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Twenty:twenty - The Paranoid Android
...musings of a mechanically depressed robot...
It gets to a point in your life when you have to deal with the things that annoy you most. I'm still working on a few of them but I fixed one last weekend.

On Saturday I had an IntraLasik procedure and I now boast "better" than 20/20 vision.

The question has to be asked... why the hell would I mess with my sight? (Of all the senses it has to the most important... perhaps on an equal par with hearing. Touch, taste and smell can take a back seat.) I never could get to grips with contact lenses - and glasses have so many drawbacks. Some of the final straws would be the broken clip on my prescription face mask whilst scuba diving and the weekend in Bergen where it rained for 48 hours non stop. Not being able to see without glasses sucks... not being able to see through your glasses sucks as well.

I have a few of friends who have had the procedure (I found out after I'd booked it that I have a lot more friends that have had the procedure than I thought!) and the constant adverts on the TV finally pushed me over the edge and I sent a couple emails asking for more information. Optical Express called, sent me email and send text messages for a couple days after I'd enquired. They are obviously very keen to get your business. As their initial consultation is free... and in Lakeside (much closer than Harley Street) I chose them.

My consultation was on Saturday September 19. My plan was to find out if LASIK was an option for me, how much it would cost, and perhaps get it done early next year after my bonus (if I get one)

My plan was going well... it turns it is an option(!) and the cost was about what I was expecting (bloody expensive if you want it done properly). It was at this point my plan went a little awry. The consultant asked when I was hoping to get it done and I replied that "Early next year" was my plan. He asked why and I replied that both time (in the form of holiday) and money (in the form of none) were constraints. He countered with a last minute cancelation freeing a Saturday slot and 10 months interest free credit.

Saturdays are booked solid for months... so it was a "fatalistic omen" to me that an appointment should appear while I'm there. I took the slot and signed away my bonus (should it appear) and that was that.

I would like to point out that the advert on the TV is a little misleading. Laser eye surgery from £390 is not a lie... but what they don't tell you is that is the option where they let a rat gnaw on your eyeballs for "a couple of minutes" and the chances of seeing again are "damn remote".

They'll tell it to you wrapped in science - but if you read between the lines that is what you are signing up for.

If you want a reasonable chance of ever seeing again the only two options are LASIK and LASEK. The former is more expensive, but offers a higher chance of success. LASIK comes in two flavours, conventional and wavefront-optimized. There is also the option of creating the "corneal flap" with a femtosecond laser microkeratome (rather than with a mechanical microkeratome, which uses a steel blade.) This again increases the chances of success, the quality of your vision, and reduces the recovery time.

When it comes to your sight the only option is the best one. All the other options are only there so they can put out adverts with prices much lower than the one you are going to pay.

This is evident when my consultant asked me which option I thought I'd choose and I said "the budget one" and his face dropped. He looked sick. I couldn't help but laugh my arse off.

For the record my eyes cost me £1270 each. I would say that even at this early stage I think it was worth every penny.

Last Saturday I went back to Lakeside where there is a proper surgery hidden away on the lower floor. I filled out a form absolving Optical Express of any blame should I never be able to see again and waited. I had a final eye check-up and waited some more. I was called into the surgery.

From this moment until I left the surgery took less than 10 minutes.

I was asked some basic questions (my name, date of birth, home address)
I was told to lay on the bed
I had some drops put in my eye that stung at first but made them totally numb
I had my eye lids taped open
I had a two tonne machine attached to each eyeball in turn for about 30 seconds. It pressed my head into the bed (which I could feel) but my eyeballs were completely numb
I had another two tonne machine attached to each eyeball in turn for about 30 seconds. It made loud noises like static electricity and there was the smell of burning eyeballs. It turns out that burning eyeballs smells a lot like burning hair.
My eyes were bathed in a water like substance and "combed" to ensure the flap was back in place.
I sat up and could read the clock on the opposite wall. Without my glasses I would not have been able to do so!

I was sent from the surgery to a darkened room. The nurse told me about the drops I needed to administer over the following week and some rules. The rules include no sport (one week), no contact sports (four weeks), no swimming (two weeks), no showering! (one week) and no sex (one week)... actually that last one is not quite how she explained it. What she said was I have to wear ("incredibly sexy") goggles to bed for a week. Sex is impossible when you are laughing that hard... I know... I've tried. I am not to touch my eyes for any reason what so ever for one whole week.

Saturday afternoon I stayed at the 'rents. I was still a little freaked by the speed of it all, and being alone might have been too much. I slept for about 99% of the time I was there until the following morning. I wore the goggles (because I really don't want to be blind) and my parents refrained from laughing too much (in front of me).

Sunday I went back to Lakeside for a check-up. My eyes are both better than 20/20. They are also still healthy and on the mend. They feel a little tired - especially after a long day at work but they don't hurt and I'm pretty sure my eyes used to feel tired after a long day in the office even before I had the procedure.

Time for bed!

Current Location: RM12 5JH
Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: Moby - My Weakness

10 comments or Leave a comment
80s_child From: 80s_child Date: October 8th, 2009 03:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, the best of luck! *hug*
paranoidandroid From: paranoidandroid Date: October 8th, 2009 11:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awwww - thank thee my dear! :)
From: faith__eternal Date: October 9th, 2009 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)
That look is so damn sexy! ;p
paranoidandroid From: paranoidandroid Date: October 10th, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Control yourself! ;)
nuala From: nuala Date: October 9th, 2009 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. My first thought was: You look like you should be in Hellboy or something with those on. :D

I liked the eye-combing bit. I don't know why. Maybe it just sounded so gentle and lovely after this talk of knives and lasers and DANGERWILLROBINSON things.
nuala From: nuala Date: October 9th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
PS Hope you're healing well. x
paranoidandroid From: paranoidandroid Date: October 10th, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
thank you
paranoidandroid From: paranoidandroid Date: October 10th, 2009 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Almost everyone else has shuddered and told me to go away when I tell them about the eye combing!

You are a unique flower! ;)
nuala From: nuala Date: October 10th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Snowflake! I am a unique and beautiful snowflake! :D

Nope, it still doesn't squick me out. Weird. I know it should, but even visualising it doesn't bother me. Discussion of collapsed lungs? Yes. Eye-combing? No. Maybe I have longings of having my eyes combed one day (post LASEK/IK, of course), and therefore I've convinced myself that it's nice.

Or maybe because they call it combing instead of squeegie. :D

PS Oh crap. I still haven't gotten Easy Star tix yet. Must do that tomorrow.
tweezlebum From: tweezlebum Date: October 13th, 2009 03:51 am (UTC) (Link)
COLLAPSED LUNG! *falls over*
10 comments or Leave a comment