Thursday, September 10, 2015

365 True Things: 165/Vision

Yesterday Lynn mentioned that she'd recently visited Smith Rock State Park, north of Bend, Oregon, for the first time, and how impressed she was. It is indeed a beautiful spot.

I know the place from several climbing trips there. On one such, we tackled Monkey Face ☟: a 5.7, four-pitch free and aid climb. (The people in the photo below are just starting the third pitch, a bolt ladder.)

When we did it, as I recall, we finished up late in the day. It was windy at the top, and as I stood waiting my turn to rappel off the monkey's forehead, a strap on my pack flicked me in the face: and out popped one of my contact lenses. Gone!

My eyesight has been very poor since I was small: my third-grade school photo already shows me with glasses. I suppose I'd have been called legally blind without vision correction.

Of course, after losing my contact I still had one good eye, but to make the long slog over unfamiliar trails in the dark with only half my vision—I was dismayed, to say the least.

I decided then and there to check into Lasik.

Once I got home (having had to wear my glasses the rest of the trip—awful!), I sought out an optometrist who performed Lasik. The one I chose, Dr. Friedman, commiserated: he'd also done some rock climbing (though he had more or less given it up so he could grow the nails on his right hand long, for classical guitar playing). When he checked my eyes, he said I was almost not a good candidate—something to do with the shape (steepness?) of my eyeball—but I squeaked under the line.

I never read too much about Lasik—especially to see if there were horror tales. I found a few "I should have done this years ago!" testimonials, and descriptions of what the procedure entailed, and that was good enough for me. To be sure, I was messing with my most precious sense, but I had had it with contacts.

I booked an appointment, and before I knew it I was under the laser.

When I was younger, I watched on a monitor as my mother had cataract surgery. I expect this operation was similar to that in many ways. I never had any qualms, in any case.

And fortunately, the procedure went just fine.

The next morning when I woke up and looked out the window, I could see! It was a miracle.

My corrected vision has remained fairly consistent these past nine or ten years, about 20/40 (a little far-sighted so I wouldn't need reading glasses right away, though these days I often wear cheaters).

In any case, I am very happy I bit the bullet and got my eyes fixed. And I thank Monkey Face, both for a very fun climb and for new vision.

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