Blinded By The Light: What It’s Like Getting LASIK In Your 20s

Blinded By The Light: What It's Like Getting LASIK In Your 20s

For the past 22 years of my life, I’ve worn glasses. From giant Coke bottle ones that were twice the size of my buzzed egghead to thin wire-framed ones that made me look like a pedophile, they became as much a part of me as my braces and my ‘unique’ last name. Slap welding goggles and barbed wire teeth on a kid with the last name Hickey in his first year at a brand new elementary school, and you’ve got yourself the trifecta of coolness. Thanks a lot, Ma.

Blinded By The Light: What It's Like Getting LASIK In Your 20s

I’m either the guy on the left, the right, or both.

“Well, why not wear contacts?!?” you shout at your screen as the flight attendant politely asks you to keep your voice down. Contacts and my eyes never agreed with each other. They’d irritate me after a few hours and I’d have to take them out. So rec specs it was, day after day, for two decades.

Until now.

Last month I decided to fulfill my longtime dream of going glasses free by getting LASIK eye surgery. I’ve had a lot of people asking me questions about the procedure since I’ve gotten it (three people), so I thought I’d shed some light (gross) on how it all goes down.

Your eyes need to be perfectly screwed up.

If you’re considering getting a consult for laser eye surgery, be proactive and bring a copy of your most recent eye exam. The optometrist wants to make sure your imperfect vision hasn’t changed in the past two years. I happen to carry mine with me in my wallet at all times, because I’m a loser. The doc then tests my eyes for dryness and measures the thickness of my cornea. This wasn’t one of those tests where you can fake your results. You can’t borrow a buddy’s cornea.

You’re completely awake for the procedure.

While I was filling out my paperwork, they gave me one Valium. I laughed and asked if I was getting a bottle of it for afterwards and they explained this single pill was to “take the edge off” and nothing else. Believe me, it was needed because during the procedure you’re basically lying under a giant machine with your eyes pried open Clockwork Orange Style. I would have taken three more Valiums to help me relax under that thing.

They give you a goddamn teddy bear.

This is not a joke. Nurse hands me a teddy bear and I ask her what it’s for. “Trust me,” she says. “You’re going to want something to hold onto.” “Wait, how many people have held this teddy bear?” I ask. “Oh, we give each patient a brand new one,” she explains. So she was telling me that basically this eye clinic has a teddy bear budget. I wonder if that shit was a write off.

Blinded By The Light: What It's Like Getting LASIK In Your 20s

He was the last person to call me a Four-Eyed Fuck Face.

It’s not painless.

The doctor explained to me that I was going to feel “some pressure” and that “the lights would go out for about ten seconds.” Maybe Dr. Patel used to be a professional wrestler because “some pressure” felt like somebody giving the People’s Elbow to my pried open, exposed eyeball for five to ten excruciating minutes. Oh, and when he mentioned the lights going out? He didn’t mean the lights in the operating room. He meant MY lights would go out, as he literally blinded me while carving around my cornea with a laser to peel it back and reshape my eyeball. Needless to say, I almost ripped that teddy bear’s head off.

You go right to bed for twelve hours.

I walked out of there pretty shaken up and a little out of it. When I saw my girlfriend in the waiting room, I screamed and asked her if she had always looked that old. She loved that. When I got home I was instructed to pound sleeping pills and pass out until the next morning, when I had a follow-up exam with my optometrist. Sleeping for the last half of the day is essential so you’re not pawing at your eyes all night and allowing them to heal. Duh.

You get to look really cool.

The next morning my vision was at about 80 percent and I had what felt like eyelashes in my eyes. I was told that’s healing scar tissue so I couldn’t go digging in there to make a fucking wish. In fact, I couldn’t touch my eyes at all for a few days, or shower or expose them to bright light. At night, I had to wear protective shields taped to my face.

Blinded By The Light: What It's Like Getting LASIK In Your 20s

Pictured: the subject of my girlfriend’s most recent nightmares.

It’s not too expensive.

I got my surgery on Friday afternoon and had perfect vision by Sunday morning. It’s a severe understatement to say it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made. While not permanent (it lasts 20-30 years), it’s definitely worth the money. I couldn’t recommend it enough. If you have the means, do it. And if you don’t, do it anyways and finance it Rent-A-Center style. Don’t go the cheap route and do some “two eyes for the price of one” Groupon. These aren’t a new pair of tits; you use your eyes 100 percent of your life.

Blinded By The Light: What It's Like Getting LASIK In Your 20s

Although, the next thing I AM getting is a new pair of tits.

Image via YouTube

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JR Hickey

Stand up comedian and writer from Chicago who now resides on the West Coast. JR can be seen performing at Cobbs Comedy Club in San Francisco and Zanies Comedy Clubs in Chicago. His work has been published in the Chicago Tribune and recently he was a part of SF Sketchfest 2015. JR's also the host of the PGP dating podcast Don't Take It From Us. He loves you very, very much.

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