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When Expat Eyes Are Smiling

By Mr Grumpy - Sun 18th Jan 2015

Three things that don't mix, and certainly don't bode well for a future of problem-free vision : A foreign country of residence; less than 20/20 vision, and condition of Pathological laziness.

And trust me, I speak from experience.

Continuing with a time-honoured tradition of being an expert in how not do various things correctly or particularly efficiently, today marks the first time in over three weeks that I have been able to so much as glance in the general direction of a computer screen.

My re-education on all things optical began in the period between Christmas and New Year - typically, at the most convenient time of year for professional assistance of any kind.

Basically, I woke up one morning with a total lack of vision in one eye. I had gone to bed (Sober) the night before with no inkling of any problem, only to wake up in a wild panic, zero sight, and a niggling pain.

Being a typical bloke, I decided to take a painkiller and hope that things would return to normal, of their own accord, within 24 Hours.

And when they didn't, I began to panic.

So after 36 hours, when a niggling pain and no vision in one eye turned to total agony, and struggling to focus with the one remaining eye I decided that a trip to A&E was the order of the day.

It turns out that the problem was a bacterial ulcer that had been caused by overuse of ill-fitting contact lenses, and that a course of 3 different eye-drops to be taken every hour - day and night - for three days, before dropping down to every 3 hours over the next 3 weeks was prescribed.

However, this is the point where I have to come clean and admit that the problem was probably totally avoidable, and largely my own fault.

Ten years ago I decided to progress from daily disposable contact lenses to month disposable lenses. Basically, banging a new pair of lenses in my eyes each month, leaving them in day and night, and them changing them at the end of each month. Leaving my eyes to "breathe" for couple of days between changes, and for an odd day here and there mid-month, was a good idea - as the Optician explained it to me.

And not being the vainest of people, my old trusty specs which I have had since Maggie Thatcher was in No.10 served me fine whilst "eyes breathing" - even if they weren't strictly to my prescription.

Before moving to Spain the vendor of said lenses would, quite responsibly, only sell me 3 months supply before a contact lenses health check had to take place. That was both comforting to know and convenient when I live din the UK, but upon moving to Spain it was not always convenient to return every 3 months for the purchase and check-up.

And then I discovered the wonder of buying contact lenses on-line, and fell into the "if it a'int broke, don't fix it" routine, and for 8 years continued with the same prescription (or not, in the case of the Specs), and no health check for the old peepers. Some times ignorance is bliss.

So when the consultant told me the extent of the problem with eyes - all short-term, fortunately - I decided to revert back to my trusty Specs for a few weeks.

Only for them to fall apart in my hands, shattering one of the lenses. The lense for the dodgy eye, obviously.

Queue Emergency eye test with Optician to get a pair of short term Specs made up (until my bad eye could heal, when I will clearly need a second test).

Another thing : Choosing a pair of new Specs when you can't see the hand in front of your face is no easy task. What I thought looked like Michael Caine retro-chic apparently makes look like the bastard love child of Harry Hill and Penfold.

The moral of the story should be pretty obvious - and common sense for 90% of Expats - but for minority of those like myself with their heads in the sand, a gentle kick up the arse is never such a a bad idea.

Comment on this Blog

Lorraine : If you plan on 50% of your plans going pear-shaped, and the other 50% never getting off the ground, you should not go far wrong. Look at this way : Living in Spain - with all it's challenges (and there are many) - beats commuting to work on a dark and wet Monday morning in the UK.
Mr Grumpy - Wed, 18th Nov 2015
so glad i came across this, it really made me smile and so topical. I really want to move to spain, But I am worried it wont be so easy to do things that you just take for granted in the UK
Lorraine Cunnew - Wed, 18th Nov 2015
Still in the process of having the busiest couple of years in my 72 years but coming to the tail end of it I've taken time to catch up with Mr Grumpy's blogs and am totally dismayed that this is the latest! Are we about to (God forbid) lose Mr Grumpy? I gave up on Paramount a long time ago but my only real reason to click on Tumbit is to read Mr Grumpy's blog. I'm about to apply for a Pfizer nomination form. Come on Mr Grumpy please continue to enlighten us.
Ken Mirza - Mon, 26th Oct 2015
You're very lucky not to lose your sight all together! And even luckier you weren't caught up in the A&E crisis with all the flu going around... My local emergency centre isn't accepting any new patients, unless they are... well, an emergency... Not sure how that works...
Ed Bishop - Sun, 18th Jan 2015

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