Friday, May 19, 2006

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I can see!

Larry: I can't see, I can't see!
Moe: What's the matter?
Larry: I got my eyes closed.
Moe: [Pokes Larry in both eyes.]
I have to particularly watch out for Moe today; no eye-poking! For a week, no eye rubbing, no dusty/dirty environments, no eye rubbing, no hiking (argh!) or other significant exercise, no eye rubbing, no flying, and no eye rubbing. But I can see! Even now, less than 24 hours later, I can see about as well as I did with my contact lenses. It's supposed to settle in as it heals, and may actually fluctuate, a little better, a little worse, as it does. Reading's slightly harder than before, and I might need reading glasses a bit more than I used to, but we'll see where that goes over time. I'm typing without reading glasses, so if there're any strange typos that I don't catch and fix, that might be why.
 

During the LASIK procedureThe procedure was very cool. I'm not sure how many of their patients say that during the procedure ("Hey, this is cool!"), but I did. They first put drops in to numb your eyes, then tape the upper lid back and hold the eye open with a device that seems out of "A Clockwork Orange". They mark your cornea, attach something that lifts your cornea, and slice a flap that they then peel back — the marking was so they can put the flap back accurately. Then you look up toward a red/orange guide light and the laser starts, and you smell something that they tell you is a sort of burning smell, but it smelled more like ionization (it's not the smell of burning corneal tissue, no). The doctor then starts brushing the eye with fluid and carefully replaces the cornea, using the markings as a guide. The whole process for one eye is maybe 5 minutes, and then they repeat it on the other eye if you're doing both (I did). The technician kindly took a picture for me with my digital camera (sans flash), so that's me in the photo to the right. Click to enlarge. They said that's the first time a patient's ever asked for a picture during the procedure.

Someone told me that you actually see the guide light get clearer as the laser does its work, but I didn't experience that. Someone else told me that the marking tool feels weird, but I didn't experience that either — I felt nothing at all. It was actually weird, not as a feeling but as a perception, to see the marker, and later the moistening brush, touching my eye and not to feel anything. The only thing I could feel at all was the thing that sucks onto your eye for the corneal-flap slice — I could feel the pressure as it attached and pulled up.

After the procedure, they put more drops in, then sat me in a room for 20 minutes and the doctor came and checked it all out. She declared it successful and sent me on my way, with my kit bag and instruction sheet (listing the limitations above, what I should expect, and the eye-drop schedule). I experienced none of the side effects they listed — no excessive tearing, no stinging or pain of any kind in my eyes, that sort of thing. The world looked furry for a while, but that quickly cleared. Still, I took their advice and kept my eyes closed as much as possible last night, and spent the evening listening to Bach.

To answer Jim's question from yesterday:

How does Lasik (or should I say LASiK?) deal with presbyopia (loss of lens flexibility)? Would a person with presbyopia still need reading glasses, but be able to see well at a distance?
There are two options for that. If it suits you, you can opt for "monovision", which they also do with contact lenses (and contact-lens wearers can try it out ahead of time). That's the system wherein your eyes are corrected differently: your dominant eye (left, for me) is corrected for distance, and the other eye is undercorrected, for reading. Your brain sorts it out, and primarily uses the input from the appropriate eye. I didn't do that, because your distance vision isn't optimal and it affects depth perception slightly. Since I like outdoor activities so much, I'd rather not accept that compromise.

So the other option is simply to have your vision corrected and use reading glasses when needed, which is exactly what I've been doing with contact lenses anyway. There's no way to fix presbyopia by reshaping the cornea. The only way to "cure" it would be to replace the lens (or perhaps the whole eye). [Did you see the movie "The Island"? Very bad movie with an interesting premise: there's a colony of people who are sheltered from some disease that's made the world uninhabitable except for one island, a reported paradise, and people are randomly selected to get to go live on the island. Only it turns out that the world is fine, and these people are actually clones, whose owners have paid to have themselves cloned as body-part farms for when they need transplants, and the island is a cover story for when they have to take a clone to be harvested. After the first half hour, the protagonists escape and the rest of the movie becomes one big, loud, bullet-filled chase scene, with great lines like, "Move, move, move!", and "Go, go, go!" I saw it on a plane.]

Et voilà, that's the story. Hm, and reading has gotten a little better just as I've typed this. I think the adventure isn't over yet.

3 comments:

Permadot said...

Glad to hear that everything went well with your LASIK procedure! :)

My baby sister had that a while ago and she's doing great!

Your vision will improve by the day!

Julio Cesar

FM said...

Always liked those eyes. They smile and laugh and convey thoughts ever so nicely. Now their outlook on this old world will be even better.

zandria said...

As you can see, I'm just now getting around to reading this. But I'm glad I did! It sounds like you had a really good experience, so it makes me feel better about getting mine done. I cannot wait!