Bionic eyes

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Thursday, April 23, 2009

top left: Wendell gets watchman fever by Hansart, top right: laser eyes by Andrew Neyer, bottom left: Watch out for the laser eyed chicken by the frantic meerkat, bottom right: power ACEO by Dad's dreams

I've been short-sighted since I was 8 years old, when Mrs Brewer at primary school dobbed me in to my parents after seeing me screw up my eyes to focus on the class TV three feet from my face. I was bundled off to the opticians to be supplied with a grim pink pair of NHS glasses and labelled specky four eyes for the next few years. I couldn't wait to get contact lenses. There's a family photo of me aged 16 at my brother's wedding where I am sporting a synthetic buttercup yellow bridesmaid dress, perm-a-freak hair but NO GLASSES. Obviously I felt like queen for the day with my new bionic gas-permeable lenses despite looking like a prize nana.

But last year my contact lens wearing went awry, after years of happiness. I'm not quite sure what did it - I suspect the solvent purse glue I was using at the time may have contributed, but whatever the reason I was constantly pink-eye and specky again. The thought of lasers did cross my mind but I'd instantly banish it from my mind and convince myself otherwise - the thought of the procedure was too grim. As it was I couldn't bear wearing specs. Not from vanity but because my prescription was so high there was a lot of lens distortion. By Christmas I was well and truly fed up with opticians and consultants and so the laser of doom beckoned. Once I'd actually told myself it was going to go ahead and got over my squeamish thoughts I couldn't wait to get it done.

The actual procedure was weird. Not painful... they use strong painkilling drops so you don't feel a thing. It was just uncomfortable and oddly trippy. A strange ten minute acid trip where you are an unwitting eye-clamped observer, a spectator to dazzling starbursts, zaps, buzzing noises and surgical tinkerings. And then you sit up and you can see the time on the clock on the wall... and walking down the corridor you're not stumbling over your feet. Sitting in a shaking adrenaline-fueled state I was a little overwhelmed.

The first couple of weeks were oddly vunerable and at times a little emotional. I got tired easily as my eyes were saturated with such rich, crisp information and colour and as I was at first a little long-sighted I was seeing incredible horizon details. There's a lovely view of Bristol from the top of our road that sweeps across to the suspension bridge and I could make out figures on the bridge and even a crane operator as he worked on a construction site in the city centre. I didn't want to be inside, I wanted to be flooded with outside life and detail. It was wonderful.

Two and a half months on my vision has settled down brilliantly. I still wake up in the middle of the night and reach out for my imaginary glasses on table by the bed and then in the half-light realise I can see unaided. It's a beautiful life-changer for sure.


  1. eNVe Says:
  2. wow, I don't think I have that great of vision even with my contacts or glasses! I think I might have to consider some laser eyes of my very own...

  3. Hans Says:
  4. Thanks for adding my laser-eyed owl man! I've had low-perscription glasses for a number of years; my brother was always mentioning that he had 20-10 vision..."good enough for NASA." Around 10 years ago, I was at a baseball game with my brother and he took my new glasses and started scanning the stadium to read the advertisements on the other side of the field. He would take my glasses off and then put them back on. He thought that the DC smog made things blurry and that he still had 20-10 vision. Sadly, that day NASA lost a potential astronaut, but my brother discovered that he needed glasses.

  5. Chris Kidd Says:
  6. Sounds great. Can you sleep ok? (note post time).

  7. Anonymous Says:
  8. oh... I'm still too scared to take the plunge with laser, although like you i've needed the dreaded glasses since 8 or thereabouts.

    Unlike you i'm way too paranoid to poke myself in the eye and have the contacts in there *foreign object FOREIGN OBJECT GEDDITOUT*

    Wonder when the inconvenience of glasses / vanity will finally overtake the fear of laser