For a good week and a half after my eye surgery, I kept my eyes very well protected, as I had been instructed by the doctor’s assistant. I wore the goggles they had given me whenever I was at home and, for the most part, I wore sunglasses as long as I wasn’t at home, even if I was inside a building. I wore them on the bus and the subway, in church, at museums, walking down the street, when it was sunny and when it was overcast. I made only a couple of reasonable exceptions, such as when I was part of the studio audience at a TV show one evening, and when I was walking home in the rain that same night. I also removed my sunglasses for my flights (there were two of them) back to Jamaica a week and a day after surgery – I didn’t want the other passengers and any air marshals who may have been on board to think I looked suspicious, so in the interest of hassle-free travel and my continued physical liberty, I decided to be glasses-free.
Let me just say that I am now totally judgement-free of people who wear sunglasses when they’re inside or when it’s dark outside. I used to mentally scoff at them and assume that they do it out of a sense of their own self-importance because they have a misguided notion that people care who they are, or because they think it makes them look cool like some celebrities do. I now make no such assumptions because I’m sure that a tonne of people around New York City were looking at me and drawing those same erroneous conclusions. Who would know that I had eye surgery mere days before and that the dark glasses were a required part of my recovery? No-one. Funny how a little personal experience can humble you.
So how have new eyes changed my life so far? What has a glasses-less existence meant for me to date? I think I can sum it up pretty easily with a few simple examples.
I went to the hairdresser to get a trim, and for the entire time I could clearly see what she was doing in the mirror. That has never happened to me before. Never! I started wearing glasses before I started going to the hairdresser, so this was literally the first time in my life that I could see what the hairdresser was doing while she was doing it. Normally, I would have been blind to her ministrations, or I would have had to awkwardly hook my glasses about halfway up my ears to try to keep them out of the way so that I could keep a wary and distorted eye out while she worked.
I now work out at the gym without constantly having to push my glasses up my nose because they keep sliding down in the sweat dripping off my face. I can clearly see things, like road signs and people, coming from a far way off. I can drive at night without the glare from oncoming traffic being a particular bother (I once made the mistake of getting my glasses without anti-reflective coating and suffered every time I had to drive at night). I can rock cool shades like I never legitimately could before, unless I was torturing my eyes with contact lenses. I can go to bed at night without making a mental note of where I need to put my hand when I wake up in the morning so I can find my glasses, so I can see.
Not to get too intimate, but I can see everything clearly while I shower! I don’t just mean that I can see my body. I mean I can see everything! If I wash my hair in there, I can ensure that all stray hairs that have attached themselves to the tub are taken care of before I get out. I can ensure that all of the soap is properly washed away before I get out. I don’t have to feel around trying to find anything, like my razor, because I can see exactly where everything is. And, unlike that horrifying experience I had in Jakarta last year, nothing can catch me unawares in the shower ever again!
These examples are simple but they’re powerful for me because it’s like I was disabled and didn’t know it and suddenly I’m able-bodied again and life has unfurled, providing little joys in unexpected moments throughout the day. I’m really not sure if I can explain the awesome privilege of clear vision any better than that; those of you who have always had it very likely take it for granted, and those of you who wear glasses won’t understand until and unless you experience it for yourselves. I certainly didn’t when, six or seven years before, my friend was urging me to get the procedure done.
My doctor tells me that total healing takes three to six months, so for at least the next three months I should continue using eye drops four times a day to keep my eyes properly lubricated. For the first few weeks after surgery, when I woke up in the mornings, my eyes felt a little dry but a lot of blinking and the first application of my lubricating drops set me straight each time. For the first few nights after surgery, I went to bed with a huge smile on my face, thanking God for giving me new eyes to see all that He wants to show me. Now as I go to bed each night, I’m back to just talking to Him about the events of my day, but I hope never to take this blessing for granted.
With God’s help, some Google research and instructions from my eye doctor, I’m doing all I can to keep my eyes healthy and ensure that I never ever have to wear prescription glasses again!