Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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The Low Down on Laser Eye Surgery

So, it has occurred to me that despite having now had laser eye surgery twice (!), I have yet to give you a blow-by-blow of how the process actually goes down. I mean other than my live blog, of course.  I’m I’m guessing that people who come here by way of Googling “laser eye surgery” or “LASIK” might actually want to know what it’s like. And my regular readers – I know you are just dying to hear about it too, right?

The Consultation:
Before you can get surgery, you have to go for a consultation to make sure you are a good candidate.  They test your vision to see if your prescription is one they can fix with surgery, they tell you all the risks & benefits, they make you watch a cheesy “educational video” and they also test the thickness of your cornea.  The latter is done by freezing your eyeballs with an anesthetic drop and then touching the cornea with a little ultrasound device (sort of a thin tube hooked up to a machine). Due to the anaesthetic drops, you can’t feel it, but when they touched the little device to my cornea, I was actually able to see the thickness of the cornea as it sort of bends under the slightly pressure of being touched.  And, it was kind of neat, in an academic sort of way, to see my own cornea, as it’s not something you are usually aware of.  Anyway, if you have thick corneas, like I do, you can get the LASIK1 surgery; otherwise you have to have PRK2 (with thick corneas, you can actually chose between the two options).  With LASIK, a flap is cut in the cornea and flipped out of the way to allow the laser to zap the underlying corneal bed, and then the flap can be flipped back over the eye. This is why you need thick corneas for LASIK – there has to be enough cornea for there to be a flap cut. PRK, in contrast, involves stripping the outer epithelium (i.e., skin) of the cornea right off and just lasering the underlying cornea.  And although, when given the two options, the thought of having my cornea sliced through with a big knife freaked me out more than the idea of stripping the epithelium off, I opted for the LASIK because it heals much more quickly, your vision stabilizes much more quickly, and it is pain-free (whereas I’d heard stories of post-operative pain with PRK).

Before The Surgery:
In the week before the surgery, you have to stop wearing your contacts and you aren’t allowed to wear any makeup. The former is to ensure that your cornea is in its natural shape, as apparently contacts can change the shape of your cornea a bit. The latter is to minimize the chance that you have any makeup debris in your eyes on the day of.  Also, since I knew that I wouldn’t be able to rub my eyes for *three months* after surgery, I spent about a month before surgery making a concerted effort not to rub my eyes at all in order to get out of my eye-rubbing habit.

The Surgery:
On the day of the surgery, a number of things happen:

  1. They re-test your eyes to make sure they have the best possible measurements to set the laser.
  2. They give you drugs.  I honestly don’t think I could have gone through with the surgery without the drugs.  It was a cocktail of, if memory serves me, Gravol, Valium, and Ativan.  Not enough to knock you out, but enough to make you relaxed enough to let someone cut your eye open.
  3. They lead you into the surgery room.  The surgery room where I went looks like somewhere that alien autopsies might be conducted3. But by this point (a) they have your $4,000, and (b) you are drugged up, so you just go with it.  Also, my surgeon has a very calming British accent and he calmly and patiently told me everything that was about to happen, so that helped too.
  4. You lie down on the surgery bed and they put a pillow under your knees to make you comfy.  They put an eye patch over the eye they aren’t going to be operating on so that you can concentrate on the operative eye. At this point, you can pretend you are a pirate.
  5. The laser is positioned above you and you can see a bright green light.  You will focus on this light for the duration of the surgery4.
  6. They tape up your eyelids and then put an eyelid holder, a la Clockwork Oranage5, in place so that you won’t be able to blink.  You are also given anesthetic drops to prevent your eye from feeling stuff.
  7. Next, they put a suction device on your eye.  And this is the only part of the procedure where I could really feel anything and I will admit that it was quite uncomfortable. It didn’t hurt exactly, but it was a really foreign feeling and I did not like it at all.  The suction device holds your eye steady so that they can cut a flap in your cornea. As the suction is applied, everything, mercifully, goes black.  I don’t think I could handle watching what comes next.
  8. Next, you hear a buzzing noise, which is the “keratome” (i.e., knife) being run across your cornea, slicing it in order to make a nice flap.  The suction is turned off (thankfully!) and then the corneal flap is flipped over, exposing the corneal bed.  At this point, everything is fuzzy, because you no longer have the cornea in place to refract light.  So that green light you’ve been focusing on sort of becomes a green blur. [Note: when getting the surgery done the second time, even though it had been a year since I’d had the first surgery, the surgeon didn’t have to make another cut, as he was able to flip up the flap that seemed like it would have already healed, but was clearly still there6.  He just ran something over my eye (I think it may have been a needle, but my eye was frozen so I didn’t feel it and it was too close up for me to actually see it) to catch the edge of the flap and then was able just flip the flap open.  I was very, very happy about this, because it meant I didn’t have to endure that unpleasant suction again!]
  9. Next they zap you with the laser.  The surgeon said “We are going to start now, focus on the green light” and then I heard a bunch of clicking noises. The first time, when they were correcting my massive prescription7 this took, I would guess, about 20-30 seconds. For surgery #2, where they were only correcting a tiny prescription8, it was more like 5-10 seconds.
  10. The flap is flipped back into place, they make sure that it is positioned correctly and then the eyelid holder is removed.  [Note: for surgery #2, since they haven’t made a clean cut like the first time, they put a “bandage contact lens ” in your eye; basically, this is just a contact lens that holds your flap down for that first day.]
  11. All of the above is repeated for eye #2. And then your surgery is done!

After The Surgery:
Immediately after the surgery, I could see quite clearly. Seriously, it was the most amazing thing. Before my first surgery, I was very, very blind. Very. Like can-only-read-the-giant-E-at-the-top-of-the-eye-chart blind.  But right after surgery, when I very slowly opened my eyes in order to walk to the next room, I remember thinking “omg! I can see the technician’s face!” Before surgery, without glasses or contacts his face would have been a blur.

After they lead you into the recovery area, you rest there for a while and then they check your eyes to make sure all looks good before you go home.  At home, you are supposed to keep your eyes closed as much as possible for the day.  There is a slight risk of the flap becoming dislodged, so keeping your eyes closed for the day gives the flap time to heal down.  When you do have to open your eyes – to walk out of the surgery room or to put eye drops in, for example, you have to do it very, very slowly and no more than halfway.

Eyedropapalooza
And then there’s the eye drops.

IMGP0079 by you.

The first two days after surgery, you’ll be putting in eye drops more than 20 times per day.  These include:

  • Prednisolone: a steroid to promote healing
  • Tobradex: an antibiotic to prevent infection
  • A preservative-free eye drop lubricant, such as Celluvisc or Endura: because your eyes will feel a bit dry after surgery [although I’ve found it to be much, much less after surgery #2 than surgery #1].
  • Saline: to rinse eyes out if necessary and to unstick your eyelashes, which tend to get all goopy with all the drops and you can’t get the goop out because you aren’t allowed to touch your eyes9.

The Days and Weeks Following Surgery:
In addition to the eye drops, there are a few other things you need to do following surgery:

  • wear either sunglasses or the sexy eye shields (below) to bed for the first two nights

IMG_3962 by you.

If you choose to wear sunglasses to bed instead of eye shields, which I did every night except the one wear I took the above photo, it is required that you sing “I Wear My Sunglasses At Night.”

  • no rubbing your eyes for 3 months (as you don’t want to dislodge the corneal flaps)
  • no eye makeup for 2 weeks10
  • sunglasses at all times outside, even if it’s cloudy, for two weeks11
  • no water in your eyes for 2 weeks12

You also have to do a number of post-op follow up visits. First, you have a one-day post-op visit with the surgeon to test your vision and to make sure your corneal flaps are still in place and, if all looks good, you are free to keep your eyes open from then on. [And, in the case of my second surgery, to take out the bandage contact lens.  The contact lenses make your eyes swell a bit, so everything is blurry for about 8 hours after they are taken out and thus I had to see the surgeon again three days after surgery to make sure I could see]. Then you have follow up visits with your optometrist at 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and a year. These visits are fairly standard eye exams – they check your vision, check your your flaps to see that they are healing and look at the level of dryness in your eyes.

So, there you have it. All the nitty gritty details of getting laser eye surgery!

And now, a video of the LASIK procedure ((not mine. I didn’t even think to ask if they could video record it.  I totally wish I had!)). Not for the squeamish!

  1. Laser-assisted Intrastromal Keratoplasty []
  2. Photorefractive Keratectomy []
  3. I have been re-reading The Golden Compass, so when I went into the surgery room this time I thought “Wow, this totally looks like a place where they would cut away one’s dæmon” []
  4. well, at least for the portions of the surgery where you have vision []
  5. OK, they weren’t quite as sharp as the Clockwork Orange ones look, but the idea is the same []
  6. which, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure they told me the first time I had the surgery. It was something like, “it’s mostly healed down after the first few days and weeks, but it’s not fully healed back down for more than a year” []
  7. I believe it was -7 in one eye and -8.5 in the other eye []
  8. about -1.25 in one eye and -2 in the other eye []
  9. I’m usually very proud of my long luxurious eyelashes, but in this case they seem to be a hindrance as they sure hold a lot of icky white goop from the drops! []
  10. although I don’t really understand how you can wear eye makeup in that first 3 months, since you have to *rub* your eyes with eye makeup remover to get the make up off! []
  11. I wear my sunglasses most of the time outside anyway. I figure if the sun can burn your flesh, it can’t be too good for the old eyeballs either []
  12. I even wear my sunglasses  in the shower, just in case []

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Is this a laser which I see before me?

Because apparently August is a good time for medical procedures, I’m getting my laser eye surgery re-treatment done tomorrow.

On Friday I went for the pre-op visit and everything seems to be in order. My prescription is stable, my eye pressure is good and my pupils are giagantic:

dilated pupil by you.

Oh no, wait, that’s just from the dilating drops the eye doc put in so she could look at my retinas. Which are, apparently, just dandy. As a side note, you can also see in this photo the little purple dots of petechiae all around my eyes from my recent puking episode.  Good times.

Maybe this time I won’t live blog the surgery – perhaps that’s why it didn’t work out 100% perfectly?  At any rate – send positive vibes and healing thoughts to me tomorrow afternoon1!

  1. Pacific time []

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4eyes

My new eyeglasses arrived in the mail today! It’s funny, but after years and years of *hating* my eyeglasses, I was really excited to get this pair. I guess part of it is the novelty – I haven’t worn any glasses in more than six months and those ones didn’t properly correct my vision because they were so old – and part of it is knowing that I only need them for 3-6 months. And then the other part of them is that I got such a super wicked awesome good deal on them and who doesn’t love a good deal? (Props again to Karen for telling me about this place!)

The quality of the glasses is pretty good – they fit perfectly, they seem to be as solid a pair of glasses as I’ve ever owned.  I’m going to bring them to my optometrist’s office for her to have a look at – when I told her I could get a full pair of glasses for $40 from a site on the ‘net, she was baffled: “How can they do that?  We can’t even get a frame or lenses for $40, let alone a whole pair.”

Also, check out the crazy package my glasses arrived in:

package, redacted by you.

IMG_4534 by you.

It was wrapped in fabric, hand labeled in marker and sealed with wax!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a package sealed with wax before!  When I saw that package in the mail I thought “well, either that’s my glasses or someone is sending me anthrax.”  My next thought was “these must be so cheap because someone in Pakistan is paid 5 cents a day to make them.” But then, I’m sure the glasses you buy from the optician are also made in another country by underpaid labour and they just have a huge mark up.  Rock, meet hard place.  At any rate, there didn’t appear to be any anthrax in the package, so that’s a good thing.

Finally, here’s a side-by-side comparison of what the glasses looked like in the online trying-on-glasses-simulator jobby and my actual glasses.  It’s a pretty good simulation.

goggles6

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I Enjoyed Laser Eye Surgery So Much, I’m Doing It Again!

So, a while back I mentioned that, after having a few weeks of 20/20 vision after my laser eye surgery, my vision had regressed.  Well, it seems it has regressed far enough that I need to get “retreated.”  Yeah, like go through the surgery again.  Fortunately, as long as I do it within a year of the first surgery, I don’t have to pay for it again.

My vision isn’t that terrible – I mean, I’ve been functioning pretty much fine without any glasses, a feat that used to be unimaginable.  Before my surgery, I had a prescription in the -7 to -8 range in each eye, meaning that I couldn’t see anything past about half a foot in front of me.    My prescription now has regressed from the perfect vision I had immediately post-surgery to a -1.25 in my right eye and a -2.0 in the left.  With this level, I find there are a few situations where I notice things are fuzzy: driving at night, I can’t easily read the signs with the street names on them; going to a movie theatre, I need to sit a bit closer than I used to; walking down long hallways in the hospital (I work in a hospital), I really notice that I can’t see signs that I used to be able to.  Apparently needing retreatment is common in someone who was as blind as I was and the second surgery is less stressful (as you’ve been through it before), heals more quickly (not that healing time was a problem for me) and much more likely to result in perfect vision post-surgery that won’t regress.  *fingers crossed*

My surgeon wants me to wait until it has been 9-12 months post-surgery, just to make sure that my vision has stabilized.  It’s just approaching the six month mark, so I will have to live with my slightly impaired vision for another three to six months.  And I’ve decided to get a cheap pair of glasses to tide me over.  I know, I know!  I’m going back to my four-eyed-ness!

Of course, my extended health only pays for $225 for glasses/contacts every two years and I’m not up for more money until August 2009 – exactly when I won’t need them anymore!  As luck would have it, though, Karen told me about a place on the Internets where you can buy good quality glasses for ridiculously cheap.  Like $40 cheap.  It’s called Goggles4u and she’s had good luck with getting glasses from them, so I thought I’d give it a try.  You have to measure an old pair of glasses to figure out what size of frame will fit you and then you can upload a picture of yourself and “try on” the different pairs of glasses.  Here’s a few of the ones I tried on:

googles1goggles2googles5googles6googles4

OK, that last one I tried on just for giggles.  Seriously, though, guess which pair I decided to purchase?

I’ll let you know how they work out when I get them (expected in about 10-14 days).

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O, woe is me to have seen what I have seen, [now] see what I see [slightly less good]!

I have been remiss! I had a one month post-laser eye surgery check-up a full week and a half ago which I fully, totally, and completely meant to blog about and then I fully, totally, and completely didn’t.

The reason my one month post-laser eye surgery check-up was blog worthy is… my vision has regressed!  At my check-up , my eyes had gone from perfect 20/20 vision to slightly under 20/20 vision.  When I couldn’t quite read that 20/20 line on the eye chart, it was like someone punched me in the gut.  All I could think was “$4400 to have perfect vision for 3 weeks?  Seriously??”

My optometrist pointed out that having slightly less than 20/20 vision is actually better than having 20/20 vision, as it means you don’t need reading glasses as soon1.  The only concern, is whether they will regress further.  She said it’s not uncommon for the vision you have in early healing to not be what you end up with. I gather that as corneas heal from laser eye surgery, the angles and suchlike can change.  So, as long as they don’t continue to regress, all will be well.  If they do, well, that’s gonna suck.  After testing my vision, my optometrist checked out my eyes and seemed quite baffled:  “Your corneas appear to be completely healed.  That usually takes 3-6 months.  And it has only been 1 month.”  The good news about this, in addition to the fact that it confirms I have superhuman healing powers, is that this may mean that my vision will not regress any further – since my corneas have finished healing, they shouldn’t change shape any more, which means my vision should stay as is.  Which will be fine – I can’t actually tell the difference between my 20/20 vision and my slightly less than 20/20 vision in my day-to-day life.  And, as much as I enjoyed saying, “I have 20/20 vision!”, I’d actually prefer not needing reading glasses until I’m older. Because, apparently, I’m not getting any younger.

At any rate, I have an extra optometrist follow-up scheduled now; usually they do follow-ups at 1 week, 1 month and 3 months, but my doc wants to do one at 2 months, just to make sure that no more regression occurs.  So, keep you fingers crossed for me, k?

1There’s always a trade-off beteween near and far sight.

Image credit: Originally posted by Christine Urias on Flickr under a Creative Commons license. Found by searching “laser eye surgery” and this image was just too creepy not to use!

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I have 20/20 vision

Heading out for post-op check up the morning following my laser eye surgery.

Heading out for post-op check up the morning following my laser eye surgery. Don't you love my sunglasses?

Went for my post-op check up this morning and the technician checked my vision.  “You have 20/20 vision,” he said, “And it’s only going to get better from here.

It truly is mind-blowing.  I keep having to remind myself “I’m not wearing contacts.”  My brain is all “this is no big deal, I see this well all the time because I wear contact lens.”  And then I remind myself that I’m not wearing contacts.  And then I start looking around very carefully going “Oh my god, I can read that sign!  I can distinguish EVERY SINGLE LEAF ON THAT TREE!”  I’m actually really excited to go to sleep so I can wake up in the morning and look across the room and see my alarm clock.  I’m sure this makes absolutely no sense to those of you who don’t wear glasses, but it really is these simple things that make all the difference!

And the fact that I am now free.  I’m free from annoying glasses that fog up in the cold/get in the way/make me look ugly.  And I’m free from having to put contacts in every day/worry about losing a contact/remember to bring glasses & contact case when I stay over at someone’s house.  I’m free free free free free.  Well, except that I’m a slave to eye drops for the next two weeks (I had to put drops in 22 different times today!), but that’s a fairly minor price to pay.

Oh yes, and I’d like to state for the record that LASIK eye surgery was absolutely pain free.  Even the part where they slice your cornea (thank you anesthetic drops!) and when they vaporize parts of your eye with the laser.  The only thing I didn’t like was the part where they apply suction to your eye.  They do this right before the cornea slicing and my guess is that it is to puff out your cornea to make the slicing easier.  But holy crap, it’s a weird sensation.  Imagine putting a really, really strong vacuum cleaner right on your eyeball.  It didn’t last very long, but I really did not like it.  Thankfully, my surgeon has a very soothing British voice and kept saying, “You are doing perfect,” and “it’s almost over,” and “you are going to hear a buzzing noise now” (OK, that last part wasn’t too soothing.  But, as I’ve said, cutting of cornea = completely painless.  And the suction on the second eye wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable as the first one, probably because I was prepared for it.  It was such an unfamiliar sensation the first time.  Blarggh!

The whole surgery took about 10 mins and at the end, when I opened my eyes I thought, “Oh my god, I can see that technician’s face!  I can see his face!”

Anyhoodle, my eyes are getting kinda dry from all this looking at the computer screen, so I’m going to hit the hay.  But I’ll leave you with some photos of the damage I did when I took a spectacular fall for absolutely no reason, just outside Cafe Artigiano, on my way to the surgery.  Warning: not for the squeamish!

Took this shot with my camera phone.  Notice profuse bleeding.

Took this shot with my camera phone. Notice profuse bleeding.

This is my knee today. Notice profuse bleeding has stopped, giving way to disgusting mangledness.

Also managed to scrape my foot during the fall.

And my toe. I told you it was a spectacular fall!

And now I’m off to bed.  Wearing these wicked awesome eye shields! You can just call me “Sleeping Beauty”!

Eye shields to keep me from rubbing my eyes while I sleep. I look like an alien.

Eye shields to keep me from rubbing my eyes while I sleep. I look like an alien. Or a bug. Or an alien bug.

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EYE SURGERY LIVE BLOG

8:45 Getting off bus in two stops. Can’t wait for eye surgery.

8:53 Damnit damnit tripped on NOTHING outside of Cafe Artiango. Only person who asked how I was doing was homeless man. I’m bleeding bad.

8:59 In lobby. They gave me a bandaid. Since these bastards don’t take Amex, I wont get any AirKiles out of this. Instead i dropped $3900 onto my visa.

9:10 Booooooooooring Sitting in lobby, strategically hiding my book ‘The God Delusion’ in case surgeon is a Christian fundamentalist.

9:12 Okay they’re coming to get me.

9:26 have to keep blackberry hidden. i”m in a room with many time machines. driving technicians crazy by asking what they all do. should have remembered to go pee before this.

9:35 Back in waiting room again. Lots of people in here with big dark glasses on. Hahaha.

9:45 Reading more from my Book of Heresy. Nice lady says the next exam is soon. I don’t believe her.

9:51 I AM TRYINH TO TYPW WHILE THEY

9:54 Back in lobby. So that didn’t work out, but I think I know how to type AND be operated on at the time time now though.  We’ll see. Just got three pills. These anti-anxiety drugs are making me very nervous.

10:08 Okay, that was pointless. Just spent ten minutes listening to a boring CD (but with nice music) that told me they would be lasering the thetans from my eyes. It ends with the words “We will be coming for you soon.” I didn’t know this was the Scientology laser eye centre. Uh oh. I think one of my drugs just kicked in. Wheeeee!!

10:12 that was fast. in chair now. room looks like they conduct alien autopsies in here… and they don’t go well. i snuck a photo of the surgeon with my cameraphone. don’t know if i can post it here:

10:13 was that a sparrow?!?!! no. never mind. stupid robins.

10:15 they just gave me a stress ball to squeeze. a fucking stress ball? bad sign?

10:27 ******hard tp type with eye patch on and lasr bea in other!

10:28 OW OW OW OW OW!!! surgeon just pulled my hair.

10:34 im done. faster than i thought.

10:38 bacl in room with comfu chair. eyes are closed. i have to sit here for half hour. roking in my little chair

10:54 whoooooooooa. imagining loooooooong hallway that i’m the the end of and it’s moving away from me. trippy. i thin kthe othr drugs have kicked in now. my vision is clear in my imagination now. they surgery must have worked!!

11:12 back into first exam room i think. they caught me liveblogging but i told them i was texting my aunt. some chick looking at my eyes.

11:41 visa declined card. eyes being stapled back together.

11:42 just kidding. ok i think i’m done here. now adding live-blogger to my cv. i’ll sit down and post this right now.

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I HATE wearing my glasses

I know it’s only been 3 days of glasses wearingness, but I have to reiterate that I HATE wearing my glasses.

  • They aren’t the correct prescription, so I have trouble reading things like, say, street signs when I’m on the bus, making figuring out my stop a little challenging.
  • They are kind of scratched up, making them extra hard to see through.
  • They don’t sit properly on my face because the arms are bent, making them crooked, which makes me look even worse than if I were just wearing non-crooked glasses, which is already bad enough.
  • They do not protect my eyes when I cut onions, which I was painfully reminded of this last night when I was cooking dinner.  When I wear contacts, they make me eye-invincible to the painful, tear-producing evil that is chopping onions.  Glasses leave my eyeballs naked and, thus, vulnerable to the onions.
  • They get in the way – you have to take your glasses off when you get dressed. Or brush your hair – but then, of course, you can’t see how your hair looks when you are brushing it!
  • Alternating between my glasses & my prescription sunglasses is a right pain the butt. When I wear contacts, if I’m going in and outdoors repeatedly (such as when I  go window shopping along Broadway), I merely have to put my sunglasses on top of my head when I enter the (relatively) dark store, then pop them down onto my face when I go back in the sunshine.  When I’m wearing glasses, every time I go into a store, I have to reach into my bag, find my glasses’ case, and then swap my sunglasses for my regular glasses. And then vice versa when I leave the store to go back out into the sunshine.  Pain. In. The. Butt.
  • It’s not a problem right now, but I remember from back in my youth, before I first got contacts, that wearing glasses in the winter sucked because your glasses always steam up when you go inside.
  • I don’t look like me in my glasses – I can’t even tell you how many people at the AdHack Launch Party on Friday said, “I didn’t recognize you with your glasses on!”

There is, however, one benefit to wearing glasses: It gives you the opportunity to do the sexy “holding glasses up to your mouth” pose:

Is it time for my laser eye surgery, yet?

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Frailty, thy name is retina!*

Last night, for the last time ever1, I took out my contact lenses.

As you may recall, I’m not allowed to wear my contacts for an entire week before my laser eye surgery.  And my surgery is one week from today!  So I have to spend the next week wearing my stupid glasses.  Which I’m not looking forward to, since (a) I hate how I look in glasses and (b) the prescription is a decade old and, according to my optometrist who checked them out at my recent pre-op visit, just barely squeaks by the level of vision required to drive.


This, I believe, is what the laser eye surgery process looks like.

This, I believe, is what the laser eye surgery procedure looks like.


Also discovered at my recent pre-op visit was the fact that I have some slight retinal “latticing,” i.e., my retina is thinning on the bottom. Apparently it is relatively common for someone with my ridiculously high level of nearsightedness2 – since nearsightedness results from your eyeballs being too long, meaning that my retina is being pulled tighter than it should be and, viola, you have a thinned retina.   It sounds kinda gruesome to me, but I’m told that it’s nothing to worry about (although thinned retinas can then become detached, apparently it’s a good sign that (a) it’s thinned at the bottom rather than the top3 and (b) it’s evenly thinned in both eyes4).  At any rate, the latticing of the retina doesn’t affect my eligibility for getting laser eye surgery, so the countdown to lasers in my eyes remains at T minus 7 days.

Which also means that there is still time for any rich philanthropists or other people who have money burning a hole in their pocket to donate to the “Fund raiser for Dr. Beth’s Peepers“:


*Since two of my other blog postings on my laser eye surgery used Hamlet quotations, I thought I’d continue the trend here.
1Assuming, of course, that everything goes well during the surgery. Knock on wood.
2-7.5 in one eye, -8.5 in the other eye.
3since thinned retinas at the top can become detached due to the weight of the rest of the retina pulling it down.
4Why does this just not sound like a good thing to me?

Photo credit: Posted by TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ on Flickr under a Creative Commons license. All hail CC!

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Booked it!

It’s official! I will be have laser beams in my eyes on August 15th.

I was given a set of instructions. You have to arrive an hour before the surgery for them to get you all ready. Wear a button down shirt so you don’t have to pull the shirt off over your head that night. You have to wear those giant sunglasses for a day after surgery, including to bed, both because you will be extra sensitive to light and to make sure you don’t rub your eyes, even in your sleep. I tend to rub my eyes a fair bit, so I’m trying to get in the habit of not rubbing my eyes in preparation.

Probably the most difficult thing will be that I can’t wear my contacts for a week before the surgery. I *always* wear my contacts. I hate wearing glasses. This is due to a combination of my vanity1 and the fact that my glasses are almost a decade old. The thing is, with my ridiculously strong prescription, my glasses end up costing $500-$600. And where the hell was a starving student supposed to come up with that kind of dough? I could barely scrape together $100 every second year to buy a pair of contacts2. The glasses that I currently wear were purchased when I was doing my Masters at the University of Guelph, because the student health plan there covered them. That was back in 1999-2000. In the intervening years, my ‘script has changed, the glasses have been banged up, scratched up, stepped on, and so forth. Basically, I can barely see with them on. So that should be an interesting week, to see if I can function without my contacts.

Other instructions tell you that you need to:

  • “shampoo your hair and wash face and eyelids” on the morning of surgery. Do people really need to be told to wash their face? I mean, we’ve been over the whole “do you wash your hair every day” thing here recently, but shouldn’t washing your face just be a given?
  • “keep your eyes closed for the rest of the day after surgery.” Sounds like I’ll be listening to lots of podcasts that day!
  • have a “responsible adult” escort you home from surgery and back to the clinic the next day for a post-op check up. Man, I’m sooo glad they specified that, because I was going to ask an irresponsible adult to escort me. Or perhaps a responsible child. Now I know better, so I’ve arranged for a responsible adult to be my escort.

Also interesting was that the consent form, which they emailed for me to read before the surgery, says that “Laser-Assisted Intrastromal Keratoplasty [LASIK] and Photorefractive Keratectomy [PRK] are classified as investigational by the Canadian Health Protection Branch” (emphasis added). I don’t know the ins and outs of what “investigational” means exactly (I mean, I’m sure it means that it’s not like full status approved and they are still doing research, but I don’t know what it takes to become post-investigational), but it’s interested that this was never mentioned in the consultation, nor did I see in on their website.

Anyway, I’m excited and a bit nervous. But the promise of being able to see properly every morning when I awake, of being able to go surfing without worrying about losing a contact and go swimming and be able to see people on the other side of the pool will make it all worth while. Plus, I know you all can’t wait ’til the live blog of the surgery.

1I want everyone to be able to see my big beautiful blue eyes.
2Because I used to wear the non-disposable kind, so I’d keep the same pair for 2 years.