The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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January 30, 2013

BICKER: A brand new world — one without eyeglasses

CLINTON — A whole new world opened up to me when I received my first pair of glasses in fifth grade.

And now, at age 36, another world will open up without them.

On Monday, I will undergo surgery to correct my nearsightedness.

Eyeglasses have been a permanent fixture on my face since the summer before I started fifth grade. I still can remember sitting in Dr. Ervin Musk’s office in Fulton, Ill., eagerly waiting for my appointment. Unbeknownst to my mother, who was with me on this monumental occasion, I really wanted glasses. I thought I would look and feel so much smarter with them. In my mind, I was on the cusp of becoming the next Madame Curie with my new pair of glasses.

Up until this point, I had never experienced an eye exam. So, what led me to this point? Well, I started sitting closer and closer to the television and the blackboard seemed to be getting farther and farther away.

It was getting more and more difficult to watch reruns of “The Waltons” too when I came home from school. Since I was blocking my parents’ view of the TV on a regular basis, my mom decided to take me in to get my eyes examined.

Sitting in the examining chair was a little scary — then the lights went off. And then, letters magically appeared on the wall. My small frame slid forward and my eyes peaked through two small holes to view the letters. Dr. Musk flipped different lenses back and forth to see which ones made the letters clearer. It was an amazing experience for me because, for the first time in quite a while, my world came back into focus. I was ecstatic. I no longer had to squint and I could go back to sitting in my favorite chair to watch “The Waltons” instead of a few feet from the TV set.

After my examine was over, Dr. Musk ushered me into another room to pick out a pair. It was exciting — all those frames to choose from — I couldn’t believe my eyes. My first pair of glasses were octagonal shaped and had a strawberry on the side. I thought I looked really cool. I couldn’t wait to show off my new glasses to my dad when he got home from work.

When it was time to take school pictures that year, I proudly showed off my new frames. I was rocking my favorite red plaid shirt, pony tail like Sandra Dee and my brand new glasses. Unfortunately, my glasses only appeared in one other school picture, which was my freshman year of high school.

As time progressed, wearing glasses wasn’t the cool thing to wear anymore and more and more of my classmates started to wear contacts. Unfortunately, for me, I couldn’t even put drops in my eyes so contacts were definitely out of the question.

As the years passed, my glasses took on different shapes and colors. Back in the late 1980s I even had a pair of light purple frames that seemed to consume my whole face. I went from plastic to wire back to plastic, which is the style I wear now. Glasses have been the first thing I put on in the morning and the last thing I take off at night.

Over the last several years, I’ve seriously considered getting Lasik surgery. I’ve talked with my doctor and others who have had it done — many with good results. So, when the opportunity arose back in December to get my eyes done, I jumped at the chance.

In order to get the surgery, I had to see if I was a candidate first. So, the beginning of January I started my journey toward a sharper world. Obviously, I passed all of the criteria and scheduled my surgery date. A life without glasses — who would have thunk it.

I’m sure I will look a lot different at first to my family, friends and co-workers; but, I also will look a lot different to myself. I’ll look like a new woman. A world without eyeglasses — “Wow.”

Angie Bicker has been employed with the Clinton Herald since 2001. She can be reached at angiebicker@clintonherald.com.

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