It all began when I was in the fourth grade and couldn’t read what was on the blackboard. My mom took me to have my vision checked and we discovered I needed glasses. No problem. I was 10 and couldn’t care less. I got glasses and was back in business.
It was fine until my boyfriend Michael came over to me during recess on the playground, took me aside and said, “I don’t like you anymore with your glasses.” Heartbroken, I confided in my mother and she reassured me that somewhere there was a boy who wouldn’t care.
She was right. When I got to high school and met Marvin, who was two years ahead of me, we fell into “first love,” and I was reassured. Then I got contact lenses. He too took me aside, but his message was that he liked kissing me better when I was wearing glasses!
What’s was a girl to do? Even at 16, I was wise enough to put my sight before this plight and so I continued the contacts well into middle age. My husband liked kissing me with or without contacts or glasses, so it didn’t matter when the ophthalmologist said I could no longer wear contacts comfortably because I had developed dry eye. Back into glasses. I was already married, so I knew someone loved me regardless.
Comes now senior-hood and more eye news. Seems I have developed cataracts that are making it very difficult to read or drive. I need surgery. The cataracts are ready and so am I.
Proceeding with surgery on my right eye, I braced myself for whatever was coming. And I could never have imagined what happened. I woke up from the mild sedative with an enormous patch over that eye, which I had to keep covered for 24 hours. Wearing my glasses with this huge glob of cotton under one lens wasn’t too easy, but I survived.
Then the magical moment arrived. At the doctor’s office, as Oscar watched, her assistant slowly peeled the tape from around my eye. And the absolute thrill of being able to see my husband clearly from that eye and at that distance was a moment I’ll never forget.
As I beamed at him with tremendous excitement, he took a picture with his cell phone and captured the moment for our kids to share. Their emailed comments were hysterical to read. But the ability to see without the weight of those heavy glasses across my nose amazed me. I looked and felt so different – younger, stronger and more free. The world seemed so much clearer and more alive, the colors so vivid.
For some 62 years, my eyes had progressively gotten older and weaker. Prior to surgery my vision was 2,200-something. When the patch came off, it was 20/40, and the doctor said it would improve over the next week.
My eyes had gotten younger and taken me with them. I thanked the doctor profusely for the injection of energy I felt. After next week, I can drive again, read again, see the TV more clearly and kiss my husband whenever I want. Marvin and Michael, wherever you are, eat your hearts out!
Freelance writer Judy Kramer can be reached by email at [email protected] She is author of the book “Changing Places: A Journey with My Parents into Their Old Age.”