Mark Twain once remarked that "You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
If I could be so bold, I would counter Mr. Twain that neither can you completely depend on your imagination when your eyes are out of focus.
I started wearing corrective lenses when I was around 8 or 9 years old. Glasses, at first, then later, contacts.
Not the soft, gas permeable kind: the hardcore glass ones.
The ones that, when you got a speck of dirt underneath one of those lenses, the world stopped until you could get that sucker out of your eye and cleaned out.
When I first attended college at New York University, I used to wear those glass contacts while zipping around the streets of New York City as I worked part time as a bike messenger.
There was nothing like barreling down 5th Avenue and having a smog particle get under those glass contacts.
Later in life, I would get soft contact lenses, generally wearing those during the day, then taking them out late in the afternoons to be replaced by glasses in the evenings.
For me, contacts and glasses became a sort of ritual. Whenever I packed for a business trip, I always had to make sure I had an extra contacts case, a spare set of lenses, my glasses, solutions, etc.
Whenever I went out for a long evening, I'd have to make sure if my contacts were still in, that I took my contacts case and pair of glasses so I could switch out when my contacts had worn out their welcome.
In short, I had to always plan my life around my eyes.
Yesterday, that all went away. Goodbye, and good riddance.
For those of you who so kindly checked in on me via Facebook and email as to how I was doing and how the LASIK procedure went yesterday, let me answer the question this way:
It was awesome and I am great, thank you for asking.
As I explained to a friend on the phone last night, on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the worst, my sleep apnea surgery two years ago was a 9 or 10 in terms of pain and discomfort, and LASIK is a 1.
And in any case, whatever minor discomfort I got from having my eyes lasered on for a lightning quick 15 minutes was more than made up for this morning when I woke up and gazed out upon a brilliantly crisp, gorgeous and crystal clear downtown Austin skyline for the first time with my new eyes.
The Texas Capitol never looked so gorgeous, and I realized what a remarkable gift I have been given.
Though there are risks with this procedure, and you'd be wise to study up on them beforehand, I can only give the procedure, and Dr. Steven Dell, the highest recommendation.
There's also a business lesson in all this.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I won the LASIK procedure through a sweepstakes that I hadn't even known I was entering.
I had responded to a business reply card from Dr. Dell's office, which was intended to drive qualified prospects to his office for an initial consult for those interested in learning more about the procedure.
To be sure, not having to pay for the procedure made it an easier decision. However, like so many others I've spoken with, I had great fears and trepidations about someone getting anywhere close to my eyes with a laser.
Warranted or not, those fears were real. I had already been to one educational session about LASIK at another office here in Austin, and those doctors did not adequately address those fears. I walked away.
At Dr. Dell's office, during the first consult, I asked endless questions, wanting to know as much as possible about the science behind the procedure, the potential risks, the actual odds of something going wrong...you name it, I asked about it.
Dr. Dell and his staff answered those questions with professionalism, kindness, and patience, and it was with great confidence in he and his staff that I walked into that room with those scary looking, monstrous laser machines.
The lesson: No matter what your line of business, understanding and addressing your customer's fears with kindness and understanding ultimately leads to a happier customer and a more mutually satisfying transaction, which in turn leads to more customers.
I will tell everybody who will listen what a great experience I had at Dr. Dell's and what a marvelous thing it is for my world to so suddenly have come into clear focus.
I already am.
Seeing is believing.
P.S. I would be remiss if I didn't point out that I and everyone else who has had LASIK surgery was the beneficiary of IBM Research. It was IBM engineer Rangaswamy Srinivasan who first discovered in 1981 that ultraviolet excimer lasers could be used to etch living tissues, and who in 1983 collaborated with an opthalmic surgeon to use ablative photodecomposition (APD) for surgery of a cornea.