While I would have been perfectly able to write this up the day of, or day after, my procedure, I decided to wait until I got to work on Monday. Honestly, I was lazy and I wanted to have something to distract me from work.
As my regular readers will know I was very anxious about this. I really wanted to get it done but I was terrified. I was scared I would pass out and go into convulsions more than I was afraid of the actual procedure. I perhaps over-researched, perhaps not. Either way I am glad I did it.
Going in on Thursday morning my stomach was in knots. I thought I would pass out in the car I was so nervous. I got to the office, filled out my paperwork, did another quick eye test to make sure they had my prescription spot on (they did) and then I was able to take my Valium. They allowed me to let someone else go before me while I let it kick in a while.
I honestly didn’t feel like it was working, but I think it was. When they came to see if I was ready or if I wanted someone else to go before me I said I was ready.
First they put one of those hats on me that you see patients wear on TV. I laid down on a bench that was tipped slight down on the side where my head goes. I remember thinking that was a good thing—the blood would rush to my head and maybe stop me from passing out. I needn’t have worried.
They put the numbing drops in my eyes and I felt them acting almost immediately. It is one of the weirdest sensations. Your eyes feel heavy, and yet you feel nothing touching them, it is almost impossible to describe. They put a black plastic patch over my left eye and then put the clear plastic suction ring on my right. The doctor spoke to me through the whole thing. “Suction now, you’re doing great, just a few seconds. Everything will go black, that’s normal, just relax.” Everything did go black.
The ring itself didn’t hurt, even though I knew from my research that it was probably squeezing my eyeball into the shape of a green grape. The discomfort came when the laser actually goes down on the suction ring. It is a large amount of pressure around your eye socket.
I’ve heard different things from different people about the feeling of this. Some have said everyone who says it doesn’t hurt is lying and it hurts, while some clearly say it does not hurt. I personally think this is probably due to each individual’s pain tolerance. But let me put it this one: however bad it hurt, it wasn’t bad enough to bruise me. And my eye was actually not as red as pictures I’ve seen of others. Personally I didn’t feel like it hurt. It was uncomfortable, but I wouldn’t describe it as painful.
They did the same procedure to the other eye. This part took less than a minute for both eyes. The doctor was quick and gentle. They kept my eyes lubricated the entire time. This was the part that cuts the flap on your cornea. I then had to get up, walk over to another bench and lie down.
This is the one that actually lasered your eye. I knew from videos of the procedure that the doctor uses what looks like a needle without a point to lift the flap up, but I couldn’t see what was happening. I saw movement above me, but it always looked like it was happening several inches above me, rather than to my actual eye.
The laser itself was weird. I couldn’t feel it, but I could smell it. They say that is the smell of the laser burning your tissue, and that may be the case, but it smelt more like burning rubber or hair than burning flesh (not that I know what burning human flesh would smell like). It wasn’t bad, and it didn’t last long. It didn’t make me sick or uncomfortable.
The lasering lasted maybe 20 seconds each eye. My prescription wasn’t insane, I think -1.75 in my worst eye? So it didn’t take long for me. Apparently some people can take over a minute per eye. All told however I was probably in the operating room for less than 5 minutes total.
I was given prescriptions for 2 types of drops, antibiotics, and steroids. These are to be put in 4 times a day, so I do breakfast, lunch, dinner and before bed. I put one in first, wait 5 minutes, then do the other drops. I also got lubricating drops. I am supposed to put these in every hour at least (more on that in a second), and Hydro Eye pills of some sort. The pills I take 2 with lunch and 2 with dinner.
I also have to wear plastic shields over my eyes while sleeping, and wear sunglasses when I go outside during the day no matter if it’s cloudy or sunny.
The day of my surgery I got to the car fine. I could already tell I could see perfectly just in that short trip, but when I got to the car (my mom drove) I closed my eyes, leaned back, and basically napped the whole drive home. The doctor said to take another Valium when I got home and take a nap for 3-4 hours, so I did.
From the time I closed my eyes in the car until the time I woke up from my nap any time I tried to open my eyes tears would pour out. I think that may be the reason they want you to use lubricating drops and take dry eye pills, because I am pretty sure I used up all my own tears in that 4 hours after the surgery, because it was literally a river every time I opened my lids.
That Friday went by fine. I used me drops every hour and did as I was told. I felt some stinging in the left eye (my worse eye as far as sight was pre-lasik) and it constantly felt like something was in my eye. The doctor at my post-op that day said it’s normal, that I was probably feeling the flap and it’s fine. That feeling persisted until I woke up Sunday morning and was gone.
Something new started on Sunday however. My left eye became unbearably dry and it seemed like the more drops I put in the worse it got. I tried putting in drops constantly but it didn’t seem to help.
My right eye is perfect, little to no dryness or discomfort. My left eye is having some dryness issues. I find though that it actually feels better after a while if I don’t put drops in. So I went back to just putting drops in every hour, suffering through maybe 5 minutes of dry discomfort a bit after putting the drops in, and then the rest of the hour is fine. When it starts feeling dry again I put in drops. So it isn’t exactly every hour, it’s more like just when my eye starts feeling dry.
But aside from the dryness of my left eye, everything else is perfect. Lights do have halos around them, its where the light kind of bleeds out around the edges. It’s not terrible or even noticeable most of the time. I haven’t tried driving at night yet.
The last issue is the urge to rub my eyes. It gets really strong sometimes and I just need to fight it. I was someone who rubbed their eyes a lot before this, it was a habit that I now have to forcefully break because obviously I can’t rub my eyes. I am trying to just keep my hands away from my face in general.
During the exam at my post op they told me I have 20/20 vision. I wasn’t sure if maybe it might even be better than that because I had zero trouble reading the line of letters they put up and feel like they could have been smaller and I’d still have been able to see it. But that’s okay, I am content with my 20/20 vision.
It was a huge success, recovery is proving mostly painless and quick, though one of the drops I take leaves an awful taste in the back of the throat. I am glad I did this and glad it went so well.