I’ve got a true story to tell you. Once upon a time there was a girl who hated her glasses. She didn’t hate them for the way they made her look, she didn’t hate them for the way they made others perceive her, she hated them because they kept getting in the way. Reading in bed was a pain. Watching TV was uncomfortable (if she wanted to really relax on the sofa anyway). Swimming was a nightmare – to wear or not to wear (to see, albeit in a steamed up, damp kind of way, but run the risk of losing or breaking her specs, or not to see)?
They were a nuisance, and had been since she was eight years old.
So, at twenty five, she thought it was time to do something about it.
Contact lenses were no good, she just couldn’t get the hang of them.
Which is when the idea of laser eye surgery came to her.
It was pricey, it was invasive, but it was all she could think of. And besides, they were offering an interest free payment plan, so that had to be a good thing. Right? It had to be.
The surgery was not fun. She hadn’t been particularly aware of what was going to happen, and that was a problem. Lying almost horizontal on a dentist-like chair, the first problem was that the machinery broke down. The technician was not prepared to put it anywhere near the girl’s eyes, and although that should probably have been a wake up call, she ploughed on. She thought it was too late to go back. Once the machinery was swapped for another machine that would do the job, it was on with the show. Eye lids hooked back, there was no way not to see what was happening – the cutter came closer, and closer, and with a whirring, swirling sound, the cornea was almost removed. It was held on by the smallest thread, and pulled back, away from the rest of the eye with tweezers.
She still shudders to think of it.
The recovery process was… okay. Not comfortable, but doable. Sore eyes and blurred vision became the norm.
The sore eyes eventually disappeared.
But the blurred vision remained.
And grew worse.
The girl had, perhaps, six months of not having to wear glasses before gradually her vision deteriorated once more to where it had been before the surgery.
Two thousand pounds later, and she was no further ahead, back to wearing glasses and unhappy about it.
How do I know?
It was me, if you hadn’t guessed.
I had hated my glasses. I had had the surgery. I had gone back to wearing glasses when it failed.
Only this time, I didn’t hate the glasses. I realised that they were me, they were a part of me, they were my image, and I shouldn’t have tried to change that. I also realised that glasses could be cool. They could be funky. They could be as personal and personalised as I wanted them to be.
Since that discovery, I’ve gone through lots of pairs of specs. I’ve changed them because I felt like it, and I’ve loved every second of wearing them.
As for the swimming pool problem, I wear them. After all, I’ve got plenty more pairs at home…