I got my first pair of glasses when I was in second grade. Putting them on changed everything. I was surprised to find with normal vision you could actually see the leaves on a tree!
I continued to get more and more powerful lenses as the years past. One of my eye doctor's said I had 'BIG E' vision, because I was unable to make out even the largest E on the eye chart. I was pretty near sided -- 20/400.
Note the was. For now I am glassesless, thanks to Lasik Eye Surgery. Woo.
So the first step in Lasik Eye Surgery (once they've declared you are a valid candidate and they are sure your eyes aren't changing anymore) is to take some Valium... that way you don't go nuts. I was immensely calm the whole day, and while I actually found the entire Lasik process far more interesting than terrifying, I'm sure the Valium helped!
Then I'm lead into Room 1. This thing has a giant device which I'm to stick my eyes into so that they can be mapped. Basically, the computer looks at the my retina and creates a map which is used to tell the laser what to do to reshape the eye correctly.
Enough boring stuff...
Finally it's surgery time. Three people are there, the eye doctor and two assistants. One of them was there to basically keep my eyes wet during the surgery (as you can't blink.) They drop some stuff in my eye to numb all the nerves.
You know those scary alien abduction movies?? Where they do all kinds of crazy experiments to some poor human and they use this reverse clamp to hold open the poor guy's eye?
They've got that.
So now that my eye is stuck open they place this crazy eye cutting robot thing. It basically suctions onto the eye (it attached so hard that it broke a blood vessel in one of my eyes) and there's a camera or some sort of sensor so that it can track subtle eye movement. Then a cutting blade slices a near complete circle around the cornea of my eye. It sort of sounds like a tiny electric saw.
They remove the eye-slicebot and my doctor warns me. "When I flip back your cornea your vision will be extremely blurry. Don't worry, it's normal."
Holy shit. See, I'm focused on a small red LED and when they flipped the cornea back that light became so out of focus that it spread to cover my entire range of vision is a soft fuzzy orange glow. It was sorta like being underwater... but that's also inaccurate. I mean - I had bad vision, the BIG E, but this was unbelievable.
And it's finally time for the Lasers! I really have no idea what's going on at this point as I'm basically blind, but they start firing a laser into the back of my eyeball, reshaping it based on the map they created earlier. The Laser sounds incredible loud though, I assume that anyone waiting in the lobby would be slightly terrified from it.
They flip the cornea back, drop some other stuff in my eye and take five. And then they do it all again.
All in all it was very cool, and 100% pain free (well, except the numbing eye drops, there was a mild sting.)
The recovering process, though, is quite annoying. For the first day I just slept. The surgery was quite exhausting I guess, and the Valium was still in my system. And you have to wear these ridiculous eye covers for a week because rubbing your eyes will totally fuck things up.
One guy was driving his car while attempting to put in this antibacterial you get post-op. Shit happened and he ended up stabbing his eye with the tip of the dropper and pushing his cornea out of place! There was nothing they could do to fix it :/
I actually ended up going back six months later for a touch up, since my vision wasn't quite where I had hoped it would be. The process was identical except for one key step. Instead of using the robot to slice my cornea, they just found the old cut.... WITH TWEEZERS! He literally used small metal tweezer and manhandled the cornea lose.
I'll admit.. that got to me a bit.
But now my vision is 20/15+2 and I can watch TV in bed!