Do not look directly at laser with single remaining eye

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I took Mrs. Guesswork to have her eyes lasered on Friday. She got ordinary LASIK in the left eye and wavefront LASIK in the right (wavefront is only approved for modest levels of correction and her left eye was too out of spec.) Gory (but cool) details after the break.

I got to watch the procedure on the closed circuit monitor and it's pretty interesting stuff. Your perspective on the monitor is straight down the bore of the laser directly onto the eye. The surgeon starts by clamping the eye open with electric droog chair type apparatus. This device that's basically a big washer on a stick is placed around the cornea. The surgeon presses on the eye to immobilize it and then uses a microkeratome to make a slice perpendicular to the main axis of the eye, almost all the way through the cornea.

At this point, everything looks totally normal, until the surgeon takes a probe and peels back the flap. It looks like he's peeling the cornea right off the eye. The surgeon then uses a UV laser to ablate sections of the cornea and reshape it to correct the defects. The laser itself is invisible, but during the procedure you can see blue flashes coming off the cornea. These could be guide lights, but my suspicion is that they're fluorescence: the cornea is absorbing in the UV and re-emitting in the visible. Throughout the entire procedure, you can hear little snaps which seem to be synchronized with the laser and are probably the pump flashlamps for the excimer laser.

Once the cornea has been reshaped, the surgeon swabs it a bit, folds the flap back, and then swabs it some more. He drops in some steroid eyedrops and you're done. The whole process took about an hour to do both eyes from start to finish. The actual surgery took about 20 with the remaining 40 or so being devoted to post-op instructions and prep. Even more amazing, there's substantial and immediate vision improvement. Before the operation, Mrs. Guesswork could barely find her glasses on the bedside table next to her (left eye -7.25, right eye -6.50). She walked out of the doctor's office without them without any externally noticeable impairment at all. Less than 24 hours later, her vision checks out at 20-20 in both eyes.

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