Saturday, February 13, 2016
I used to be blind... and then I had LASIK surgery! The following is from January 2, 2006, my real life story of blindness.
My eyesight was poor as far back as I remember. I began wearing glasses in second grade, probably needing them before then. With no frame of reference, I thought everyone saw the way I did, which was fuzzy. As the years passed, the lenses got thicker. My athletic career would have been enhanced with better eyesight but that might be wishful thinking. One great decision in my life came at age twenty-five when I upgraded from glasses to contact lenses. My looks changed and my vision's clarity improved. Contacts had downsides- carelessness (I frequently lost them, infrequently cleaned them) and my schedule. In basketball season, I had eighteen hour days, murder for contact wearers. My vision would be blurry at the end of the day and I often had headaches. My folks began encouraging me to consider LASIK surgery, capable of correcting even very poor eyesight through precision use of lasers to reshape the cornea. There were two problems. One, I was terrified of having my eyes cut upon and two, the cost was prohibitive. My parents came up with a generous suggestion. They would pay for the procedure, subtracting it from my inheritance share. That was brilliant but the fear factor remained. After prayer and increasing frustration of having nearsighted eyes with 20/400 and 20/800 vision, I decided to take the plunge.
It's never as easy as it looks. LASIK commercials make it sound like you have surgery in the AM and go back to work in the PM. You aren't told you have to keep your eyes closed for eight hours after the procedure and must sleep in goggles for a week. They don't say you have to go two weeks without wearing your contacts BEFORE they can even check your eligibility. This meant I had to wear my glasses in the outside world for the first time in years. My students thought it was the greatest thing ever- did I mention my EXTREMELY thick lenses? I decided to schedule the surgery in St. Louis while staying with the folks during Spring Break. Dad researched and found a reputable opthamologist with reasonable rates. The big day came and was I nervous! Backing out crossed my mind on the drive into downtown St. Louis. There was no anesthetic, just a tranquilizer to keep me from wiggling. It was amazing! Absolutely no pain and the time elapsed in the operation was only twelve minutes. I sat up as we finished and had the greatest discovery- I could see the second hand moving on the wall clock! If you have good eyesight, that means nothing but with my lifetime of visual struggles, it was a revelation. The next several days were bumpy but my vision was 20/20 and the headaches ceased.
Nine months after LASIK, I was blessed to travel on a mission trip to Haiti with a tremendous Christian organization called Hope For Haiti's Children. What a week! Several terrific optometrists were part of our team so naturally, I had to tell them about my experience. They shared that technology now was enabling opthamologists to correct a patient's vision to better than 20/20! That impressed me. I expressed how wonderful it must be to possess 20/10 vision, or past perfect. Their reply was puzzling. It was their experience in doing follow-up visits with LASIK patients that many who had their eyes corrected to better than 20/20 were unhappy; they now saw in too great detail, almost a sensory overload. That made no sense to me. I thought that near-microscopic clarity would bring elation. Apparently, I was mistaken.
As I reflected on our conversation on that sweltering bus ride in Haiti, it occurred to me that we are comfortable with a level of fuzziness in our lives. Newlyweds, I'm told, are shocked by what they find when they begin living together. It's convenient to overlook flaws of future mates during courtship. (The old When Jack's in love, he's no judge of Jill's beauty-and vice versa-Syndrome.) We don't want anyone to see us too clearly. Physically, we are all imperfect but we can mask it at a distance. I read a report in Parade Magazine that actresses dread HDTV (High Definition TV) because every pore, line, and wrinkle is visible on screen. New makeup techniques are being devised to keep up with the progression of television to the relief of many who make their living in front of the camera. Aren't we like that spiritually, too? We fear that others might see what we are like and not like what they see. We want others' image of us to be an airbrushed version of reality. But it has to go both ways. Jesus said we would be judged the way we judge others. Proverbs 19:11 tells us a mark of wisdom is overlooking an offense. How good is our discernment on this side of eternity anyway? Paul compares our earthly vision to "a poor reflection as in a mirror." (1 Corinthians 13:12) I take it everything will be much clearer in heaven than it is on earth but I can stand some improvement down here! Physically, my blue eyes got fixed in a Missouri doctor's office. The more vital emphasis of my refocusing is explained in Hebrews 12:2 when I/we are advised to "fix our eyes upon Jesus." Wow- if I could ever fulfill the instruction in those words, my spiritual vision would make a quantum leap like my LASIK corrected vision did! And it won't cost me a penny more of my inheritance!
Applicable quote of the day:
"Poor eyes limit your sight. Poor vision limits your deeds."
For more information on Hope For Haiti's Children and the work with Haitian orphans, go to http://www.hopeforhaitischildren.org/. You will be blessed by what you see!
E-mail me at email@example.com
Posted by Steve Hawley at 6:20 PM