Category Archives: lasik

Just Call Me Hawkeye

I neglected to mention that during my blog sabbatical this summer, I ended up having LASIK surgery, after all. It’s been almost three months now and I’ve officially changed the name on my drivers’ license to, “Eagle Eyes Rama.”

The surgery itself is nothing to be afraid of, as long as you’re not one of those people who starts bustin’ out the ninja moves if someone comes near your eyes. For one thing, they give you a val1um right before the procedure begins and what this does is cause you to chuckle while the surgeon marks up your eyeballs with a magic marker.

I found that I was actually quite relaxed – giddy, even – while the operation was taking place. I only freaked out once when the technician kept telling me to focus on the green light, but I couldn’t see it because the surgeon was still adjusting things. I started to become a little frantic, like, “I CAN’T SEE THE GREEN LIGHT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?” and then the technician got in trouble with the surgeon for stressing me out.

You experience a lot of strange sensations (you might also smell something burning) during the surgery, but it doesn’t actually hurt. The procedure I had involves cutting a flap in the cornea and re-shaping the surface underneath. The worst part was that, after they cut my “flaps,” I had to lie down and rest in the next room over for a few minutes before the second part of the procedure began. While I was “resting,” my numbing drops began to wear off and I started to experience some “discomfort,” as they like to say in the biz. At first I thought I could master the discomfort, but when I realized I could not, I stumbled, batlike, into the hallway in search of relief and had to be escorted back into my holding cell.

The rest of it was pretty uneventful and I actually don’t even remember all the details anymore. When it was all over, I could already tell that my vision had improved, albeit through a brilliant haze. I had to wear a horrendous pair of wraparound safety goggles for the next twenty-four hours and then every night for a week, which thrilled J-dog and V-meister to no end.

As I’d feared, my eyes were very dry for the first month or so after the surgery and not a day went by when I didn’t say to the P-Dawg, “P-Dawg, I knew this would happen. Now I’ll have to wear goggles and live in a climate controlled humidity chamber for the rest of my life.” And each time, the P-Dawg pretended as though no one had spoken.

So even though my eyes are still drier than they were before the surgery, there are very few days when I am uncomfortable because of them and it’s still better than the worst bad contacts day. All told, I’m very glad I went through with it. The only drawback is that I have a lot more crows feet than I’d realized and I found out my shower is pretty gross. But on the flip side, I could easily, with valium, pilot a stealth bomber or build myself a nest out of shiny objects.

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My, What Thick Corneas You Have

Last week, I went for a preliminary evaluation to see if I’m a candidate for laser eye surgery.

First they had me fill out a questionnaire explaining why I wanted it. I knew I couldn’t write “I hate my f#%$ing glasses,” so instead I talked about how they interfered with my quality of life. My glasses are making me fat by impeding my ability to participate in contact and water sports! I live in fear of being trapped in a burning building if I had to escape quickly and couldn’t locate them! Also, they make it difficult to watch TV while lying sideways on the couch.

Not five minutes after I’d handed in my essay (did they read it?), a technician invited me back for a battery of tests. I had made the first cut! For the next hour and a half, that technician poked and prodded me. She had me follow a pinprick of light with my eyes, took pictures from different angles, and shot puffs of air into my eyeballs at random intervals, then snickered when I recoiled. (Optometrists get their kicks from administering the glaucoma test, apparently.) But we had a rapport, the tech and I, and felt certain that by the end of our time together, she would present a glowing recommendation to the surgeon.

When I finally went in to meet him, the surgeon started in on the old “good news and bad news” speech, but I cut him off at the pass.

“Give it to me straight, doc.”

“Well, you’re a . . .reasonable candidate. I like the thickness of your corneas and your pupils dilate beautifully, but . . . [whips out thermal relief map of my eyeballs and furrows brow in concern] there is a bit of dryness I’d like to remedy before going forward,” he confided, pointing his laser at some suspicious yellow areas.

He assured me that he’d performed the surgery with great success on many, many people with my exact profile, but since most peoples’ eyes become more dry for up to a year afterwards, it’s a good idea to “get a handle on the dry eye” before proceeding. Also, there is no way to tell for sure how much drier my eyes will become post surgery and whether or not the condition would be permanent. Still, I left with a prescription for Re$ta$i$ and a tentative surgery date in early June, which I plan on canceling at the last minute.

Then I went home and spent way too much time surfing Lasik message boards, reading posts about Lasik disasters from people with screen names like, “Keep Your Glasses” and “Lasik Ruined My Life.” Who I’m assuming got the two-for-one special at Lasers-R-Us and not the Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Center, but still. I find this “reasonable candidate” business disturbing.

What to do? And who will win: my vanity, or the Internet doomsayers?

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