4 April, 2007


Originally uploaded by techne.

I’ve had my pupils dilated twice in my life. The first time, about 5 years ago, I caught a glimpse of them as the drug wore off. They were all cateyed and smushed! It was weird! Also, awesome. I was both grossed out and fascinated, it was definitely an “if only I had a camera” moment.

So when I had my dilation last month in preparation for my LASIK surgery this Thursday, you bet I brought my camera. While cool (my irises were particularly interesting, as I could see their depth), they got back to normal in a sadly normal way. No cat-eyes. No oblong squashed oval pupils. Just this photo of me on a bus with bedroom eyes and a furrowed brow, which is because I was thinking “I hope this is focusing on my eye and not my nose like the last two I took.”

Yep, LASIK. The glasses are going. I feel weird about that, but I’ve been thinking about eye surgery for 20 years, so it’s not a new idea. I’ll be able to go to sleep looking at the moon, which will no longer be a white blob out the window. To take naps without worrying about nasty contact badness or rolling over on my glasses. To roll out of bed, put shoes on and go for a run without having to put contacts in first. And, of course, the example everyone uses: I’ll be able to read the alarm clock. I do think I’ll take a hit, science reputation-wise, but I can always get fakeo glasses for big events, or work on my “I’mma kick your ass” persona that is ever so important to any scientific career.

Oh yeah, the other benefit, I’ll be able to SEE. For free! (After I pay off the surgery.)

I am getting excited. At the office last week for another eye checkup thingy, I got to watch a surgery just like the one I am to have. OMG y’all. It was so freaking cool. First they numb your eye up and Clockwork Orange your eyelids. (OK, FIRST first you get Valium, and THEN they Clockwork Orange your eyelids.) Next, the Super-Nifty Computer-Controlled Laser Of The Future, which tracks your eyeball as it moves around, lasers your cornea with its magic rays and creates a flap. This takes maybe 30 seconds. The doctor’s actual hand wields an actual tool to pull the flap back (just about the only non-SNCCLOTF task in the whole process). Under the flap it’s all matte-looking, unlike the glossy surface of the cornea. This is because of how the flap is made–with super-microbubbles at just the right depth, which is also teh awesome. Forget you, microkeratome that they used to use back in the dark ages of eye surgery (2005)! Anyway: flap back, then it’s the actual surgery as the SNCCLOTF lasers off bits of the cornea to reshape it. Maybe two minutes this takes, MAYBE. Then the doc slips the flap back and pats it down and such, with his actual hand and its actual tool, and you are done, time for the next eye.

I wish I could do it myself!

See youse on the other side.

About belladonna.


6 Responses to “Belladonna”

  1. me Says:

    I’m assuming you’ve researched the risks? And are aware those most people don’t wind up with 20/20 vision? And that your measurement or prescription or whatever it’s called continues to change as the years go by, just as it would if you never had the surgery?

    You’re a scientist, I think, so I assume you would have. Sorry to be so negative, I just don’t see the point of taking needless risk for something temporary.

    What is the belladonna reference for, if I may ask?

  2. Mick Says:

    One of the best things I ever did!

    I didn’t do LASIK, but PRK was similar…just no flap.

    Seeing the clock, seeing YOURSELF in the shower, wearing sunglasses, being able to rub your eyes (but don’t do this for a while after surgery!) without worrying about it.

    It’s a freaking miracle πŸ™‚

  3. Chaf Says:

    Wow, good luck. I’m very interested to learn a scientist/photographer’s take on the end results.

  4. techne Says:

    Spamtrap: uh, thanks for your concern, I guess. What’s the idea, behind both the post and hiding your identity? Yes, I am aware of all the stuff you mention, although since the version of surgery I’ll be having is new, your stats don’t apply as well, unless you count overcorrection. As for why to undertake the risk…I AM a scientist (which means I understand biology, statistics and probability better than most), I HAVE run the numbers, the docs have shown me with my data why there are lower risks in my case than in others, and so I judge them to be worth the benefits. I felt the way you do about eye surgery for a long time though. 20 years, in fact πŸ™‚

    Mick: Ah yes, the shower. I will be able to shave my legs far more efficiently! πŸ™‚ I have been training myself to be aware of rubbing my eyes. I hear different things on scritching the corners of the eyes though. Well, I’ll ask the actual surgeon, whom I haven’t even met yet.

    It’s already been interesting, Chaf. The doc who checked me out noticed my camera and we chatted about which dSLR I’d recommend, and that with the neuroscience/biology meant that he could explain things to me in my terms. I taught him a few also: when he was describing the night-vision effects, it sounded a lot like bokeh. We’ll see! No pun intended.

  5. Dr. Birdcage Says:

    Good luck, Dr. T. πŸ™‚

  6. Eric B Says:

    Good luck. If they offer you a valium before the surgery, take it, and a shot of whisky. Let me know how it turns out.

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