Thursday, August 16, 2012

Laser Eye Surgery

Several years ago when I heard of laser surgery to correct myopia, I was horrifed in the squeamish way people often are about any kind of surgery ... but on one's EYES?  And could it really make near-sighted people see like well?  It's been around now for quite a while and thousands of people see better because of it.  But I was content to stick with my contact lenses which were as daring as I was likely to be about my precious eyes.

We get older and, if not wiser, sometimes more needy and more desperate than we imagined in younger years -- actually, in younger years, thought of a time when I might have cataracts simply didn't occur to me.  But my eyes aged with me and cataract surgery became necessary about three years ago.  I was apprehensive but I found many acquaintances who had had the operation and were glad to have thrown away their glasses or contacts.  The Boston Opththalomic Consultants were recommended by a neighbor.  I had one eye done and a few weeks later the other.  Hurray!  I could see better than I had since I was thirteen.  Because my eyes had been very differently affected by myopia, the lenses that were implanted were different: the right one for reading  and the left for distance vision. It worked just fine ... until last winter when I found reading becoming difficult. 

Soon I was using reading glasses for all near vision.  Something was wrong.  My near vision was becoming worse and worse.  So I went back to the clinic and discovered that, in fact, such a problem was not unusual but that it could be easily and quickly corrected with what's called a capsulotomy which is accomplished with a laser in a very brief operation.  While waiting for the appointment I actually met three other people who's had the operation.  "A piece of cake," said one. They others agreed less graphically.  Now I agree too. 

I had the operation this morning.  The same surgeon who did the cataract operation, a Chinese woman who looks like she's about 20 but probably is over 40, sat me down in front of a small machine.  Her assistant held my head gently but firmly still while I rested my chin on the familiar cup and my forehead against the curved bar that it seems all ophthalomic devices have.  I had been given some numbing eye drops.  For a few minutes I saw orange circles, quite graphic and attractive, and heard little beeps from the machine the doctor manipulated.  That was it.  My vision was somewhat blurred for about fifteen minutes.  My daughter had come along to drive me home.  An hour after being home I already knew I could see more than before with my right eye.  Twelve hours later my reading vision seems to be about what it was after the cataract surgery.   Viola!  A miracle of modern technology!
Lasers are still mysterious to me, a little frightening, very awesome. 

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