I’m trying to make a decision. Should I have laser eye surgery? Or not?
I’ve been wearing contact lenses all day every day for almost thirty years. First hard ones in the 80s which were like little domes of glass. Solid, unforgiving, frequently lost on pub floors and regularly cleaned with saliva. Yuk! After trying various other types over the years, I now have daily lenses – the ultimate in laziness. No cleaning and you can pop then out wherever you want and throw them away.
But my eyes don’t really like them. Shorter wearing times, deteriorating vision as the day progresses and corneal ulcers have all dogged my steps over recent years. But I loathe wearing glasses. You can see and feel them all the time and, with the recent fashion for rectangular lenses, there is always a blurred world around the edges of the clear central picture. And don’t get me started on the impact on specs wearers of living in a damp climate.
I looked into laser eye treatment over a decade ago and rejected it as being impossibly expensive. Then in 2006 my husband had his done and again I was tempted. But it was too hard. Ferrying back and forth to appointments with three children in tow was unrealistic and sleeping with plastic cages over my eyes was not on option when I was up in the night feeding babies. So my vision went back on the back burner and on we went.
But this recent bout of steroid eye drops, trips backwards and forwards to hospital for endless checks and of course the risk that if the ulcers continue I might ultimately damage or lose my sight, has brought the whole idea back into focus.
So this week I went to see if laser eye surgery was an option for me. I spent two hours being tested and scanned, pupils dilated and eyes dyed yellow. They explained which operation I should have, how it would work, what results I could expect and what the risks were and they sent me away with a large pile paper and a decision to make.
As ever with me, the decision making process doesn’t follow the path you might expect. I think I am pretty sure that the surgery itself is fine. Of course, success is not guaranteed but the odds are pretty highly stacked in my favour. It carries a level of risk but so does stepping out of my house and if I’d never taken any risks, my life would have been far less rich.
But it is going to hurt and recovery will be slow and uncomfortable because of the type of surgery that I have to have. I know pain and inconvenience shouldn’t bother me. I’ve had four children after all. But it’s hardly something I relish, especially when it’s inessential.
Also, I will need reading glasses at once. Again, this is something that I’ve been waiting for as, one by one, all my friends have succumbed. Balancing the pros and cons, the better scenario is probably being able to see properly but need reading glasses than not but it does feel a bit like I’m doing a deal with the devil. ‘I’ll give you the power of sight but don’t think you’re getting away scot free.’
I think I will probably go ahead and just score a week or so from my diary to allow for recovery. Consistent amongst the numerous people of my acquaintance that have had it done and recommended the surgery to me is the phrase ‘I wish I’d done it years ago.’ So, the date is fixed and whilst I can cancel right up to the moment that I’m in the chair, I think I’ll be there. After all, as I recently said, rhetorically and with more than a touch of irony, how wrong can it go?!