posted by dave on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 10:58 AM in category lasik

I got my first pair of glasses when I was 30. It wasn't so much that my eyes were that bad - I assumed that the blurring I sometimes saw was caused by atmospheric distortion. Like mirages in the desert or something. I could mostly see just fine without glasses. I'd been doing it for 30 years.

So, my prescription was pretty weak. I liked my new glasses, though. I felt like I was in disguise whenever I wore them. Plus, I could see the edges of the balls very well.

Shooting pool with glasses was always a problem, however, and rarely worth the trouble. I had to crane my neck at an uncomfortable angle, or adopt a very upright stance, to keep from simply looking over the top of the frames. I did, at one point, special-order a pair of glasses for pool. Large lenses and the focusing point near the top of the lenses. They always worked just fine for pool, but they made me look like (even more of) a total dork, so I never wore them in public.


When I first got my glasses, I asked the doctor about lasik, it having been recently invented. He told me that I should wait. He told me that once I turned 40 or so my eyes would change, and that would be a good time to consider lasik.

So, I waited. I shot pool, mostly without glasses, for about another eight years. Then I got distracted and pretty much stopped playing. I may have written about my distraction from time to time. It was a girl, of course.

Last Summer, I started shooting again. Really throwing myself into it, I mean. And I noticed, pretty much right off the bat, that my eyes had indeed changed. Slightly fuzzy balls had become amorphous foggy objects. I pretty much had to guess at anything farther away than about four feet. Often, I guessed correctly, but not often enough. In short, I sucked, from lack of playing but mostly, I felt, from lack of proper vision.

In September, one of my coworkers got lasik. This, of course, led to a lot of discussion and an awful lot of questions, mostly from me. I wanted to know about pain and side-effects and price even more than I wanted to know if his vision had improved. I assumed that his vision had improved, after all that was the point of the procedure.

As my coworker's answers were mostly positive, I decided that it was time for to have lasik. I went to the same place he'd gone (Joffe Medi-Center in Louisville) and had myself an examination. This was, by far, the most thorough eye exam I'd ever had. They did tests I'd never even suspected before. They did everything except yank out my eyeballs to weigh them. Wait, they also didn't do that air-burst glaucoma test. They tested for glaucoma with a some doohickey that physically pressed against my eyeballs. The tests took over four hours to do. Like I said, they were thorough.

After that, I spent some time talking to one of the doctors there. I asked about hazards and complications and pain and expected improvement. All the normal stuff. We also talked about this option called monovision. I'd never heard of it before. That's where one eye is corrected for distance, and the other is corrected for seeing up close. The theory is that, if a person can get used to monovision - most people eventually do - then they don't need glasses at all. This is in contrast to, say, if a person got distance correction in both eyes, they'd need reading glasses for up-close vision.

This was intriguing to me. I didn't want to be able to give up my normal glasses only to have to lug around a pair of reading glasses. Being able to go completely sans-glasses seemed like a pretty nifty option.


One of the potential pitfalls with monovision, I was told, was that depth perception could be diminished. This caused me a lot of concern, because I was going to get lasik to shoot pool better, and depth perception is one of those nifty abilities that's kinda nice to have when shooting pool.

I decided that the potential loss of depth perception was too great a risk, so I'd just get both eyes corrected for distance.

Since my vision wasn't too bad to begin with, I qualified for the very reduced price of $495 per eye. This was good, because I wasn't made of money then any more than I am now.

This was on a Wednesday I think. I scheduled my surgery for the following Friday, nine days away, because I had to wait for payday.

I spent the next few days scouring the internet for information about lasik, mostly about complications and side-effects. I was very much aware that it's not like getting a pair of glasses that don't work and you just have to get another pair made. Nope, with lasik what you get is what you get. There's no undo button and these were my eyes. I read about people seeing halos at night, and about persistent dry eyes, and about something lovely called traumatic flap detachment that can happen up to ten years after the surgery.

What the hell could I have been thinking? My eyes weren't so bad that having them sliced open and then zapped with a laser was necessary.

I cancelled the appointment. Or at least I postponed it indefinitely. One thing I definitely wanted to do was talk to this one girl at Rich O's. She's an eye doctor. I wanted to ask her all about the procedure, complications, and so on. I wanted to get answers from someone who wasn't trying to sell me the procedure.

So I waited.

In February, I finally ran into EyeDoctorGirl at Rich O's. I asked her my questions and she pretty much eased my concerns. The risks I asked about have indeed been known to happen, but they're very rare. Akin to getting a filling at the dentist and dying from it.

So, I called the Joffe place back I asked them if I needed to come back in for another series of exams, and they said no. My prescription was weak enough and my others exams had been recent enough that all i needed to do was schedule the surgery. I scheduled it for March 2.

Oh, I'd also decided to just get my right eye done, to get it corrected for distance. My left eye would be left alone. As I'm nearsighted, my left eye would see up close just like it always had. I was, in effect, getting that monovision thingy but with only one eye needing to be sliced up.

So that was cool.

I'd realized that, if I couldn't get used to the monovision, or if I lost too much depth perception, I could just go and get my left eye corrected for distance, so it would match my right eye. I'd probably need to wear reading glasses after that, but I wouldn't need glasses to shoot pool. Plus, I'm old, so reading glasses wouldn't really be the end of the world.

This time, during the days leading up to my surgery, I did a pretty good job of refraining from researching things on the internet. So, I didn't chicken out. My only real preparation was arranging for OddlyFamiliarGirl to give me a ride home from the place. Their policy is that you can't drive home. This is because they want to give you Valium. I asked if I could drive if I didn't take their Valium and they said no it's their policy that nobody gets to drive home.

To be continued.

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