I can see clearly now

Yesterday I put my spectacles on for the last morning. I washed my lenses for the last time. I smushed my eyelid into the back side of the scratch resistant plastic for the final time. I woke up to a blurry world for the last. time. ever. This morning, after 13 hours of blissfully drugged sleep, I could look myself in the eye from a comfortable distance for the first time in my life.

After 16 years of various corrective lenses, I have dealt with contact lenses drying out my eyes and stunting blood vessels, seeing rooms full of smoke because of how filmed over my glasses were, squinting for hours at a time instead of carrying around expensive prescription sunglasses, resigning myself to audio only TV watching because bespectacled snuggling is uncomfortable, and many more annoyances. I have around 20 years to enjoy before my eyes lose their elasticity and I begin filling my house with those cute little reading glasses. In that time I plan to enjoy every minute of clear sight. I feel I’ve earned it.

The procedure doesn’t take long. A valium and some deep breathing exercises help at first but the six minutes of actual procedure are absolutely, by far, the most stressful six minutes of the last ten years. First, the numbing drops. Fine, no big deal, I’ve had those before many a time, plus all the other little things that go along with having extreme myopia. Next, you lie down and the surgeon steadies your head while the trauma begins. A wire holds your eyelid open, more drops fall into your eye, you see cotton swabs around the edges, then a bright ring comes closer, closer, no time to think before it’s settled on your eye and the pressure rises. I felt in my eye socket exactly what I felt in my novocaine-numbed mouth when the dentist broke my molar and had to twist out the root: no pain, but feeling like it would explode. Tense, every muscle on edge, hyperventilating through a bone dry mouth and choking off my voice for fear I would destabilize the surgeon. Twenty seconds and it’s over… for the left eye. Another twenty seconds and now it’s time for the actual correction. The intense pressure and anxiety was only the first half, the part where the corneal flap is cut and flopped to one side. Now I stare into a clattering red and green light and start to smell wet dog, inhaling the vapor of vapoiring lens tissue. Hands on either side of my head keep me still, the wires continue to prop open my eyelids, the deep breathing is so deep I’m beginning to get light headed. The surgeon counts down from five, reassuring at every step. Another sterile swab to replace my cornea and after fifteen more seconds of wet dog smell and one last swab I’m done. Though shaky and hot, my numb eyes look across the operating theater and see. It doesn’t matter what, all that matters is that it’s over and I can see. There is blurring and I will feel like I’m chopping onions for the next six hours but when I wake…it is done.

While I would never wish to repeat my experience and at the time it was fucking awful, it’s so quick and the results so delightful and immediate that I would if I had to go back in time. Especially at such a young age. Healing is faster, results are more consistent, side-effects are nearly null, and I’ve got a lot of years of flawless sight (I’m at 20/15, nearly 20/10) before the drug store reading glasses become ubiquitous.

I’m taking a few days off and I won’t be wearing any makeup at all for the next week at least, possibly more, but the stars have aligned and I’m having a particularly good skin week so I should have no problems. I can’t wait to really see you lovelies next time we get together. I took the lenses out of my old frames and will have them around for cosmetic reasons but it does look… different. Rest assured, regardless of my ocular accoutrements, the nerd brain you have grown to know and love is still here 😉