When I first began wearing glasses at the age of 11 I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could have surgery so I wouldn’t have to wear glasses?” At the time, there was no such thing. I wore glasses until I was in the 9th grade and then switched to contact lenses. I wore hard, then gas perms up until last summer. Without corrective lenses I am blind. There isn’t even a number for my vision. They call it “finger counting,” meaning I can see the motion of your hand waving at about ten feet. I could an object or face clearly if it was directly in front of me.
In the late 90’s people started having surgery to correct their near-sightedness. I went to a doctor in Ohio who told me I was a perfect candidate for the surgery. That was 1999. That same year, I became ill and recovering my breathing ability took precedence over my desire to shed my eyeglasses.
I wore contacts until last summer. My eyes were just too irritated all the time so I gave them up and started wearing glasses full-time. To add insult to injury, I couldn’t see up close anymore either so I began wearing bifocals.
Well, I finally bit the bullet, stole some money (well, I’m in the process of various illegal activities which I am not free to discuss here), and scheduled myself to have Lasik surgery. That was six weeks ago which gave me plenty of time to reconsider. What if I ended up completely blind? I had nightmares about lasers and people with black smoking eyes. I almost talked myself out of it several times. But the thought of being able to swim, raft down a river, backpack, rock-climb, and sleep on a plane without the hassle of glasses or contacts was too tempting.
Yesterday, I had my Lasik surgery. I was so nervous. Fortunately, they gave me some Valium, which helped. If you have this surgery, TAKE THE VALIUM. The people at the Medical Eye Center were fantastic. When I met Dr. Imperia, he reminded me so much of Dr. Rothman (my cardiologist who’s saved my life a few times now) that I was immediately at ease with him.
There was a little bit of discomfort when they cut the flap to access the cornea, but it was brief. I had been prepared for the brief episode of vision loss so that wasn’t too bad. I had been told people can see clearly immediately after the surgery so when it was over and I began to look around the room my vision was a bit clearer but it looked like my head had been dunked into a vat of milk. I was a little disconcerted. They assured me it would clear up. I went home and took a Valium-induced nap with my lovely eye shields taped to my face that make me look like a giant fly. I woke up at 2 and found my vision to be a bit clearer, but could only stay awake for a few hours before my eyes began to get scratchy again. I lay down until about 5. My vision was blurry and I saw a lot of halos. I went to bed for the night and woke up this morning with perfect vision. On my follow-up this morning, Dr. Imperia said my vision was 20/15. It seemed weird to drive myself to the appointment without glasses or contacts.
All in all, I am THRILLED.
Warning. Graphic video (this is not me, but it is the surgery I had)