To see

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.

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Posted on February 20, 2012, in Health, Life and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Two things:

    1. Fin has terrible eyesight but, like you, has always been nervous of the risks (and the LASERS SHOT INTO HIS EYES), so I look forward to hearing you get on.

    2. Your friend asked you to wear contact lenses to be her bridesmaid??????? WTF?!

    • She did, though it was polite and she accepted my no for an answer. Still the message that glasses are not an ideal part of my bridesmaid ensemble was heard loud and clear. Umm excuse me, glasses are hot!

  2. I’m looking forward to reading about your laser surgery experience. Like you, I (still) have rapidly deteriorating eye sight (I have to get new glasses every year), and for some reason I can’t wear contacts – they are so uncomfortable and dry my eyes out. I’m not eligible for laser surgery yet because my eye sight is still unstable, but maybe one day.

    I hope it goes well for you!

    • Thanks!

      Hopefully your eyes will steady soon – not just for lasering purposes but also for not-having-to-get-new-glasses-all-the-time purposes. And I hear you on the contacts – the first time I tried them they felt like sticking sandpaper in my eyes. It was awful.

  3. My eyesight is terrible and I’ve worn contacts since I was about 12 – I could never get used to glasses. I’ve seriously considered laser surgery, even went for a consultation, but as a former engineer having studied all the things that can go wrong with technology, I couldn’t bring myself to go through with it. Hope yours goes great though, I’ve heard so many people say they absolutely love it.

  4. WOW that happened fast! I can’t believe you’re already set up for surgery!

    I look forward to reading about your experience. You’ve already got me contemplating getting a laser shot into my own eye. I’ve had glasses since 5th grade, but my eyesight isn’t too bad. Plus right now I’m only using a corrective lens for one eye (!), so I’ve dealt with it. But imagine having it fixed forever!

    • Oh neato! You’re cyclops-y! Laser might be a great option for you actually – cheaper and probably easier recovery because only one eye would be SHOT WITH LASERS! (I’m not sure when I’ll be able to stop all-capsing that)

  5. Nothing but positive stories here, the most recent of which was a friend I saw Monday night.

    Almost everyone in my immediate family is blind without glasses and none of them have been brave enough to go for it.

    Hope it goes well. And for the record you look great with the glasses.

  6. Sending you good thoughts for Monday and looking forward to hearing how everything went once you are healed up! Two of my aunts have had the surgery (my mom’s entire family is nearly blind, somehow it skipped her children though) and you’d think they were paid promoters for the procedure-they loved it, talk about it all the time, and are actively getting everyone else in the family in on the now-we-can-see fun. Proud of you!

    • That’s like all the people I talk to! I wonder if they also give you some sort of promotional brainwashing along with the lasers? Well either way, I hope to be joining their ranks soon.

      And yeah the vision thing is weird – hardly any of my aunts and uncles have glasses but a huge number of my cousins do. So the genes were in there just waiting for the next generation.

  7. Oh this is interesting. I do love wearing my glasses but I have always been tempted.

    Although the lasers, the lasers.

    I always fear a glasses wearing ophthalmologist – why haven’t they had theirs done!?

  8. Glasses ARE hot! Although I hate the rain and the snow because of the little spots.

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