New Eyes To See….

I’ve had a terrible vision my whole life. Didn’t realize it till after 2nd grade when I was going to Girl Scout Camp and I had to have a camp physical. The nurse asked me to read the chart and I asked her where the chart was… after camp I found myself at the eye doctor and then picking out my first pair of glasses. They were lovely, light blue/purple with little hearts in the corner with a little diamond (fake), and thick as all get out because it turned out that I could see about 2 inches from my face and after that everything was a blur (basically 20/2000 vision which means what normal people can see clearly 2000 feet away I have to be 20 feet away to see it with the same clarity….). When we picked up my first pair of glasses I remember telling my parents “you can actually see individual leaves on trees”. I was totally amazed at the world and how it really was. How I made it through second grade without seeing anything is still a mystery to me….but oh well. In 6th grade I decided I was too cool for glasses and switched to contacts. Which worked ok, my eyes were allergic to all the soft kinds and so hard gas perms were my only option. They worked great, I could see, but any slight dust or anything made my eyes hurt and water and I had to take them out and clean them. And if I was lucky I could wear them about 6-8 hours before I had to take them out because they hurt my eyes so much. And so being the reasonable pre-teen, teen, and young adult I was (not) I fought through and just wore them anyway because I didn’t like my glasses because they were so thick and I didn’t like wearing glasses. Until a few years ago and then I was tired of prying my contacts out mid-work shift to put my glasses on and fighting with my eyes always hurting that I said goodbye to contacts except for big events like my brother’s wedding. I had been told I was never a candidate for Lasik because my vision was so poor they couldn’t take enough of the cornea off to get me to a functional level. And glasses have come a long way since the 1980s and the lenses are thinner and lighter and there are a lot more options. So I had resigned myself to glasses forever.

Earlier this fall though after a camping trip and getting my 6-month-old glasses scratched and constantly having them bumped and needing adjustment I emailed my eye doctor, Dr Wolford, that I have seen since I was that little 2nd grader years ago and asked her if there were any other options. She put me in touch with Dr Verner at the eye care center and I had an appointment. They ran my eyes through every test possible and dilated me so much my eyes were dilated for 2 days afterwards but when all that was done I sat down with Dr Verner and she brought up ICL surgery. Basically they insert a permanent contact lens in each eye behind my iris and in front of my natural lens. She said I was a good candidate. And when I asked her if it was herself or a family member what she would do and she said “ICLs”. So I said let’s do it.

So two weeks ago between night shifts I was at the eye surgery center getting holes lasered in my eyes. Because the permanent contact lens goes between the iris and the lens there is a risk of pressure build up and glaucoma, so to prevent that they laser two holes in each eye to prevent that. When I checked in they put bright green stickers above each eye to mark that I was getting both eyes done and then I had to hang out in the waiting room for quite awhile with those stickers in place looking pretty awesome. Another patient even commented on “uh you have two green stickers by your eyes”. Yeah well all the cool kids are doing it. The lasering was weird, and the sensation is best described as a rubber band being flicked against your skin….only its your eye.

And then yesterday I had my official surgery. I told my glasses their eviction date was 12/17/19 and I took them off for the last time in the pre-op area. They numbed my eyes and before I knew it we were in the OR. Dr Verner was very sweet and kind and talked with me through it all. I was awake, they gave me a dose of oral valium but I would only take 1/2 the dose they wanted because I’m quite the light weight and I figured they didn’t want me passed out in their post op room for the next 3 days. I didn’t feel anything, and really the only think I didn’t like was the thing they used to hold open my eyelids, that was just a bit uncomfortable. A lot of people say they don’t like things done to their eyes, and I get that, but really they had my eye so numb and I couldn’t see anything that I just had to think, “ok, she’s doing things and you just have to breathe deep and this will be over soon.” The weirdest part was when they finished the first eye they took the drapes down and I could see great out of my right eye and my left was still blurry as crazy. I probably looked like a dork laying there opening and closing each eye for a few minutes. And then they did the second eye and before I knew it they were wheeling me to recovery. They placed really attractive clear eye shields on my eyes to protect them so I looked like a weird bug. Clint came back to the recovery room and said “you looked better than I thought you would”. Not real sure how to take that. Then we headed home. My eyes were super dilated and sore and I couldn’t really tell what I could see. I had a post op appointment late yesterday evening and when they took all the glare from my eyes being dilated I was nearly 20/20. Leighton snuggled on the couch with me yesterday evening and read to me which was sweet.This morning my eyes are back to their non dilated state, although still sore and my lids are swollen. I had another post op appointment and my eyes were each officially 20/20 with normal pressures and Dr Verner said I looked way better than expected 1 day post op. It was a new experience waking up and not having to reach for my glasses and being able to see instantly (although I wore the lovely eye shields to sleep in last night because I have to wear them for a week at night and I just like to look awesome). And so I have new eyes that work, or maybe the same eyes that work for the first time in my life. The kids all posed for a photo this AM with me and my new eyes.