I awoke one morning in late November in the Utah desert. Sitting up in my sleeping bag, I brushed the ubiquitous sand from my face and looked out on a gray sky with a faint purple glow to the east. With the tent door unzipped, I watched the canyon walls slowly lighten, the sky filling with oranges and pinks. When finally I saw the first rays of sun brush the mesa tops, before the true sunrise, I was struck with the sudden realisation that I could see. I remembered that I had undergone a LASIK procedure.
It was an amazing feeling to wake up to a sunrise and not need to find my glasses or feel a gritty irritation reminding me that I had forgotten to remove my contacts the night before. I could simply see. It’s a scenario that has played out almost every day since my LASIK procedure. After years of relying on corrective lenses, I suddenly had strong, clear vision. For an aspiring young mountain man, the change was staggering.
Before LASIK, when I went into the wilderness, I followed a painful routine. Each morning I would pour a little water on my hands (there were no taps here with clean water to wash in), wipe them off on some dubiously clean piece of clothing, and apply hand sanitizer. The sanitizer somehow never fully evaporated, so when I put the contact lens on my finger, the saline would merely spread the alcohol over it. Putting it in my eye led to squinting, tearing and stinging. If I was lucky, there would be just a little sand between the lens and my eye. Then I’d repeat the process for my other eye.
I eventually tired of this and began adventuring in glasses. This avoided the pain of putting contacts in, but I always worried about falling and damaging the lenses. That’s what helped me make the decision to undergo a LASIK procedure.
Now I try to fill my vision with astounding scenery as often as I can. I have grown used to post-LASIK vision and it no longer surprises me as it once did. But when I stop to enjoy a view, I give thanks for the clarity of my perception. The results are always rewarding, and I am filled with gratitude.