lasik: a love story.

I pretty much came out of the womb wearing glasses. When I was 11 or so I got contacts – I remember practicing in front of my mirror for like 20 minutes trying to get those suckers in. Now, 15 years later, it takes me maybe 2 seconds. Talk about domination.

I’ve wanted Lasik for quite a few years – but they tell you to wait until you turn 25 or your eyes stop changing.

So I waited. And waited.

My eyes got worse. Without glasses or contacts, the world was a scary place.



I would watch episodes of LOST and panic as I put myself in their situation: “what if my glasses got broken during the plane crash and all my extra contacts burned up. THEN WHAT.” I probably would’ve thrown myself at the smoke monster. By accident. Thinking it was Jack.

Jack Shephard_2




As years passed by and glasses got sexier, unfortunately my self-esteem did not. I would wear glasses and try to imagine myself like this:


rock star!

But I always felt like this:


cat button and all.

Whenever I read Genesis 29 I would shake my fist at the world: “Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful.” WHY GOD. WHY.

Finally, after years of waiting, whining and washing out my contacts with saline solution each night, my time had come.

This is where the Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis comes in. (Or Lasik, as some call it.)

Last Friday I went in for surgery. I know a handful of people who have had it, and they all pretty much said the same thing. “It only takes a few minutes.” “It’s uncomfortable, but it doesn’t hurt.” “The dentist is worse.”

So I figured I’d be fine. I imagined my friends taking pictures of me in the surgery room with a cheesy thumbs up.

I can be so cute sometimes.

I went into the surgery room with a pep in my step. “Wow!” the doctor’s assistant, a chubby man in his late 30s, exclaimed. “I just looked at your prescription – your life is really going to change today!”

“I know,” I giggled as I lay down on the table.

The doctor clamped my eye open with some gadget, put some numbing drops in and went to work.

I don’t even know what happened from there. All I know is that he told me to stop shaking my leg because it was making my head move. THEN WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO. My leg-shake was all I had to keep myself cool, and he took that away from me. You think they could’ve given me a stick to bite on or something. Seriously.

Then everything went pitch black.

Even though my eye was clamped open.

I tried not to freak out.

He did the other eye and said the hardest part was over. He told me to open my eyes. I was confused. Weren’t they already open? Or were they closed? I couldn’t tell. How am I supposed to open my eyes if I don’t even know if they’re open or not? And that freaked me out.

I finally got them open, I guess, and everything was super foggy.

The assistant told me to sit up, so I did. With tears streaming down my face. I was shocked at how awful this experience actually was. Whoever said the dentist was worse must have Satan for a dentist or something.

The assistant led me to another table a few feet away. As I lay down, practically weeping, I said, “I thought I was stronger.” The assistant assured me I was, but I didn’t see anyone before me cry. They walked out of that room like they had just clipped their toenails. No big deal.

They clamped my eye open again. I really hated that. They said during this next part I would smell my burning flesh. That was the least of my worries. I was more concerned about the fact that I had been transported to the twilight zone, because all I saw was this:


what the ???

Doctor kept telling me to focus on the green light in the middle, but I found myself hardly able to focus on anything. I was tripping. And worried. What would happen if I didn’t focus on the green light? Would the doctor burn my face off? Would I be forever blind?

This was also the hardest part.

Finally, it ended.

I lay on the table with tears and eye drops spilling out of my eyes. At that point Hannah and Bethany rushed to my side and were holding my hand. The assistant told me I could take my time getting up. I wanted to ask him how long the average person took, because I could’ve stayed there and had a good cry for 20 minutes. Or 30.

As I sat up, still crying, the assistant said something like, “you’re going to make me cry!” I thought he was just saying that, but later Bethany told me he was wiping tears from his eyes as we walked out of the room.

I thought that was sweet.

I had to keep my eyes closed for the next four hours, so Bethany and Hannah led me from the car to the kitchen to the bathroom to my bed. It was humbling. They taped goggles on my face and didn’t even laugh at me. I have great friends.

When I opened my eyes everything was still foggy. It felt like my eyes were being tattooed, as if dozens of sewing needles were stabbing my eyes without cease. They couldn’t stop leaking. I looked and the mirror and was shocked at how puffy they were. These side effects lasted for the rest of the night. It was hard to sleep (especially with those ridiculous goggles on my face.)

It’s been a week now and everything is better. I still have to treat my eyes with care – eye drops, always wearing sunglasses outside, not getting water in them, NO RUBBING. But I can see!

I haven’t experienced that moment everyone talks about – waking up in the morning and seeing my alarm clock clearly. First of all I don’t have an alarm clock, secondly my eyes are the worst when I first wake up. Kinda glued together, if you will. After an eye drop or two I’m all good though.

ALL THIS TO SAY… even though my Lasik experience was pretty traumatic it gave me new eyes. Which is crazy. So crazy I can hardly believe it.

In fact, every night I still think, “take out contacts.” But I don’t have to. I wonder when it will really sink in.

Lasik has given me the ability to do so many things I couldn’t do before / things that were once an inconvenience.

As one friend put it, “You’ll be able to see your husband when you’re making out with him now! Score!”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Picture 5

take that, rachel!


About Hope Naomi

Lover of all things tea and travel.
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13 Responses to lasik: a love story.

  1. Mac says:

    I really liked this post. I’m glad you’re my friend. You’re a good person to be friends with.

    “I haven’t experienced that moment everyone talks about – waking up in the morning and seeing my alarm clock clearly. First of all I don’t have an actual alarm clock…” made me laugh.

    Glad you have new eyes. You already got that lovely figure. (Too much?) So, now you’re Rachel. Dreams really do come true.

  2. Alys Seay says:

    I completely agree with Mac. He said it all. Love ya!!

  3. Pei Yee says:

    I’ve been debating to get lasik too for a while. Friends have told me that it isn’t that bad but reading your post it sounded so traumatic! Still waiting for the right time to get it done.

    • Hope Naomi says:

      It probably isn’t that bad for most people! I must have a low tolerance for that kind of thing. I’m still glad I got it though. When the time comes for you I’m sure it will be fabulous!

  4. Did you draw that last picture? You’re very talented. 🙂

    I’ll tape goggles on your face any day, sister!

  5. What i really want to know is: Did you sweat thru the paper they out on those exam tables? Because i for SURE would have….

  6. Kacie Lynn says:

    Traumatic story aside, and even though I’m really sorry this week has been painful, I’m still just as excited as I was when I found out you were getting it. 🙂 🙂 🙂 You are just the bravest lady. and you will have that moment.

  7. Laura says:

    You are a truly amazing writer, Hope. Thank you for sharing. What I want to know is, “Where was your Ativan?” I’m sorry it was so traumatic, but it is going to be more than worth it. I’m so excited for you, seriously, so excited. It’s a WHOLE NEW WORLD after Lasik.

  8. Jefe says:

    Brilliant! I was laying here trying not to laugh out loud as Trever and Devin are asleep! Thank you for this, it made my night! Love you!

  9. sara choe says:

    literally laughed out loud at least twice as i read this, and have an even more profound gratitude for my 20/20 vision.

  10. Kristy Paruk says:

    Is it bad that my favorite part was the making out line at the end?

  11. hollandocox says:

    i love all parts of this

  12. I loved this. I laughed out loud a lot. Especially with the Leah and weak eyes part. Love.

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