I'm entering my busy season and I have an intern with me Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 8am-5pm. I can't stand his ass and have decided to ignore his existence. Kind of hard to continually do so when he sits directly within 5 feet of me for most of the day but... I digress.
So! It's been over a month since my laser eye surgery. Let me try to walk you through my experience...
DISCLAIMER: This blog entry is written solely for my own personal experience with wave front Lasik. Any questions, I will try to answer to the best of my knowledge but: I AM NOT A LICENSED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR EYE DOCTOR FOR SERIOUS INQUIRES REGARDING REFRACTIVE SURGERY.
I scheduled an appointment with my optometrist back in April. I was keeping my fingers crossed because in order to even qualify for laser eye surgery, your prescription must be stable for at least 2 years. After the usual eye exam and eye dilation... that Saturday, April 23rd, my prayers were answered! My eyes finally stabilized! This was such a huuuuuuuge relief to me. I have been wearing glasses since the 4th grade. I finally got contacts sometime while I was in high school. You can only imagine how long I had been living with poor vision. However, this was only the beginning.
After being recommended to a laser eye surgeon, I would still have to undergo a series of tests to be sure that my actual eyeballs prove me to be an excellent candidate. I went to see the surgeon I was recommended to. There, at her office, I had my corneas checked out. What they tested for was to determine the thickness of my corneas and to be sure that the shape of my corneas were a-okay. Got my eyes dilated (yet again) but I passed with flying colors! The good news was that I qualified for wave front Lasik, so the next step was to stop wearing my contacts for 2 weeks. During this time, I also didn't bother to wear eye makeup. The reason why they ask you to stop wearing contacts is because wearing them can alter your corneal shape and thickness prior to the surgery. It is extremely important to follow this step because it can impact your actual surgery. I of course, experienced some dryness but that was easily remedied by using eye drops every few hours or so.
I was given a supply of Refresh Tears Lubricant eye drops but in the individual little tubes. This brand of eye drops comes highly recommended for Lasik patients due to the fact that the individual little tube ones are also preservative free. (I still love my Rhoto though!) I was also given a big bottle of vitamins that I needed to take 4 times a day. They are called HydroEye by ScienceBased Health.These vitamins were to help my eyes produce more lubrication. They were HUUUUUGE and contained some fish oil but they didn't taste like anything.
On Wednesday, May 4th, I arrived for my appointment. Again, a few tests were run on my eyes just to triple check. After that, I was given a more thorough run down of the actual surgery procedure and protocols. Drops were administered to numb my eyeballs. You read that correctly, drops were administered to numb my eyeballs. I have to say that was one of the oddest things I have ever gone through. This was to ensure that my eyes didn't move during surgery although the laser would follow. Just imagine feeling like you are trapped in your own skull...kind of felt like that? I'd see something out of the corner of my eye but if I tried to focus my vision over to the corner, I could see my eye straining and struggling. SOOOOO WEIRD.
I was walked into a room where I laid down next to a huge machine. It was dark and just a tad chilly. The staff tried to make me as comfortable as they could and explained what would happen. As one eye is covered, the machine would be lowered over the other eye and a series of bubbles would be made underneath my lens. This is to enable the laser to open a precise flap to perform the surgery. This part was probably the most painful, and it wasn't even that bad. To be honest, it felt like someone was pressing down on my eyes. I felt pressure, but that's about it. Of course, the staff did mention that it is different for everyone. After both eyes were done I stayed down and wait for the bubbles to subside. This took a few minutes, maybe three or four. Once that was done, I kept my eyes closed and the staff led me to the next room for the actual surgery.
I laid down again, and my left eye was covered. My surgeon instructed me to stare directly above into a ring of light. I had to try to focus on the light. I could hear the laser and SMELL the laser as it worked (it smelled like burnt flesh.. gross) but I couldn't feel a thing. Once my right eye was done, they moved on to my left eye. This was yet another strange feeling. I couldn't see anything, just darkness and the rings of light. I knew my eyes were open, but everything around me was black. I imagine this is what being blind is similar to. The actual surgery probably took less than five minutes total. After this, protective eye shields were taped over both eyes and I was instructed to keep my eyes closed for four hours. Once again the staff led me around but back into the main office recovery area. The staff had called a friend of mine to let him know my surgery was done and to come pick me up. My friend had to walk me up my stairs and help me get into my house. Once inside all I did was nap for four hours.
laying down waiting to get picked up after surgery...I know you're probably wondering... if a laser cut open a flap on my eyeballs, how the heck do they heal!? well, there's a thin layer of cells called epithelium that covers the surface of your cornea. After surgery, the cells grow back over the flap ;]
- Protective eye shields had to be worn to sleep for the next four nights following my surgery. Doing so prevented me scratching/rubbing my eyes in my sleep and also protected them in case I rolled over.
- shower with my eyes closed - extremely important to keep soap/shampoo/conditioner out of my eyes.
- Zymaxid - 1 drop every two hours until bedtime (next four nights)
- Pred Forte - 1 drop every two hours until bedtime (next four nights.. these eyedrops were soooo gross. I had to shake the bottle first and these drops were a milky white color. It made me look like I was crying milk out of my eyes and it left a bitter taste in my nasal passage and throat)
- Refresh Plus (the usual lubricating drops) - 1 drop every 1-2 hours until bedtime (next four nights)
- Refresh Celluvisc (a thicker version of the Refresh Plus) - 1 drop before bedtime (next four nights)
- continue regimen with the HydroEyes vitamins.
- no swimming for one week
- NO EYE MAKEUP OR EYE CREAMS ALLOWED FOR ONE WEEK
- NO RUBBING MY EYES FOR ONE MONTH
- wear sunglasses as I may experience light sensitivity.
I had a post surgery exam the next day to see how my eyes were healing. They were all good!
After that, I had a one week follow up with my optometrist. Once again, I was doing fine and she also recommended me to keep on using Celluvisc at night before I sleep. I don't close my eyes 100% when I am sleeping so I normally have dry eyes anyway. At this point I was seeing at about 15/20 vision.
On Saturday, June 11 I had my one month follow up with my optometrist. My optometrist told me my vision was better than 20/20.
To this day, I forget I had Lasik done. Sometimes before I go to bed, I catch myself thinking "okay, time to take off my makeup and remove my contacts" It's a trip waking up and seeing clearly. It's something I haven't been able to do since the 4th grade! I would have to say, getting Lasik done is one of most beneficial lifetime investments I have made so far. If you are thinking about getting this procedure done yourself, I highly recommend seeing your optometrist and I hope that this entry helped!
If you live in San Francisco and are seriously interested, I can recommend you to my eye surgeon. Please send inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org Once again, SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY. If you spam me, I will post up a m4m ad on Craigslist with your e-mail addy. I shit you not. Have a nice day.