Tuesday 11 June 2013

I can see clearly now.

Every morning, I wake up, and this is what I see. That's my hand, by the way.

Blurriness has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. My parents were told at my first eye test that I would need glasses, and I received my first Pink Panther pair at the age of seven - the first bespectacled kid in my class. At ten, I had to wear them full time and my eyesight quickly deteriorated.

I hated my glasses. HATED them. As an awkward child - slightly chubby, frizzy haired and spotty - they represented everything I thought was ugly about myself. I didn't have great self esteem anyway, and putting on my glasses was just something else to make me look worse. Every magazine makeover I read that featured a girl in glasses never included them in the 'After' shot. I only ever got noticed at school discos if I went sans specs (it didn't matter that I couldn't see a thing). If we ever went swimming, I had to resign myself to being blind the entire time I was in the pool. I was consumed by jealousy of everyone I knew who didn't have to worry about their eyes. It didn't matter that being a glasses-wearer was who I was, because I didn't WANT to be.

Writing the above paragraph actually made me feel really emotional, because the more I think about it, the more I realise how insecure I was back then. I was convinced boys would never like me whilst I wore glasses, and blamed them for my awkwardness and nerdiness and struggle to fit in. 14 is pretty young to get contact lenses, but I begged my parents for a year, in the end offering to put my £5 a week pocket money towards the cost.

Here's the point where I'm supposed to say that nothing changed, that I realised that beauty came from within, blah blah. But... no. I felt five thousand times better in contact lenses. I actually felt - dare I say it - pretty.

This picture encapsulates how I felt back then perfectly, I think. That's my sister and I - Becky was 15, I was 13. Isn't Becky a knockout? Whilst my hair was frizzy, hers was straight and glossy. Her eyesight was perfect. She never got spots. She was amazing at sports. She didn't even get sunburnt. Becky was the pretty one, I... wasn't.

When I got contact lenses, people started saying how alike we were. And then they started saying it more. And then people would mistake me for Becky on the street. I couldn't believe it. Becky had always represented this impossible ideal, and to be told that I looked like that - well, the reason was simple. Glasses made me ugly.

Of course there was more to my insecurities than my glasses, and I know now that my sister had her fair share of insecurities too (no one has a perfect life - no one). When I stopped wearing glasses, things didn't become instantly amazing - and even in my thirties, I'm still riddled with insecurities, because that's just who I am, and who a lot of people are, I think.

Obviously I understood that I was lucky to have eyes that worked at all, to have both arms and legs, to have parents who cared about me, blah blah blah. But honestly, when you're a kid, how often do you think like that? I was pretty much consumed by my hatred of glasses.

I wish I could say that I got over my dislike of glasses, and embraced this part of me, but I never have. I see so many people who look amazing in specs, but I've finally given up trying to find a pair that make me look like Zooey Deschanel. Glasses don't suit me. They never have, they never will. My eyesight has only got worse - my prescription is currently -8.5 and -9, but finally there's something I can actually do about it, and I'm doing it.

Yep - I'm getting surgery. My parents insisted on paying for it for my 30th birthday (which my mum confesses is partially due to guilt that I've had to deal with eye related issues my entire life, whilst my two siblings escaped unscathed - which makes ME feel terribly guilty about all my moaning over the years!). I looked into laser eye surgery with Optical Express, but it turns out my eyesight is actually too bad for traditional laser. So what I'm getting is something that's actually more similar to cataract surgery, where an artificial lens is actually placed inside the eye. Gross, yes. But it means that in a month's time, I'm going to wake up and see clearly for the first time in almost 30 years. And I'm pretty much amazed by it.

click here for more information on laser eye surgery and the alternatives.

Collaborative post.


  1. It's so sad that glasses made you feel so insecure. I got my first pair when I was 12 and I've loved them right from the start - I wouldn't feel like me without them! I do sometimes wish I was brave enough to try contacts though. I do get a little sick of being the bespectacled friend on nights out.

  2. I couldn't sympathsise with this post more. I've worn glasses since I was young and was bullied for it at school etc and really resented everything about them. Thankfully for me on one hand I 'got over' my glasses issues but that said I wear contacts that I sleep in and if I do wear glasses it's as a look or accessory so even I'm pretending to be a secretary etc. Id never wear them for a date, socially by choice etc.

    I've not been brave enough to have the surgery altho my bro has and I think half of my work place have had it done at some stage!

    Good luck and I know what you mean about waking up and being able to see (even if mine is assisted!)

    Victoria xx

  3. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Congratulations, I bet you cannot wait. I've had glasses since I was 2 and a half, and I was wearing lenses at 15, and haven't looked back. I have some glasses that I like a lot, but nothing compares to lenses. So pleased for you, can't wait to hear how it goes.

  4. Oh gosh, I'm excited for you about the surgery but also feel sad that you've felt so awful about them. I was the weirdo kid who always wanted glasses when I was at school, I thought (and still do) that they were so cool. I do totally understand how insecurities (mine more about my size and shape) can eat your confidence.

  5. so excited for you, hope it all goes smoothly x

  6. I was the weird kid who always really wanted glasses at school. Then, when I was told I needed them at 17 I sulked like crazy.

    But anyway. Good luck, Sarah. Fingers crossed for you xx

  7. I am the exact same- glasses since age 7 (also spots, frizzy hair, chubby) and contact lenses since 14. Now I've got the special contact lenses that I can sleep in for a month, magical!! but I dream of getting lasered one day. I hope it goes well for you :)

  8. EEK, exciting, I will have my fingers crossed for you!

    Maria xxx

  9. Good luck with the surgery! I demanded laser eye surgery, to be paid for by my father from the age of 14. I've not had it, I am a bit daunted by it all. Would be amazing to wake up in the morning and be able to see!

  10. Oooh good luck with it Sarah, I look forward to reading the 'after' post! I've worn glasses and lenses since the age of 15 and laser surgery would be top of my shopping list if I won the lottery. Not necessarily because they make me feel insecure, but because of the HASSLE involved. Air-con irritates my lenses, as does heating. Glasses steam up and slip down my nose and get finger prints all over them. You can guarantee that your lenses won't go in smoothly when you're in a rush and you have to faff on for ages... and so on and so on and so on.... Nightmare! xx

  11. I only started wearing glasses as an adult - I do get annoyed by my worsening eyesight but am so glad I didn't have to wear them as a child (I did have braces for four years and that was enough trauma for me). I hope the surgery goes well, it does sound a bit creepy but it'll definitely be worth it for perfect vision. x

  12. I feel quite emotional reading this post... My little girl got her first pair of glasses last week and she's not even 3 yet! I hope she never feels insecure or ugly because of them, but as a mother I obviously worry about her being teased at school. The good thing is she is young enough at the moment not to care, and her friends don't care either... Having caught it so young it might correct itself and she won't need her glasses after a few years. But if she does I will make sure she knows how beautiful she is with or without glasses! I wear contact lenses usually but for a bit of solidarity I've been wearing my (new) glasses all week and loving the geek chic ;-)

    Good luck with your surgery and apologies for the long reply, your post obviously struck a chord!

    Laura xx


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