Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I can see clearly now...

The morning before my intra lasik surgery, I read and signed the doctor's informed consent form, which made it explicitly clear that by undergoing this elective surgery I could become permanantly unable to drive, or even go blind. Contemplating this, I took what potentially could have been my last look at some photos of my family before taking the 40-minute train ride to the clinic.

The surgery was quick. Throughout the process I was supposed to look up at a light. I continued to do so but for a few minutes when my corneal flap was open I was not able to see much but gray, even though my eyes were open. The other disconcerting thing during surgery was that I could smell my eyeballs vaporizing, which smelled like burning flesh, and I have to admit that, thinking about that informed consent form, I was pretty terrified. But the doctor continually talked to me in English during the surgery, encouraging me, and I was glad that I could only hear his words and couldn't understand what was said among the technicians and assistants in the room. I didn't really feel pain during surgery, since my eyes were numbed by drops.

The hours immediately after surgery were uncomfortable, so I went to bed as soon as possible, wearing goggles to prevent me from rubbing my eyes.

The next morning, I could see at a distance but everything, near and far, was blurry. This worried me, but when I went back for my next day checkup Dr. Aoyama assured me that the blurriness is caused by dryness, because the layer of tears is gone from my eyes, and that it is normal and temporary.

Something that surprised me was that, after surgery, ordinary things like beverage cans and letter-sized paper and magazines seem much bigger than before, so much so that I have to read the labels in order to know what size things are. This is because I am suddenly free from glasses, and glasses cause things to appear smaller.

I need to take good care of my eyes in the coming months so that they heal properly, but I am looking forward to

1. buying my first pair of fashionable sunglasses
2. going scuba diving for the first time, and
3. seeing the inside of showers.

This morning, two days after surgery, I have already done two of those things, and I woke up singing "I can see clearly now ..." Everything looks clear and wonderful!