Night lenses changed my life | Benjamin Griffiths
We caught up with 16-year-old Benjamin Griffiths and his mum Carolyn. Based in Northern Ireland, Benjamin is a tech lad with 4 websites already to his name and a passionate surfer. Benjamin is a high myope. From the age of 8 his eyesight deteriorated fast, dropping -1.00D every year. Aged 13 his mum accidentally found night lenses, by which time he was -3.75D and -4.00D. He started them aged 14. Without his glasses Benjamin couldn’t see much at all, which affected his sports which he loved and his confidence. Night lenses completely changed his life. He used to surf feeling the waves as he couldn’t see them. He now surfs with ease and is loving life…
Q: So, Benjamin, what was the first day like with nothing in your eyes?
A: It was almost surreal, best way to put it. I looked out of the window and my mind was blown! As we drove into school I could read the car numberplates which was awesome.
Q: You’ve had night lenses now for a couple of years. What is life like now without glasses? And would you ever go back into them?
A: I’d never go back to glasses in a million years. The lenses have blended in with my life. It’s natural to go to sleep and let them do the work. I don’t really think anything about it. The idea of having glasses on my face during the day is a bit weird now.
Q: Would you ever consider daytime lenses now?
A: The idea of having to put lenses into my eyes in the morning and then have to take them out when I go surfing is really odd to me. Right now I head to the beach and don’t worry. I can open my eyes underwater. I don’t worry about getting sand in my eye, which I think is a problem people with contact lenses have when they go to the beach. Also, when I go to school, if my lens fell out or got damaged I wouldn’t be able to see for the rest of the day. It doesn’t make sense. Night lenses are easy. It does the job overnight when I’m asleep and during the day I have nothing in my eyes. It’s brilliant.
Q: So you’re a surfer? How is that different with night lenses?
A: I can see the waves! When I was young my dad used to push me onto waves because I couldn’t see them and so I learned to surf by feeling the wave. I couldn’t see the shore or much around me so it was a bit worrying when the waves got big and the weather was bad. Now I can see everything. I love hanging out in the lineup, watching the sea and the world go by. I occasionally see dolphins and seals. It’s my happy place!
Q: How has it been adapting to night lenses, getting them in and out etc?
A: At the start it was a bit tricky, but you get used to it quite quickly. And then it becomes routine. I did worry that I wouldn’t like having them in my eyes and that I couldn’t take them in and out. But I got over that very soon.
Q: What did your mates think? Did they actually notice your glasses had gone?
A: Not really. They thought something was different about me!
Q: Would you recommend night lenses to other teens your age and to surfers?
A: 100% recommend them. They are hassle free. Yes also to surfers as there is nothing to hold you back.
Q: So, mum, how did Benjamin end up with night lenses?
A: I was waiting outside his school with all the other mums to pick him up and complaining to another mum who is an optometrist about how many pairs of glasses we had to get him – about 9 pairs in a year – he managed to break them playing football and messing around with his friends. She mentioned using night lenses which I’d never heard of, but I thought at that stage that anything was worth a try! I didn’t immediately understand what they were but we needed to try something with him. Also his eyesight was rapidly declining and it was upsetting us. She mentioned that night lenses would also halt that decline, so we thought we’d give them a go. It took him a while to pluck up the courage to consider putting a lens in his eye, but looking back the fear was worse than the reality.
Q: Night lenses are often misunderstood. What has been the reaction of your family and friends?
A: Our family immediately saw a massive change in Benjamin. He noticeably grew in confidence and everyone was amazed by the difference in him. I’m not sure a lot of his friends and family understand what they are, but I’d love more people to know about it as I’m sure a few of his friends would benefit from them. When you describe them to people they almost sound too good to be true.
Q: Why was putting Benjamin into night lenses important to you as a parent?
A: In our experience it has made the world of difference to our son. He has had a lot more freedom with his watersports, in school, during games and in outdoor activities with his friends like paintballing and kneeboarding. He has found it easier in class and has the freedom to sit at the back now and still see the board! It’s lovely not having to go to Specsavers every month with a broken pair of glasses. I wish I’d known about them sooner.
Q: Would you recommend night lenses to other parents?
A: OMG … yes!