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I wear a lot of make-up. Not in a ’90s-Elizabeth-Arden-cream-compact-troweled-on-an-inch-thick kinda way. And as a beauty editor, it’s *almost* my actual job to get dolled up – I’m sure it says it in my contract somewhere.
Right or wrong, I do use a lot of different products to achieve a ‘my real skin on its absolute best day’ glow. And the older I get, the more I see the importance of flawless skin. A good base can make any eye or lip look go from Mancunian Corrie extra to Hollywood A-lister in an instant.
With that in mind, and given the amount of foundations I constantly try out, I said I’d do an aul experiment. Seven different foundations over seven days seemed like a good idea (mostly because I had seven on my chest of drawers and there are, rather jammily for me, seven days in a week.
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.
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…
…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.
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.
And good luck to me fella if he ever decides to marry me, because I don’t think I’ll be this excited on my wedding day (unless he ropes Beyoncé in to sing me up the aisle).
I’m getting laser eye surgery (with the highly trained and well prepared professionals at Optical Express in Ballsbridge – I say that to reassure myself more so than to inform you), and all going well, I’m expecting it to change my life. Let me tell you why.
I practically lived in the Gaeltacht as a teenager. One sunny day, surfing was on the agenda for us all, so we hit the beach. I spent 45 minutes absolutely bating myself into a slimy, disgusting wet suit that I knew 60 other manky teenagers had been in before me, and the smell off it supported my theory.
I took a brief lesson in surfing (from the safety of the sand) and then grabbed a board. Running towards the waterline, I was absolutely DYING to hit the (admittedly very small) waves. Just as my feet touched the water, board in hand, excitement at fever pitch, I realised. I have my glasses on!
What was I thinking?? If I get into the sea with my glasses on, I’ll absolutely fling myself off my surfboard at the first opportunity and there’ll be one lucky short-sighted jellyfish with a new pair of Ralph Lauren prescription specs. And if I go in with them off, I’ll DEFINITELY die. My eyesight is THAT bad (thanks ‘rents.)
So I skulked back to the hut, got out of the wetsuit and watched from a freezing cold sand dune while my peers learned to surf. I haven’t had my head submerged in water in about 15 years. My eyesight has gotten progressively worse, and now I am a -5.5 prescription in each eye, which is pretty terrible.
Other than that sorry tale, there are many day to day things that my horrific eyesight has kept me from or made me do:
– Just now, before I sat down to write, I lost my glasses. I looked for them for 15 minutes. They were hiding themselves in plain sight. (plain sight is not something I currently have access to)
– I have, countless times, washed my hair with shower gel, applied dry shampoo to freshen up my armpits and once, I *almost* used haemorrhoid ointment as toothpaste (NOT MY OWN, fyi).
– I said hello to a wheelie bin recently.
– While trying to give someone directions to something behind me, I poked myself in the eye. My depth perception gets all fecked up.
– I’ve gone to sleep in my contact lenses accidentally and woken up the next morning thinking Jesus Christ the baby lord had come down and blessed me with the gift of sight overnight. He hadn’t.
– As with the surfing story, I can’t really go swimming. Unless I get a pair of supremely sexy prescription goggles. They go down fine in the Olympics, not so much on a Croatian beach when I’m trying to get stuck in to a hot doctor (three years ago when single, calm down lads). Goggles are about as sexy as a dose of herpes simplex.
– Without glasses or lenses, I look permanently confused. I squint, I peer awkwardly at people’s faces as they talk, hoping beyond hope to pick up an expression or two (failing, inevitably) and I always feel as though when my sight goes, so does my hearing. You know when you turn down the radio in the car when you’re lost? Something along those lines.
– Glasses, I reckon, held me back, confidence wise. It wasn’t until I was 19 and started wearing lenses that I really feel I got the will to speak up for myself a bit. And also, until then, I was making an absolute living HAMES of my make-up and NO ONE told me.
SO… with all that in mind, here’s what I’m hoping will happen once my sight has been cured by the magical wonders of the Wavefront laser – not your ordinary patient (of course) I have to get the turbo laser because of my abnormally large pupils. Even in their process of getting fixed my eyes are assholes…
– I’ll open my eyes on maybe Sunday morning, having slept off most of the pain/headaches/sore eyes, and be able to see my bedroom without the aid of a very expensive set of lenses or glasses. For the first time since I was about 6. I’m expecting it to be a magical time.
– I’ll do that same thing, every morning, until I reach my mid-fifties and need to wear reading glasses like some kind of elegant older lady – Diane Keaton fifteen years ago is what I’ll be going for. I might even throw on a lady tux.
– I’ll be able to take up surfing and god help me no dodgy eyed case of Myopia is gonna stop me. Who knows?? I could be EXCEPTIONALLY talented at watersports and just not know about it yet. Watch out Rio 2016.
– For the first time since I can remember, I’ll be able to ON A WHIM decide to sleep over somewhere other than my house and not have the “DO I HAVE SPARE LENSES” panic. Oh it will be good.
– Never have to wash my hair with shower gel again, nor will I greet a wheelie bin and expect it to answer back. This is gonna be GREAT.
Plan: I’ve got a couple of sedatives handy should I need to be easy breezy in the morning.
Say a prayer for me. Rosie, keep an eye on my eyes. Sound.