beauty

"The hair straightener accident that nearly sent me blind."

Image: Laura

Yeah, you read that right.

Let’s take a trip back in time to 2011. It was the year of third-wave girl power (hello Bridesmaids and Daenerys from Game of Thrones), the final Harry Potter movie, Beyonce’s baby bump and Kim Kardashian’s 72-day marriage.

It was also the year I nearly went blind in one eye.

It was Halloween and I’d decided to go as some sort of maid because I couldn’t think of a better pop culture reference. I know, totally lame.

I was at a friend’s house getting ready, we’d had a couple of wines and I was doing my hair with a ‘hair wand’.

This is where it all becomes a bit blurry (pun intended).

I was talking to one of my friends, holding the hair wand in my right hand when suddenly my right hand hit my open left eye in the face.

To this day, I have no clue how it happened.

Shock overcame me, I didn’t realise what had happened, then a sharp pain bolted through me as I dropped the wand and clutched my eye.

My friend’s laughter at my carelessness slowly ceased as they realised what had happen. I had burnt my eyeball.

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We went to the bathroom and splashed cold water over it. At that point it was too painful to open the eye, so luckily my sober friend raced me up to the hospital.

The emergency doctors rushed me straight in, which is decidedly the shortest time I’ve ever spent in a waiting room and began assessing my eye. They dripped in local anaesthetic to numb the pain and I could open my eye again.

After the examination, my doctor told me I had essentially ‘cooked’ my cornea ‘like an egg’. I’ll let you bask in that image for a second. He said he’d never seen anything like it and wasn’t sure if it would heal or if I would be able to see out of that eye again.

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Here’s another thing you should know about me. I’m partially deaf in both ears, so the thought of being blind as well tipped me over the edge. I was numb, mainly due to the anaesthetic.

By this time it was 1am. The doctor bandaged me up and told me to come back in the morning.

What followed was the worst night of my life. The anaesthetic wore off before I’d even reached the car. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t open my eyes, it hurt to cry. Just darkness and excruciating pain.

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The next morning, the doctor told me there had been no change and that hopefully it might heal within the week. It was something at least.

After a few days, my eye was still cloudy and you couldn’t see the iris at all. But I could open my other eye without the pain, so the doc gave me an eye patch, on which my friends delightfully drew a skull and crossbones.

A week later, I was feeling much better. I went to the doctors for a check-up, hoping for the best, but obviously expecting that he would tell me I was blind forever, there was no hope, and I’d have to wear an eye patch for the rest of my life.

But you know what? The glorious doctor man did something magical. My eye had healed so much that the cloudy burnt bit slid off my eyeball.

Let me repeat that, it slid off my eyeball.

It was like a permanent fog had been lifted.

Glorious doctor man said since it was a light burn, the ‘cooked egg’ part just needed time to heal and rebuild itself underneath, that’s why it could slide off so easily.

It took a few weeks for me to regain full vision in that eye, but now things are crystal clear. Luck was on my side.

Among the many things I took away from this experience, one is to never, ever hold and exposed hot plate if you’re not using it. And don’t hit your open eye with it. Obviously.