Several years ago I realized a dream I didn’t know began in fourth grade when I was sentenced to using eyeglasses on a daily basis. It took me a while to get the hang of them and I’d often arrive at school sans glasses not realizing my error until I was squinting at the blackboard, unable to determine what was on it. This being the late 70’s, glasses for kids were pretty damn ugly. I hid them as often as I could – at recess, playing with friends and even while reading, preferring to stuff my nose in a book rather than suffer the indignity of being called four eyes. What was the dream? Lasik surgery!
But let me back up because that wasn’t the first dream of bespectacled me because as soon as I heard about the existence of contact lenses, I knew they were for me. I begged for them. Honestly I begged at every chance and mom would always say maybe when you’re older and more responsible. When I graduated from eighth grade, I was suddenly old enough and responsible enough and I couldn’t get to the eye doctor soon enough. This was bigger for me than turning sixteen and going to get your driver’s permit.
I’ll admit they were a struggle at first and a pain in the butt. Always having to clean them and remembering to take them out at night. As I moved on to college, I’ll admit I slept in them more often than not. I was lazy. I went through a brief phase where I wanted to try a different eye color – a vivid blue rather than the hazel set I was born with – but they were pretty darn expensive. And when I was out of college on my own, cheap was better.
And then I heard my cousin went to Canada and got laser surgery to fix her vision and she didn’t need contacts OR glasses. This phenomenon called Lasik surgery was something I began to covet for many years to come. Remember, I am now post college, on my own, paying back student loans, scraping by with an entry level job. Do kids still do this? There was not going to be money for Lasik surgery anytime in the foreseeable future. Fast forward to 2011. That’s when it finally happened. At age 43 I was going to be spectacle-less at last. I know glasses became cool at some point but I had very bad vision. Even with the thinnest of lenses I still looked like I was wearing goggles.
The number one benefit for a lifelong wearer of glasses with very bad vision is probably the ability to see the clock when you wake up in the middle of the night. I’ve heard the same from others like me. If only I could see the clock without fumbling for my glasses which likely fell off the night table and were out of reach anyway. My experience with Lasik surgery was that it was very painful. For the first 12 hours after the surgery I was cursing myself and my vanity for wanting this stupid procedure and why couldn’t I just wear the coke bottle glasses. It felt like tiny pins were being inserted into my eyeballs from every angle and I couldn’t be in a room that wasn’t pitch black. When I got home I went directly to bed feeling sorry for myself. I woke up pain free, with perfect vision!
But guess what happens as you get older? They warned me I’d need readers at some point and I think it came sooner than I expected. Within a few years I was buying up a new set of reading glasses whenever I misplaced a pair which seemed to happen fairly often. I have half a dozen of them floating around and each has different strengths since I wasn’t sure what was going to work in various situations. At least today’s readers are cute and trendy and I don’t mind wearing them so much because they don’t way five pounds. However, I’m often found shouting through the house “where are my glasses”.