By Michael Lynch ‘21

The year 2020 was like no other. With social distancing rules outlawing large gatherings, family celebrations like birthday parties, and Christmas, many had to find other ways to celebrate. When my birthday came around in October, my mom decided my two brothers and I would celebrate by getting one large gift each.

For me, the decision was easy. I wanted the gift of vision. I had always been prescribed glasses, but stubbornly refused to wear them. I informed my parents I would like to look into getting LASIK corrective surgery.

In mid-November, I went for testing at a LASIK center downtown to find out whether or not I was a suitable candidate. Following several examinations, I was thrilled to be informed I was eligible. After a brief meeting with my parents, we scheduled the surgery for December 30.

As my dad drove me downtown, I looked at all the billboards and road signs and thought to myself how great it will be when I can actually read them. Once I arrived at the LASIK center, I had to fill out several liability forms. As I read through before signing, my dad remarked it would be the last time I would have to squint my eyes almost shut just to read something.

Finally, after three hours of waiting, my name was called and I was led into the operating room. I was placed onto a table, and a ring shaped device was put over my eyes that blacked out my vision while my eyes remained open. After about five minutes of waiting and feeling nothing, I began to wonder what was taking so long; then the nurse sat me up and told me it was over. For something as scary sounding as a laser burning your eye to reshape it, I didn’t feel a thing.

As the device was being taken off, my excitement began to build as I anticipated seeing in 20/20 for the first time. Unfortunately, I would have to wait, as my vision immediately after the procedure was extremely blurred. I was given a pair of sunglasses to help with light sensitivity and was told to go home and nap for at least four hours. I was scheduled to return the next day for a follow up appointment.

After I woke up, I went downstairs, ready to use my new vision for the first time. However, I was blinded by even the dimmest lights, as I foolishly forgot the sunglasses I was given in the car. My eyes remained sensitive for the rest of the day, and I went to bed anxious to finally see perfectly.

When I woke up, I had entirely forgotten about the surgery. That lasted about 45 seconds, as when I looked out the window, I saw nests in trees down the block I had never noticed before. I could read my neighbors addresses from across the street and see clearly for miles. I immediately ran downstairs and grabbed my jacket to go outside and find out what else I had been missing.

As I opened the door, I felt like a whole new person and was ready to see the world in a whole new light.