Cosmetic Eye

Last Friday, just three short days ago, I had surgery on my right eye.  I really underappreciated how much it would hurt.  I am still glad I did it but the point is that I am appalled that when I had it done three years ago I was so out of it and sick that I really didn’t remember much of anything.

Let me back up  a bit and explain why I have had eye surgery in the first place.  I was born with a severe case of Amblyopia in my right eye and a severe case of Strabismus in the same eye.  In other words, my right eye has pretty horrid vision problems and it came  crossed. A siamese cat has nothing on me!

I remember that  as a small child that I would look at my nose and wonder if everyone could see their nose as clearly as I did.  I mean, my eye wandered towards my nose and it just seemed like my nose was in the way somehow.

My parents took me to our family ophthalmologist.  He was a very old man who treated my uncle with his eye issues.  He put a patch over my good eye and told my parents to take me home and make me use the bad eye so I could strengthen it.  That didn’t last very long.

I was all of two years old and I was constantly falling or running into things.  I am sure I was constantly screaming and crying in a very loud–two year old way.

My parents said it was impossible and that I would just have to use the one good eye and we needed to fix the Strabismus or cross eye part of it.  So, that began the cycle of surgeries to correct the cosmetic side of things.  Visually, I don’t think anyone really know or understands what I see.  For most of my life I have been declared blind in my right eye.

My parents decided to approach this from the standpoint that if we didn’t make a big deal about it I would not consider it a handicap.  Instead, they enrolled me in all kinds of of lessons that required the thing I just don’t have: hand eye coordination.  I am left eyed and right handed.  I do not fault them for this strategy though, in general it worked really well.  I never thought of myself as handicapped, just clumsy.

I have always liked being active but by the same token I have always stunk at sports that involve balls that have to go in specific directions, or worse yet, be caught or batted back somehow.  That whole thing just got depressing.  I sort of wish someone had just said, “Hey, you are not going to do well at this because you are blind AF.”  That might have saved me some self esteem issues as a teen.

My dad was really freaked out about a lot of things in reference to my sight, now that I look back on it, but I didn’t think about it then.  He absolutely HATED getting in the car with me behind the wheel.  Also, he wouldn’t let me mow the lawn because he thought something might fly up and poke out my good eye.  (Hey, that worked fine for me..).

But aside from my vision I dealt with the constant teasing at school for being cross-eyed.  I had surgery at the age of two, and then again at four but all through school kids would say, “Are you looking at me, freak?”  It was really upsetting.  I hated it. My eye wasn’t off by much but it was enough for asshole kids to pick on.

When I was a freshman in college my brother in law, an optometrist, decided that a ophthalmologist he knew might be able to align my eyes a bit better than what the doctors had done way back in the late 1960’s.  The 1980’s had brought about the new techniques of ‘microsurgery’.  So, I went to Houston and this cracker jack surgeon did an amazing job for me.  I felt bullet proof for years.  I knew my sight would never improve but I didn’t care.  As long as I didn’t look like a freak, I was happy.

Well, that surgery held up for a long, long time.  When I got sick in my forties is when things seemed to come undone.  I started to notice it when I was tired.  I also knew things were off when strange doctors in hospitals and E.R.’s would stare at me and say, “look at my finger.”  Dear Lord but that is annoying!  They ask me if I know my eye isn’t tracking with my other eye.  For frick’s sake, “YES!” I tell them.  “I KNOW!”  I have been me this whole time.  I give them the abbreviated version of Katie’s eyeballs and they usually shut up.   And then the next doctor comes in and we start all over again.

Anyway, three years ago an Optometrist recommended a doctor here in Austin that did the surgery on adults and suggested I give it a try.  I did.  I think it worked for a while.  Then I went to Dallas and had surgery and I fell apart and was in the biggest mess of my life.  Maybe that undid it.  I don’t know.

This fall I decided that my insurance premiums were paid up and I had time off from work over the holidays, so if the doctor thought she could make it better, why not?

She has claimed she can give me more sight in the eye as well.  I do not understand how and my brother in law, who has practiced for over forty years and been looking at my eyes the whole time, is skeptical, but what the hell?

So, here I am with my fingers crossed and hoping my eyes aren’t crossed… for once.

I guess it is just vanity, but damn it! I can be vain, right?

So, here it is a bit more than two weeks out of surgery as I finish this.

My eye is still not healed.  It looks  more aligned some of the time but I was told it could take a full eight weeks to make its final adjustment.

I am crossing my fingers this worked.

I have also realized that if this didn’t work I probably need to make my peace with the fact that my eyes are not going to align again.

I don’t want to keep trying.  I think that is stupid.

So right now I am not focused on my nose but I tend to close the eye when I am tired.

Please wish me luck and if you see me, and for crap’s sake, don’t ask if I am looking at you!