Last week I visited my eye care professional for my annual eye exam, and I also browsed through the frames seeking a new pair. I’ve had the current glasses for 2-3 years, and I need to replace them, urgently. While I was in the hospital, only hours after delivering baby D, I wiped off my glasses with a soft cloth and the coating on the lenses began peeling off, mostly on the right lens. Lovely.
So for the last three months, I’ve been able to see, but not as clearly as I would like. It’s like the vaguely fuzzy, blurry sensation when the glasses really need to be cleaned, only I can’t resolve it with lens wipes. Then, to make my life even more delightful, I got a crusty, itchy rash on the right side of my face, immediately under the right temple of my glasses. Great. That is SO attractive, particularly in combination with my current postpartum-hormone-crazed, teenage-wannabe acne.
See, I have this longstanding nickel allergy. I’ve always had it. My body is a physical expression of the “champagne tastes, beer budget” problem when it comes to jewelry. I’ve never been able to wear cute, cheap jewelry. Cute earrings from a craft show or Etsy? Nope. Nickel is used as part of the alloy in all kinds of jewelry fittings, and even in glasses frames. I get this oozy, crusty rash, which is not only super-sexy but also itches horribly, even when I think I’m wearing “safe” items.
The current glasses frames? Sold as titanium, so they shouldn’t be a problem. But after three years, it has become apparent that they are merely titanium plated, with a nickel-containing alloy metal underneath. And the titanium is wearing thin, so I’ve resorted to adding some even more attractive features to these ailing spectacles. In the past, I’ve tried painting clear fingernail polish over offending metal items, but that never seems to work well – I still experience the metal exposure symptoms. So my glasses now feature a nice piece of clear packing tape, carefully wrapped around the temple. It’s somewhat unobtrusive, unless someone looks closely, and if I wear my hair down, it’s not easy to see it, even. Yeah, really! I swear! Klassy.
So now I’m faced with the need to get a new pair of glasses, ideally nickel free, but at least titanium again. And I’ll get the super glare-reduction coating for them (the “glasses guy” at my eye doctor’s office says the peeling must be from a botched application process when the lenses were made, because they shouldn’t peel like that, ever), because I spend way too much time on the Interwebz and must protect my eyes.
On the broader issue of nickel allergies, I’m thrilled to see that more inexpensive jewelry manufacturers are now offering nickel free items. It’s nice to pay $20 for a cute pair of earrings and know that they won’t make my ears rot. Some experts suggest stainless steel earrings to avoid the nickel reaction, but I’ve had the issue even with those. I think they sometimes have nickel in the solder used to attach the posts, even if the posts themselves don’t contain nickel.
When I first noticed the glasses-related rash appearing, I was reading about the topic on WebMD and was interested to see the suggestion that people who are extremely sensitive to nickel should avoid foods that have high levels of nickel: I’m okay with not eating fish, but chocolate?! Thank goodness my reaction isn’t that bad.
The rash is a major pain, however, and it takes a long time for my skin to dry up, heal, and stop itching. I have trouble with the itch. I scratch it in my sleep, even if I manage to restrain myself during the day. Ick. My solution to that problem is wearing cotton gloves to bed, thus making myself even more attractive. No wonder Hubs loves me so much. I should add in some curlers and a slime green facial mask to perfect the look.