28 July 2017

Now in Laser Vision!

I had Lasik nearly a decade ago. A brief cost-benefit analysis indicated I should do it regardless of price, I did it. As my astigmatism was carefully seared away, perfect vision emerged. In fact, it was even better than perfect! I was the proud owner of 20/15 vision! Note the "was."

About 8.5 years later, I noticed my vision was decreasing in precision. I wasn't happy, but my hefty Lasik fee included free enhancements for life*, which is just marketing-speak for doing the same procedure again. I went in for an eye exam. The good news? Sufficiently thick corneal tissue. The bad news? Waiting six months.

Dr. Lasik has the crazy notion that only those with stable vision should get their eyes lasered. Since my vision wasn't checked for longer than I care to admit, the only way to prove stability was waiting six months and getting another exam. In the mean time, I wore glasses.

I'm not known for patience. And yet, I survived for EIGHT months, due to some paperwork problems involving digging my old chart out of a sub-basement under a bridge. The last couple months were touch and go, but I digress.

You must have a valid driver/competent adult to take you home, and in return they get to watch everything on a large tv provided. Pictures are even allowed, so time for explicit eyeball surgery!

⚠️ Warning: Explicit eyeball surgery!

Step one is confirming that the  eyes do in fact exist. To keep things that way, 5 dots are drawn on each eye. Or maybe it was to carefully calibrate points on the cornea. Regardless, it was very reminiscent of the radiation tattoos for perfectly alignment.

You can't tell with the hairnets, but I'm the one in front.
Four little hooks hold the eye open. Very Clockwork Orange.

A femtosecond laser creates a thin flap in the cornea. Some low-cost surgeons still use a blade, which has higher risks. Do not recommend.

Say hi to Dr. Lasik!

The flap is carefully folded down with a tiny foam brush. The bottom isn't detached, so it can be reused later.

The main laser reshapes the cornea, turning it into a front lens that corrects for the deficiencies in the actual lens. In other words, pew pew!

The flap is dangling down from the bottom.

After sufficient zapping, the cornea flap is carefully replaced. No stitches, staples, or eye glue is necessary - the flap stays in place by itself. Unless you start rubbing your eye or or jabbing it with a fork. So don't do that.

Look into my eye. Look closer. Closer. Now you are under my control. Also, you can see the flap back in place.

The whole thing was repeated for the other eye, and I was ready to head home. Someone put goggles on me to prevent accidental touching, followed by sunglasses strong enough to prevent most screams due to bright light. Lastly, a generous dose of Valium prevented me from caring.

A checkup the next day confirmed I didn't knock the flap out of place. The goggles! They did something! More importantly, my vision was back to 20/15. I can see faerie dancing on the head of a pin. Assuming there was a faerie small enough to dance on a pin. Or a pin big enough. And within my line of sight.

Aside from some mild dry eyes for a couple weeks, everything went according to plan. Miraculously, I failed to find a new and interesting way to poke myself in the eyes! X-ray vision is yet to emerge and there are no signs of optic blasts anywhere, but I'm still happy with the results. 

*For those wondering why the original procedure including a lifetime of free enhancements, it's a numbers game that makes for good advertising The $4995 cost (now $5494) doesn't seem as bad when you start adding in a few do-overs. Most people over 30 never need one, and the technology is constantly improving. The only catch is no tech upgrades are included, but I was happy to pay $250/eye for a significantly faster healing time.

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