dominant hand to hold down your lower eyelid, and just pop in the lenses using your dominant hand. No need to pry both your eyelids open.
  • I try to aim as low on my eyeball as possible (more towards the bottom white space). The first few touches always make me want to blink, so I do the top or bottom first to get the sensitive part of my eye more used to the sensation (it feels like when you get a strand of hair stuck in your eye and you want to take it out).
  • Once my eye is a bit more used to it, I roll my finger so that I can get the rest of the edges to suction onto my eyeball. It might require a bit of maneuvering around to get all or most of the edges to make contact with the eye, but when the edges are suctioned on there for the most part, I’ll either use my finger to push in the remaining parts or look in different directions before slowly closing my eyes to get all of the contact to suction on. If it isn’t coming off of your finger, dry your finger on the back of your palm and try again. Try to slide the contact towards the middle of your eye, where the contact fits perfectly, if it still isn’t coming off of your dry finger.
  • Some contacts are harder to put on than others, depending on the water content of the lenses. Dailies Total 1 give me a lot of trouble for example, while Acuvue Oasys I can put in right away.

Removal procedure:

  • Wash and dry hands.
  • Sometimes it helps to place rewetting drops or saline solution in your eyes a few minutes before removing your contacts to make it a little easier. (However, avoid doing this with Dailies Total 1 as it makes them too slippery to remove)
  • Open lid(s) similar to insertion procedure. Use index or middle finger to aim for the bottom of the contact (on the bottom colored part of the eye) and drag the contact to the bottom or the side (away from nose). At this point the contact lens may or may not wrinkle a bit (either way, don’t take your finger off of the contact yet), and add your thumb to pinch it out of your eye.
  • If you have trouble sliding the lens away from the center of your eye, just try directly pinching the bottom of the contact. Try going for a wider pinch (like you are gently squeezing the left and right sides of the lens) if it doesn’t seem to work.
  • Although I haven’t been able to do it, some people find success with sliding the lens either all the way down the eye or all the way to the side and the lens will just roll right off.

Another month of me disappearing would hopefully mean some good news right? …YES! I’m here to deliver my good news: I got into optometry school!!! I’ve been complaining about applications and taking entrance exams and work and internship and all kinds of stuff for ages – it never seemed like it was going to end – but I finally made it in!

Backtracking back to my interview with my 1st choice school: Since I applied so late during the application cycle, I had a 2 week notice before my interview (it was the last interview day that the school would conduct). I spent practically an all-nighter the night before my interview prepping because I was busy with my human anatomy class exams and work in the previous two weeks. Honestly I wasn’t even sure if I’d land an interview so I never did interview prep in advance…I gathered/wrote up Q&As for about a week and did actual mock interview prep in less than 24 hours, lol.

Because of that all-nighter, I was obviously very, very tired on interview day. Interview days last about 5 hours, too, so it’s all very draining. You spend all that time having lunch with other interviewees/current students, taking a tour of the school, listening to a presentation about the school, having a student panel talk to you and answer questions, having a financial aid briefing, talking to admissions committee about any missing requirements, etc, and then finally the interview.

Our interviews were not only at the end of the day, but I was also in the next-to-last group to interview. You can imagine how crazy my nerves were while I was just sitting in the hallway waiting to be called. Some interviewees had two interviewers, but I ended up having only one, and he was a very nice fellow. It felt like I asked him as many questions as he had asked me! I’m super thankful I thought up of a bunch of questions I was curious about because I feel like if I didn’t have them, my interview would have been half as short. My boyfriend took me to my interview that day and stayed with me for support (so grateful ^_^ ). He told me I was in there interviewing for about 40 minutes; I still wonder how long everyone else’s interview was.

My interview went pretty smoothly except for 1 question where I blanked out, so I ended up making something up instead (even though I actually did have a real experience to talk about that I practiced beforehand!!!). Later that day when I was home, I ended up crying because I felt like maybe I didn’t do the best that I could have done, and compared to all of the brilliant people I briefly saw before interviews, I felt like I didn’t have a chance. On my interview day, all of us interviewees knew that all 100 seats for the incoming class were already full. We applied too late. But, we all had impressive enough applications to be asked to come for the last interview day, and those who did well on our interviews, would be put on the waiting list.

I would check every day to see if I got into the waiting list yet. One week after the interview, I found out I was on the waiting list. From then on, they would score all of our interviews and rank us within that waiting list to see who would be given priority to seats that open up.

About two weeks after the interview, I asked to see what my ranking was. I received notice in the morning that I was in the first group of the waiting list and that it would be unknown how many seats would open up yet – I was so excited yet scared. It could be that no spots would become available all the way up until orientation day months down the road. However, that same evening, I woke up from a nap (I just had an anatomy exam) and received an email that congratulated me for being accepted!

To be honest, I thought it was a dream when I found out because I was so disoriented from my nap!

I was so happy and so scared all at the same time. I still am. It’s going to be the next biggest challenge in my life for the next four years and I’m going to be in major debt $$$. I really hadn’t planned on getting in this school year, so I originally had planned just working the next year and saving up money…but now I’ll just have to go for it! I worry about the money, but my parents worry more about me getting “old” every year and are happy I can finally continue towards my career. The funny thing is I wrote up a big list of goals two years ago and although I strayed from it a bit, I still ended up on track. I’m getting there, guys :) There’s nowhere left to go but forward!

Word spread around fast at work (I work at an optometry office) haha. I’m going to try and see if I can continue working there at least on weekends because 1) I really would miss that place if I leave for good and 2) I really need the money plus I can’t imagine anywhere else that would would be so generous with my schedule. Once I finish my human anatomy finals this week, I’m going to start working a lot more these next 3 months before I begin school so I can save up at least a little bit more. Not to mention I need to mentally prepare myself too. When I start my journey I’m definitely going to update my blog about it. ^_^

I’m in. And in at my 1st choice school. It’s a crazy feeling.

Depending on what the water is like where you live, you might get that gross, green ring of buildup on your faucets. It’s super stuck on there and a gentle scrub will not do. Vinegar might do the trick though! And vinegar is super cheap! One thing I’d be aware about is whether or not vinegar will damage the finish on your faucet.

Take a ziplock bag – or any bag that works really – and pour some vinegar into it. I didn’t try it myself but I think warm vinegar might work even better? Submerge your faucet into the bag and make sure the vinegar is covering the nasty stuff. You’ll see it sizzle – it’s working! The minerals are being dissolved by the vinegar (an acid). I would let it sit for a few hours if the buildup is bad. Maybe even longer if it’s super bad.

See that green ring?

When it’s been soaking in the vinegar for long enough, use an old toothbrush to scrub away the gunk. It will come off easily. I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t very patient with mine, which was bathing in vinegar for 2 hours…I kind of scraped off the stuff that didn’t come off as easily. Which, I emphasize, you should NOT do! I ended up scratching the finish at the very tip of the faucet. Oops. Weeeell, I’d say it looks better than the gross green ring that was on it before at least. Learn from this girl’s mistakes. :p There are still a few spots left, but another vinegar treatment should easily fix that!

Major Improvement!

You can also do this with shower heads…especially if you notice the water has been running weaker than when it was new, or water is spraying in weird directions due to the buildup.

Sorry, I failed with the whole shorter-posts-but-more-frequent guideline, but I can see myself going back into that sooner than later! Some random tidbits from the past month…

  • I sold almost $900 at work for just one patient’s glasses job order last week. Thankfully we’re not on commission but if we were that would have been a good day (got a bonus though!) :p I felt bad saying the price so I just showed it to her on my calculator and she was all ready to pay it. The best of the best for: designer frames, progressives lenses, and anti-reflective coating = all super expensive especially when you don’t have insurance.
  • My boyfriend finally ordered me a graphics card for my fairly newly built PC! So….I am now an inhabitant in the world of Tera!!! It’s free but super awesome possum and I’ve been too busy to play much lately but I always crave to play!

    My Character :)

  • At my internship, the doctor really wants me to work for her besides doing my (free) internship with her, but I’m just too busy to accept it. She’s going on maternity leave so I won’t be seeing her for a long time and I’m going to miss her!
  • When my boyfriend and I went to the swapmeet one weekend, I snatched up a Mrs. Field’s Cookie Book for a dollar. I could always look up the recipes online but I feel all special having the book!
  • I spent one weekend at a friend’s new apartment in another city with some of our closest friends. It was super fun. We played Cards Against Humanity, had some drinks, had Thai food for dinner, went to this really awesome arcade place (it had everything including a bar, karaoke, games, photo booths, claw machines, bowling), went to a bar (they don’t serve food so they allow outside food – we brought in “Bold” chicken soft tacos from Del Taco), got late night donuts, and totally K.O.’ed at her apartment. I’ll also mention one of our clumsy friends accidentally kicked the weirdest looking bubble-gum-pink-looking vomit all over my pants and shoes. Yeah. *sick*
  • I finally decided to go with a new pair of glasses at work. I haven’t put in my order for them yet, but soon! They’re much bigger than what I usually wear – big frames are in right now – so it’s a big change for me but I’ll still be wearing my current frames a lot as well.
  • So far on Thursdays, I’m the only staff member working besides the two managers…last Thursday was killer…hopefully that’ll change and they’ll get more people working. Most of our staff is made up of college students so every quarter when they change their schedules, that affects our work schedule too. This chick brought her dogs in on Thursday and of course, one ended up pooping on the floor. She ran out without cleaning it up and that left my assistant manager very pissed off, lol.

I’m still trying to pull through in my Human Anatomy class. I can be really good at studying for science classes, but for the life of me, human anatomy is one of the hardest I’ve taken. The professor is ridiculously terrible in addition to the 4 hour class being at 8AM. None of us know what to study and when asked what should we focus on, the professor says “whatever I talked about.” But of course, sometimes he goes on hour-long tangents that are super beyond the scope of our class and then he says he just wanted to teach that because he thinks it’s interesting. !._. ARGH! So I’m just trying to get through this class…my next test is this coming Monday.

Additionally, I’ve been stressing over my optometry school applications. I finally pushed all of my recommenders to send send in their letter of recs for me. Put together a thank you gift to one of my recommenders (she is my internship doctor and the one who is going on maternity leave). I still have to give gifts to my other two. I finished sending in the centralized application, and sending in the supplemental application for my #1 choice. I still have to send in supplementals for my 2nd choice. The exciting news is I got an interview for my #1 choice next Saturday!!! So after I friggen get over studying for my anatomy exam, I’m going to focus really hard on practicing for my interview. Hopefully I won’t report back with embarrassing or regretful news about the interview!

I used to be a sandwich girl…I ate packed sandwiches 5 days a week for about 7 years of my life when I was in school, but during 7th grade I put my foot down (boy was I tired of sandwiches) and started buying school lunches instead. Come college life, I went to bringing homemade food and leftovers for lunch. Nowadays I still try to do that, but there isn’t always food to bring, and I haven’t really had the energy to cook lately. Do you know what that means? Yup, back to bringing sandwiches at least 2-3 times a week. That brings me to the question of…how do you spice up a boring sandwich? How to solve the problem of boring sandwiches? Here are some ideas I’ve either tried, or am going to try really soon:

  1. Add sriracha. If you like spicy, it is bomb! It literally spices up your boring sandwich. Of course, you could also go with any other spicy sauce. Maybe sambal-oelek?
  2. Add an egg. I’ve added over-easy and over-medium eggs into my sandwiches before and it makes the sandwich fantastically creamy. It’s like a beautiful breakfast sandwich. (Try it paired with ham and sriracha…so good!) The only thing about the over-easy egg, though, is how unsafe it might be if you’re not going to eat it right away. The next suggestion, then, would be to add an omelette! I threw a sandwich-sized chunk into tupperware, and microwaved it before sticking it into my sandwich. Think of the possibilities! Mushrooms and bell peppers and in your omelette. Mmm.
  3. Add pickles. Pickles or relish can add that crunch to your sandwich and also an extra tasty factor to it. You could change it up with sweet pickles, sour pickles, and even spicy pickles! The pickles can be added directly to the sandwich, or you could just take along one long slice and eat it alongside your ‘wich.
  4. Try different kinds of mustard. Dijon mustard, yellow mustard, honey mustard.
  5. Add pickled jalapenos. Or other pickled peppers like banana peppers.
  6. Add pesto.
  7. Add dressing. Ranch, Italian, etc.
  8. Add humus and roasted bell peppers.
  9. Try themed sandwiches. Make some stovetop stuffing, stovetop gravy, buy some cranberry sauce, turkey slices, and you’ve got a really savory sandwich if you enjoy Thanksgiving food. And you can enjoy it any time of the year.
  10. Avoid soggy bread. Toast your bread ahead of time or if prefer not to since you like the bread fluffy and soft, make sure you add the sauces/condiments between slices of meat or cheese, rather than having them actually touch the bread. You could also bring wet ingredients in separate tupperware but I’d rather avoid more tupperware to wash or trash to throw away.