I’ve had glasses since I was eight years old. I remember clearly that horrible day in grade three when a substitute teacher sent me home with a note. He was concerned with my atrocious math skills. It turns out I didn’t suck at arithmetic – I was copying the equations down wrong because I couldn’t see the board.
My vision quickly became so bad that I couldn’t survive without my glasses. I could barely make it down the hallway without nearly dying, and this was now only partially due to my sisters and their constant attempts on my life.
When you’re a shy, awkward little girl, the last thing you need is a big old pair of GLASSES on your face. And by big, I mean enormous. We’re talking the stylings of the late 80s – frames that took up half your face and made even the youngest of wearers look like old ladies half squinting/half glaring at everything. Add to this the braces and bad hair that came later and it’s no wonder I was a social reject worthy of a John Hughes supporting cast role.
There were a few years in high school where I was able to wear contacts. But I abused this privilege, causing some pretty bad damage to my corneas, and had to switch back to glasses in my early twenties. Thanks, recurring pink eye!
All this is to say, I’ve had crappy vision for almost all of my life. I don’t remember ever being able to see without the aid of lenses. It was just part of who I was – something that required no thought at all.
So I can’t say why I exactly started to think about getting laser surgery. Suddenly the thought was there and it wouldn’t go away. Maybe, just maybe, my brain did this association: laser surgery, laser eyes, Cyclops, X-Men, superhero – SUPERHERO! You’ll be one!
Then I found out how it works, and immediately dismissed the idea as disgusting. I mean, they cut off a layer of your eye! How gross is that?!
A few months later my brain let me know that it has secretly been in counselling and had come to terms with the whole “eye cutting” thing. It said that if I really wanted the surgery, it would support me by not inducing vomiting every time I thought of it. Thanks, brain!
To make a long story a little shorter, I finally decided to have the surgery. And it was the most terrifying two minutes of my life. I won’t gross you out with the details.
Well, maybe just a few.
They give you an oral “anti-anxiety” pill that does absolutely nothing to calm you down. Then they make you lie down on a table and tell you to not move. Good luck with that one. They use one of those torture devices a la A Clockwork Orange to hold your eyelids open and add some numbing drops. Then THE MACHINE slides over your head. You smell your eye burning as a laser removes your cornea. Everything goes blurry, and you’re left with that hot flesh smell and the sound of a drill (what, are they mining in there?).
Thirty seconds later your cornea is chucked back on, then over to the other eye. All the time you’re thinking don’t move, don’t move, DON’T MOVE! Why didn’t they strap my head down! I’m going TO MOVE!
I didn’t move.
They slap on a pair of dark glasses and send you home with the warning don’t rub your eyes. You sleep all day and the next morning VOILA! You can see!
100 points for me for being the Bravest. Person. Ever.
It’s now been a year of having 20/20 vision. To celebrate my first anniversary with my lasered eyes, I’d like to acknowledge:
All The Things I Don’t Miss About Wearing Glasses
1) Walking into a coffee shop on a cold day and immediately being blinded by a fog bank that takes refuge on my face.
2) Waking up in the morning to discover my glasses aren’t on the table beside me. Frantically groping my way through the house only to discover them an hour later, on my bedside table, tucked neatly behind the alarm clock.
3) Did I mention the recurring cases of pink eye thanks to contacts?
4) The stress of traveling. What if my glasses are stolen/break? Do I have enough contact solution? Do I have an updated prescription? How do you say I can’t see a damn thing, please help me buy glasses in Spanish?
5) Having sunglasses cost hundreds of dollars.
6) Having my face get extra sweaty and gross when working out/having to continually push my glasses up and having them slide right back down my nose.
7) Negotiating that first kiss on a date. Do I take them off? What if I do and then he doesn’t kiss me? What if I don’t and he does, and I ram the frames into his cheek?
Happy Anniversary, Eyes! Here’s to many happy years together!
A Clockwork Orange Movie Poster
Cyclops Blasts From The Eyes © Dashu Pagias on Flickr. Some Rights Reserved.