Lasik Surgery and Riding

I’m so near sighted that my ophthalmologist has told me to always carry at least one spare pair of glasses in my car. If anything happened to the pair I’m wearing, I’d have no chance of driving home unaided. For many years I wore contact lenses, but as I’ve gotten older, my eyes rebelled and spit them out. The choice was bloodshot eyes or glasses, and I chose glasses.

Most of the time, wearing glasses doesn’t bother me. I have enough different looks to suit my moods and my eyes are happy.

Except for when I’m riding.

It’s always been annoying to have my glasses slip down my nose. Or get covered in rain drops. Or, worst of all scenarios — go flying off if I take a tumble. That worse case happened the year before last when I was foxhunting. My horse and I had a slight, er, miscommunication about how many strides were supposed to fit in between two stone walls. I thought two, he thought one and the two of us parted company. My glasses also disappeared. Luckily, I found them before either my horse or I stepped on them. Luckily they were metal frames and I was able to bend them back into shape (more or less) and finish the hunt. That spare pair in my glove compartment came in handy that day.

It’s times like these when Lasik surgery sounds very appealing. I have several friends who’ve had the surgery. They rave about waking up in the morning to a world that no longer resembles an impressionist painting. But having read this article in the New York Times (and, even more so, the comments written by readers), I wonder if they’ve been telling the whole truth. Many people complain about on-going problems ranging from painfully dry eyes, to permanent halos, to loss of night vision or worse. I can’t imagine the distress that would occur from having elective surgery go wrong and suffer with the consequences for months or years. The definition of “success” from the surgeon’s point of view, is that the patient’s unaided vision improves. The surgery does not guarantee perfect vision, and even with side effects, many surgeries are chalked up as successful by the surgeons.

So, I guess I’d better just stick to my glasses. I still have the ones that are slightly bent. They are the preferred pair out hunting. No one has commented on their slightly askew appearance and when I get a branch in the face or the horse in front of me kicks up some mud, I’m glad to have the eye protection.

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