I recently had Lasik eye surgery. As many writers wear glasses I thought it might be worth noting my experience with it.
So there I was. Sitting in the waiting room at a Laser Eye Center. Knee bouncing in nervous anticipation. Could have been the thought of eye surgery, could have been because Must Love Dogs was playing on an a Plasma TV just next to my head.
I had been wearing glasses full time since I was about 14 years-old. I wasn’t blind without my glasses, but it was pretty much a bitch do anything without them. I tried wearing contact lenses a few times. Each attempt met with disappointing results.
So there I was. Just looking to hear what my possibilities were. They called me in and walked me through a series of tests. Before I knew it they were offering me a same-day procedure discount. Being a poor writer, you bet I went for it.
If you’re not familiar with the procedure here it is in a nut shell. They slice open a flap on your cornea and shoot lasers into your eye to clear a path to your retina. There are different options in technology as far as how they slice your cornea and the types of lasers involved in recalibrating your eye. This customization is how the pricing changes.
In Pre-Op they handed me a list of what seemed like 1000 fun facts about the surgery that I needed to initial. I’m sure it was all just legal cover-your-ass stuff. But here are two of the fun facts.
- You may never see as well with the surgery as you did with your glasses or contacts.
- You could go blind.
There were many other jaw dropping ones that, sadly, I can no longer remember. But I’m sure they’re very rare. I know a lot of people who have had Lasik and they all loved it. Not one complaint or horror story.
They gave me a Xanax to help calm down during the surgery. Only problem was, they were operating on me only 15 minutes later. I’m pretty sure it takes longer than that for the body to ingest and distribute a drug properly. Maybe not LSD. I was laid out on a reclining chair. All the while my mind raced with thoughts of Tom Cruise in Minority Report when he had his eyes swapped out. Son of a bitch! The Xanax wasn’t working. I’m a big guy. One wasn’t enough. I need two.
They put some kind of numbing drops in my eyes. Everyone was telling me to relax. It’s go time.
Everyone told me not to move. Lasers in my eyes. Got it. Don’t move. Here comes the cornea cut. Call me a baby. This did not tickle. It wasn’t horrible, but it certainly wasn’t painless – and you try not to move. So now the eye is open and they’re playing laser tag with my retina. This didn’t hurt, but it certainly wasn’t comfortable. What did it look like? I was going to insert the scene here from Fire in the Skywhere the aliens bring that needle probe down on D.B. Sweeney – but that’s too hyperbolic, and that scene freaks me out too much to watch again. Ugh. Stupid aliens. The procedure lasted about 5 minutes per eye. When it was done they ushered me into a dark room to wait for fifteen minutes by myself. After a few tests I was released.
I stumbled into the hallway, ready to leave, finally feeling the effects of the Xanax. At this point I had plastic shields taped over my eyes and a sweet pair of regulation sunglasses. Afternoon now. I headed home with a list of things I could not do for the next five hours.
- I could not watch TV
- I could not look at a computer monitor
- I could not read
- I could not sleep
Basically they told me to go home, close my eyes, and sit in the dark for 5 hours. But don’t go to sleep. And mind you, sitting in the dark after taking a Xanax, sleep is the thing you want most. I listened to TV for 5 hours, then went to bed.
The following days consisted of a series of 3 different types of eye-drops taken at different times, sleeping on my back with plastic shields taped to my face, and trying to shower without getting water anywhere near my eyes. They gave me a couple of Vicodin for pain but I did not experience any post-surgery pain.
But what about the vision?
Immediate improvement. I could read signs at a distance. I still had some blurred vision here and there. It was not 100%. I saw a lot of halo-effect on lights at night. However, I was told that I will continue to improve over the next 2 weeks. So far, success.
9 DAYS LATER
Despite the fact that I’m still seeing things blurry, my vision is checked as 20/20. Still seeing halos on night vision.
28 DAYS LATER
I still see halos at night. My vision is great in the morning but during the day it gets worse; as if my eyes are fatigued. Sometimes it takes a second for my eyes to focus on things.
I see much better now than I ever did before without my glasses. However I wouldn’t say I see as well as I did with my glasses.