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Contact Lenses

Published : 21st July 2004


Well we've discussed laser eye surgery and who you let use your V/F so how about another eye related topic?

I've tried various forms of contacts over the years from the original hard ones 25+ years ago to monthly disposables a couple of years ago to the new daily disposables right now.

I know that daily disposables aren't new but ones for astigmatism sufferers are.

So what has my experience been?

Old hard ones, don't ask, well do, use them instead of beating the soles of my feet, I'll talk faster!

Monthly ones, they were fine but I had a few hygiene problems, well not really hygiene but I have cats and there is no way you can keep their fur out of your eyes and off the lenses for a month no matter how careful you are! The combination of soft contacts and cat fur comes a close second to electrodes on the genitals, in fact, wire me up!

So, Daily disposables, now that they're available for astigmatism sufferers I thought I'd give them a go, my prescription is -5.25 and -0.75 * 180 this is correct for my left eye but the astigmatism correction is a bit low for my right but it's the highest they go this week. As my left eye is my dominant I thought I'd give it a go.

They work fine, right eye is a little off but it's not a lot and not noticeable in normal circumstances, it's actually not noticeable unless I try to see it.

So there has to be a drawback right?

There is, they're so thin that getting the bloody things out is a nightmare! I'm giving it a break for a few days now to let my left eye recover from last nights 30 minutes of trying to get the left one out!

I think I've figured out a way to get them out but it's not easy.

I need to slide them to the bottom of my eye and try and sorta crease them as they slide down, I can then get hold of them.

Any comments?

Cheers

Geoff Boyle FBKS
Director of Photography
EU Based
www.cinematography.net



Geese, Geoff, you just about put me off contacts indefinitely.

I, too, have astigmatism problems. My optometrist says that I'll never be able to get the same correction I have now in glasses with contacts.

Contacts will always be less sharp. I'm a little over-corrected as it is. Still, I might try the contact route in the future when my glasses need to be replaced.

I haven't been shooting a ton of film the last few years so it's not been an issue.

I do know of cameramen getting diopters custom made for screwing into eyepieces...

Art Adams, DP [film|hdtv|sdtv]
San Francisco Bay Area - "Silicon Valley"
http://www.artadams.net/



>My optometrist says that I'll never be able to get the samecorrection I >have now in glasses with contacts. Contacts will always be less sharp.

I'd query both of those statements...

A year ago it was "impossible" to get contact for any form of astigmatism, now they go to 0.75. My optician reckons another year for higher corrections.

As to less sharp, maybe, but that's not the only factor, the thing that I've noticed with contacts is the increase in contrast, the lowering of blacks. If you wear specs you can never get them perfectly clear and this results in you accepting a level of contrast reducing flare as "normal" it isn't!

As we all know contrasty images appear sharper so regardless of whether you can actually see as well with contacts in real life the perception of sharpness is likely to be higher, that's why I keep persevering and why my left eye is sore and bloodshot!

Cheers

Geoff Boyle FBKS
Director of Photography
EU Based



>I think I've figured out a way to get them out but it's not easy.

I am not a contact wearer , but having watched SCUBA divers chase their lenses around the insides of their flooded masks, I wonder whether you could float them off by opening your eye in a shot glass or eyeglass full of water and blinking?

I suspect they are too thin and pliable to surrender that easily, but it might be worth a try.

Mark H. Weingartner



Don't they have a special device for removing contacts efficiently?

I've never seen one personally but I saw it in (of all places) a 'making-of' feature on Michael Jackson's THRILLER video (yep, way back then). It looked like some sort of short rubber stick with (I conjecture) some sort of suction cup at the tip; the make-up guy was using it to insert the cat's-eye contact lenses into MJ's eyes.

Has anyone seen this kind of thing available commercially?

Cheers,

Paolo Dy



I too have used the hard ones and then the soft ones and for a while the disposable ones.

Years ago while camping in the middle of nowhere in Brazil I got some iron ore dust in my right eye and when I woke up it was very painful. I threw out the contact and my brother, who is an ophthalmologist scolded me severely for not having eyeglasses. It took a few days to heal, and the ulcer(a tiny cut that hurts like hell)got better.

Now, here's a list of things that have hurt my eyes since I was very young, just in case one day you do and perhaps it will keep you calm in an emergency:

Acetone. Yes, in our skateboarding days my brother decided to clean the bearings w/ acetone and then repack w/ grease. So he put acetone in a VISINE bottle(!) to squirt it in the bearings (don't ask) and I cam home and put a few drops and started screaming!!! Water, water, saline solution, hospital. Everything was fine aside from extreme pain/burning.

A white milk/sap from a plant that looks like green pretzel sticks(no leaves). I was probably 10 and remember it well- we were breaking branches from this plant to make a potion to kill ants(don't ask) and a drop fell in my eye. It was probably worse than the acetone, and the eye doctor showed me a reflection of the surface of my eye and the burn looked like a bolt of lightning. But it healed fine.

Gasoline. From siphoning w/ a hose, and when I put my thumb on the hose to stop it, it sprayed me guess where, right in the eye. Leaded gas, by the way lol Hurt like hell. Water, don't forget, right away...

Muriatic Acid Damn! This one for sure, the contact must have really helped save me. I was throwing acid in the empty pool to clean the concrete, and sure enough, a drop splashed back at my f%^&*ing eye! So I grabbed my friend, frantically unable to see and forced him to drive me to the hospital, where all I got was a rinse w/ saline solution for an hour, then a paste w some sort of Novocain derivative that made me see from that eye as if it was a window feet away from me (hard to explain) That contact lens got as big as a quarter or a silver dollar and I guess it helped save my eye(?)

A friend had a car battery explode right on his face!( I couldn't believe it) so I grabbed him and made him rinse his eyes w/ water non-stop, and he was fine (there were holes on his shirt from where the acid sprayed)

I wore glasses for a while but prefer contacts for filming. I have no desire to do laser surgery and in fact my prescription changed and went down by .25 Lenses are cheap...

John Babl
Miami



>I wonder whether you could float them off by opening your eye

As I get ready to replace them, I don't mind opening my eyes in the pool and they've never come off...

John Babl



You may find it a torture test, but I still swear by my gas-permeable "hard" contacts. Easy to get in and out, correct for astigmatism and significantly sharper than my glasses. Think about it: With spectacles there is light refraction and scattering on the front surface of the lens, then the rear surface, then the surface of the eye. With a proper contact lens there is only a single outer surface of significance as the liquid on the surface of the eye forms a seal with the rear (and generally the front as well) of the contact lens. That's why they're called contacts!

Don't talk to an optometrist; talk to an ophthalmologist, who is a real doctor and knows a lot more about optics and the human eye in general. People in our profession should see an ophthalmologist at least once every couple of years.

I first got my contacts more than 20 years ago. My prescription changed slightly in the first few years but has never changed again, and I've had it checked regularly. In those couple of decades I have gone through maybe a dozen pair of glasses, some for styling but mostly for physical abuse by me or colouring of the lenses over time (I really hate this--they turn yellow!). But I'm still using my 20 year old gas-permeable contacts! I do have a newer spare pair that I use occasionally just to do it, but I have the doctor check the originals when I visit and he says they're tip-top. No calcium deposits, no scratching or wear marks. They were a little tough to get used to at first, not because of the feeling of them sitting on my eyes but of the odd feeling of them against the inside of my eyelids when I blinked. But now I could almost fall asleep forgetting they're in there.

A soft lens will always be less sharp than a hard one. I've had optometrists and annoying sales people at eyeglass stores try to convince me otherwise and supplied me with the latest soft lens as a test sample right there in the store. I never walk out the door with a pair in--I probably couldn't find the damn door. I have a fairly high correction (8.25 and some high degree of astigmatism) which is severely nearsighted so it heightens the differences in corrective abilities. Soft lenses always perform poorer than my glasses, which always perform poorer than my hard lenses. And this is with letting a big-mouthed optometrist test my vision to make sure she was giving me the best prescription. No contest.

Mitch Gross
NYC DP



On the advice of my ophthalmologist, I have two pairs of rigid gas permeable lenses. When I'm shooting, I'll wear one pair until we get our meal break. Then I'll take them out and put in the second pair so I'm always wearing fresh lenses. And I try to remember to use eye drops frequently to keep my eyes moist. When my eyes get dry, it's hard to get the lenses out.

Jessica Gallant
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List
http://www.cinematography.net



>Acetone... Gasoline....Muriatic Acid... Hurt like hell.

I'm sure it did. It's a wonder you can still see at all.

Jim Sofranko
NY/DP



Jim Sofranko wrote :

>I'm sure it did. It's a wonder you can still see at all.

I suggest John stay in bed. His luck has doubtless run out.

Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614



I've worn contacts for 15+ years, normally gas permeable, and I've never noticed them to be of lower optical quality than glasses. I did try the daily disposable ones once, but that was before they could correct for astigmatism, so I switched back to gas permeable, as my night vision suffered with disposables. I always found it damn near impossible to get the things IN my eyes.

Getting them out was easy enough, you just sort of pinched them out. They were also a lot cheaper bought via the internet, rather than an optician (about half the price, if I remember correctly).

BTW, the sucker device that Paolo mentioned is a complete no-no, used for emergencies ONLY. Apparently it can do nasty things to the surface of your eye.

Stuart Brereton
DP, Bristol, UK



>I'm sure it did. It's a wonder you can still see at all.

I suggest John stay in bed. His luck has doubtless run out.

I don't know about that...beds are dangerous. They may even be more dangerous than motorcycles, considering how many people die in beds annually.

In fact, between hospitals and homes, I would guess that more people die in beds than all other places combined.

Mark Weingartner - about to get on my motorcycle
LA based

"Numbers, if sufficiently tortured, can be made to say anything."



>I don't know about that...beds are dangerous....

So is using CML-general for CML-chat purposes.

Jessica Gallant
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List



I started using daily disposable contacts last year - first time ever with contacts. In the beginning it was a nightmare and I almost believed that I would NEVER learn to handle those small bastards, but after a while I got the grip of it. Even though I still have occasional problems (switching and dropping them while putting them in and dry eyes once in a while), I am still very thrilled about daily contacts. I hardly think about them during the day and getting them out is the least problem (washing hands as recommended seems to be more annoying).

As for a procedure for getting them out; I slide them down and then squeeze them together and grip them with the tip of my thumb and index finger. Pull down under the eye with one finger from the other hand to make "more room". A mirror can be of great comfort.

Best regards, Anders Thorsby

Freelance clapper/loader | video assistant
Copenhagen, Denmark



I wore hard contacts circa 1961, and was wearing them the night before leaving NYC for Washington DC to shoot JFK's inauguration. Forgot to take them out overnight... then in the morning just jumped into the car and drove to DC.

>By the time I got to Maryland my eyes were pretty much glued shut with pain, so another crew member took over the driving. We stopped at a hospital. They told me to just leave the lenses out for a few days and that my corneal abrasions would heal quickly on their own. When I awoke the next morning the pain was gone and for some reason my vision was 20/20! So I shot all day without any glasses and everything (including the film) was in focus.

By the next day everything had healed up....and my vision was lousy again.

No free lunch, I guess.

Dan "war stories R us" Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA



I have been wearing corrective lenses since I was 13. First glasses, then in the 70's soft contacts and most recently, (for many years) "weekly disposables". I do not have any astigmatism and my correction is -5.50 in both eyes, violently nearsighted. The Soft Contacts were fine, but I hated the daily regimen of disinfecting, weekly enzyme removal, taking them out, putting in. I love the disposables. I put them in at the beginning of the month, use drops daily, and take them out at the end of the month and throw them away. Removing them is no big deal. Just make sure they are not dry, pinch them out and that is that.

I have been doing this for many years and suffer no ill consequence. I do have a pair of glasses, and the correction is so extreme, that when I wear them occasionally, I have a lot of trouble with depth perception. They warp the vertical lines make everything less sharp. I don't know what I would do if astigmatic, Geoff, so probably this is no real help or answer to your query.

The disposables are very cheap, $80 for 12 pairs, ostensibly a six month's supply, ( you are supposed to replace them every two weeks) but I manage to make that last a year. No cost for solution, cleaners, electrical heaters etc. the one drawback, is that the correction is so high, near detail work is somewhat difficult. I have a pair of drugstore +1 glasses to help me decipher the dates on rare coins, read the fine print on the labels of wine bottles and remove splinters.

Sincerely,

Ed Colman, President ­ SuperDailies, Inc.
Cinematographer Supervised Video Dailies
http://www.superdailies.com



Geoff Boyle writes :

>There is, they're so thin that getting the bloody things out is a nightmare! >I'm giving it a break for a few days now to let my left eye recover from >last nights 30 minutes of trying >to get the left one out!

> Any comments?


Ouch!

Brian Heller
IA 600 DP



>There is, they're so thin that getting the bloody things out is a nightmare! >I'm giving it a break for a few days now to let my left eye recover from >last nights 30 minutes of trying to get the left one out!

Just occurred to me: perhaps your fingertips are too slippery to get a good hold on the lenses.

After washing your hands, pat them dry on a clean towel or tissue paper before trying to remove your contacts. That way your fingertips have enough 'grip', making lens removal easier.

Cheers,

Paolo A. Dy
Director | Cinematographer | Screenwriter
Manila, Philippines



I have rather gnarly astigmatism and was told many times that there were no contact lenses for me. I then found Kontour Kontact in Richmond CA. They were able to fit me with soft toric lenses in 1982. I've been a happy customer ever since.

When I first went there, my prescription was on the edge of what they could do. I worked with the designer as a test subject for several years and saw them refine the process.

Ask your optimist about Kontur Kontact.
They also have an artist working there who does some wild paint jobs on the lenses.

Marty Brenneis



>They also have an artist working there who does some wild paint jobs >on the lenses.

On the contact lenses? Please explain more? Tell me you don't have a matte box on your head...

Dominic Case
Atlab Australia



Marty Brenneis writes:

>Ask your optimist about Kontur Kontact.

Fortunately my optometrist and my ophthalmologist are both optimists!

Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA



http://www.wild-eyes.com/flash.htm

This is one of the main places that paints contacts. I was thinking it could be fun for an operator or DP to have a multifaceted iris painted on one, like a lens iris. you could tell people this is what happens when you look through the camera too long.

Marty Brenneis



Marty Brenneis writes:

>I was thinking it could be fun for an operator or DP to have a >multifaceted iris painted on one, like a lens iris. you could tell people >this is what happens when you look through the camera too long.

Or when the producer is a Borg.

Dan "capacitance is futile" Drasin
Producer (oops) /DP
Marin County, CA