Tuesday, 26 June 2007

LASIK eye surgery

Most of you would recall that I wore glasses and contact lenses for many years. Since I was 14, I had myopia (short-sightedness) i.e. distant objects appear blurred. Myopia is most commonly treated with LASIK but you need to wait until it stabilises (usually in your twenties when the refraction stops changing) before you can be considered for surgery.

In November 2005, I had flown down to Fendalton Eye Clinic in Christchurch from Wellington to have both my eyes LASIK. Though it costed me a bomb (NZD 4900 for the surgery, and you still need to include airfares, food and accommodation), it was the best birthday present I gave myself - the ability to see 'normally' again. Talk to another bespectacled person and they'll understand what I mean (how irritating it is to be unable to see the hands or digits of the alarm clock that's next to the bed every morning!).

The whole surgery experience was interesting. It felt a little like being put onto a conveyor belt, going in and out from room to room to see a different eye specialist and ending up in the surgeon's office to 'sign your eyes away'. The surgery was then held the next morning and took only 10-15 minutes. I was fully aware of what was happening since it was only my eyes that were anaesthetised!*cringe* Each eye was operated on separately. All I could remember was some drill-like sound, a tool making a precision cut on my cornea and the top flap opened, sudden lost of vision and the smell of electrocuted meat, and that was one eye done. Oh yeah, I could remember the smell, even right now - phew! But you know what, I could ACTUALLY see immediately after the surgery and THAT was really amazing. No words can describe the euphoria I felt being able to see again.

There were post-surgery follow-ups with the local optometrist throughout the first year to make sure that my eyes healed properly and the vision has stabilised. For the first week, I had to wear eye shields whenever I slept to prevent me from rubbing my eyes. Yep, looked pretty much like wearing goggles (frog-like look). Here's a photo of me post-surgery with the eye shields having a cup of coffee in the motel:

There were several other people who did the laser surgery on the same day, one after another. Hmm, perhaps I should have considered becoming an eye surgeon. Think about it, 5k every 10 minutes. Ka-ching, ka-ching!! :P

I've no regrets burning a big hole in my pocket for the surgery. Not having to worry about my contact lenses 'flying' out from my eye (hey, that happened to me once in Wellington) or doing water activities with blurry vision - it was worth it.

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