Friday, March 16, 2012

My LASIK Experience

For my LASIK procedure I went to Travers LASIK in Raleigh, North Carolina (it's about an hour and fifteen minutes from where I live). I had an initial consultation where they used about 6 different machines to test different things about my eyes, and then they dilated me (a LOT - I was so dilated I had to take my glasses off to read) and gave me an eye exam. Then one of the office assistants rushed me through the set-up process and wrote me prescriptions for eye drops and some valium and she scheduled me for surgery. I scheduled it out 2 weeks and that day was one week ago today. 

The day of surgery I arrived on time and shooed the husband and the kiddo out the door because I had been told that you're in the office for about 2 hours on the day of your surgery. They were running behind and said they'd had some tough cases but they bought pizza for the people waiting (in my perfect world they would have ordered from Zpizza which has gluten free vegan pizza crusts, but it was Papa John's). 

Eventually they took me back and tested me on some of the machines again and then it was back to the waiting room. Around 6:20pm they ushered me into a pre-op room with 2 chairs and a TV and they put a hair cover on me. (Not so gorgeous picture incoming today or tomorrow) Around that time I got a little freaked out and I text messaged the husband an update and he replied that they'd already called him to come pick me up. Someone came back and had me take off my glasses and take a valium (they said I didn't have to but I thought it was a good idea cause I was freaked out) and they brought me into a mostly dark room with the laser machines. Everything was blurry and the machines made funny noises and I was definitely a bit scared. They had me lie down and they put a patch of gauze over my right eye and they taped up my left lid and then they put the eye equivalent of a speculum into my eye to hold it open. The next bit is a blur - literally and figuratively - but there was pressing down on my face, flashing red and green lights and the incessant need to blink. I spent some time asking myself why I couldn't just put up with my contacts and then spent a lot of time thinking about the kiddo's cute face. When she did the second eye she moved the patch to the first eye and did whatever. At a certain point I realized what she was doing - that the tickle around my eye was her opening my corneal flap - and I repeated to myself that I did not need to know what she was doing. The second eye went faster because I'd sort of felt what I needed to do, and then they taped the clear covers over my eyes. (I described the experience on facebook as what happens after one is abducted by aliens:)

I walked into the waiting room fine and followed my husband and kid out the door and got into the car . . . and then I got the flush that comes when I feel the need to throw up and I made him pull over (we blame the valium - I don't do heavy meds). Then we left to drive home and almost got T-boned by some jerk who ran a red light (if I had gotten killed after getting LASIK I would have been so ticked off). We got home and I went right to bed in my clothes (it was 8:30pm). I woke around 10:30pm and was freaked out by the feeling (this was the hardest part not including the surgery, which wasn't actually hard - but I like a hand hold when I'm freaked out and there was no one to hold my hand since my husband had to stay with the kiddo). I reminded myself that you're supposed to sleep the first 5-6 hours after surgery and told myself that I could freak out if I woke at 12:30am and still hurt. 

I woke up at 6:15am, just under 12 hours from when I had my surgery, and at first I was mad cause things were blurry. And then I realized that while things were blurry, it was more of a haze around things and that I could actually SEE without my glasses. I also realized that my eyes felt fine. And here I am one week later and I can see. To me the weirdest part is not taking my contacts out at night - I feel like since I can still see then I must have forgotten to take my contacts out, but they aren't there! 

Okay, so what does it feel like - does it hurt? No, it never hurt. It was, and is (the eye drops sting) uncomfortable, but no actual pain. You know when you get an eyelash or something in your eye and it feels like it hurts too much to blink or open your eye or close your eye? That's how it felt those first few hours. My eyes watered endlessly. The eye drops I take 4 times a day for the first week sometimes sting a lot. My biggest concern now is that I am a big eye rubber - I rub my eyes hard and a LOT and I'm scared to this day that I'm going to open the flap (they said I'd have to rub hard to do that though and I'm doing a good job at remembering that whenever it hurts, just drop in some eye drops).

So. Am I glad I did it? Definitely. Do I wish it had cost less? Definitely :D But one doesn't actually want to get cheap LASIK. I'm most excited that I get to go to the pool with the kiddo and not freak when I get pool water into my eyes with my contacts. 

If you have questions, let me know! 

eta: I was 20/400 before and now I'm 20/20 


Gina Guillotine said...

HUGE Congratulations to you in taking this plunge!!! I'm so happy for you.

and a little jealous...

My vision is 20/400, too, or worse. And I have to wear bifocals, but I get the no-line kind so no one can tell. At 45 you don't want lines in your glasses!

I want to undergo this procedure SO MUCH for the same reasons you did. You just want to SEE!! Or at the very least, have a weaker eyeglass prescription!!

My optometrist said that I'd still have to use reading glasses, and that would be OK with me because i'd be able to see everything else all the time.

Did your optometrist tell you the same thing mine did? Mine said that in order to tell if you're a good candidate for it, you have to have the same prescription for one year with no changes.

They also said that since I have an astigmatism in my right eye (which is worse now than it was two years ago----my right eye is nearly UNCORRECTED right now the prescription has changed so drastically), I might not be a good candidate for this procedure.

It's beyond depressing to have those strikes before officially undergoing testing/examinations/etc to see if I could benefit.

Everyone says it's the best thing they've ever done, though, so good for you in going through with it. I really am happy for you! This is awesome.

Sarah said...

I actually had an astigmatism in my right eye too, but i've always been told it's so slight that wasn't really worth correcting with astigmatic contact lenses. They did say my Rx had to have been relatively stable but I know that it was and they checked back in my Rx history a couple of years. Someone on the PPK was told that the corneal flap type lasik wouldn't work for them but the other kind would - PRK I think? There's a good video explanation of the two on my LASIK doc's site.

And thanks!! It is pretty awesome :)

Travers LASIK said...

Thanks for your kind words! We are going to link to your blog on our new website!

We're also including a link to our Facebook page, so people can read/share their experiences as well!

Thanks again!

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