How I Became An Xmen Character
Not many people would be aware just how blind I’ve been for the majority of my life.
I remember as a kid, always having to sit up the front of the classroom like a nerd because I could barely read the board from anywhere else.
As a teenager, I used to always miss the school bus home because by the time it got close enough for me to be able to read where it was heading, it was too late for me to flag it down.
Come year 10, my blossoming adolescent ego got the better of me and I convinced my parents to let me get contact lenses (blue ones, no less!) so that I could see clearly without having to wear my glasses.
Some people pull off glasses…in fact some people look damn hot in them. I’ve dated people who wear glasses before and would complain when they’d show up to dinner without them because they were so cute but I personally never liked them.
They annoyed me, hugely. They slid down my nose (no matter how many times I had them adjusted) or dug into the sides of my head. They gave me headaches and made co-existing with any kind of sunlight almost impossible. It was either sunglasses or being able to actually see what the hell I was doing.
So contacts were my saving grace. I remember the first time I wore them, it was like a whole new world had been opened up to me. I was seeing the leaves on the trees, the faces of my friends walking up to me and the words on street signs up ahead.
That being said, we still had our issues.
I’ve lost count at the number of eye infections I’ve had due to accidentally falling asleep in my contacts or getting some foreign dirt or grime on them. There is nothing sexy about pink, watery, itchy eyes.
The number of times I’ve rubbed my eye and lost ONE contact lens, having to walk around squinting the other eye shut like a pirate until I could go home to grab a replacement.
They dry out on airplanes and in air-conditioned offices. They float out if you accidentally open your eyes underwater whilst swimming and they add a good 5 minutes to your morning routine as you try to figure out whether the damn thing is inside out or not.
I’d heard about laser eye surgery, obviously, but it just sounded like a really huge, invasive and expensive procedure that I wasn’t sure I was too keen on. Plus I assumed it would cost me a gazillion dollars and like most 20-something year olds, I just don’t have that kind of money.
It wasn’t until I was up in Sydney visiting my dad who was undergoing quadruple bypass surgery that I decided I was done with contacts.
It had already been a big morning for the Smyth’s… Dad had gone in for his surgery and I had decided to stay in the ICU waiting room for however long it took, I didn’t want him to be alone when he came out of surgery.
I’d been strong all morning despite being scared shitless because I knew Dad needed to see a united front from us kids but the minute I was alone, the tears came thick and fast.
And then…I lost a contact. Just the one. I scrambled on my hands and knees on the floor of the ICU looking for it but had no luck and was faced with two options.
- Leave the one contact in and use my hand to cover my other eye so I could see straight for the rest of the day.
- Take the remaining one out and be blind as a bat for the entirety of the day.
I went with option 2 and was so blind and worried about getting lost in the unfamiliar hospital that I sat in the waiting room for 9 hours straight without even leaving for food.
I’d had enough. The contacts and I were done.
NewVision Clinics was recommended to me by a friend and they had a practice around the corner from me in Windsor so I made an appointment for a free consultation with the idea that I’d ask 101 questions and decide what I wanted to do from there.
Upon arriving I filled out the usual forms and was sat down to watch a DVD which talked me through a bit of the history of laser eye surgery, the different kinds available to me and then also a bit on the actual procedure.
I’ll be honest- when I found out they would be slicing the top layer of my cornea off before placing the flap back on my eyeball after the lasering, I almost spewed a little in my mouth.
After the DVD was up, I was then taken through to meet one of the senior optometrists who basically gave me a really thorough eye test, like the many I’d had before.
He again explained the two different kids of laser eye surgery- LASIK or PRK surgery (Photorefractive Keratectomy)- and talked about the differences in the two, explaining the LASIK was the most common kind of laser eye surgery and had the quickest recovery time.
I had a few more tests, some very high-tech screenings where complicated maps and images of my eyes were printed off before being able to have a one-on-one with the man himself, Dr Alpins.
Dr Alpins has been performing laser eye surgery since before I was born and is widely celebrated and respected so I felt like I was in good hands.
He assured me I was a perfect candidate for the surgery and made sure any niggling questions I had were answered.
My main one was, “How long before I can wear eye make up after the surgery?” – nice to know my ego was still in as large as it was back in high school.
I was told a week- which wasn’t TOO bad but meant the surgery would have to wait until after the Spring Racing Carnival.
I left NewVision feeling 100% convinced that LASIK was for me and super excited about the surgery. Granted, I was still a little squeamish on a few of the logistics (being awake for it for one) but no pain, no gain amirite?
Cut to a few weeks later and it was time to get my eyeballs sliced and lasered.
I was given some valium before the procedure which helped substantially but all up the surgery took about 20 minutes.
I’m not going to bullshit you here, it wasn’t fun. It wasn’t painful at all but it was god damn uncomfortable and irritating and the rumours are true, you CAN smell the lasers burning your cornea but what do you expect? They’re literally fixing your eyeball.
I don’t remember much (the whole procedure only took about 20 minutes) but what I DO remember was one of the lovely NewVision staff patting my leg and holding my hand throughout it which was very comforting. I can’t say enough about how lovely and professional the staff are there- special thanks to Amber who sat with me, ordered me an Uber home and didn’t even make one single joke about how it was sad I was single and didn’t have anyone to come pick me up. Thanks Amber! You’re the best!
I left the surgery looking like some kind of fly or googley-eyed goldfish, sporting some pretty sexy eye-shields that were to stay on until my follow-up appointment the next morning.
The staff at NewVision were also forward thinking enough to give me something to help me sleep that night so I had an early one, excited to wake up a new person.
As soon as my alarm went off, I shot up out of bed, eager to test my new peepers out. I tried focusing on something in my bedroom through the holes in my eye shields but it was tricky and foggy and I decided to just wait until the optometrist took off my shields.
An hour or so later I was leaving the Windsor NewVision Clinic a super hero.
It had been less than 24 hours and I was shield-less and seeing better…BETTER than 20/20.
My vision was even clearer than what it was with my contact lenses. Everything was super bright and super crisp and I felt like a character from Xmen. I was honestly surprised my vision wasn’t x-ray, I felt that amazing.
Although I had to spend two more nights sleeping with the shields and a weekend without mascara – I wouldn’t change it for the world and I cannot recommend LASIK eye surgery or the team at NewVision Clinics in Melbourne enough.
I can see when I first wake up in the morning. I don’t have to worry about falling asleep reading a book and waking up with sore, red eyes. I can open my eyes underwater and see where I’m going. I never have to fumble with contact lenses again, never have to buy them again or lose them again.
It’s not nearly as expensive or scary as it seems and it will seriously change your life.
Now, excuse me while I go and grab some glasses for this bottle of champagne- they’re the only ones I’ll be needing for the rest of my life.