One day when I was around nine years old, my mom asked me why I was watching TV on the floor. It was a habit I had developed over many months, gradually slipping off the couch and onto the floor where I lay on my stomach with the tip of my nose about two feet from the screen. I had no answer for her – it certainly wasn’t more comfortable – so I got up to watch from the couch. Pretty soon I found myself back on the floor.
The next stop was the eye doctor’s office. At the end of the exam, he put lenses in front of my mom’s eyes to show her what the world looked like through mine and I remember she was genuinely shocked. We find ways to adjust to lots of things.
I wore glasses for many, many years. I hated the rain, because it made little spots on my lenses that made it hard to see. Cold days meant disappearing behind a layer of condensation whenever you came inside. I loved to swim but always felt very vulnerable because without my glasses, I couldn’t make out people’s faces. I squinted a lot because my rapidly changing prescription made it hard to keep buying updated sunglasses. Each season had its little obstacles.
My attempt to use contact lenses in grade ten ended quickly with a horrible reaction to something in the solution or lens. Scared away, I continued dealing with the discomfort of glasses for many more years while my nearsighted peers gradually shifted to contact lenses. When a friend suggested that I get contacts for my walk down the aisle as her bridesmaid, I indignantly told her I look great in my glasses and would be wearing them to her wedding thankyouverymuch.
Then finally, in 2004, I went to volunteer in Costa Rica with a friend and decided this was one trip my glasses could not take with me. I simply could not fathom trying to swim in the ocean and hike through the rain-forest reliant on these clumsy pieces of glass. I faced my fears and got contacts – which had come a long way in the six or seven years since I first tried them – and have never looked back.
Now I’m about to face another major fear: laser eye surgery.
As an elective procedure, I set the safety threshold for laser eye surgery very high. When I first researched it about five years ago it wasn’t there yet; there was still a small but not insignificant percentage of people who faced serious complications. But as the technology has improved so have the statistics: less than 1% of people now face any serious complications.
But though statistics and studies comforted me, they didn’t convince me. Like with so many other life experiences, in the end it was hearing about the positive experiences of my coworkers, family and friends that finally persuaded me.
So with that in mind, I will document my experience here, starting this week with a description of the pre-operative bits. My surgery is next Monday, followed by a healing period of about a week or two during which I won’t be able to write because I WILL HAVE HAD LASERS SHOT INTO MY EYES!! But after that I hope to be able to give you an update completely unaided by lenses.