LASIK AAR – HOLY COW I CAN SEE
Posted by Lissa on January 16, 2010
It’s hard to explain what it’s like to be severely myopic. If you have myopia, you get it; if you’ve always had perfect vision, you might not understand. They do say a picture is worth a thousand words; let me show you how I saw without contacts/glasses:
Vision-challenged people know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’ve never needed glasses, you wouldn’t need a spare set of contacts and/or glasses when going overnight (because if you lost a contact you’d need a spare to drive home). I remember the horror of swimming class, in junior high — awful enough on its own, believe me — but you can’t swim with contacts in (they float away) so I’d have to stumble out to the pool almost blind.
Here’s what my living room looks like now, without contacts/glasses:
As of this morning’s appointment, I have 20/20 in my left eye and 20/25 in my right eye, both of which should continue to improve over the next couple days. I AM SO PLEASED.
That being said . . .yeah, the surgery was pretty unpleasant, and the recovery period directly afterward was seriously uncomfortable, but totally worth it.
So, we showed up at the place — Associated Eye Surgeons in Sandwich, MA — at 10 AM and I swallowed my Valium. It hit me surprisingly fast . . . I think around 10:15 I turned to Mike and said, “Miiiiiiiiiike . . . am I druuuuuuuuuugged?” He laughed at me a little and told me, “Yes sweetie.”
Having put on my snazzy, snazzy foot accessories —
and a lovely blue shower cap, I was ready for action.
They walked me into the room and sat me in the chair. The very nice doctor, Dr. T, and her assistant, Scott, were just as nice and as chatty as could be. They had the laser running and making a ticking sound, so that I knew what to expect when it started laser-ing.
They put in anesthetic drops — I hate those, they sting like crazy — and then used a purple marker to draw the “CUT HERE” lines on my corneas. I sat down, they tilted me backwards, and they put a shield over my left eye. They used plasticky shield-things to tape my back my eyelashes and then put the speculum in my eye. Believe it or not, it doesn’t feel that bad; the doctor explained that I could still make blinking motions and it would FEEL like I had blinked. It was odd but true; making the attempt somehow satisfied the need to blink, even though the lids were clearly not meeting.
Dr. T swung the laser into position and had me look at the red dot in the center. She then used what looked like a very fine razor blade to cut the flap in my eye; I was focusing straight ahead but could see with my peripheral vision. She asked me to memorize where the dot was, because my vision was about to go blurry. Accordingly, I stared straight ahead as the metal ring came down, vacuum suctioned to my eyeball and lifted the flap away.
You’d think I would be terrified at this point, but I just wasn’t. Between the Valium and my confidence in the doctor, I was watching the whole thing like it was a sci-fi movie.
The laser came over and went TICK-TICK-TICK, and then they put the flap back. They covered my right eye and did the same procedure on the left. (That one actually hurt; I imagine because more time had gone by since the anesthetic drops. I mentioned it to the doctor/nurse and they reassured me that it was quite common for the second eye to feel more uncomfortable, and everything was fine.)
Once finished — and the whole surgery, beginning to end, took about fifteen minutes — they sprayed off my eyes with sterile water and escorted me to a dark room, encouraging me to keep my eyes closed as much as possible. They put a pillow under my head, offered me a blanket, and let Mike in.
After twenty minutes or so, the doctor came in and checked to make sure everything was as it should be, and then we went home. I thanked the doctor, plopped the free sunglasses onto my face, and walked about the door forty-five minutes after my scheduled surgery time.
I’m not going to lie — the next few hours were pretty bad. I napped in the car, but my eyes were watering something fierce and I was severely light sensitive. (Poor Mike didn’t realize my eyes were watering; he thought I was crying from the pain.) By the time we got up to the Kitty Den it was really hard to open my eyes enough to squeeze in the two sets of eyedrops (antibiotics and anti-inflammatory). It took several tries and was pretty painful. Then, as recommended, I went to bed for a three hour nap. (Wearing sunglasses the whole time.)
Things were much better after the nap — it still felt like there was a foreign object in each eye, especially when blinking, but I was no longer in pain. On the doctor’s recommendations, I kept my eyes closed as much as possible; we put on some familiar TV shows and I opened my eyes every once in a while, but otherwise kept them closed.
But from the glimpses I snuck, I could tell the surgery had worked. I could sit in the bed and see the “Samsung” label on the dresser TV. Describing it to my mother and sister, I said that it looked as if I had contacts in, but was a little drunk; I could definitely see, but things looked not-quite-right.
This morning I woke up to Mike standing over me, holding the cat.
And I could see Rajah’s paw pads.
Thank you, sweetie, for making this happen for me, and for taking such good care of me. I’m so grateful.
I would highly, highly recommend this particular doctor for anyone considering Lasik; she was calm, competent, and had very fluid “patter.” I’m serious — the fact that the doctor and nurse talked to me the whole time and told me what was happening, what it would feel like, what it would look like, what would happen next, that I was doing great, that everything was going perfectly — it was HUGELY reassuring and helpful.
P.S. My eye looks surprisingly normal, considering it had a circular dome cut loose and completely flapped over yesterday morning: