As I embark on a new chapter in my life, post laser eye surgery, I would like to take this time to reflect on my past eighteen years of life with glasses. This post is one where I will express raw, honest emotion and is a more vulnerable post than the mostly factual ACA posts. I wanted to write this as a reminder to my future self what growing up with glasses was truly like for me. This blog is essentially my reasoning behind laser eye treatment. If you are someone with glasses, I hope there are parts of this blog you can resonate with. Conversely, if you are fortunate enough to have near to 20/20 vision, I hope this post makes you appreciate how truly blessed you are.
Background behind getting Glasses
At the young age of seven, in UK Year 3 I was told I required glasses for day-to-day life. Admittedly this was not completely out of the blue. I had an eye infection early on where my left eye was constantly red, swollen and itchy. This required a lot of eye drops. I am not even sure where the infection came from or how it resulted in glasses. Perhaps it was the rubbing of the eye which led my eyesight to deteriorate. The way I have grown up to understand it is that this infection somehow caused my left eye to lose strength. As a result, my right eye shortly followed suit. My left eye has always been slightly worse than my right. Long story short, since primary school I needed glasses.
Luckily for me, I did not have any issues in primary school regarding wearing glasses. I know some children have/had it tough and do/did get bullied and teased for it. The closest I got to this was my grandad calling me ‘four eyes’. This was more banter than anything as it was the little English he knew. I do not remember glasses being a big change for me in primary school, I simply got on with it. I was active with Karate but again, I cannot remember glasses impacting this. My earliest memory where my relationship issues with glasses (can I call it that?) began was in secondary school.
Growing Insecurities Wearing Glasses
It was in Year 9 in secondary school where social media started to boom. Almost everyone in my school was on Bebo and later (sadly) moved to Facebook. I have grown to like Facebook but I really did love Bebo. The relevance to glasses here is that these sites all required profile pictures. Of course these did not have to be of yourself. A photo of a duck could do but the majority would post selfies. It was then that I started taking off my glasses in photos as I felt I looked better without them. This probably stems back to the fact that I would rarely see people wearing glasses in photos as it was.
From ‘networking’ on these sites, as common for many teenagers, I became friends with others online, some who I had not met in real life. What this meant is that these friends had seen me without my glasses but not with. This led to growing insecurities with wearing glasses. If I bumped into people in person, I would be afraid they would not recognise me and I would avoid this scenario. There was an instance where following an encounter I heard I was called ‘ugly in real life’. These factors accumulated to hating wearing glasses.
As soon as I could get contact lenses this is exactly what I did, age fourteen. My parents fortunately were on board with this. Thankfully my long gone eye infection did not lead to any complications. However, I was recommended lenses that enabled as much oxygen to my eye due to minor scarring. From this point on, I was not seen in glasses in public. This meant that I would wear contacts for longer than permitted but it did make me feel more confident and like myself.
I would wear contact lenses on nights out (when I was older obviously, not fourteen). On the rare occasion I would fall asleep with them in afterwards. This was more common once I changed from daily contacts to monthly. It would be quite a hassle taking the contact lens pot and solution out with me. In hindsight, I probably should have. Waking up with them in is great for the first few seconds where you think you have miraculously woken up with 20/20 vision. However, the contact lenses are much harder to get out.
Most times it was fine but there was an instance when I was twenty-two that led to me getting an eye infection. To resolve this, I needed drops and could not wear contacts for a couple of weeks – my worst nightmare! I had to wear glasses to work, even the gym. There were a few periods after where I experienced dry eyes and had to wear glasses again too. I began to find that it really was not as big of a deal as I had made out. A few people at work who saw me thought I always wore glasses. Some could not tell the difference. Nevertheless, I still do not feel as good wearing glasses.
Additional Reasons for Laser Eye Surgery
My main rationale behind wanting laser eye surgery outlined above undeniably does sound quite superficial. Confidence is said to be the main reason people choose to get laser eye surgery so at least I know it is not just me.
There are of course other reasons which are likely to be quite relatable to others:
- Exercising which becomes especially worse when your glasses do not fit very well
- Glasses steaming up e.g. when opening the oven, post shower, etc. This can also happen based on weather conditions. Rain is not great for glasses too – they need window wipers
- Don’t even get me started on wearing glasses with a face mask
- Being short-sighted I have to hold objects such as my phone very close to my face with no glasses/contacts
- Having to physically move your whole head to look around in glasses
- Smudged contact lenses resulting in blurred vision. This made me uneasy when I would go out without spares
- Not being able to see when going swimming unless contacts are worn under goggles. You can of course get prescribed goggles but I never did this
- Misplacing your glasses or the risk of losing them/getting stolen – thank you New York
- Not being able to see in the shower making shaving more difficult
- Falling over and your glasses falling off with you (luckily they did not smash)
- This does link to the above where I mentioned confidence but it is more to do with my mood. When I am wearing glasses, I make minimal effort as I have always worn them in the house – my hair is probably a bigger problem than my glasses. I do not feel good about myself and it is almost like a different persona. This is quite extreme I know but it is how I feel #hannahmontana
That all being said, I will sliiightly miss my blurry vision which weirdly makes me feel better when unwell. There are also times I do not want to see clearly such as before I sleep when the TV is still on. It is easier to drift off when you cannot see what’s going on. It will definitely be weird falling asleep and waking up with almost 20/20 vision and it lasting more than a few seconds!
I am overall very excited for all the reasons outlined above. The next post will include all the research I carried out and the process I went through for looking into the best laser eye surgery. My treatment is booked for 19th December 2020 so join my journey and see how I get on. Hopefully I no longer need to clean my glasses to get HD vision and it all runs smoothly.
Comment your thoughts below and if you have grown up with glasses, I would love to hear your take!