Sunday, May 11, 2008

Seeing again for the first time

There’s no way to describe what it’s like after LASIK eye surgery. But if I were to try, I’d say that there aren’t many surgical procedures I can think of that are as nearly miraculous as this one is.

I was incredibly near-sighted. Glasses were first prescribed when I was about 8, though like a lot of kids that age, I simply refused to wear them. I was around 12 when my vision became so bad that I had to start wearing glasses full-time. I didn’t refuse anymore.

This started a series of prescription changes as the years rolled on until I turned 21 and bought my first set of soft contact lenses. I’d endure daily lens care rituals for the next 28 years, and periodically I still had to buy glasses to be able to see when I wasn’t wearing my contacts.

During the night, I couldn’t see a thing. If I had to get up, I had to find my glasses and put them on. Even then I couldn’t see very well. Without glasses or contacts, I couldn’t see anything apart from general shapes.

Immediately after the surgery, I couldn’t see much. My eyes were stinging and watering a lot. When that stopped after a few hours, I still had to look through those “bug eyes”, which wasn’t easy.

The next morning, I saw pretty well, despite the “bug eyes”. At the doctor’s office, the goggles were removed and I was tested. Although I don’t know the specific results (they didn’t say, and I didn’t ask), to me my vision seemed to be at least nearly normal, or even actually normal. I was cleared to drive (though vision requirements for driving are really low). It’ll take about three months for my vision to stabilise, so my current vision isn’t necessarily how it’ll end up, for better or worse.

The important thing is that I can now see without any correction at all for the first time in around 40 years. If I’d never worn contacts, this change would be as dramatic as that sounds. Since I did, I notice the difference mainly at night. An example: Our clock radio is on a dresser across the room from the bed. I’ve never been able to read it at night, but now I can. The first night, I looked at the clock several times—just because I could. I can see from the moment I wake up until I close my eyes at night.

Of course, I’m already glad to be rid of the lens care rituals morning and night, but it’s the little things I notice and appreciate—not just seeing the clock, but other things like the fact that I can take a nap whenever I want to. One downside, though: I’m no longer immune from the irritation caused by cutting onions. Small price to pay.

I’ll write about the actual procedure another time, after I talk about it on my next podcast episode. In the meantime, I highly recommend the procedure for anyone considering it. The results can be, yes, miraculous.


Anonymous said...
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lost in france said...

I am glad that it worked out for you! I chickened out of the procedure twice after having been told by a guy I met in Australia that his operation went wrong.

d said...

That's so exciting! Look forward to the update on where your eyesight will end up. =)