A couple of nights ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with my right eye all swollen and red, and pretty much feeling like it was on fire. Sadly, I did not develop a mutant ability to shoot optic blasts out of my eye, and what followed was just a long period of discomfort and pain. I woke up the next morning with the eye still swollen, and it’s still a bit dry and icky 3 days later.
About a year ago, I had LASIK surgery to correct my eyesight. Before that I had worn glasses for as long as I can remember. I don’t know how many of you wear glasses, but believe me when I say that it can be the most inconvenient concept in the world. My eyesight was so bad that without glasses, I really can’t see crap. And they’re thick, heavy, and really limits the kind of activities I could do.
After LASIK, I felt like a totally new person. I mean, it’s not the same as contact lenses. I’ve used contacts before, and while they do grant a certain level of freedom, you still feel a little bit uncomfortable after a few hours, and there’s the whole cleaning and needing to take them out before you go to bed thing. After LASIK, I don’t have any of that. I am free to do whatever. I can smoosh my face into my dog’s fur without crushing or smudging my glasses, I can now go surfing and be able to see, and I can run through the rain without the rain droplets attaching themselves to my glasses and totally obscuring my vision. I can wake up in the mornings and be treated to the lovely view of my sleeping wife in perfect clarity, without needing to fumble for my glasses first.
But what I also have now, is the occasional pain that comes with a dry eye attack.
It’s nothing new, really. I’ve had dry eyes forever, and I remember spending entire nights just rubbing my eyes, and repeatedly putting eye drops into them. Sometimes it felt like my eyes got drier after the eye drops. But the pain is amplified after LASIK. It’s like sand in your eyes, and then inflating your eyeball so that there’s extra friction between your eyeball and eyelid. Now and then I wake up feeling like the opening of my eyes has ripped a layer of skin off my eyeball. When I feel that little bit of dryness in my eye when I wake up in the mornings, I am actually afraid to open my eye in case I have to go through this ripping sensation again.
So was it worth it? Is this pain really worth the freedom? I can tell you that I didn’t think so the other night. While I was blinking and clutching my eye in pain, all I could think about was how much it hurt and how nothing was worth this pain. I don’t know if it was just because I was still so sleepy and delirious, but I was even contemplating a quick death to end the pain.
But yeah, that was a bit melodramatic. I’m more composed now, and I still think that LASIK was absolutely worth it. If you’ve spent a lifetime fumbling with glasses and feel too restricted by them to do the things you want, you’ll understand that a few sleepless nights are worth it.