This is the second part in a two-part series on getting my eye health in order. To read the first part, go here.
I sat my eyes down and had an intervention. Their actions had affected my in the following ways and it was time for them to go to rehab—aka the local Lasik doctor. When that doctor told me that my eyes weren’t in good enough shape to get Lasik, I went to another (actually more renowned) doctor, who took a quick look at my eyes and booked me on the spot. I ignored the nagging feeling that a dry-eye inducing surgery probably wouldn’t be so great for my already dry eyes and focused solely on the fact that, for the first time in almost two decades, I’d be completely free of glasses and contacts. No more carting saline solution around at all times! No more ducking around corners when I ran into people wearing my huge glasses (or worse, yanking them off and then trying to have a conversation without seeing their facial expressions)! No more heinous eye infections! Imagine the possibilities!
If you want to see the wonder of modern medicine (albeit modern elective, some say cosmetic medicine), look no further than Lasik surgery. You show up at a doctor’s office, take half a Xanax (which let me say was NOT enough to calm these Type A nerves), squeeze a nurse’s hand so hard she starts awkwardly rubbing your head, look at a light for 30 seconds, go home, take a nap, and wake up with almost perfect vision. It’s a miracle to say the least, and to this day I don’t regret the surgery one bit. I mean, I CAN SEE! In the morning! In the shower! On long flights! It’s truly amazing. Except, well…
After the surgery my eyes were pissed. Not like, “I’m a little tired and cranky after surgery” pissed, but like, “you straight up sent me to rehab and now I’m divorcing you” pissed. They decided to just become so dry that it took nearly every bottle of eye drops at target to even put a dent in them, except that the eye drops made them itchy, and you’re not supposed to itch them so I’d just neurotically rub my eyebrows instead. Make sense? No. Next best thing? Yes. It’s kind of like when you had chicken pox and could only scratch the pox with oven mitts on. Except I couldn’t bathe in oatmeal or stay home from school sick.
You guys, it was bad. The dryness made my vision blurry all the time and super sensitive to any kind of light or wind. Heat vents drove me nuts. Ceiling fans were torture. Driving at night was a thing of the past. I went back to my Lasik doctor every month for 6 months, plus to a bunch of specialists he recommended. I tried every drop in the book (including steroids). I began taking Flaxseed and Fish Oil and drinking mass quantities of water every day. I had my tear ducts plugged, which is as grotesque as it sounds. Nothing worked. I exhausted all other options, and then I turned to Restasis.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing the monotonous, disclaimer-filled Restasis commercial, let me just cut to the chase: it’s a dry eye medication. A dry eye medication that comes in eyedrop form, which is a little strange, especially when people unexpectedly stop by and come face-to-face with the dozens of empty single-drop vials that you lazily leave around the house No! I’m not a meth addict! That’s my medication!! I swear!
The other strange thing about Restasis is that is takes up to three months to start working. Um, hello? Buying groceries for the entire week feels like a big commitment to me when I’m not sure if I’ll WANT to have the salmon on Thursday, thankyouverymuch! Using a medication—one with SIDE EFFECTS—for three months without even knowing if it’s going to work blew my mind. But I was at the end of my rope, so I sucked it up and went with it.
One year and thousands of empty eye drop vials under my bed later, my eyes! They’re out of rehab! They’re even out of sober living! They’re doing well, taking it one day at a time, painting portraits and learning an instrument and exploring all the new possibilities that sobriety brings! Possibilities like driving at night and being able to focus for more than two hours! They’ve moved from their searing red stage to a lovely light pink color, and there’s even hope of returning to plain old white soon.
My eyes have gone from super dry to so fantastically tear-producing that any slight bout of laughter, sentimentality, or sadness has me weeping like a wishing well. Give me a compliment? My eyes get watery! Casually mention that you rescued a cat? I’ll tear up! Tell me a joke? I’ll laugh so hard I’ll cry!! I’m every comedian’s dream and every boss’s nightmare. And you know what? I doesn’t bother me one bit, because if I have to choose between blurry vision or teary eyes, I’ll take the old lady leaky eyes every time. Restasis for the win! Can’t you see it in my tears of joy?
Now excuse me while I go find a Kleenex.
*Disclaimer: I am not getting paid by Restasis, or anyone else, to write this blog. Although I’m totally open to it. Pay me! Please! Someone!