I Can See Clearly Now, the Pain is Gone

23 Jul 2005 // places

So I bumped into H the other day, and asked a casual, "What's up?"

"Not much", she anwsered. "Well, actually, I got laser surgery on my eyes yesterday."

"Does it hurt?" I asked.

"Well no. It's remarkable, there was hardly any recovery time. I can see clearly right now."

"Wow, you must have had general anesthetic", I said.

"No. I had local."

"You were conscious through the operation?", I asked.

"Yes. Although there was no physical pain, it was gross. It's amazing, millions of years of evolution has wired us to flinch at objects that come near the eye. In the operation, I had to hold my head still, conscious, and watch someone clamp something over my iris to hold it still."

"Then the doctor brought up an electric knife up to carve open the lens. It was an electric knife but, even though I couldn't feel anything, the sound of the electric knife, which resembled a dentist's drill, was horrible. After he cut open the lens, I could feel the lid flapping in the air." [helpful image from Luis Bunuel's Le chien d'Andalou]

"What was worst was that I had been wearing my old contacts incorrectly. I would often leave them on whilst sleeping. Having the contacts in the eye for so long prevents oxygen from entering the eye. As a result my eye had grown more than its fair share of blood vessels inside the eye. My eye was engorged with blood. So when the laser started cutting open my eye, the blood vessels burst. My vision started to color red, and I could feel the blood pouring out of my eye-balls."

"You can still see the bruising," she said as she pulled away her eye-lid to show me the large splotches of bruise over the top of her eyeball.

"The operation lasted maybe 15 minutes and I felt no pain but it was one of the worst experiences of my life."