Not many people remember second grade. I can remember one particular day that stands out vividly in my mind. What made this day so memorable? In the elementary school class of 56 children, I was the first kind to get glasses. I couldn't muster up the courage to wear them when I entered the classroom that morning. Instead I waited until after lunch when Mrs. Willette was writing on the chalkboard. Although I sat in the front row, I still couldn't make out her scribbles and notes. That is, until I reached into my desk, pulled out my new "specs" and placed them on my face drawing as little attention to myself as possible. To no avail, however. As thought a spotlight suddenly shone down on me, every face in the classroom turned my way to gawk at my glasses on me. Blushing a bright crimson red, I feebly ignored their stares as I desperately sought solace from the now legible markings on the chalkboard.
My vision continued to worsen and my eyeglass lenses became thicker and thicker throughout junior high school. Could it be, as my dad used to say from all of those nights I secretly crept out of bed to read under the scant light of my bedroom nightlight? Fearing I would eventually lose my vision completely, I ate carrots by the truckloads and became obsessed with Braille and Seeing eye dogs. Meanwhile, my lenses continued to thicken.
Ahhh... high school and the miracle of contact lenses! Hard contact lenses! Hard as they were in the beginning, I was determined to be in mine in less than 24 hours- and I did. As technology progressed, my lenses got softer. However, as so many do, I took my contact lenses and their care for granted. Who needs saline solution to wet their lenses when you've got perfectly food saliva you can use instead? Don't sleep in your contacts? Clean them with enzymatic weekly? Oops.
I paid a heavy price for those years of abuse. Eventually, I was unable to wear any contacts lenses despite paying hundreds of dollars to a certified "contact specialist" who assured me that he would find lens I would tolerate. Maybe it was God's way of making me focus more on my inside character than my outside shell. Regardless, my glasses were always, obtrusive, and unflattering not matter what style I bought. And yet I was dependent on them everyday form the moment I awoke until succumbing to sleep every night.
Fifteen year later and the "travel bug" has bit me hard- the more exotic the trip and off the beaten track, the better. Tubing through Monteverde Cloud Forst in Costa Rica- bring it on! Only one problem- I can't see! The humidity and climate changes encoutnered on my eco tour excursions fog up my glasses so much, I am unable to appreciate the splendor of these incredible places. The answer? PRK - photo-refractive keratectomy at the Gulani Vision Institute. After many months of indecision and nearly a dozen office visits to check and recheck my visual statistics and corneal measurements (Dr. Gulani patiently measured me repeatedly for stability), my big day had arrived.
Today, Four weeks later, I am void of glasses thanks to my PRK surgery performed by Dr. Arun Gulani. It's hard to believe that i'm no longer dependent on glasses. It's even harder to believe that my vision is not better without glasses than with them! And according to everyone who's gone through this it will only get better over the next few months. Sound unbelievable?
During my first visit with Dr. Gulani, I remarked, "I've had poor vision my whole life. You say you can fix this. I don't mean to be skeptical, but I'll be believe it when I see it." Now as I sit here planning my upcoming snorkeling trip to the Dry Tortugas off Key West, let me proclaim that I'm a believer!
Thank you, Dr. Gulani, for your expertise, your conscientiousness, and your skill. Thank you for your patience, your professionalism, and most of all, thank you for this opportunity to see the world again a whole new way! Victoria Falls, Nepal, Great Barrier Reed, Galapagos Islands.... see you real soon thanks to the Gulani Vision Institute!
Nurse and World Traveller