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August 7, 2008

I Have Laser Vision


I've been short sighted for 20 years. Ever since that day in year 5 when I cheerfully claimed I couldn't see the blackboard, I have been issued with spectacles of stronger and stronger prescription. The cute pink ones evolved into coke bottle thickness over the years. My eyeballs finally ceased their degradation at a focus range of 10cm - 20cm from my eyeballs.

It was the fateful years of 7 and 8 (& my choice of big round plastic glasses patterned in purple, black and silver spots) that caused my delegation to the 'dag group' and thus creating a lifetime of social insecurity.

In year 9 I changed to contact lenses which was a brilliant move but never managed to move the indent made by those purple spectacles. It is as though those big glasses have forever since sat upon my nose.

So I wore my contacts every day and this was fine for about ten years.
However in the last five years the contacts started getting scratchy, dry and causing excess blinking. Often people would ask me why I was pulling such strange faces (and I'm sure many others wondered). "Oh, that's just my contacts" I'd say. "I have to keep rolling my eyes around to avoid them sticking to my eyelids when I blink."

So laser eye surgery was my next step to social acceptance and lighter travel.

I started to dream of a life without contact solution bottles filling my bathroom shelves and the irritation of having to take my lenses out and put them in every single day.

So I weighed up the cost. $6000. That's equal to 9 years of blindness. ($4500 on contacts, $700 glasses and $800 solution.)

Not a bad long term investment.
It means that if I live til 70 then I will save $20,000.

I shrugged off the fear of staring into laser beams slicing at my eyeball but then there was that fear... what if something went horribly wrong... What on earth could I be without vision?

But with millions of procedures having taken place, what were those chances?
I made up my mind that the minute risk was worth taking.

I went to visit a surgeon and was astonished by his arrogance. So I went to another surgeon at Perth Laser Vision Centre and realised that they are clearly a breed of their own. No bedside manner at all. I don't think the man actually saw me as a person, instead as a walking set of eyeballs - to see, not be heard.
He even scoffed when I dared ask a question.
But with little other choice here, I handed over my precious organs for his operation.
Even if he rubbed me the wrong way, he was surely good at rubbing down corneal flaps... he's probably spent more time with them.

So here I am merely a week after surgery. I'm bouncing around with 20/20 vision. It certainly was freaky and something out of a science fiction future. But here we are! Living this amazing scientific reality.

As my dear surgeon said as he finished the 20 minute ($6000) procedure...
"There. You're Cured Now".









[current mood] Frangelico, Lemon and Ice & Not Snoring!

Posted by natalija at August 7, 2008 11:01 PM


Thanks for sharing, and congrats!

I'm a little apprehensive still, and don't have the money right now, and am wondering if I'll always have better uses for the money. But, it's definitely something I will keep in mind.

Posted by: Simone at August 8, 2008 12:00 AM

Congrats matey. 20/20 vision in 20 mins - how incredible! Hope the recovery goes smoothly and painlessly :D

It must be the season for medical adventures - I am one week post op myself (I had chest reconstruction surgery via mastectomy last week) and Jules also had some minor eye surgery. In different kind of way, I also feel liberated of some serious social baggage!

Posted by: atari at August 8, 2008 11:52 AM

Phew! That´s kinda brave! I´ve -3 and would be way too horrified to stare in a beamer. I´d be afraid I´d somehow move my eyes...

Well: welcome freedom of sight!

Posted by: Iris at August 8, 2008 1:03 PM

Yay! That must be exciting to open your eyes and see clearly! No more feeling the bedside table for glasses. Can I ask if you had any astigmatism that required correction with the short sightedness?

Posted by: rosemary at August 8, 2008 10:11 PM

Love the last pic Nat, Keanu couldn't say "woah" better himself.

now, get yourself down to the nearest shopping centre and observe the local menfolk with your new vision. is he an 8 or a 9?

Posted by: Gav C at August 9, 2008 8:33 AM

Those concerns like 'I'll move my eye' are all answered by the surgeon. With that one, they give you drops that numb the eye, you don't feel the need to blink. Then they put a circular shape on the eyeball which keeps your eye open and steady. Because you are on a mild sedative it is really quite easy to lie back and just stare into the red dazzling light.

I did have an astigmastism. I _think_ it's fixed? But that wasn't actually discussed.

I just love being able to crash into bed at anytime and not have to go 'ugh, gotta get up and take out my contact lenses'.
Especially good for random daytime naps and sleeping at other peoples places unexpectedly.

do it!!

Posted by: Nat at August 9, 2008 9:46 AM

I am happy to hear it went well for you, I am speculating wether or not it would be ideal for my nan who seems to have really blurry vision now, it is due to age, but I would love her to have the opportunity to be able to see clearly again, do you recon this would work?

Posted by: Australia Holidays at September 5, 2008 7:18 PM

I'm not sure it is recommended for older eyes as the vision needs to stabilise. But the easiest thing is for her to check in to a clinic, they do a bunch of funky tests, and she can simply find out!

Posted by: Nat at September 5, 2008 7:22 PM

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