Friday, December 11, 2009

oh say can I see!


I was not born with the eyes of a great horned owl. Since I could see well enough to catch a basketball or volleyball, I didn’t feel it necessary to inform my parents that I could not see the blackboard in my class regardless of my seat location. My fourth grade teacher detected as much in the first week of school and off I went to the eye doctor. Suspicions confirmed, I needed eyeglasses.
 
I remember using arduous care in selecting my first pair. I thought they were Fonzie cool but in reality, they were basically identical to the windshield eyewear worn by Sally Jesse Raphael. And against my initial (and better) instincts, my Father talked me into getting the type of glasses that would automatically tint as soon as you were exposed to sun. Awesome? Not so much. I h-a-t-e-d them. And I don’t know how my neck could host them AND all that giant hair. Need I say I “accidentally” lost them at the movies? But not before I wore them for several years.

I finally got contact lenses in 9th grade. After literally ripping the delicate plates of plastic nine times in a row on my first attempt to insert, I loved them. I could see! And I wore them for the next twenty years. My eyesight was literally terrible. The eye doctor said visual acuity could not be measured on the standard eye chart and instead, my tests were “Counting Fingers” as to whether or not I could see fingers held up in front of me from a limited distance. This is also known as the "how in the world can you see your way out of bed" test. He gauged my eyesight at about 20/2000.

The first person I know to have LASIK surgery had it done in the early 1990s. I was both intrigued and weary by the description of the process. It would take me until 2007 to read enough information and basically get the nerve up to have it done. And I politely declined the “opportunity” to watch live surgeries take place.

The day of my surgery, I was admittedly nervous. The description of what takes place made my stomach churn. JohnnyMac had the procedure done years before and was a testament to how successful it can be. Still, stomach churned as I waited for my name to be called.

We know the eye surgeon quite well. He could appreciate my nervousness. He was patient and soothing but even then, it does show that humor always helps.

After my left eye was done, in mere minutes, I asked him and his attending staff to let me know exactly when they would put the laser on my right eye. The doctor said sure but one of his assistants asked why. I said I wanted to take a deep breath before they proceeded. The assistant let me know that it was not wise to take and hold my breath because that would not help me relax. “Do you know what else doesn’t help me relax? The smell of burning eye.”

The laughter that ensued at least helped my nerves. And I have perfect vision now. So the short time under the laser was worth every minute.

93 comments:

the walking man said...

If my vision was easily corrected by a surgery I would do it in a heartbeat. Yet my one good eye is fine, the sight of the heart though no surgery can repair it.

kilax said...

I have heard so many great things about lasik. Does it last forever or do you have to do it again?

Aunt Juicebox said...

I also got my glasses the summer before 4th grade, and contacts in the 9th grade. I hated them though and by the time I was 19, I gave them up. Every so many years, they'll talk me into trying the newest ones, and I do, and I can always feel them and my eyes always itch like crazy. My brother got Lasik last year, and he's been trying to talk me into it ever since. I've been considering it. But the horror stories....I thought I'd heard it all...til now.

The Savage said...

Poor, poor Mini-Mac. His mother now has enhanced Mom vision.... Poor, poor child.

Chessa! said...

You made me laugh. You're so brave! My husband did it in the early 90s...his eyesight was as terrible as yours. My sister did it a few years ago and she couldn't even see the alarm clock without her glasses...she's never been happier!

I couldn't see the blackboard either...I still can't! I have to wear my glasses when I drive, go to concerts or to the movies, etc...But I remember my glasses from the 4th grade. It was 1985..they were from the Dorothy Hammil collection. remember her? lol...mine were a very light pink and the glasses were clear plastic. I accidentally lost them on purpose. My poor parents. My mother had to take the morning off from work to take me to the eye doctor and then spend an entire paycheck to replace the glasses...That's my first real memory of guilt as a kid...when I finally realized that glasses don't magically appear for free from the eye fairy.

Hilly said...

I got my glasses in the third grade and they were coke bottle thick. I finally was allowed to get contacts in the 8th grade and loved them. I still wear contacts but have seriously been considering LASIK too!

:)

Joshua said...

Braver than I. I had contacts from 8th-10th grade, and only because I had braces. I hated every moment of contacts. I was already a nerd; no need to enhance it with braces and glasses at the same time. Recipe for a beating. As far as Lasik, keep away from my eyes!

-Joshua

mo.stoneskin said...

20 years of contacts?

I got glasses at the age of 7. I went for some ugly gimp-grandchild frames - large, square, unutterably bulliable.

I only got "cool" frames when I was about 14, so for 7 years I looked a total twit and to be honest it probably affected my self-esteem a great deal, though why I didn't go "hey, I'll get some funky frames" is beyond me.

Wore hard lenses from 15 - 18, soft from 18-22 and then my eyes said "tell you what Mo, we've had enough of this crap". They literally decided that they couldn't be bothered any more.

But laser surgery freaks me out so I just wear gimp frames I mean funky frames all the time now.

Cee said...

I got glasses in 4th grade too, but I only had to wear them at school or watching movies. When I got to the point where I would have to wear them all the time I was 12 and got contacts. I want to get Lasik but my contacts don't really bother me. My dad actually got it really early and it worked great.

I don't know why I just put all that in a comment. haha

Buckeroomama said...

My husband is still "thinking" about Lasik. All of his siblings wear glasses/lenses. I am just hoping that the kids take after me and not have to grow up wearing glasses.

Sincerely, Jenni said...

I am so jealous! I have wanted to have Lasik done for years, as my eyes are almost as bad as yours were!

I went to a consultation appointment and discovered my pupils were too thin. OF COURSE! So the "lifetime guarantee" and promise of free follow-up adjustments over time would not apply to me. They would do the Lasik the first time, and that was it. I was too chicken to spend that much money on something like that.

Badass Geek said...

I've worn glasses for a number of years, and while they can be a pain, I'm not sure I'd want Lasik. I don't hate wearing glasses enough to take the risk. Or pay the beaucoup-bucks to get Lasik.

Jenn@ You know... that blog? said...

It's definitely on my To-Do list - I'm blind as a bat, and I CAN'T wear contacts. When I had baby #1, my eyes became so dry that wearing contacts for more than an hour is a lesson in misery. I miss them so much :(

Is that gorgeous eyeball yours?? (strange question, eh?) What unique colouring!

Erin said...

I may have to try to dig up a pic of me in my Sally Jessy glasses to prove you were not alone. My vision isn't as bad as yours, but I could never do Lasik. I've done a few other things (wink, wink), but the only surgery I cannot watch is eye surgery. Otherwise, I will contentedly watch Discovery Heath for hours uninterrupted.

Prosy said...

I got LASIK the day after I turned 18. I was so excited about it- I had been waiting for about two years until I was legal. Totally the best thing I ever did.

Being Pramoda... said...

I'm also supposed to undergo this operation..hmm i also far alott of this but after ur post, i will relook in to it..:)..Thanks ..

Missed u for many dayss...soo ssooorry..:) .. hey come back to my space if you have some time..:)

take care of ur eyes..:)

Judearoo said...

Hmmm.. Ive been tempted but... that burning eyeball thing *shiver*

Nonflammable said...

Burning eye! Hilarious.

What bothered me most was the drops they put in that cause temporary blindness right before they laser.

Dr. video taped my procedure. It was over in 5 minutes.

I think it's incredible that they can fully correct the vision in this manner. Amazing.

Mrs Montoya said...

It always intrigues me that this is the ONLY medical procedure that I have never heard anything negative about. Ever. Now that's a medical miracle.

Slamdunk said...

Burning eye...

My dad hd the procedure done a couple of years ago, and has been thrilled. I think he wore glasses then contacts as soon as he could walk. It was a new world after the procedure.

Raoulysgirl said...

I am not a candidate for contacts because...get this...birth control pills made my eyes change shape. They are no longer round, but more of an elongated oval now.

Ummm..ok.

I am also not a candidate for LASIK due to my scaredy-cattedness (yes, that's a word) and my new (since reading this) dislike for the smell of burning eye. So, I guess I will be a four-eyes for the rest of my life!

Poindexter said...

hahaha. Yes, my stomach is churning too. And my eyesight has begun to rapidly deteriorate this year since I got my first pair of prescription reading eyeglasses. I hate that I need them, but honestly, I can't see sh*t. One day I might be there too enjoying that burning odor while trying to r e l a x. Right.

Stacey said...

It's like we were separated at birth except I'm all ready a triplet so that would be weird. I got Lasik in 2002 and think it was worth every penny. You can use flex dollars and get the tax benefits. It took the doctor 3x as long to laser my eyes because apparently I have oddly shaped eye balls. Good times. What helped? Valium.

ellen abbott said...

I was the only one in a family of five that did not have to wear glasses. Of course, like just about everybody my age now, I have to have reading glasses.

My sister and brother both had the lasik surgery but it doesn't cure everything. My sister has to wear reading glasses too as does my brother.

jules said...

Lucky duck! My vision is off the charts too. Fortunately my eyes have finally stopped getting worse at the age of 29 so I thought I'd finally be a candidate for lasik. The kicker? I just found out on Monday my corneas are thin. IE, not thick enough for them get burned away. Another 40 years of coke bottle glasses and contact lenses for me until I get cataracts and can have the lenses replaced that way. Sigh!

Margo said...

I've worn glasses since the first grade- my first were blue kitty cat frames.. for the first time in 30 years they actually look cool in old photos. I'm totally afraid of lasik. I don't know why - I've worn every kind of contact lens under the sun without any problems, but something about the laser thing terrifies me. Glad it worked so well for you!

The Peach Tart said...

As soon as the perfect the surgery for my eye situation, I'm so getting it done. I'll remember to wear my nose plugs to eliminate the smell of burning eye.

Maureen said...

I wish I could wear contacts; they just don't make them for my prescription... which sucks. I hate glasses. Perhaps laser is the way to go; but I did nervously LOL at your Burning Eye quip!

Barbaloot said...

Isn't LASIK the best ever?! Before I got it one doctor told me I was beyond 20/400. Another said, "well, I'm not sure what you're vision is. We kind of stop measuring once you can't read the E on the top of the chart." Awesome.

Now, after a few years, I'm 20/30, 20/40ish. But hey-I can read my alarm clock when I wake up and that's all that matter to me!

Busy Bee Suz said...

I can't even watch these surgeries on TV. I am glad this was successful for you...and I love your sense of humor!!!! If all else fails, cracking a joke is a great icebreaker!!!!

Summer (BisforBrown) said...

lucky ducky goo!

no clue what that meant.

i wear tacts. all my life i wore hard and now i wear soft and well, it is heaven.

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Burning eye wouldn't relax me either.

foxy said...

Oh man, I just don't know if I could do it. That's just so creepy to have someone laser YOUR EYE. Ugh... gives me the willies. I guess until I grow the necessary balls, I remain a slave to the tacs.

Herding Cats said...

"Burning Eye" was such a strong image....haha

Ms Bibi said...

My little nephew got those color changing lenses and he hated them so much.
I am glad the surgery helped you. Friend of mine had it done few years back and he just loves it.

Pres. Kathy said...

I am still debating on eye surgery. I am seriously thinking of it because I am tired of contacts and glasses/

Intense Guy said...

I'm glad the miracle of modern medicine (surgery) worked so well for you!

My mom had the same thing - the "how many fingers" vision - and we family members would tease her about getting "newsprint nose smudges" when she held the paper sooooo close to read it.

Her surgery made a new person out of her! She loves seeing perfect colors and things on the horizon - things she never could see before.

Its just odd seeing her come up the walk without glasses after 50 years - I keep thinking "Oh no! She lost her glasses!"

Michael Rivers said...

One day I'll get this done. I can't find my way out of bed without my glasses. Thankfully, I don't mind contacts.

VandyJ said...

Congrats on seeing well again! Me, well my eyes are weird--one near-sighted and one far-sighted. Makes for great head aches with out contacts or glasses. I'm not really brave enough for lasiks yet.

Kristina P. said...

My eyesight is HORRIBLE!! And it continually gets worse so I don't think I would be agood candidate for LASIK. :(

Eva Gallant said...

I've worn glasses since elementary school for astigmatism. I had contacts briefly, but the astigmatism was so severe that I had trouble keeping the lenses in. I resigned myself to glasses. At this point, I think I'd look funny without them.

Karyn Bernard (French Charming) said...

"Windshield eyewear worn by Sally Jesse Raphael" You crack me up!

I always wanted glasses when I was a kid (yes, I'm a weirdo) but I was blessed with hawk eyes. Sadly, the day I turned 44 I realized that I need my arm to grow another foot in order to read anything. The day I took stool softener instead of Motrin was the day I went to get corrective lenses. Geez!!

Love and hugs,
Karyn

i am playing outside said...

i thik we all make a horrible choice with our first glasses. i learned that you should never let your mom help you choose [i was in grade 9]. the day my glasses broke was joyous, and led me to a life of actually WEARING my new glasses regularly, as i started picking my own frames.

i carefully select an honest friend close to my age when it is time for a new pair. i remember each person well. i also remember every paid of glasses, and where they got broken or lost. my glasses are never with me for more than 2 years.

that being said, i just realized that i just entered year 2 with my current pair. i guess their time is ticking. hopefully they will last...

bluzdude said...

LOL at "Smell of burning eye."

I had the same story... I couldn't see what was written on the board from where I was in the back of the room. (Heaven forbid I move up front where the nerds were.) So I'd try to look at the homework assignment written on the board as I walked out. If I didn't get a good look, I didn't do the homework.

Eventually in 8th grade, the mandatory eye-tests got me. I was amazed when I got my glasses... I had no idea that everyone else could see so well! It also explained why I suddenly sucked in my last year of Little League. You're a much better batter when you can actually see the ball.

My eyesight is about as horrible as yours was. I can't see the eyechart either. Have been wearing contacts since Sophomore year in college, after having bent my glasses more times than a twist-tie.

Would love to get Lasik, but don't think I could hack the Burning Eye Syndrome.

ByDSea said...

"Fonzie cool"....hahahaha that's so funny. Glad the surgery went well for you and you didn't have to smell burning eye.
Cheers,
C

shortmama said...

That is on my list of must do's next year!!!

The Boob Nazi said...

I got LASIK from my parents as a college graduation present. It was the best present I have ever received. I do not regret a thing.

Julie said...

I'm lucky enough to have 20/15 vision, but when I was in like 3rd grade, my dad took me to the eye doctor, and I faked saying that I couldnt see, because I wanted glasses SO BADLY. I also have a pair of fake glasses that I wear when I want to look intellectual....yeah.

JenJen said...

I'd love to have this done. I'm ascared.

Ela said...

Oh my...what does that smell like???
I'm too chicken to get this done. I day I will. As will my hubs. He can't see a thing. It's BADDDDD.

When I was younger more than anything I wanted to wear contacts (before I even needed glasses). I wanted to so badly that I once took a small plastic circle (size of a hole punch) and stuck it in my eye. Needless to say it didn't go over well. I got rushed to the Dr. who pulled it out eventually. And a lecture from said Dr. And one from my parents on the way home. At home. The next day. It never ended. Oh and a really sore eye. I was a bright kid but I had my days.

carma said...

The whole burning eye thing is what makes me waaaay to paranoid to consider it. Glad it worked well for you though!

Heather said...

Brave woman!
I have had to wear glasses since the 7th grade. I never could afford contacts and now that I am older, there just isn't any point in changing.

Vodka Logic said...

I have worn glasses since I was 4 and can't imagine otherwise. I have always wanted to buy funky sunglasses and never been able too...

Burning eye? I know I won't be getting lasik... lol

Pricilla said...

Eeeewwww!

That One Mom said...

I too had the super hot Sally Jessy glasses! The rocked! (not so much)

I wear my contacts all day and all night, rarely taking them out. While I know this is terrible for my poor little eyeballs, I am TERRIFIED of Lasik...

DeNae said...

I'm with you. I don't enjoy the smell of burning eye nearly as much as I used to. Must be getting old.

My sister's vision is so bad, she had Lasik, then had that surgery where they insert a permanent contact (so her eyes reflect light in a creepy, werewolfish sort of way) AND now she wears glasses to finish off the necessary prescription.


I think her vision is 20/unconscious.

Corrie Howe said...

Oh, how I wish that I was 1) brave enough to get the surgery and 2) could benefit from the surgery. (At least last time I checked they didn't feel I was.)

Both my sons should be wearing glasses to read and for school, but they don't. At least my oldest (a teen) has decided that sometimes it is better to see. And he's very good about wearing them to drive. It just occurred to me last night that my middle son's inability to write correctly from the whiteboard might have something to do with not wearing his glasses. Better make sure that makes it into his next IEP.

Thanks for reading my post about my jury experience. It was fun to write.

Too Many Hats said...

burning eyeball is not the most calming of scents - perhaps why I never see it in candle form. I am so hoping that my dd will be eligible for laser eye surgery when she is an adult - she is pretty mych blind without her contacts or glasses.

Mala said...

Is it super vain of me that the picture of that eye is so beautiful it makes me want to run out and get the same exact eye color contact lense for my, otherwise perfectly visioned eyes? What a gorgeous color! Mine on the other hand is a muddled color, not quiet brown but not really hazel. It's a WTF color. But those, THOSE color eyes would be incredible!
Of course it takes my eye doctor's knee firmly planted my chest just so he can pry my eyelids open for eye drops... so I doubt I'm a candidiate for any contact lenses.

J.J. in L.A. said...

I'm near-sighted in my left eye and far-sighted in my right so I have natural bifocals and don't need glasses, thank goodness. I've had surgery on many body parts but my eyes are off limits. lol!

HalfAsstic.com said...

I would give my eye teeth, (heh... eye teeth), for my husband to have laser surgery. He has beautiful eyes and his prescription is so strong that even with the "ultra light" lenses, they are still very thick. But, alas, he's a pansy ass and a fraidy cat and wuss. Yet, I still love him. ;-)

Donn said...

Ha!
The burning thingamabob reminded me of my vaswrecktomy.

Not many events in my life can equal the unnerving sensations of witnessing 4 tiny plumes of smoke waft up from the netherlands.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

Is that a picture of your eye? What a beautiful eye! I love the color!!

I'm so glad that you can see clearly now. Congrats on your perfect vision!

Hugs!!

Mommy Lisa said...

ha ha ha ha! I had Lasik in January of 2008. I have never been happier, but you are right it smells bad.

I was glad my friend Patty told me about it before I went.

Dustjacket Attic said...

Oh same here, glasses, contacts and then Lasik. My experience was more tramatic though, think I was more worked up than I thought and kinda went into a bit of shock after the eye cutting, burning bit.

Great eyesight now, so was worth it.
xxx

Holly said...

I've heard that it's a wonderful surgery to have if your vision is less than perfect, but I'm with you- the thought of it gives me the heeby jeebies. I'm glad it worked out well for you though, that' awesome!

mbkatc230 said...

Legally blind in my right eye, left eye is horrid and getting worse. Not a candidate for Lasik, but I would do it in a heartbeat if I were. These blasted lineless bifocals are expensive! Oh yes, and I have very small face, so alot of times I end up getting children's frames. It's usually good for a laugh when I pick the frames and then they look at the bifocal prescription! Kathy

Simply Mel said...

Coming from someone who cannot even read the alarm clock on the night table (without glasses or contacts), I still cannot bring myself to doing the Lasik surgery.

I fear the eye surgeon will have one too many shots of espresso before calling my name! Seriously.

Kato said...

Even saying the word 'eye' makes me woozy in an early 1900s kind of way.

So you might understand how I felt while reading this post. "The smell of burning eye"?

Pass the smelling salts please!

Janet said...

I am so jealous. My eyes are also horrible. I can't see a hand in front of my face at all without glasses or contacts. I made the decision after my divorce to save up for the surgery. They actually told me I can't have it because my corneas are too thin, and my eye would burst. SOOOO unfair. My only option is that surgery where they basically implant a contact inside your eye? And it's like $8000. That would take a lot more saving!

Emily said...

I have been dying for lasik! I actually went in to have it done about a year and a half ago and they wouldn't let me do it b/c I was breastfeeding and then I got pregnant again and well...now I should be good but now I have to find someone to watch all these kids while I got get it done!

Dan said...

Having had this done, I feel your pain JM. Nothing like the smell of your own burning body to put the bounce in your step.

Well worth having done though.

Aunt Becky said...

The Daver wants Lasik and I'm all for it. I have terrible eyesight but I'm still wary. I have a THING about eyes.

WHAT? ME NEUROTIC?

Life with Kaishon said...

Just thinking of a burning eye scares the bejeezus out of me! Glad it worked out so well though!

Marguerite said...

The technology is really amazing for eye surgery, now. When my inherited early onset cataracts arrived at age 45, the surgery took only 10 minutes, and was totally painless, with no stitches, patches or anything. Best of all, it left me with 20/20 vision.

MommaKiss said...

I would loooove to get lasik. If only I could see the alarm clock up when I woke...priceless.

Is that your eye - it's gorgeous!

Chief said...

Oh Jenny, my sight life paralleled yours. I think we even had the same goggles. I remember being told I would never be a candidate for lasik due to the width of my cornea (WTF?).. I found a Dr. who explained that he could correct one eye completely and the other would be 20/60. I went for it and it was the best thing I have ever done.

I was a basket case during the procedure as well. It was so nerve wracking to have your eyed pulled open so that someone could purposely burn your eye ball. I think it took 10 years off my life.

Its a good thing I will be able to see for those 10 years without contacts

Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer & Crazy Woman said...

OUCH, I cannot even watch my husband put in his contacts. So, eye surgery ... scary ... like horror movie scary.

Good for you, though, for doing it and all working out well! Happy holidays and all that festive stuff! - J

Stina said...

i'm lucky. i'm blessed with perfect vision and everyone else in my family has glasses. i do suffer from allergy eyes, though. that sux! my hubs is practically blind without his glasses/contacts. we have thought about lasik, but it turns out he would still have to wear glasses and contacts, so it's not worth it for him. anything to do with eyeballs just creeps me out. take care.

AnnQ said...

LMFAO - "Burning eye"...nice :-)

Lauren said...

I want to get Lasik SO BADLY. I wear contacts and they are dry right now and I can't really see. It ROCKS. I wonder if my insurance will cover it.

WhisperingWriter said...

I had an eye appointment today and I asked about LASIK. I so want it. But it's $3500 and my mean insurance covers none of it.

I suppose if I don't eat for a year that I could afford it..

SweetPeaSurry said...

Ahhh ... I had my eye surgery in 2000 myself, and I'm glad I did. They gave us so many happy drugs, that by the time I got in there, I would have let them strip me down and parade me down Fifth Ave in NYC. Yeah ... I felt fine. Taxi ride home, a few days of itchy eyes ... and in 2009 20/20 (or better) vision. Life is grand!

My name is PJ. said...

The SMELL of burning eye? Really? Pardon me while I go hurl and then have a nap riddled with nightmares!

karen@fitnessjourney said...

I am both intrigued and terrified by the idea of Lasik surgery. The part about the burning eye kind of justifies my terror!

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

I only personally know two people who had this done. The description of your eyes being held open by claws didn't really help me out. Even though I am now being forced (kicking and screaming) to accept I likely should wear glasses full time, I don't know. It would probably improve my spelling a great deal though...

Postman said...

I was wondering about that. I'd heard LASIK was a miraculous procedure but I thought to myself..."Can you smell your own eye being torched?"

Congratulations on being able to see once again! Long time coming, but I'm sure it was worth it.

Oh, and thank you very much for the lovely Christmas card.

kys said...

My husband and I have been lusting after lasik surgery for years. He is blind as a bat and has been told that he will still need contacts after the lasik.(That was a few years ago. Maybe things have improved since then?)

I have too much guilt to have lasik when my vision isn't that bad and leave him to his contacts and coke bottle glasses.

Unknown Mami said...

I am having problems with my eyes and can no longer safely wear contacts. Lasik is an option, but I am terrified.

The Absence of Alternatives said...

Congrats on the successful surgery! I would like to have one yet am quite scared since a friend of ours now cannot drive at night due to a botched surgery... Isn't it wonderful to be able to see clearly, again (if you still remember how it felt like?) without any glasses or contacts? *sigh* I am half blind... Congrats again!

Angry Julie Monday said...

I had the surgery in 1999. I'm sitting here right now, wearing glasses again.

M-Cat said...

I had Lasik done earlier this year. Best money of Splenda's I ever spent!

hotpants™ said...

I've been wanting to do it for some time. I should really start saving up for it. I got glasses in first grade. They had tinted lenses. They were the WORST ever. I'd come in from recess and they'd take at least an hour to change back. I finally switched to contacts in 7th grade and never looked back.