When I was a kid, my dad always used to say that I had rectumsitis: I can’t see for shit. I started wearing glasses when I was nine years old, and in all likelihood, I needed them before that; my prescription was fairly advanced when I got that first pair of glasses. For almost thirty years, I’ve required corrective lenses of some kind to be able merely to function in the world, my vision was so bad.
But at about three o’clock yesterday afternoon, that changed.
I had LASIK surgery performed at the Selkin Laser Center here in Greensboro. I walked in, agreed to give Dr. Selkin a small fortune (but a smaller fortune than it would have required even just a few years ago), had a routine eye exam, waited for a bit, then underwent an uncomfortable (but not painful, not at all) surgical procedure… and now I can see.
(If you’re reading this and wondering why I didn’t tell you about it before I had the procedure done: I didn’t tell anybody. The only person who knew I was going in to have it done was Terry — I didn’t even tell my praents. I wasn’t sure I was actually going to be able to get it done, whether because of financing or because my eyes just weren’t right for it or what have you, so I tried to minimize my potential disappointment by keeping it secret. It would’ve hurt worse if I found out I couldn’t get my eyes fixed and I had to go back and explain to everyone why it couldn’t happen.)
I’m sitting at my computer, staring at my screen without glasses or contact lenses, and I can easily read every character I’m typing. Had I tried this yesterday morning, I’d have see nothing but a blurry mass of colors. I can read small print on the poster on the wall opposite me, could read small text from across Kelsey’s kindergarten classroom at the open house we just went to — text Terry was struggling to read from the same distance, and she has pretty good vision.
Before the procedure, my visual acuity was probably somewhere in the 20/500 or more range (I asked what the exact number was, but the assistant rattled off a string of numbers which meant nothing to me and, I’m sure, everything to the eye doctor). Now, it should be 20/20 in my left eye and probably 20/25 in my right — because of an astigmatism in my right eye, it couldn’t get quite down to 20/20. But if you think after thirty years of glasses that I’ll complain even a little about having 20/25 vision in one eye, you’re nuts.
I feel like a chain which has been holding me down has been severed, a chain which had bound me for so long I’d almost stopped noticing the chain was there. Nothing I’ve written here has properly conveyed the enormity of what all of this means to me, which means you can count on follow-up posts as the reality of having good vision sinks in. But I just wanted to take the time to shout it out to the world:
I can see.