So, as promised, I'm going to blog about my LASIK experience! Yesterday, April 30th, I went in for my LASIK surgery which was scheduled for 10AM. I arrived at the Laser One LASIK center on Park Ave around 9AM where I was walked through my post-op care step by step. I have to say, the staff there was really friendly and reassuring - something you really want because surgery in general is really intimidating. And, with LASIK, it's kind of scary because you're messing with your eyes!
Anyway, once I was there, I had another quick exam on my eyes to make sure that the notations that they made a month and a half before (although you don't have to wait that long between the exam and the actual surgery) hadn't changed. After two brief exams, I was given booties to cover my feet and a cap to cover my hair before I was led to OR - which was really chilly by the way so definitely accept the blanket when it's offered to you! Probably the only most nerve wracking thing is the waiting...because once you get started...it all moves pretty quickly.
The whole operation takes roughly 30 minutes, with 20 of those 30 minutes devoted to prepping the eye and verifying the calculations on the lasering machine before they get started. So when I first entered the OR, I was put on the operating chair - it reclines; and then given a blanket. I was also given the choice between hugging a teddy bear or these soft stress balls. I opted for the stress balls - and trust me, it's a good idea to take them just because, it gives you an outlet for your energy when you go through the procedure. Then I was given a series of antibacterial drops to clean the eye area as well as numbing drops.
I always find the numbing drops a bit wierd, because your lids feel heavy but your eyes feel nothing - so strange. Anyway, I was left to sit for a few minutes (5 maybe?) while the drops took effect. Then the prepping began! They covered my left eye while they prepped my right eye. First, they taped down my eyelashes - not an entirely uncomfortable feeling - but strange anyway. Then it was on to more drops to ensure that my eye was properly numbed. Then they put (and I don't even know how to explain it because this will sound horrific when it really wasn't) these spreader type wire clamps between my eye and eyelids (both upper and lower) to keep me from blinking and moving my eye more than necessary. No lie, this is THE most uncomfortable feeling you're going to experience in the prep stage. It's not to the point of pain, but it feels really unpleasant and takes a moment to adjust to this.
So, once you're eye is properly prepped, the fun begins lol. I was instructed to continue to focus my eyesight on the blinking orange light from the larger machine. First, my doc made a few markings on my cornea, outlining where the cuts were to be made and where to re-lay the flap. Then came the suction portion (read as an unpleasant experience). Thankfully, my doc talked me through the entire thing - but it's still a pretty unpleasant experience. This suction instrument is placed around the cornea and then it sucks on (literally) and you lose vision for a brief period (like literally seconds) from the pressure of the suction instrument while the flap is being created (so no...you don't see your eye being cut & thank God for that!). Then the suction is removed and the doc lifts the flap (which you see - it's freakishly wierd but cool at the same time.
Your vision gets obviously fuzzier (fyi I was really nearsighted...like on the -7 level) when the flap is lifted. Then the doc does some swabbing and rinsing to clean up the eye before the lasering begins. I was always told that the average laser time was around 30 seconds for most people...for my right eye, it was 47 seconds because of my extreme nearsightedness. It's wierd, because you can just barely see the laser working across your eye (it's a blue laser incase your curious!). But, once it's done, the doc returns the corneal flap to its original position and smooths it down so that it's a nice secure flap.
The flap heels on its own, so basically he just did some rinsing and smoothing - no stitches needed. Interestingly enough, once the flap was back down, I was able to see the orange blinking light that I had been staring at non stop for the past few moments much more clearly. Then it was time to remove those wire clamps and the tape that had been covering my eyelashes. The tape hurt when it came off (yikes! but I don't think that I lost any eyelashes!). Then I was given the antibiotic and steriod drop as well as this gel before I was instructed to keep my eye closed while they worked on the left eye.
The left eye was the same routine except that for some reason it was slightly more uncomfortable than the right eye. Probably five minutes were spent on each eye. Happily once the procedure was over...I could already tell that my eyesight was wayyy better than my original measurements. I could see the grid in the air conditioning duct above the operating area and I could clearly read the numbers on the clock across the wall. Then the doctor did a final post op exam to make sure that the flap was laid down properly.
So, I was instructed to go home and sleeep for 4 - 6 hours and then take a series of drops for the next four hours and lubricating drops every hr that I was awake. So, I got home around 12:30, and after lunch I went to be by 1pm. After waking up around 4:30, my vision was definitely better. I could clearly see everything. And for the most part, I felt like when I used to wear contacts and wear them too long. Where I could still see everything clearly but that it was a little cloudy from dryness.
The next day:
I had to go in for my post op exam. It was actually quite brief - barely 20 minutes. Everything is healing nicely and I'm due for another exam next Tuesday. My visionis improved - but I definitely still need the rewetting drops since my eyes feel dry. So, no make up til next Thursday, no rubbing my eyes for two weeks.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the results...being able to go back to normal life after just one day is phenomenal. My vision is supposed to fluxuate for the next week/week and a half but I love the results so far!