Saturday, September 8, 2018

On Getting Laser Eyes

Last week I got Lasik. I was looking forward to not having to deal with glasses getting smudged by my kids or slipping off my face. I figured that not needing them would be pretty convenient. However, the words I heard over and over from other people who'd already done it were: "life-changing." That seemed to be overstating a bit. Convenient, yes, but life-changing? I didn't get it.

I get it now.

I've had some kind of vision correction, either glasses or contacts, for the last thirty-odd years, which is nearly as far back as I can remember. And what I hadn't realized was the extent to which this had become part of my identity. It's not that I thought glasses were cool because I wore them--although I did and they are. It's that the ability to see was, for me, artificial and temporary. And my vision was pretty bad, so my natural state was one of... not so much "blindness" as "isolation." There was a layer of vagueness that sat between me and the rest of the world, and glasses were a window through that, but they were a window that I could, and did, shut regularly. Not being able to see is a condition that I associate with being in bed or in the shower--times when one is, well, vulnerable. Not to put too fine a point on it. Or if I just needed to disengage for a moment, to shut the world out and gather my thoughts while I cleaned my glasses.

And now it's gone. And that's downright weird. It's not even that I'm reaching up to adjust phantom glasses--although I definitely do that at least a couple times a day. But in general, I know I don't have glasses on. And yet I look into the distance and I can see anyway, and I'm just flabbergasted, and also a little exposed without my layer of vagueness to retreat into.

To be clear, I have absolutely zero regrets. Yeah, the surgery was uncomfortable and the recovery wasn't a whole lot of fun, but it's been pretty easy, all things considered.

And when I look out the window, I can see. And it's kind of amazing.

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