Okay, so you know how I feel about inserting my contact lenses, but despite the agony and inconvenience, I do it every weekday morning during the school year because I can't stand wearing my eyeglasses to school. I have to fiddle with them constantly, and they drop to the end of my nose like an old grandma's. Sometimes when I have to look at something up close, I lift them off my eyes, and then I forget that I have put them on my forehead...and I actually start looking around for them on my desk or lectern: "Where are my glasses? Has anyone seen my glasses? Did one of you guys steal my glasses? What the....?" You get the idea. It's humiliating. So I wear contacts. Always have. For twenty-plus years.

Well, in the fall of 2003 I was starting my first year of a Ph.D. program (which I never completed), the classes of which were taught every Wednesday evening from 4:00 to 9:00 P.M. at Weber State University. When my day ended as a teacher, I had to hurry home to remove, clean, and store the contacts before going to my university classes as a student. Why? Because there is no way I could have worn the contacts straight through until 9:00 P.M. They would have become encrusted under my eyelids by 6:00 P.M., and I would have scratched my own eyes out. That gruesome thought (though not nearly as gruesome as where this story is heading) was enough to get me to hurry home every Wednesday to exchange contacts for eyeglasses. And hurry I did. Which may have been part of the problem. Because I was in a hurry, I sometimes didn't do things as carefully as I probably should have.

See, a hard contact lens is a little convex item that fits snugly over the iris of your eye -- just the part with the color and the pupil (i.e., the little black dot in the center). Because the lens is inflexible and because the eye has a certain amount of natural moisture, there is a kind of suction created that holds the lens in place on the iris. Like this:

No, this is not my eye.

That suction is where the problem began. As I was hurrying through the familiar process of removing my contacts, thinking about the homework assignment that I had to turn in to my professor that evening, everything went fine with the left side: I put my index finger against the outer corner of my eye, pulled outward slightly, and when my eyelids came together in a forced squint, the lens popped out into my waiting hand...just like always. But on the right side, something went wrong....

If you think you can handle it, click here to continue.