LASIK, six months later

I had my eyes lasered six months and ten days ago, and I thought it might be useful to take a minute and talk about how that’s been going.

And honestly, so far, my experience has been kind of mixed. I am very definitely still healing, and things are still changing on a week-to-week basis. One thing I wasn’t aware of going into the process was that apparently nearsightedness takes a bit longer to heal than farsightedness does, and I was quite nearsighted. I’m also suffering from not being able to simply put my glasses back on to compare glasses-assisted vision to what I have now. So let’s do a pros and cons list.

Pros:

  • Pain, even very early on, has been virtually nonexistent. For the first couple of days after the surgery the first maybe five minutes after waking up, when I’m just opening my eyes for the first time, had that sort of pebbly there’s-something-under-my-eyelids feeling that you might get when you’re really tired. But that went away quickly and there’s been no issues since then.
  • I’ve experienced no starbursting or any degeneration of my ability to drive at night.
  • Close-up vision is essentially perfect for 90% of the day, and my vision has been corrected to somewhere in the 20/20-25/20 range. For the purposes of this conversation I’m defining “close-up” as anything within five or six feet, and when they give you that little card to read at “normal reading distance” at the eye doctor I can read the smallest print easily.. This is where I wish I had my glasses, because there’s a lot of “could I have read that with my glasses on seven months ago?” going on with text that is farther away than that.

Cons:

  • That other 10% of the day. My eyes get tired more easily than they used to, and I swear they produce more crud than they used to as well. I have gone from someone who never needed eyedrops to still using them (non-medicinal rewetting drops, to be clear) maybe two or three times a day. The last hour of the day can sometimes be a bit of a struggle, and that just wasn’t the case when I was wearing glasses.

Now, some caveats and provisos and quid pro quos:

  • I don’t think it’s unfair to point out that working from home during quarantine has had a serious effect on my eyes. I spend eight hours a day at my computer, to start, and that was never the case before. It is rare that I have to focus on something more than ten to fifteen feet away, and that is probably fucking with my mid- and particularly my long-distance vision. One thing I’ve noticed: I sit maybe ten feet away from the TV when we’re watching shows, and we typically keep closed captions or subtitles on regardless of what we’re watching them. At the beginning of watching a show, it can be a struggle to keep the captions in clean focus. That’s almost never a problem by the end of the show, so it’s a case of my eyes taking a minute to adjust to focusing on something out of arm’s length. Similarly, it just occurred to me in the last couple of days that our new TV puts out a lot more light than the old one, which might be why longer video game sessions bug me more than they used to. I need to adjust where I’m putting my chair; I wasn’t too close to the old TV, but I think I am too close to the new one. That’s an eye issue, but it’s not LASIK’s fault.
  • Similarly, the first couple of minutes of driving anywhere (I leave the house maybe once a week) always involve me thinking about my eyes a lot. It goes away quickly. I have never, even for a moment, even at night, thought that I couldn’t see well enough to drive, but that first minute or so always involves lots of staring at trees long distances away and wondering what they looked like when I wore glasses.

Things are still getting better on a week-to-week basis, I think, and I’m spending a lot less time thinking about my eyes than I used to, but I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that the first two or three months in particular were a bit more of a trial than I expected. I don’t think I made a mistake, mind you, but as someone who didn’t mind wearing glasses all that much, I don’t know if I’d do it again, if that makes any sense. If you really feel like glasses or contacts are a pain in the ass, I’d definitely still suggest you think strongly about doing it– but just be aware that the healing process is a lengthier thing than you might have expected.