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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