I can see clearly now – finally – without glasses, writes Nicolas


For the first time, I wrote this column without glasses or contact lenses. It’s actually the first time I’ve written anything substantial without a visual aid since fourth grade. After decades of acute myopia – myopia – I had corrective surgery a week ago.

And I can see clearly now. Most.

As is the case with many people who make healthcare decisions today, I couldn’t see the path to better vision with 20/20 acuity. It took months of research and visits. It was strewn with conflicting opinions and opinions. It took persistence and an ability to look past the frustration.

Mario nicolas

One day I had to roll over in my bed and hear the arm of my glasses click.

Broken at the hinge, I visited a few big box lens dispensaries and three jewelers in hopes of getting repaired. The damage was irreparable. The expensive frame and the lenses that fit it got thrown in a trash can as I walked out the last door.

At the same time, I decided to try corrective surgery again.

I have been basically blind most of my life. I’ve always been the guy who needs to take two steps forward before the big “E” at the top of the vision board turns into more than a blurry dark spot. Forget everything below.

Therefore, I was also not an ideal candidate for LASIK surgery. In a nutshell, LASIK uses a laser to reshape the cornea. The more myopic an individual, the more remodeling is required. At one point, the necessary adjustment leaves too little cornea to reshape.

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In addition, the procedures can be expensive. While some less scrupulous providers advertise very low rates, they are almost always marked with an asterisk.

The actual rate is usually close to a few thousand dollars per eye. Because it is not “medically necessary” – despite the fact that I am likely to walk into a wall without correction – insurance generally does not cover such procedures.

But medicine takes regular steps forward, so I make a few appointments. Having an MBA with a specialization in healthcare administration and experience working with multiple healthcare companies, I knew better than seeing just one supplier.

I went to five different offices.

Turns out the eye industry is not moving as fast as my eyes have deteriorated. Three out of five doctors told me that I was not a candidate. Two said I was on the bubble, but they thought they could do it. Anything less than universal consensus is disturbing when it comes to someone digging into your eyeball.

However, after the 20/20 Institute told me that they wouldn’t even consider LASIK for me, they took the time to discuss other potential options as well. Specifically, they suggested that I would be a good candidate for ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens) surgery. Sure enough, he advocated taking a knife into my eyeball and putting a permanent contact lens behind the iris and in front of the natural lens.

Yeah, I winced too.

Because 20/20 does not perform these surgeries, they recommended a few surgeons to me to follow up with. I ended up choosing the Mile High Eye Institute. They have a clean, well-lit office with a full surgical suite on site. Although the wait time after check-in is usually quite long, a busy doctor’s office is often a good doctor’s office as well.

What convinced me, however, was the follow-up schedule they established. After the morning operation, I was due to come back later that same afternoon, the next morning (a Saturday!), A week after the operation and a month after the operation.

This is a sign of a practice that really cares about results. They could have made so much money doing the transaction and giving me a phone number to call if something went wrong.

A week after the operation, I can see things in the distance more clearly than ever with contact lenses or glasses.

My near vision is blurry – presbyopia, the loss of elasticity in the lens that makes it difficult to read, happens to almost everyone, can become more noticeable after surgery.

I realized that I had unconsciously corrected this for years by taking off my glasses and holding everything I read up to my nose. I’ll have to get used to carrying readers.

I may also need a follow-up procedure for astigmatism and there is still no reasonable solution for color blindness.

But this holiday season, for the first time in decades, I’ll be looking at bright screens without the frozen condensation that clouds my glasses. Who could ask for more?


Mario Nicolais is a lawyer and columnist who writes on law enforcement, the justice system, healthcare and public policy. Follow him on Twitter: @MarioNicolaiEsq


The Colorado Sun is a non-partisan news organization, and the views of columnists and editorial writers do not reflect the views of the newsroom. Read our Ethics Policy to learn more about The Sun’s Opinion Policy and submit columns, suggest writers or give your opinion at [email protected]


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