Wednesday, January 25, 2012

LASIK Surgery

When I first heard of LASIK surgery I wanted nothing to do with it.  The last thing I wanted was to shoot a laser in my eye.  Over the years I had some friends go through it and they all had different experiences, but in the end no one lost their eye sight or had a major complication and didn’t recommend it.

The first person I knew that had LASIK was a co-worker that had it done back in the 90’s at the Hale Laser Vision Center.  Two more co-workers recently had it done at Hale as well and highly recommended it.  My eye doctor also only recommends Dr. Hale, so there was no question where I would go.

The day of surgery I was told to eat a light lunch because they give you valium and you don’t want a full stomach.  Honestly, I really wasn’t that hungry anyways, just nervous, so I didn’t eat much at all.  Mom was my driver and we arrived at Hale at 2:00pm.  Shortly after I started getting a headache (probably from not eating enough) and they took me away to another room where I was given the valium and antibiotic eye drops. 

While waiting for the valium to kick in another patient was brought in from finishing her surgery.  They closed a curtain so I couldn’t really see her, but I heard her say how cool the surgery was.  I was pretty nervous still, but I figured I came this far I really couldn’t back out anymore.

Next it was my turn… Oh crap! 

So they take me into the room with the lasers (one for making the flap and one for the correction).  I laid down and they gave me a small teddy bear to hold.  I said that the bear might be missing it’s head by the end of the surgery from me squeezing it!  They gave me some numbing eye drops and then put me in position.

WARNING!!! The next two paragraphs may make you squeamish.

First up is making the flaps.  They covered my left eye and put in a holder to keep my right eyelids open.  Then they put a suction ring on my eye to firm it up, which doesn’t hurt, but you can feel the pressure.  To make they flap you look at a red light and they use the laser to make about 200,000 small bubbles in a circular pattern (kind of like perforated paper).  It doesn’t hurt and it isn’t burning my eye, but it makes a smell that your brain perceives is burning, so that is really weird. The flap is still intact at this point, but everything looks very hazy.  They take out the eyelid holder and switch everything around for the next eye.

Now it’s time for the laser that does the correction.  Before the surgery I went in and had multiple maps of my eyes taken so the laser knows what to do.  They put the eyelid holder back in and make you look at the red light again.  Dr. Hale used some tool to open the flap which makes the red light about ten times larger and more hazy.  During the correction they tell you how many seconds you have left.  If you would take your eye off the red light the laser immediately turns off.  The right eye took 16 seconds and the left took 15 seconds.  After that they put the flap back and he used a small sponge to make sure it isn’t wrinkled. 

Then I was taken out of the room and given a pain pill and more eye drops.  They sent me home with more eye drops and a schedule of when to use them, sunglasses for the ride, more pain pills if I would need them, eye shields to wear while sleeping so I wouldn’t rub my eyes in my sleep and 2 sleeping pills.  The ride home was horrible.  My headache was still there, everything was hazy and my stomach was doing flips the whole way (I think it was motion sickness). 

As soon as I got home I took the sleeping pill and put on the eye shields.  I got in bed and was sleeping on and off for a while and then checked the clock.  It had been 45 minutes and they said to take the other sleeping pill if I wasn’t sleeping in 30 minutes, so I did.  I then slept until my alarm went off the next morning.  I had a 8:45am eye appointment to see how I was doing.  Mom gave me a ride to that which I was grateful for since the sleeping pills were still in my head.  At my appointment the doctor checked my vision and it was 20/20!  

For the next week I had to continue wearing the eye shields at night and use all the eye drops they gave me.  Every hour I wasn’t using the eye drops I had to put in artificial tears.  It has now been 3 weeks and I am happy to say that it truly is the best thing.  I even went today and got my new drivers license so it doesn’t say I need corrective lenses anymore.  My biggest problem with the whole thing is that I still think I need to take out my contacts every night!


juli said...

I so want to do this but honestly just reading that made me want to throw I just keep thinking I know everyone's went well but I will be that "1" who comes out blind. ugghhhh maybe I just need to take a valium to make the appt, valium the morning of to get in the car and then another once I get wish I could just suck it up and do it :) Happy it turned out great for you!!

carolea said...

That is quite a procedure. I'm happy you are satisfied with the results. Life without glasses or contacts must be wonderful.