Monday, July 23, 2007

Seeing Eye Human

I've had alot of questions now about my lasik experience, so I thought before I forgot what the procedure was like I'd write it down. I told a bit a couple of blogs ago, but this will be more detailed, so if you can't stomach eye information, then don't read this. Anyway, here goes: I had my surgery done at 7:30 or so in the evening. In retrospect, I'm really glad it was scheduled so late because apparently the eye will heal more quickly if you go home and nap for 4 or more hours. I'm not a nap person, but you are given a Valium before the surgery and Chris gave me his Ambien, so I slept right through the night (13 hours to be exact). You must have someone stay with you and drive you home afterwards which is rather nice as it can be slightly nerve wracking to wait for 2 hours before you get to go in. You are asked to sign consent forms detailing all the things that can go wrong which I'd previously read, but didn't want to read 10 minutes before they beamed my eyes. I took my valium in front of one of the staff, and then I went to a little waiting room until they called my name. By the time I was called, the Valium had begun to take effect, and I felt wonderfully detached from the situation. But, as soon as I laid down on the bench under the laser, I got a bit nervous. They were very good about telling me what they were doing which was nice since the first thing they did was tape back my eyelashes and then cover one eye all I could see was straight above me. Lots of numbing eyedrops helped, but the skin around your eye still has sensation, so I could feel the device they used to hold my one eye open. I was then asked to focus on a red flashing light and told that I would see other lights, but to focus on this one. Of course, once you're told not to look at something, all you want to do is look at it (at least I do). The worst part of the whole process is when they place the suction on your eye (which I'm told is when the laser makes the cut and creates the flap), and you are told that you'll lose vision. It isn't for long, but long enough so that you wonder if you'll regain vision when its over. The pressure they apply is uncomfortable, almost painful, but completely bearable. The 2nd worst part of the procedure is the vibration around your eye which doesn't hurt but is such an odd feeling I was glad I didn't have more than 2 eyes (those of you with 3 eyes--I'm very sorry). The laser portion which is reshaping the eye isn't accompanied with any feeling, but you can smell it while its working. Similar to a hot iron. After that you are given lots more drops, and then the process is repeated on the next eye. I don't think I was under the laser for more than 10 minutes, so it is a very quick surgery. They have monitors so that those waiting can see the whole process being done. Chris said it was the most disgusting thing he'd ever seen.

Afterwards, two clear plastic shields are placed over both eyes with tape. My eyes were very blurry but I could already see better. They give you multiple instructions regarding drops: an anti-inflamatory drop & antibiotic 4 times daily and lubricating drops every hour for 3 weeks! Sound like a lot of drops? It is. But as I discovered the day after, the drops feel good because your eyes are so dry that you look forward to it. After the surgery you go home, sleep, and the next morning remove the shields. And you can certainly tell the difference! I could see great out of my left eye (which happened to be the worst one before). My right eye was a bit fuzzy.

I went back the next day for a follow up and was told it was completely normal for eyes to change up to a week. The doctor said tomorrow could be totally different with my left eye being fuzzy and my right very clear. After being given more warnings to take my drops every hour, the doctor pronounced that my eyes looked good. Best of all I was seeing almost 20/15!

At night you have to wear goggles so that you don't rub your eyes while you sleep. These take a bit of getting used to. Before bed you are instructed to take the 3 different kinds of drops so when you wake up your eyes are caked shut. You aren't allowed to wipe around your eyes or touch anywhere close to them, but I don't like going around looking like I have sleep in my eyes, so I tried to get most of it off. You also have to be careful with face lotion and makeup and you can't put any pressure on your lids at all.

By the 2nd day, post-op, both my eyes were the same, and I was seeing very clearly. Much more sharply than I ever saw with contacts (I had astigmatism that my contact didn't correct). Everything looked so pretty to me I couldn't believe that's how sharply most people see. My eyeballs hurt a little when I'd look up or down, almost as though my eye muscles were sore (which perhaps they were), but as of day 3, that feeling was gone. When I wake up my eyes hurt from being so dry and this morning they were slightly blurry although that has cleared up now. I've noticed some glaring off cars or bright objects and at night, which I read was normal. Hopefully that clears up soon. The most annoying thing is having to take drops every hour. But, that's a small, insignificant price to pay to be able to see. Thank you, Chris, for insisting that I get Lasik! And, for being such a good caretaker afterwards. : )

1 comment:

J. and C. said...

I went several years without wearing glasses (even though I knew I needed them -- hmm... not sure now what my rationale was.) Anyway, I finally got them and for the first time (had glasses previously; just didn't wear them very muich) had my astigmatism corrected, and I had the same amazement at how clear the world is! Now that I know what I was missing, I don't know why it took so long.

Ok... don't know why I felt it important to share this. Just thought you should know. :)