At the surgeon's office the morning after my lasik, I still had my dark mask on. I could see through it, but it scared me a little that I would hurt my eyes if I left them open, so I would look at the world and then close my eyes again.
Then I went into the exam room and they told me to take my mask off, and then they turned on the lights.
So much for protecting my eyes.
When I went back out into the waiting room, J. told me that the woman who had surgery right before me the day before and the appointment right before me that morning had a problem with the flap. Her person left her there so that they could fix the flap.
Me? I was fine. Not even an itch in my eyes.
It was a beautiful sunny day, and I walked out into the sunshine without sunglasses. I wasn't supposed to spend much time looking at screens, so I didn't go to work. Instead, I walked to the tea place. I wore sunglasses out of an abundance of caution, but my eyes didn't hurt.
I was supposed to sleep in the dark mask for a week so that I did not accidentally rub my eye or stab myself in the eye during the night (a legitimate concern, since I stabbed myself in the eye with my finger while turning over just this week), and that worked for a few days, but as time went on, I found myself ripping it off sometime during the night. In the morning, it would be under the pillow, or on the floor next to the bed. I was, apparently, getting less cautious about my eyes.
I was also supposed to wait at least a week before climbing (chalk dust is everywhere). I made it six days, but it was cool. I just took tears with me and used them when someone above me knocked chalk dust down into my eyes, instead of rubbing my eyes and dislodging the flap.
Two weeks after surgery, back at the surgeon's office, after reading the 20/10 line, I asked her if the flap was ok. (I was a little paranoid about the flap.)
"You wouldn't be seeing 20/10 if there was a problem with the flap," she said dryly.
What we've discovered, J. and I, by comparing our experiences, is that lasik seems to exacerbate whatever sensitivities your eyes have. J. is still, 10 years later, more bothered by light than I am. I am a little more light sensitive than before, but my real issue is air blowing at my eyes. This has always bothered me, but now I can't stand the air blowing through the vents in my car or standing by my coworker's desk when the little space heater is on.
I now wear sunglasses in the car, even in the dark rain clouds, to block the blowing air (the vents are off and closed and pointed down but some gets through), and I wear layers in my office so that I don't have to turn on the space heater.
It's worth it. It's so worth it.
I can SEE.
The strangest thing, after 21 years of taking my contacts every night, is going to sleep without taking my vision out of my eyes. I am still using tears at night, and allergy eye drops, so I'm using that ritual to convince my eyes that it really is okay not to take anything out of my eyes before I sleep. It's weird, though. It's really weird.
It's also the best money I've ever spent.