Life after LASIK… an inSIGHT (get it?!)

It was midnight. I was looking in the bathroom mirror and my new reflection stared back. Wide eyes framed by crusty eyelashes (from all the eyedrops) and faint red marks from where the laser had cut into them. The marks were fading quickly and soon there would be no trace of them, or the glasses I once wore. The acne was still there, though. In sharp focus now. So that sucks.

I left. I’d seen enough. I opened the bedroom door and my husband greeted me with a smile.

“Hello beauti-“

“Are my eyeballs whiter than usual?”

“Yes, blindingly so.”

Sigh. Why must I be surrounded by sass?

I keep catching sight of myself in the mirror and doing a double take. I keep exiting a room and re-entering thinking I’d forgotten my glasses. I keep thinking I need to take my contacts out before bed, only to remember I’m not wearing any.

Here’s the thing. Putting aside the high cost of the procedure, this feels way too good to be true. One 10, maybe 15 minute procedure, 24 hours after which I was feeling totally normal again, and I can see. I have 20/20 vision. Something that hasn’t been the case for over 20 years. It feels TOO EASY.

I’ve been wanting LASIK for a long time and believe me, I have zero regrets. I’m so excited about having glasses-free, contact lens-free living (at least until I need reading glasses).

But, I think, I’m going through a period of grief? A period of transitioning? Of slowly welcoming this liberating new phase of life? It’s hard to describe. It’s like when you open the door of the cat crate when you bring your fuzzy pal home from the vet. They obviously don’t want to stay in the crate, but they come out slowly, pussyfooting around until they’re sure. Then they vomit on your carpet.

Sans the vomiting, that’s me.

I’d initially not been allowed to fully enjoy my vision. Post-surgery, despite feeling totally normal, I did need to use a lot of drops in my eyes and wasn’t allowed to touch the area near my eyes, wash my face, shower, wash dishes, cook – anything that could result in steam or water entering my eyes. I also fell ill like… the day after I got home. So I’d kind of been twiddling my thumbs, trying and failing not to look at screens. And I couldn’t exercise either so… really I had nothing to do.

But that was then… and this is now. My week of healing is up. And it’s time to live.

I went to Lidl over the weekend baby. And… got terrible light sensitivity and had a headache for the rest of the day.

So we’re not 100% and I don’t have any other grand adventures to share. Sorry.

Oh! But I can describe the surgery to you!

Okay, so I entered the surgery room. The bed I was instructed to lay down on was on a slight incline so my head was a touch lower than my feet. It was also on an axis so I could be swivelled from right to left. The surgery required two lasers. The first was the laser that actually cut the top layer of my eye to create an eye flap. The flap would open and then the second laser would do some magic and correct my prescription. Then the surgeon would close the flap. Swivel all the way to the left and get your eye sliced, swivel all the way to the right and get magical vision healing.

But I started in center position between the lasers. I’d been asked at least 5 times up to this point if I was feeling nervous, and my answer had been an honest, blunt, “no.” I’d felt fine. But laying down made me realise that maybe I’m not fine and this is an actual surgery, even if it’s elective and, actually, it being elective means it’s not necessary. I was giving license to someone to slice my eyes for what? Vanity? Curiosity? A desire to see my feet clearly in the shower? What was wrong with me?!

I took some deep breaths and tried to relax.

A nurse put some numbing drops in my eyes. They stung a little and I wondered how I would know if they’d worked. What if they hadn’t and I was about to feel burning agony as my eyes got sliced like cucumbers?! I wanted to ask,but before I could, I felt something strange.

When you scratch your back, it feels nice. But when someone else scratches your back, it feels amazing. Because you don’t need to contend with the feedback from you fingertips, you only feel the tingles on your back. This was like a less satisfying version of that. With my eyeball numb, what I felt was feedback from the inside of my eyelid as it slowly slid over a round mound. Without my eyeball and eyelid working in tandem, I could only feel the feedback from my eyelid. My eyeball was just a globule. It was weird.

Now for the body horror. One of my eyes was covered. And for the other, the surgeon had what looked like a tiny egg ring. He said I would feel some pressure and began to push the ring into my eye. My intrusive thought was, “oooh, is my eyeball about to pop?” The pressure was… a bit but not awful. It was more creepy than painful.

“You don’t need to see anything now,” the surgeon said. And my vision went black.

“Suction,” he continued and I felt a seal make contact in my eye. I was swivelled to the left, had my head turned to the left and the first laser was switched on. I felt nothing but the pressure in my eye from the egg ring suction thingy. But I knew the top layer of my eyeball was being transformed into a flap.

Seconds later, I was swivelled to the right and the egg ring suction thingy was removed. I could see, but my vision was blurry. There was a blinking light and I was asked to stare at it. The magic laser hummed to life and began a rhythmic tuk-tuk-tuk noise. It was sharp, like marbles dropping onto steel. I never saw a laser enter my eye, I just focused on the blinking light.

More seconds later, I was swivelled to the center again. Vision blurry. The surgeon put some drops in my eye and my vision exploded into a wet dancing rainbow. I saw tiny forceps moving around on my eye. But my vision was such that it felt like I was watching something happening through a fishbowl. The flap must’ve been closed because my vision suddenly became sharper. Before I could focus, my eye was covered. Time for the next eye.

I was ready this time. Numbing drops. Egg ring. Suction. Darkness. Swivel to the left, slicey slicey. Swivel to the right. Marbles drop. Rainbow delight. Flap closed. Done.

I could see immediately after, but it was a little loose. There were blurry patches and sharply focused bits. But I could see. I was given the aftercare drops and all my instructions and I slowly felt my eyes closing as the sting began. It was like if you got a bit of soapy water and stuck it in a dropper and poured it evenly over your eye. It stung in a consistent way. I took a nap as soon as I got home. I woke up 3 hours later and the pain was gone. I could see.

I can see.

It was fun. You should try it.

Would you ever get LASIK? Have you had it done? Do you know where I can get more of those rainbow drops? Are you happy the weather is getting warmer?

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