Monday, 2 March 2009

To see, or not to see?

My eyes are both my best and worst features.

Best, because they have a clear blue clarity that could turn the Adriatic green with envy. (If not Ol' Blue Eyes himself).

Worst, because they are broken. They are not fit for purpose. Since I was 11 I have worn ever-increasing-in-strength glasses then contact lenses. Do you get it? I am really, really short sighted.

On Saturday I went to have a consultation with a view to getting eye surgery. The sales technique was truly awesome. There are a couple of different types which, from what she said, might as well be the difference between getting a chisel and mallet and cracking open the front of my eye or having a cool breeze, generated by the flapping of an angel's wing, skim my eye balls to fix my sight. Is there really any choice? I'll happily pay the premium, in a way I won't for branded rather than supermarket-own toilet paper.

So now the decision, do I do it? Should I have the operation to correct my vision?

I always find the best way to make this kind of decision is to weigh up the pros and cons:

Pros of wearing glasses
  • Makes me look clever (I always wear them when I going for an interview)
  • Enables me to see
  • Can be fashionable (depending on what Prada are doing that season – unfortunately these are a full-time wear regardless of trends)
  • You don’t hit a girl wearing glasses.

Cons of wearing glasses
  • I can’t wear them out when it is raining as they get covered in water
  • I can’t wear them out when it is sunny as it stops me wearing sunglasses
  • I can’t wear them out when it is too cold as the moment I walk back into the warm they steam up
  • I can’t look into the oven without them steaming up
  • Guys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses (this certainly proved true during my early teenage years - although in retrospect my boy's haircut, complete lack of self-confidence and acne may also have contributed. Things certainly changed when I got contacts, grew my hair, took medication to help my skin and learnt that boys, like rats, are far more scared of you that you are of them)
  • They smear really easily so you constantly have to clean them
  • I can't see well enough to put eye-make up on with wearing my glasses (which puts a physical barrier in the way of the aforementioned activity) or putting contacts in which defeats the point of wearing glasses
  • They are incredibly expensive to replace (my last pair with lenses cost £900).
Pros of wearing contacts
  • I look like you don't wear glasses
  • Means I can cut onions without them making me cry
  • Enables me to see.
Cons of wearing contacts
  • They can be painful to put in - especially if you put them in early in the morning
  • I'm not supposed to wear them for more that 8 hours a day
  • I'm not supposed to sleep in them (not even an afternoon nap)
  • I'm not suppose to wear them on the beach
  • I'm not supposed to wear them whilst swimming
  • They can rip in half in my eye and get lost somewhere in the socket (this happened to me last week - 3 days before the other half worked its way out - a key catalyst for Saturday's appointment)
  • If one falls out I'm stuck until I can find a spare
  • Ecologically unsound - I use daily disposables - think of the waste with all that packaging.
Pros of getting laser surgery
  • I won't need to wear glasses or contacts lenses
  • I'll be able to shave my legs in the shower with out first putting my lenses in
  • I will be able to see the clock at night
  • I won't have to pat the surface of my side table every morning to enable me to locate my specs
  • I won't have to ask the husband to locate my glasses for me when I know they are here somewhere but I simply cannot see/ pat them
  • I will be able to apply eye make up whenever I fancy (apart from after the first week of the surgery)
  • I won't have to check the weather to determine which facial apparatus I can wear
  • I get £500 off this treatment because I have been referred by a friend - who thinks it has revolutionised her life
  • I can spread the payments out over several years (i.e. the rest of my days on this mortal coil)
  • I can leave behind the memory of my childhood nickname - Everest - not coined in homage of the years I spent living in Nepal but a reference to a double glazing firm advertising heavily of telly in the mid 80's and accompanied by the trade mark tap on glasses
  • I'll be able to see from the second I wake up - all by myself.
Cons of getting laser surgery
  • It might not work
  • It might make my sight worse
  • It costs only slightly less than a small Hebridean island
  • I'm scared.
But, you can't have this surgery if you are pregnant or breast feeding so now does seem like an opportune moment. I always think about the constant leaping in and out of bed once I have a kid and the unnecessary complications having to locate my glasses will add to the faff. So it would be good to have my sight sorted prior to that.

So, on balance, I think I shall go for it. Have any of you had it? Any comforting tales of success you'd like to share?


  1. I would totally go for it. I'm in the same boat as you...I'm totally blind without assistance.
    Could you imagine being able to see the clock at night? That would be heavenly. I also think I would get up earlier on my days off...waking up and actually being able to see the world around you rather than a bunch of fuzz.

  2. WHAT DO YOU MEAN, CONTACT LENSES GET LOST IN YOUR EYE SOCKET FOR 3 DAYS?!?!?!?! I've worn them for years, with NO IDEA that the revoltingly unthinkable could happen? WHERE DO THEY GO?!?! WHY HAS MY OPTICIAN NOT WARNED ME OF THIS?!

    Pant. Pant. Pant. Deep breath. Deeper breath. Try to suppress revulsion and panic.

    Eye surgery sounds good. Lost contact lens in eye socket sounds extremely, horribly, awfully bad. Excuse me if I just nip upstairs and remove my contacts, just in case...

    I am only a little bit blind - currenty minus 3.5 in both, I think. The leave-in-for-a-month disposables suit me relatively well, so I've stuck with them. £900 is a heck of a lot for glasses - I'm thinking that surgery can't take too long to pay for itself if you're having a new pair every, say 2 years?

  3. One of my sisters had eye surgery last year. She had extremely bad eyesight since she was small.

    The surgery was extremely expensive but was totally worth it. Her life has changed completely.

    She says that the best part is waking up in the morning and being able to see straightaway. She can never remember doing that. She has two little girls and loves the fact that when they come running into the bedroom in the mornings, she can see them immediately.

    I say go for it. You'll never regret it.

    She also said that it was a little painful/uncomfortable immediately after surgery, but it is a small price to pay.

  4. I know Mary, just opening your eyes and seeing -it feels like an impossible dream... I'll let you know how it goes.

    HFF, Has that never happened to you? I loose one at least three or four times a year. I use to panic but now I know they work themselves out eventually.

    Mick, this is exactly what I wanted to hear.

  5. I'll just be no help to you here whatsoever by telling you that if I didn't occasionally need to wear glasses I would buy fake ones.

    They hide the bags under my eyes and stop me getting fired for supposed heroin use.

    ...but yeah, toss a coin..

  6. I'd definately get the surgery. Although I LOVE wearing glasses. I don't know why...but I do.

  7. Although the idea of eye surgery freaks me out a bit, I think you should go for it. Everyone I know who has had it doesn't regret it and is completely happy with the results. Definitely take all the pros and go for it while the timing is right.

  8. I can empathise exactly with your dilemma - like you, I'm extremely short sighted, and struggle with the whole surgery vs. glasses/contact lenses dilemma.

    I think what puts me off the idea of surgery is the risk, however small, that it may go wrong and that my eyesight may be permanently damaged as a result. But, on the other hand, I do know people who have had it and have said that it has totally transformed their life.

    Keep us posted whatever you decide to do!

  9. As someone whose blind as a bat and wishes she had done the surgery a long time ago I'd say go for it. I'm now at the point where I possibly would still need reading glasses (age, needing bifocals) even with the surgery. I've never heard anyone who regreted the surgery though.

  10. Do it! My husband recently had his eyes done and he loves it. He had a blended procedure basically making one see close and one see far and he has not had any trouble at all and every day talks about how much clearer and brighter and better everything looks. Me on the other hand, my eyes were always great and I still have 20/20 vision but they are definitely showing their age. Need reading glasses and stuff far away is no longer clear. Getting older sucks.

  11. I've worn glasses for about 13 years now and they are OK. If I could find an optometrist who thought that surgery would work well for me, I'd try it I think.
    I've never been brave enough to try contacts though so not sure if I'd really go through with it anyway...

  12. Xbox, sounds like you need an under eye concealer not glasses (which can magnify the flaws).

    Thanks Megan, I think I will go for it.

    Leo, it freaks me out too but, so far, everyone who has had it, their only regret is not having it done sooner.

    Ms Heathen, the risk is the worry I don't want to be kicking myself because I have made my sight worse and start thinking 'what was I doing glasses aren't so bad'.

    battynurse, yeah the optician warned me that I'd need glasses for reading in about 10 years anyway so this might be my chance to seize the opportunity of r a spec free few years.

    Wow Nic, blended sounds hardcore. Luckily don't need that just yet.

    Amanda, if you aren't brave enough for contacts the whole laser int he eye thing might be bit much!


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