Twenty-five years ago, perhaps to this day, I remember as clearly as I finally began seeing at that moment I slipped on my first pair of glasses. I had no clue how blind I was, no way of knowing what it was like to be able to see things in high definition and so far away. As I walked through the mall while we exited that 1-hour glass dispensary, I gazed in amazement at all I could see. The banners from ceilings were more than just blurs, the signs on the walls I could read.
It was nothing short of a miracle that day I first donned my spectacular spectacles. For the first time I truly could see. Knowing what I know now, I often wonder how I even got by day to day before I received them. I guess there’s not much need for vision at the age of seven.
My glasses and I have not generally been friends, however. I remember as I left to go get them, one of my friends at the time told me that we could no longer be friends once I came back with the nerdy accessory. In fact, he sadly reported, he would probably have to beat me up. Sure, this was some rather silly childish concept regarding what glasses meant, but it doesn’t mean it didn’t end up meaning something. I won’t say I was a popular kid before I got glasses, but I can say that my popularity took a turn for the worse. The above mentioned friend was less than an acquaintance from then on out.
As I got older, I wanted to hide from these lenses I blamed for my social awkwardness. I wore contacts almost non-stop throughout high school. I loved those little pieces of plastic I shoved in my eyes. I could finally see in places I had not previously been able, such as the shower (which was still a good thing, even if high school meant a lot more use of public showers), and since I almost never took them out, I could even see first thing when I woke up. I wore those things way more than they were intended to be worn. My eyes ached, but the ability to see and the lack of a need to hide behind my Clark Kents meant I didn’t care.
Fast forward a few more years into my post-collegiate life when I finally got my own vision insurance. For the first time in my life, I actually had full control over my own vision and decided that although I had coverage for contacts, I wanted to try going back to glasses. My eyes immediately thanked me. Years of being crammed behind my eye lids with an additional piece of plastic had caused pain I was completely unaware of. I had been able to see, but there was a cost.
So I returned to wearing glasses full time, a decision I wasn’t completely unhappy with. A decision I’ve mostly stuck with today, partially because my previous abuses of contacts makes them all but unwearable today.
However, throughout all of this, I’ve felt as though I’ve been stuck with a constant need for a crutch. Even with contacts, there was always the issue that one might pop out of my eye, causing me to be blinded until I could replace it, which on a fair number of occasions meant I was blind for a significant period of time. These weren’t things I even thought to complain about. They were just a part of life for me and I didn’t even think twice about it.
The doctor I saw when I went to my first eye appointment as a self-insured individual was the first doctor I remember even mentioning the word LASIK to me. He, like many doctors to follow, followed this up by telling me that I wouldn’t be a candidate, but that they had some advances that would be coming in the future that might work for me.
Years passed and the word didn’t appear so much, probably due to the failing economy making it such a dirty word in so many people’s eyes. I mean…it’s expensive. And honestly, glasses aren’t truly that bad, they’re just a minor annoyance…mostly. But finally within the last year, I started thinking about that first time the word was mentioned to me and wondered if those advances had finally come about nearly a decade later.
When I asked my doctor about the procedure, I did so almost as an afterthought, expecting a simple brush-off due to my extremely poor eyesight. Imagine my surprise when he stated that he actually thought I fell within the ranges of candidacy.
He had some materials sent to my house and I sat on them for a bit. I still had nothing stating I was actually a candidate, the materials seemed too good to be true, and, well, it’s expensive. However, after staring at the folder that sat on my desk for way too long, I finally went to the website and scheduled an appointment, which was within a week. Here, again, I went in expecting to be shot down, as all of this seemed like just too much of a good thing to be possible for my atrociously poor eyes. And once again I was surprised by them telling me they considered me a candidate and were ready to put me through the paces.
Shocked is actually a better word for it. I hadn’t planned for them to say yes, and in fact had planned on the meeting to be quite short, you know, I’d walk in, they’d look at my chart and laugh, and I’d go home.
My mind swirled with the idea that I could actually have my eyes fixed. It’s still doing that. I talked with my wife about it and we both decided that we might be able to make the funding work sometime after the tax season this year. But my mind still swirled. I went on a research binge, looking up everything I could about the procedure and trying to figure out if it could, in any way, be the miracle that it really is. It appears to be… This procedure was the sole thought process for me for the next two days. It consumed me. The idea of being without glasses was such an amazing one to me that I couldn’t stop obsessing over it.
Finally, I went through my finances and found some items I could cut from my personal budget, pooled together some money for things that were purely for myself, and saw that I could get together enough money to pay for the procedure myself (with the whole 0% financing thing they offer and whatnot) and told my wife I was going for it. I’m still not sure she’s 100% on board (she likes my glasses), but she stood behind my decision and within a couple hours I had an appointment scheduled and my money all lined up.
The appointment is in less than 4 hours.
Since I made that appointment, the annoyances of glasses have become so much more apparent to me. Even as I write this post, I’m constantly aware of the fact that I’m looking through dirty lenses. It seems like every morning since I’ve made the appointment, my glasses have fallen off my nightstand at night, causing me to have to crawl along the floor waving my hands wildly looking for them and hoping not to crush them.
And there’s even an additional bonus. I get to sleep for the rest of the day!
Anyways, I’ve got to run, but I intend on giving a review of the process and my results here within the next week. Fingers crossed that the lasers don’t suddenly become sentient and decide to vaporize my face instead of the pieces of my eyes they are supposed to. 🙂
Have fun out there!