Tuesday, August 26, 2008

LASIK recap

Last Wednesday, I underwent LASIK eye surgery. I have worn glasses or contacts since the fourth grade, so you can imagine, this was a radical step for me. For those of you who have no experience with LASIK, I thought I would briefly recap the procedure. Prior to the surgery, the nice assistant asked me if I would like a Valium to calm me down. The correct answer was a resounding YES. Never turn down drugs when they are proffered, especially with the prospect of forthcoming terror and pain.

Since I have never really taken a Valium before, this in itself bears a little description. In essence, it put a layer of distance between me and the rest of the world, almost as if I were removed from the procedure by a sort of out-of-body, but still-in-body experience.

Then, while in the chair, after having different types of drops placed in my eyes, as the doctor and about 4 nurses, all huddled around me, I could hear the whirring sound of the tiny saw that was to cut my corneas being activated. The nurses had taped my first eye opened, then inserted a sort of bracket to keep my eye propped open. I can't quite remember the actual saw as it cut my cornea, but immediately after, the doctor said my vision would blur as he pulled back the corneal flap he had created.

At that point, I was to focus on a flashing light and I could hear the intermittent crackling of the laser and could see peripherally, the laser as it reformed the shape of my lens. Once that was done, the doctor returned the corneal flap (with the blurriness diminishing) and flushed the eye with liquid to help reposition it. This procedure was then repeated with the other eye in its entirety. All told, I would estimate the whole thing took about twenty minutes.

Immediately upon the return home, I tried to sleep aided by the encouragement of the Valium. HOWEVER, my eyes hurt SOOOOO bad, the over-the-counter pain medication had no effect. Sleep was impossible. Thanks must go to my wife, who provided a nice prescription pain medication she had sequestered for such emergencies. This promptly took care of the pain and succeeded in knocking me blissfully unconscious. Three hours later, I awoke, pain gone, only a slightly scratchy feeling in the eyes, which eye drops alleviated.

The next morning, without having to put in contacts or put on glasses, I could see!

It has been about a week now, and my vision still moves in and out of focus a little. I'm told this will abate in about another week, but nonetheless, I can see unaided. Every night before I go to bed, I have to remind myself that I no longer have any contacts to remove! Modern science. It is a wonderful thing.

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