Thanks to the miracle of lasers and science and the steady hands of one seriously qualified eye doctor, I have a pair of fully working eyeballs for the first time in 20 years.
I can see everything in HD and I didn’t even have to sell my soul to a Sky TV door-to-door salesperson. I can read car registration plates at a hundred paces (and I will, until I’m asked to stop). I can see when I cut my legs shaving in the shower – it doesn’t happen less but at least I’m not shocked when I put my specs back on. I can fall asleep without The Ultimate Fear of going asleep with lenses in, or without irretrievably ruining the shape of an expensive pair of glasses. As Del Boy would say, the world is my lobster.
For anyone who has bad short-sightedness, my plight is a familiar one. For the full ‘before’ story, have a look here, and watch out for the haemorrhoid ointment.
For the (not so gory) gory details on how I came to have perfect vision, here are the details…
…Or as I like to call it, the day I discovered my abnormally large pupils would double the advertised price of laser surgery. Of course they say “fron €595 per eye”. But that’s your run of the mill, normal eye from Averageville. My giant pupils, however, saw to it that the cost was a bit more, although in hindsight (20/20 hindsight, I might add) I would pay double what they charged me for it. That’s how happy I am.
The very lovely team in Optical Express, Ballsbridge (who I had nothing but pleasure dealing with) tested my eyes and deemed me suitable for the treatment, I paid my deposit and set a date. All I had to remember was to (a) Leave out my contacts for a week before surgery and (b) pay.
The Day Of…
Here are some tips, me to you, about the day of surgery…
1. Don’t have a giant Eggs Benedict for breakfast. The hollandaise sauce mixed with intense nerves does not a comfortable tummy situation make. Take it from me.
2. Bring two Valium/Diazepam with you. You won’t need them, but you’ll feel like a frickin’ hero when you walk out after the procedure and smugly declare you did it drug-free.
3. Read the risks, and do it anyway. With any procedure, of course there are risks, but don’t let them stop you or make you nervous. They do 25 of these things a day, yours will NOT be the one that goes wrong. It’s just good maths.
4. Trust your surgeon. Mine, Mr Alex George (totally robbing that name for my next romance novel) was highly qualified, exceptionally friendly and made me feel incredibly safe when my eyeball was being sliced open. In fact, he was making jokes. All well and good Doc, but seriously. Wouldn’t mind a bit of concentration as you burn my corneas with laser beams.
5. Listen to your nurse. Mine, a most wonderful lady named Wendy, was THE NICEST PERSON ON THE PLANET and encouraged and reassured me all the way through. Her and Mary Poppins would get on well, I’d imagine. If I could hire Wendy to talk me gently through all of life’s little traumas, I most certainly would.
6. Bring some Nurofen with you. Lash them in just as you come out of surgery to pre-empt some of the pain. The pain, by the way? Negligible. Srsly. I had about 30 minutes of headache/light sensitivity/eye-wateriness in the car on the way home. Then I popped two more Nurofen, hit the hay (sexy goggles in-situ) and woke up four hours later with ZERO pain. And none since, mind you. OH. And don’t forget to sleep in your super sexy goggles for a week. Naps and all. Here I am, morto in mine.
7. Don’t be nervous. Easy for me to say, right? I was SO nervous, but afterwards realised I shouldn’t have given it a second thought. I’ve had more unpleasant flus. I’ve have worse experiences getting a tooth filled. It’s weird, yes. It’s a funny sensation, yes. But the procedure is pain-free, and speaking as a HUGE wuss, you can take my word for it.
8. Listen to what the nice nurse lady says about taking your eyedrops. Be meticulous, is what my surgeon said. These are your eyeballs, lads. You’ll get nowhere playing it fast and loose with the instructions on that front.
9. Obviously, it goes without saying that you need a chaperone on the day to take you there and home. This same chaperone will have to help you into bed for the napping phase, so they’ll deserve a thank you card and a cup of tea at the very least. (Props to my lovely auntie Louise here)
10. Your eyes will look like this for a few days. And genuinely, you can’t feel that. It looks sore, but it’s not. These are my eyes by the way. I had to do that funny face to show the bruising off properly.
10. Last but not least? If you’re thinking about laser surgery, just GET. IT. DONE. Stop thinking about it, stop questioning yourself. If you’re short-sighted and it gets you down in any way, you should absolutely opt for laser surgery. Here are the many ways in which it changed my life, just by way of twisting your arm…
The Day After…
…Or as I now call it, the day I became a super-human, optically advanced bionic woman.
I headed back to the Optical Express HQ and Rory, the lovely optometrist, had me read the 20/20 letter line on the eye test board. I read it with ease, and exclaimed (to a clearly scared Rory) “It’s like MAGIC!” I then read the ‘better than 20/20′ line with ease and had to fight back the tears of joy – it was 9am and I didn’t want to feel bad for ruining poor Rory’s day at work by blubbering all over him.
Things that are made infinitely better by having perfect vision:
Driving. I can see ALL of the signs now. A bonus for myself AND other road users.
Waking up. It feels special every time I do it, like I’m seeing for the first time every morning.
Watching TV in bed. No more falling asleep on my glasses or taking out a crunchy contact lense the next day.
My bank balance. Contacts/glasses/optician appointments cost a LOT.
My confidence. This feeling of invincibility MIGHT wear off, but I really hope it lasts.
My chances of becoming a pilot. FINALLY the door to that career path is opening in front of me.
In short, going under the laser was/is the best thing I’ve ever done. I can’t put into words how great it feels to finally see the world as it should be seen. If you want to ask me anything about it, I CLEARLY like to talk about it, so tweet me @aislingmkeenan or leave an aul comment. I’m good for the replies, I swear.