Sara Jean

Sara Jean

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True Life: I had Lasik Eye Surgery

Less than a week after Lasik eye surgery and I feel like a newborn seeing the world for the first time.

I was in fifth grade when I stopped being able to see the chalk board in class. Headaches resulted in a visit to the eye doctor and the news that I'd have to get glasses. I wasn't the most popular kid back then to begin with. So the addition of those expensive $200 frames and lenses only lowered my status when it came to seating in the cafeteria. I was teased and taunted, then one day during gym class I left the glasses in the office so they wouldn't get broken during kick ball and one of my numerous bullies took them off the counter and broke them. My family was by no means wealthy so this was a huge hit for my parents who made the decision to allow me to wear contacts as the pile of broken glasses started to add up.

So for 30 years I've stuck foreign objects in my eyes every morning and removed them every night. Contacts never gave me perfect vision, but they allowed me to see. They rid me of those headaches I suffered as a child. And they became a burden beyond words. It never failed that I'd forget to pack them on vacation or that one would fall out while driving down a busy highway. I'd hear rustling outside my tent while camping and have to fidget to find my glasses to find out what was going to eat me. And we don't need to mention how much money they cost me over the course of three decades.

So on Friday, I pulled the trigger. It was time to truly SEE. I'd put off Lasik for years in fear of something going wrong. In fear of it costing too much. In fear of not being a candidate. But it was finally time and I was ready.

The consultation was quick and easy. They dialated my eyes and measured my cornea, checked my level of blindness, looked for astigmatism and examined the shape of my eyes to see if I would need Lasik or PRK. Lasik it was and I was sent home in a super cool pair of disposable sunglasses and an appointment to have the surgery the following week.

I was asked not to wear my contacts leading up to the surgery and not to wear eye makeup or fragrance the day of. I arrived, signed my life away and was swept into the surgical room with other patients waiting, watching through the glass windows.

I wish I could tell you the 15 minute procedure was painless. For some people it is! For me, however, it was a horrible form of torture. The numbing drops didn't seem to do much and after my eye was clamped open the suction machine went to work for the bladeless flap creation of the outer layer of my cornea. And my brain and eyes immediately stopped cooperating. I couldn't look straight ahead. My eyes were trained to look away when something was coming at them that would hurt. But after what felt like an hour (maybe one minute) both eyes were ready for the next step. I had no vision at this point. As the vacuum thing suctioned to each eye, everything went dark and then after it was removed the room became a foggy blur. They took me by the arms and directed me to another table and positioned my head again. This time I was asked to look at the green laser to reshape my cornea. And again my eyes wouldn't cooperate. My wonderful doctor talked me through it though and told me "12 seconds left" on each eye so I could handle the discomfort (far less than the suction but still note-worthy). And then it was over. Snot dripping down my face and tears streaming down my cheeks but it was over and I could see through a slight haze.

The adrenaline rush had me forgetting how strange my eyes felt as I took a selfie with the doctor and was escorted to the waiting room to call my ride. Sunglasses protected me from the light but after a 40-minute car ride the pain was unbearable even with my eyes shut. And then comes the panic attack.

I was told to take a 3-4 hour nap and that I would wake up with no more discomfort. But how was I supposed to fall asleep with this stuffed up, runny nose and watering eyes? With the burning behind my eyelids?

I went full comatose. Within minutes of laying down.

Leave it to your body to know what's best. Ha!

When I woke up, it was just as they had told me. The pain had subsided, my vision was clear. And it continued to get better as the evening progressed. By nightfall I could see a sky full of stars I didn't know existed. The colors of the night were vibrant, almost lit up as if they were under a black light. I threw the tennis ball for my pup in the moonlight and could see the neon sphere as it rolled across the grass 25 yards away. And the tears came. It was magical.

The next morning was my post-op appointment where they told me my eyesight had went from WORSE than 20/200 to 20/15 and would likely be at 20/10 by the time I was fully healed. That's better than perfect. As I drove home I notices sparkles on the sidewalk and dewdrops on the grass when I stopped at a stoplight. I was living life in high definition for the first time since I was 11 years old.

It's been four days and while my eyes are still suffering from some corneal hemmorhaging and bruising and dryness, I am happier than I can even express. My sight was always something I'd taken for granted. And now, being able to TRULY see...I realize what I'd been missing out on all these years. A Sunday hike resulted in an afternoon of rock collecting and playing in the sand and creek watching the light bounce off the water and sand. I've slowed down. Become more mindful. More GRATEFUL. And while I've always known this world was a beautiful place, I had no idea to what extent. I am so blessed. And I can't wait to SEE what the future brings! (Catch what I did there?)

If you are wondering if you should do it. This is me saying YES. Don't walk. RUN. It's the best money I've ever spent.

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