2. Laser Eye Surgery – My Eye History

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Laser Eye Surgery

I had been fascinated by Laser Eye Surgery, but this was ‘before’ I even knew I needed glasses!

I was 13, living in Nelson and visiting my friend who’s family had been house sitting for friends of theirs. The house they were ‘sitting’ was gorgeous (which I was quite fascinated with on its own) and then my friend told me the reason they were house sitting was because the couple that owned the house had flown to Auckland to BOTH get Laser Eye Surgery to correct their vision done.

I remember thinking that was the ‘coolest’ thing I had ever heard of and how fascinating it was that they could potentially get brand new super eyes by zapping them with lasers!!
She also told us that it cost them $2000 per eye – whooooah. At age 13 I knew $4000 per person was a lot of money, but still ‘how cool’.

I then promptly forgot about the conversation and went about my 13 year old life.

Cut scene…to 1 year latter at age 14.
I was never a complete ‘back row lurker’ at School, but liked to sit ‘fairly’ near the back of the class. It meant I could still get away with a small amount of talking & note passing and teen girl antics, but without being grouped with the ‘nearly always in trouble’ back row.
I was in 4th Form typing class when I first realised my eyes were not bionic and were potentially failing me. It seemed suddenly I could no longer look up from my typewriter to where our work was on the whiteboard and see as clearly. It was fuzzier than normal…hmmmm.

But I ignored it for a while (as we all do) but then found myself needed to move forward a row next time we came to class (shock horror!!).
Then another row forward…damn…I was really not keen on that. “Gosh, maybe I needed glasses!”  But surely not, none of my brothers or my parents had glasses?

I talked to my Mom about it and in no time she had me down at the local optometrist in Nelson having an eye test.
Result = YES I needed glasses!!   

I’ll admit, I was kinda excited.
I though glasses were pretty cool :-)

At the optometrist, they got me me to look at all the frames, try on what I like and then take home about 6 pairs to try out on the family and friends to see what they thought.
I soon settled on a ‘very in at the time’ pair of slightly tortoiseshell thin framed glasses. A little like Brandon Walsh and Andrea from Beverly Hills 90210 used to wear, but not quite so big.

 

Andrea Zuckerman - Beverly Hills 90210 - circa 90's

Andrea Zuckerman – Beverly Hills 90210 – circa 90’s

 

 

It came with a bright Red case and overall I thought it was pretty cool.
I didn’t mind wearing my glasses and my friends all thought they were pretty cool which helped! There were quite a few kids at School who had them too. I didn’t initially need to wear them all the time, just for the long distance stuff throughout High School and watching TV etc…

On the day of my 15th birthday I rang and booked in my learners licence driving test as I was so keen to drive as soon as possible, fortunately I passed everything and would wear my glasses sometimes when I drove, but not all the time at this point and it wasn’t a condition of my licence.

I got through most of my teens wearing my glasses when need be and they didn’t bother me too much. I even dated a guy for a while that had almost identical glasses to me!

At age 20, I had been living in Christchurch for 2 years and was then moving to Wellington for work. I was working in Retail in a Shopping Centre and noticed after a while that other retail friends would walk past the entrance to my store and would be waving and saying Hi. I would look up from what I was doing and find myself not being 100% sure who I was waving back to.
Their faces were not clear to me, so I would take a bit of guess who it was and wave back enthusiastically, but who knows I could have been waving to anyone. This was when I started wearing my glasses more and more full time.

When I was 22, my car got broken into whilst we were at Waikanae beach one gorgeous afternoon. They munted the door lock trying to get into the car and once in, the only thing interesting they took was my cellphone car charger and my original red plastic glasses case that had my glasses in it!

It took me a while to figure out why on earth someone would bother stealing someone else’s prescription glasses! Then I realised that I had some tinted clipons (yup super geeky) that were on them inside the case, so on a quick glance they would have looked like sunglasses.
I imagined them running down the road in glee all excited about what they stole, getting around the corner and stopping to closer examine their haul. To open the case and be mortified when they discover there are no trendy sunglasses in there, but merely prescription glasses with extra geeky clipons! mwwhahaha :-)

Anyway, off to the Optometrist for more glasses which I didn’t mind tooo much as I was happy for an update and insurance paid them out, minus the excess. I loved my new frames I chose, they were much smaller and more oval and a solid red tinted thin frame.

I had worn these same frames right up until November last year (2012). I have never been able to find any I preferred more than these not matter how many times I attempted to try. I would spend hour upon hour in the optometrist trying nearly every single frame. I have supposedly a very ‘narrow’ face by my eyes, so most frames would look ginormous on me.
The closest ones I found one day looked pretty cool…but were from the ‘kids section’…could have dealt with that fact…except they had the ‘Barbie’ logo on the both sides of the arm in full view. Couldn’t quite deal with that!!

At age 26, I had my first furor into trying Contact Lenses. I found them relatively easy to put in and take out and easy to use. I was given tiny monthly disposables.
BUT….they unfortunately were never very comfortable IN my eyes. It felt like I could always ‘feel them’ inside my eyelids. Almost like my eyelids were too close to my eyeballs and there wasn’t enough room for them as well.
Also as I had a astigmatism, the lenses were weighted down the bottom so that they could swivel around my eyes, but always settle back into the correct position for the astigmatism.

This was good in theory, but my day job was administration so I spent alot of time on the computer and looking down on the desk at something, then up onto a screen or up to talk to people etc…
This constant moving of my eyes meant that the contact lens was always slightly lagging behind, taking 1/2 a second to settle back into place and I was having to do extra blinking to get it to refocus again. So this happening thousands of times throughout my work day and drove me absolutely nuts and made my eyes very tired.

After persevering for a while, my conclusion was that I just simply didn’t wear my contacts for work and only for the things I really really wanted to. So they didn’t get worn a whole lot because of the constant refocusing and the fact that I could feel them in my eyes all the time (whereas you shouldn’t know they are there).

This is how I continued for a few more years. When it was time to renew my eye test, this time OPSM were offering a satisfaction guaranteed type thing with their contacts. I thought – Yeah, just what I need. So this time I was clear with the Optometrist from the beginning and that I was determined to find a better option than what I currently had and explained in detail what happened to my eyes with contacts in them.
I went back to them probably 6 times over 2 months and through that time I tried about 8 different brands and types of lenses. Some were slightly better than the others, but overall I had the same issues. In the end the Optometrist told me there was “nothing more she could do for me!” I was so very-very disappointed as I was keen to wear contacts most of the time, but no that wasn’t going to be for me.

So I did the same as before, when I really wanted to wear them I would, persevere with them and then take them out as soon as I could.

Over the last 7+ years my glasses annoyed me more and more. I had become more active and was spending more time outside in all types of weather, in the water etc…

They are such ‘first world problems’ but these were the things that annoyed my everyday:

  • The constant need to dry your glasses when dashing in and out of the rain
  • Getting hit in the face with some flying object (eg. ball) was intensely more painful with glasses
  • Them steaming up when opening the Oven door and coming in to a warm room when wet
  • Having to wear them under your Ski goggles is not the most comfortable thing in the world
  • Not being able to wear sunglasses at your wim, you need to pre plan that with having your contacts in
  • The lip gloss smear line from when your wearing lipgloss and your hair wips across your face/lips and then wips again across your glasses. You then go to wipe your glasses, it then just smears the liploss even more across the lens…grrrrr
  • When you leap in the car after being rained on and look at your top, your skirt and realise they are made of fabric that just moves the water around on glasses, and won’t dry them. You resort to looking around your car to find anything suitable and resorting to the paper napkin in your glove box left over from takeaways 3 months ago that is likely to scratch your glasses even more than they are now
  • Falling asleep accidentally with your glasses on is not comfortable for those of us who don’t sleep on their backs

In the scheme of things, they are minor annoyances and I was still grateful have be able to have glasses in the first place…but hugely annoying over 21 years none the less.

………………………

Laser Surgery had ALWAYS been in the back of my mind, but the fear of the unknown was there, my lack of knowledge about it as well as what seemed an exorbitant cost.

It was a conversation I had with my cousin from Vancouver, Canada in the 2011 Christmas Holidays that was the tipping point. He had had PRK eye correction surgery a few years ago and was delighted with the result and now had better than 20/20 vision. He was absolutely singing its praises and wished he had done it years ago.

In Canada, Laser Eye surgery is very popular and there are a large amount of clinics offering it. The pricing for surgery is about 1/3 of what we pay in New Zealand even with the exchange rate. They also often offer “Summertime specials” with large discounts sometimes making it less that $900 per eye. He suggested that I could have it done in Vancouver and tag on a Holiday too! Sounded great to me….

 

Laser Eye Surgery

Vancouver, Canadaecstaticist / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Vancouver, Canadaecstaticist / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

 

It got me curious.

He was also the first person I personally knew well that had had the surgery, that I could quiz with questions and get a personal experience.

It had planted the seed….to be continued here>

 


I am detailed my complete journey to having Laser Eye Surgery and all the steps over the weeks to come.
But for a short summary of my Laser Eye Surgery have a read here.

 

 

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One comment

  1. […] conversations with my cousin during the Christmas Holidays in 2011 about his own Laser Eye Surgery had planted the seed for me to start looking into the options for Laser Eye Surgery finally for […]

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