Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Week After LASIK

Me, Without Glasses I So this is me without glasses. Never having even worn contacts before, it's a big change. Some folks are noticing, others aren't (or at least aren't remarking on it). The funny part was the first day or two after surgery, when I'd be somewhere random like the library or the grocery store, and wondering why complete strangers weren't all exclaiming in awe at the wonder that is Graham without glasses. I guess it's not earth-shattering for everyone else, but it's pretty exciting for me.

The first day after surgery, my vision was good. The second day, my outside vision was officially wonderful. Outdoors on a sunny day, everything is just gorgeous. I went over to Stanford for a couple hours in the afternoon and wandered around some of my favorite places, just looking at things. Went through the art museum a bit, too, though my inside vision isn't anything to write home about yet. Computer work and reading are still a bit variable, which apparently is to be expected for the first few weeks or so. I can still do everything just fine, though my eyes get more tired from the extra work to keep things in focus, especially after a full day at work. (The plus side to this is that I'm playing mandolin more again, since I can do that in the dark while resting my eyes after work.)

Eye Shield I'm off the antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops, though I'm still using regular moisturizing drops pretty liberally. I have to wear this annoying plastic sleep mask at night, though just for a couple more nights. It's rigid plastic, to make sure nothing touches your eyes, or even rubs them through the mask (like could happen with a regular sleep mask). Unfortunately, that means that it doesn't fit very well (because it doesn't conform to your face) and you therefore have to be really careful about rolling over on it or things like that. One night I accidentally pushed it out of place and the edge of the mask itself rubbed up against my right eye. That hurt like the dickens, but luckily there was no lasting damage. I think I've learned to sleep more carefully, though, since I haven't had trouble with it since.

Here's a nighttime tip for anyone getting LASIK: Set an alarm to go off once or twice in the middle of the night, for you to get up and put in eye drops. The first few nights I was waking up at 4AM because my eyes had so painfully dried out. It's completely worth losing a few minutes sleep for preventative eye drops.

My phantom glasses syndrome is gradually fading. It still catches me reaching to take off my glasses at some of the obvious times, like putting on a shirt, or taking eye drops, but I'm already doing considerably less of that. More interesting to watch for are the small moments of self-consciousness or other such situations where I might be adjusting my glasses, or wiping the lenses or something, just to have something to do. There's also a psychological effect of not wearing glasses, where I assume that since I don't have anything on my face, I must not be seeing everything clearly, and my brain tries to reinterpret the clear images as fuzzy. That was actually briefly disorienting at times, though not so much after the first day.

I've been dancing a few times with my "new" eyes, though only once so far at something crowded (i.e. navigationally challenging) enough for them to have a relevant effect. I like having real peripheral vision, without glasses frames fuzzing things up at the edges, though for the most part I wasn't specifically noticing it. Which is good, since it means everything Just Worked™. It's also nice in close dancing situations, like some blues dances, to not have frames to bump into. And of course my glasses will never again be knocked off by an over-enthusiastic underarm turn. (That's only ever happened a couple times, but still....)

So anyway, there are still various little things to deal with in the eye-healing process, but nothing too onerous. It's all far outweighed by the awesomeness of knowing that I can see with my own eyes.


cristie said...

This is really great to actually read about your whole experience, as the idea of LASIK has always freaked me out a bit. Even as the other side of it - being able to see without having to deal with the hassle of either glasses OR contacts - is a little bit attractive. So do keep on updating, because it's really interesting! :)

Alex said...

Fantastic to hear. I definitely noticed and was glad to hear a positive outcome. I've actually talked about how I can't wait to get LASIK to feel that difference because a bunch have raved about it, you being the latest. My vision is not bad enough to need it. It's funny that technology can move a person from below average to above a person with "normal" vision. Shouldn't we just proactively do this with all children, then?

BW said...

Good stuff, dude. I've been looking into this, and it's strangely reassuring to know the ordeal is as relatively terrifying as you'd let it be. I hope to join the ranks of perfect (or better) vision one of these days.

On a slightly different-but related note, I found this article posted today and thought it funny.

Do keep us posted on things.