Written for my weekly blog post at www.talknerdytomelover.com
editorsnote> Nerds, meet my buddy Leah. She’s pretty rad and has an INCREDIBLY random life. Like, no - for reals … did you know she has an obsession with vampires, psychics, and tarot card readers … and she had more sex as a teenager than in her 30s … anddddd she even had two ex boyfriends die violently - one from a heroin overdose, and the other was murdered. Holy moly roli poli oli - that shit be cray cray. Either way, she’s now here to write about her life, love, and all things nerd. I only have one more thing left to say … HIT IT LEAH!! </editorsnote>
I had an absolute blast at my eye-exam yesterday. The assistant brought me into the room where they ask you to read that dreaded eye chart, and I rattled off every letter on that chart. EVERY letter. When it came time to do the second eye, she says, “You don’t have to read every letter, just the smallest line you can read.” I replied, “But I want to read EVERY letter, after 30 years of NOT being able to, I really enjoy this!”
See, yesterday was my one year follow up exam at Kremer Eye Center in King of Prussia, PA. One year ago, I had a surgery for Implantable Contact Lenses, otherwise known as Visian ICL. Yes, there are contact lenses, surgically positioned in my eye!
Sounds crazy I know, but let me explain how it all transpired.
When I was in second grade it was determined that I was near-sighted and needed to wear glasses to see far way, to see the chalk-board, to see the television, to see people more than a few feet away from me. As a young child, having to do anything that may cause attention (not the good kind) from your peers is always a challenging life event. I was already accustomed to Orthodontic visits, and would soon be wearing head-gear while I slept at night to try to correct my horrible crooked teeth and severe over bite.
So now, we added glasses to the mix. In the beginning I enjoyed my glasses, enjoyed picking out the frame, and having a nice case to keep my glasses in, but by about 6th grade I was no longer a fan of my glasses. It might have had something to do with my family moving from SouthWest Philadelphia to the suburbs. I was no longer with the classmates at Our Lady of Loreto who had known me since I was 5, and loved me regardless of my big brown glasses. At our Lady of Loreto we were all in the same class, and the subjects that were split into learning levels, like reading, well, it was an absolute honor to be in the advanced group, when I switched to public schools, not so much. There was definitely more of a segregation based on whether you were in the smart classes or not. I was always super-proud of my high test scores and good grades, and I still was, but I don’t know there was something different happening in public middle school.
Maybe it was just the discovery of boys and rock n roll. Regardless, I was definitely no longer a fan of my glasses. My mom, being a very young, hip mom, listened to my concerns and decided we could try contact lenses. She was familiar with contacts, as my Aunt, her younger sister, had worn them for some time, but my Aunt wore hard contacts, which were very painful, so we were looking into the relatively newer option (1984) of soft contact lenses.
It was quite a process back then. The lenses required a special liquid, not only for daily rinsing, but nightly cleaning, and had to stay in the cleaning solution for a minimum of 6 hours before putting them back in your eye (and boy did it BURN if they weren’t quite rinsed off properly).
I was about 12 years old, and had a very difficult time trying to put my own contact lenses in my eye, so my Mom, (bless her heart), added that task to the things that she did in the morning while getting me and my 4 siblings off to school. I would cry and scream the whole time, but continually begged her to put them in anyway. I’m not sure how long that lasted, but I do know that sometime that year, I got really sick with mono, and was on steroids that prevented me from wearing my contact lenses. Shortly after, Mom decided that I was in fact too young for contacts, and until I could put them in myself every morning, I was to continue wearing my glasses.
So I did. Well, sort of. I pulled them out only in class, and only when absolutely necessary. As soon as I was out of eye-shot from my parents, the glasses got put away. I remember getting busted one time in about 8th grade outside the skating rink. We were waiting outside for my parents to pick us up, and unbeknownst to me, they were already in the parking lot, and saw me, dig my glasses out of my purse, and put them back on.
By about 9th grade, I was able to wear my contacts on my own, and have pretty much worn them 24/7 ever since. There’s been the occasional eye infection, stys, pink-eyes, over the years, where it made contact wearing impossible, but 9 times out of 10, I survived with wearing just one contact lenses during those times, rather than wear my glasses. Even as an adult. I’ve gone to auditions and acting jobs with ONE contact in my eye, that’s how much I disliked my glasses.
So, bringing us back to present day, yesterday’s eye exam was very exciting.My vision is 20/20 and I can read every letter in the chart!
Last year, while visiting the east coast I found out that Kremer Eye Center (the leading Lasik providers), were having a contest for their 30th anniversary. They would be giving away SIX surgeries, and all you had to do was make a 90 second video explaining why you should win the contest.
Well, geez, I make videos all the time, and I’ve entered a handful of online contests, where I did pretty well in the voting results. I had to enter this! The contest had started a few months prior, but there was still a week left to get your video in before the finals. Once videos were submitted, the team at Kremer would pick 30 finalists and then there would be a week of online voting before the 6 winners were chosen.
I KNEW that if I could make it into the finals, my family and friends would come out in full force to vote for me to win this surgery. I sat down with my Mom to make a video, and the first takes were very serious, sort of like the above stories of my childhood. They were heart-felt and sincere but… something was missing. I watched the other entries, and they ranged from plain-ole goofy to hear-tugging stories of ER Nurses, Firefighters, and all sorts of tales from those in life saving careers hoping to win this surgery. I’m an actor, I don’t save lives. I couldn’t compete with those stories. So, just before we submitted the video, I said to my mom, maybe I should do a funny video. We hit play again, and this time the lense of my glasses popped OUT, while I was talking!! It was hilarious! Perfect! And that’s what we sent over.
My Contest Entry Video:
I made it into the finals and when voting began I took a big lead. Over the course of the next week, my ranking was all over the place. As someone who has entered online contests before, there are various voting systems, and some better than others. On day one, it was discovered that by clearing your cache, you could vote multiple times a day. Later that day, I received a call from Kremer Eye Center that myself (along with a few other contestants), were discovered to have multiple votes coming from the same IP and as such, some of our votes were being erased, and this was a final warning.
WOW! Okay. Well, good, I’m glad they were paying attention and they were going to be strict about their one vote a day policy. I spread the word to my network that the policy was in place, and watched as a few hundred votes were deducted from each of us in the lead.
Over the next week, I campaigned hard. I sent emails, I face booked, I tweeted, and I sent daily text messages to my closest 100 or so friends/family. This wasn’t some stupid contest, this was a $5000 eye surgery!
In the final 48 hours, a few of the underdogs, shot up drastically in the votes, it was obvious, they had discovered the cache clearing system. And as much as I wanted to tell my friends, to go ahead and vote that way too, I had faith that Kremer Eye Center was not going to accept those votes, and that they would in fact disqualify anyone using that method.
With over 1200 votes, I finished in 8th place. The top 6 were going to get the eye surgery. I went to bed that night, hopeful, and optimistic, that once the votes were looked at, scrutinized and counted, there would be a different outcome. And there was. I came in 4th place!!!!! And an eye consultation was soon scheduled.
First I had to have an Eye Consultation at Kremer Eye Center
Day One Consultation Video:
After finding out all of that, I had A LOT of research to do, and after choosing which surgery I was going to get, it was time for day two!
Day Two Pre-OP Video:
A week later, after the new holes in my eyes had time to heal, it was time for surgery.
I have to warn you, they let me film the entire surgery, and although I’ve edited this quite a bit, if you’re squeamish, this may not be the video for you!
Day Three: Visian ICL Surgery Video:
My experience at Kremer Eye Center was fabulous. And a year later, I still have 20/20 vision and no real problems with my Implants. Every so often I feel like my contact is slightly out of place, and every so often I’ll see some halo effects around bright lights. My eyes are more sensitive to dryness these days, but the hospital stocked me up with tons of eye drops, and I just have to be conscious to use them on a regular basis.
I’m still not totally used to not having to put contacts in and out every day, and it’s still strange when travelling not to have to pack all the extra eye stuff.
I will say, that before my surgery, I had to wear glasses for 3 weeks, and as such I had to go buy a pair, since mine were broken. I bought 2 pairs, a cute little black pair, and a cute little red pair, and the funny thing is, I actually enjoyed wearing those glasses leading up to my surgery. Maybe, I had just never found the right pair of glasses before, or perhaps I’ve become confident enough with me, that it just doesn’t matter.