I had convinced myself that it was financially reasonable, that the benefits were worth the risks, and that I really needed something to help me out; improve my life, make things easier. I also felt it was an opportune time to do it; I’m 28, young but not too young, my prescription has been stable for many years, and I happen to have the money to do it.
I have to admit I had fears. I could hear my mother in my head saying “What! Why would you do that to yourself? What if they mess up and you are blind for the rest of your life for no reason!” Those were the words of warning in my conscience saying....these are people, they make mistakes, there are cases of complications and the consent form you will have to sign are full of possible “less than ideal side effects”.
I decided to give it a try. I signed up and made an appointment to do this, I paid my deposit, everyone I have talked to that had it done said it was wonderful. I asked everyone what they had heard about it and they said it was great. I still worried about the risks.
My evaluation went well. I was determined to have thicker than average corneas; around 580microns. 500 is considered to be a safe margin, but the thicker the better. I didn’t find out why until after the surgery. I Like the orbscan they do; gives you a printout of the geography of each of your eyes. This is the file they will use to create the program for the laser to follow that corrects your specific deviations in each eye.
I tried to prepare myself for the surgery day as much as possible. Not stress myself out, get enough sleep, eat normal etc. I was worried that if I changed something maybe it would affect my eyes and make them not come out right. I do recommend getting enough sleep. I know my eyes are allot more troublesome and dry if I'm tired. Also, don’t wear any makeup, cologne, skin creams for the day of the operation. You have to go commando; they don’t want anything that could upset your eyes, get in your eyes, or make it harder for the doctor to control your eyelids.
The surgery: Saturday morning 9:30AM
I showed up a little early, there was some final paperwork to sign and fill out, then it was back to the orbscan. My doctor likes to get a second check of your eyes before the operation just to verify nothing has changed, and then its off to the prep room. The assistant led me to the prep room just down the hall (its a small facility, not much there) and sat me in a large leather chair. She wiped my eyes with iodine then I sat there with my eyes closed for a couple minutes.
As I heard the patient ahead of me being told she was all set and she walked down the hall, I was led into the operating room. The lady had me lay down on the weird chair laying down. She gave me some eye drops to numb my eyes as the doctor came over and started to get ready. They swing me under the overhang on the laser machine. There are all kinds of gadgets on this thing including some fuzzy thing that touches your nose. He took a look at my eyes and got me lined up with the microscope. Then the fun begins.
The actual operation took maybe 10 minutes. He taped my eyelids of my right eye open, then put this retainer over my eye so I couldn’t blink (just don’t try; its easier that way) and the drops kept them from drying out. Then there is this other contraption that actually goes right on your eye and suction cups onto it to hold its self in place. After that its just a very blurry dot of light, some snapping sounds as the laser fires and its done. Off to the next one right away and before you know it your standing up and walking over to the other scope for the doctor to look at the results. He literally squeegeed my right eye. I guess to get some fluid out from under the cornea? Then I was done. He handed me a pair of sun glasses, shook my hand, I thanked him and then I was the one walking down the hall back to the office.
Honestly it was too fast for me. I stood in the hall for a minute trying to absorb all that had happened and get myself together before I had to interact with people again.
Post-surgery: Saturday 12:00pm
I got in the car with my boyfriend and we started to drive back. I was fine for about 30 minutes; I had blurry vision and it was very cloudy, but didn’t hurt at all. Then the irritation started, and got worse, and got worse, then turned into mild pain. That pain and irritation got worse as we got closer to home. We had to stop at Walgreen’s to pickup my Tylenol and lubricating eye drops (you should get those first). I couldn’t wait to take the pain killer and a few minutes later when I got home I didn’t care about the rest of the world, I just wanted to lay in bed and pray the pain didn’t get worse. I had to will myself not to give into it, just stay calm and wait.
About 2 hours later, I finally fell asleep. When I woke up another 2 hours later the pain was gone. I was glad to be rid of it! So I then started my antibiotic and anti inflammatory eye drops as the lady had said. Don’t skip out on these; the eye drop regimen is a very important part of your healing and being lazy or stubborn could cause permanent damage. My vision was quite blurry and cloudy. It was weird; I could see and focus well, but it was blocked by too much light. I could tell my vision was much better if I didn’t have all the halos and sensitivity going on.
Again, get enough sleep. The last thing you want is to be tired with dry eyes wile healing from eye surgery. I noticed today my vision was clearing quite a bit. I was glad because I was secretly paranoid it was as good as it was going to get.
Day 2: Sunday
Vision improved some over yesterday. I noticed that it changes allot. Every hour can be a different performance. My left eye is clearer than the right and I still have a milky look, lots of glare from bright lights.
Day 3: Monday
Vision is kinda the same as yesterday. I hope it keeps getting better..this is NOT good enough. I had my first checkup appointment today. Doctor says I have 20/20 vision with both eyes. 20/15 in my left eye. Everything looks good. I have a large red spot in my left eye that she says will go away. I don’t see it in my vision at all.
Day 4: Tuesday
Vision cleared up some more, and less light sensitive. I have taken my sun glasses off for a couple minutes a couple times today in my office to do emails and such.
Good improvement today. I’m glad to see it getting better still. Makes me feel better knowing its going to continue to heal and get clearer. I still have quite annoying halos around lights and sometimes star bursts when they get dry.
Day 6: Thursday
Even better than yesterday. I had perfect vision for part of the day. Its still drifting around and changing every hour or so. I can tell that my left eye is still definitely better, but the difference between the two is less noticeable.
Day 7: Friday
Very good vision today. I felt more normal and was able to forget about it for a wile. I have been working all week with no problems. I finished my last prescription eye drop dose today, so I'm down to the moisturizer. I bought another big box of the disposables this afternoon as Im almost out. Its worth it; don’t skimp a few dollars on those eyes now! I am pleased with my vision now. If it didn’t get better from here I could live with it. I expect that it will though. I have been doing more research and reading about the procedures, history, results and controversies (kinda beating myself up after the fact). It looks like there have been about 5.5million procedures done in the last 18 years. About 600 of which have had complications. Some are extreme and scarey, and arrive several years after the procedure. Things like ectasia..bulging of the cornea that destroys your vision. I am scared enough to go to another eye doctor and get a second opinion of the results. I have no reason to expect a problem but im paranoid by nature.
Overall it has been a wonderful experience. The worst of it was myself scaring myself. I have 20/15 vision a week after the procedure and no pain! I don’t wear glasses anymore! No more wiping the grime off them on a hot day. No more stuffing them into my helmet when I ride my motorcycle. No more tilting my head to see someones face when I talk to them. I can drive with less blind spots. I can wear safety glasses without them fumbling over my prescription glasses.
the surgery for both eyes: $2600.00
Prescription eye drops: $122.00
Disposable eye drops: $49.00
Not bad compared to some of the prices I have read many other people paid. It is a low average price I would say.
Don’t rub your eyes! Everyone heals differently. There is a chance your corneas may heal very slowly or never heal completely. Don’t rub your eyes and reopen the flap that was cut. Recorded cases of this have resulted in serious complications and possible connections to ectasia. Just don’t do it. Your doctor should check your healing with the yellow dye; they should be able to see how your healing is going.
2 Weeks post-surgery:
Results are very good at this point. I still reach up to adjust my glasses sometimes haha! this reminds me to use my eye drops..My vision is not as good in the morning, seems to get better as I wake up. This was normal when I wore glasses as well. I have noticed that I am forgetting about my eyes more often. Its not always on my mind. I have also started weaning myself off the sunglasses. I wear them during the day if I am outside or driving, but other than that they get left at my desk. I am less sensitive to the light now also. My doctor recommended I still use them outside for a wile to avoid possible post-Lasik swelling from UV light. Overall I am pleased. My left eye is still clearer than the right, although I am seeing 20/15 with each eye. I am confident I will get used to the difference in sight. I still have those halos around bright lights sometimes. I notice that the traffic lights are crisp, but have a cloud of fuzzy light around them. Kinda odd, but it happens less often. I think this is due to the healing process? Dead cells being removed and new ones bridging the gap cause the change in vision hour-to hour? Good luck to everyone! I am happy with my results and I wish luck to everyone else looking to improve their lives as well.