Sunday, February 24, 2008

LASIK: The Ultimate Mod

Any respectable Stormtrooper is always tinkering with their costume, whether it's adding new parts or improving old ones. The colloquial term for a modification is "mod". I have a whole section of the old site dedicated to trooper mods that make things easier, better, or more fun. Well, in late 2006 I made the decision to make what I would call "the ultimate mod," laser eye surgery. While some troopers deal with wearing eyeglasses while trooping, they are not comfortable given the confines of a Stormtrooper helmet, and they can fog up easily. For five years, I endured the increasingly aggravating use of rigid gas-permeable contact lenses beneath my helmet to deal with my nearsightedness. I was always concerned with how long I would be in costume since I knew the lenses became more irritating with time, and the sweat that inevitably ran down into my eyes didn't help the situation. I inquired amongst some other trooper friends and coworkers and decided LASIK (or more specifically, IntraLASIK) would be right for me. Fortunately, my eye doctor concurred (note that not everyone is a good candidate depending on the shape and condition of your eyes). This was the first pre-meditated elective surgery I've ever had, but I don't consider it cosmetic as much as functional (pity my insurance company doesn't see it the same way). The outpatient surgery was much simpler than I thought it would be and after 20 minutes of slicing and burning my eyes (yes, there is an odor of burning eye tissue), my vision was corrected to 20/15. Surprisingly, the procedure was fairly painless and the painkillers took the edge off. However, I must admit that the first 12 hours after the surgery are not fun. Think sand in your eyes. Light...any blindingly painful and you need to force your eyelids open to administer prescription eyedrops. You may also experience some blurriness, starbursts, and halos around bright lights which can last several months. Even today, my eyes are dryer than they ever have been. While many would consider the procedure itself a bit unsettling, the end result was still the best $3000 I ever spent and just in time for my participation in the 2007 Rose Parade. Remember that LASIK is not for everyone so please consult one or more vision specialists before making the decision to have your eyes operated on!

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