Experience with LASIK

A few years back, I got LASIK eye surgery to correct my vision, and ended up with 20/16 vision a couple weeks after. Over the past couple years, my vision has finally gotten to the point where things are just blurry enough to necessitate glasses for some kinds of activity, so I've been considering getting LASIK again (the optometrist I used has a significant discount for repeat procedures, so it's an easier decision this time around!).

One of the major hurdles to LASIK for almost everyone I've talked to is the fear of having a procedure done on both eyes—and anything that has the potential to radically alter one of your five senses in a significant way is daunting!

I found this excellent summary of the procedure (warning: language in the rest of that thread), which sums up the procedure perfectly:

During the procedure, they'll tell you to look at the red focusing light, and try not to move your eye away from it. The implied warning is: if you move, the laser might miss its target. And by God, you'll focus on that light more than anything you've ever done in your life. And it will be super difficult. Have you ever tried staring at something without moving your eyes, even a little? It's impossible. You'll be terrified the whole time, that if you move your eye even a millimeter, it'll **** up your life.

You can't close your eye; they have it wedged open with some Clockwork Orange contraption. You can't blink, and they occasionally squirt your eye with some solution to keep it moist. Your eyelid will constantly be fighting to close, trying to escape the doctor's dark work.

You know what they don't tell you about, ahead of time? The smell. You will smell burning flesh - it'll fill the room, and permeate into your sinuses. You'll continue to smell it for days, afterward. That smell is your eyeball burning, as they make the corrections.

The entire thing takes 10 minutes. Then you go home, listen to some relaxing music, go to sleep, and wake up with 20/20 vision.

Oh. My. God.

My two main memories are that red light and the smell... the smell they tell you is just 'the laser'. No, it's the smell of your vision being changed—and until a few days later, it is your only memory. But the ability to see again. That is the game-changer. It's amazing to have that gift without the assistance of glasses or contact lenses. And it allows you to do some simple but life-changing things, like wear simple, cheap sunglasses.

I'm not 100% sure why I'm posting this now, other than to (a) remind myself of the experience, and (b) give some thoughts to others who are considering LASIK. It's a trepidatious prospect, but it is truly life-changing.