Laser Tag

Southbay HEALTH’s editor goes under the laser for eye correction surgery … and lives to tell!

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    Darren Elms

Okay, it really wasn’t all that dramatic. In fact, the whole process was far easier than I could have even imagined. But let’s be honest: Having a laser open a flap on both your eyes is not like getting a cavity filled at the dentist. There’s risk, there’s cost and there’s that image of a laser opening a flap on both your eyes.

Perhaps that’s why I held off on laser eye surgery for so long. When friends who had the procedure asked if I would consider it myself, I’d quickly reply how attached I was to my glasses and wouldn’t want to lose that style option. 

Reality: I hardly ever wear my glasses. After being emotionally scarred with “cop” glasses my dad picked out for me in the ‘80s, I’ve pretty much been a daily contact wearer ever since. And there’s the rub, literally and figuratively.

Contacts just aren’t that comfortable. For an allergy sufferer like me, they get dry, they burn, they itch—and almost always when I’m driving and can’t do a thing about it. The idea of waking up and not having to mess with questionably bacteria-ridden contact cases, expensive cleaning fluid and slippery lenses that never fail to fall in the sink at least once a week sounded terribly tempting. 

Perhaps all I had to fear was fear itself. And that damn laser.

After a series of short and not very invasive tests, the nice technician informed this nearsighted patient that I was the perfect candidate for the surgery. Yay! I manned up and made an appointment at NVISION in Torrance. In the lobby, I saw a signed picture of Sean Hayes from Will & Grace. Hell, if Jack can do this, so could I, right? 

Wait … this is actually happening. Let me sleep on it. 

I did. For a few days. I looked at the costs. Not as bad as I thought. I did the math on contacts and eye doctor visits for the next five years, and it all really did match up pretty closely.

I consulted my husband, a proud forever glasses wearer, and he supported the surgery (though I think he really just wants to inherit my obsolete glasses). All signs were pointing to surgery. I opened my email and scheduled an appointment for late August. 

The prep, a couple weeks before the surgery, wasn’t at all stressful or annoying. A few antibiotic drops here, a few lubricating drops there, a handful of fish oil pills. No biggie. 

I was surprisingly calm when my mom drove me to the appointment (yes, my mom, ‘cause she’s really good at the nurturing thing). She waited in the lobby while I did some final checks with the technician, took a Xanax (yay!) and waited for my turn. 

I was in the operating chair less than 10 minutes. It was over. I could see, though a bit hazy, and no pain at all. I even took a picture with Dr. Lusby. 

Eyes shielded with plastic, my mom drove me home to rest. After popping a few sleeping aids, I slept for five hours and let my eyes heal. They burned a little when I woke up, but nothing crazy. 

The next day I was in my regular eye doctor’s office getting the shields removed and my eyes checked. I could see perfectly. “You’re good to go,” he said, patting me on the back. “That’s it?” I replied. 

Yes, that’s really it. Merry Christmas, husband. Please give my old Tom Fords a good home.

For more on NVISION in Torrance, visit