Sunday, August 18, 2013

My LASIK Experience

I wanted to write down all about my LASIK procedure before I forgot any of the details.  First off, I am 3 days Post Op and I see PERFECT.  I am so happy with the results and so glad that I did it!  So worth every penny and the fear associated with the unknown.  Thinking about the surgery made me want to cringe, but actually going through the surgery with a Valium and numbing drops was not that bad!

So, to start out:  I've been wearing glasses since 3rd grade and contacts since 8th.  I have wanted LASIK since college, but never thought about it as a realistic option.  We finally had accrued a significant amount in our HSA this year so Jared asked me if I wanted to do it this year.  Well, he didn't have to ask me twice---I had 3 LASIK consultation appointments that week!

I initially was sold on going to one place and made a surgery appointment because they were offering it for such a good price, but the procedure they did was called Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA) or Epi-Lasek or Lasek (lots of different names for the same thing).  Essentially what they do is put alcohol on your eye, which removes the outer layer (epithelium) and then laser in your prescription, give you a contact bandage while your epithelium heals, and you lie in pain for 5 days while your eyes get better.  Most people do this method only if their corneas are too thin for regular Lasik.  Regular LASIK is where they take a blade or laser and cut a flap in your eye, peel it back, then laser your prescription, then put the flap back in place.  I knew I was a candidate for regular LASIK so thinking about doing ASA was keeping me up at night.  I talked to two friends who had done that method and they said the recovery was horrible- but they were happy with their results later.  I knew that even if I had to pay a little more, I'd rather do LASIK.

So, I chose to do my LASIK at McDonald Eye Associates in Fayetteville.  What a great decision!!! It was an amazing experience all the way through.  We did a lot of back and forth, but they actually almost matched the ASA price.  What a blessing!

I had a couple of pre-op appointments. They wanted to make sure that my prescription didn't change each time I came in.  Everything looked good and I scheduled the surgery for August 15th.  In preparation for that, I had to wear my glasses for 3 weeks.  That was NO FUN at all.  Since I was in 8th grade, the only time I've ever worn glasses was right before bed or early in the morning, so I felt like I was never really ready for the day.  I also couldn't run with my glasses on, so had to do 12 and 14 mile runs essentially blind.  The waterpark was also super fun with glasses (NOT!)  Needless to say, I was thrilled for August 15th to roll around so I could get rid of those things!

(Suz and I at a pre-op appointment.  Awesome lighting. I'm a pro.)

The morning of the surgery, I was a NERVOUS WRECK.  The worst form of torture that I can think of would be someone prying my eyes open and poking them.  But when I arrived at the clinic, my optometrist, LASIK consultant, and the surgeon all sat and talked me through everything and calmed me.  My little Valium pill also helped take the edge off, although I was expecting it to make me loopy and not care at all about what was going to happen.  Didn't work that way.  Just took the edge off.  I was VERY AWARE of what was happening during the surgery.

For the surgery, they had me lay down and gave me a blanket so I felt super comfy. They gave me numbing eye drops. I looked up at a blinking red light.  They worked on one eye at a time, so they taped down my right eye with scotch tape (fancy!) and then started in on my left eye.  The first thing they had to do was tape my eye lashes back and then insert something under my eye lids to hold my eyes open.  NOT COMFY, but not painful.  Once that was in, they basically suction cupped my eye.  That part made me lose my vision. I was most afraid of this part before the surgery started, but it wasn't bad.  I kind of liked losing my vision at that part because that is right when they did the incision to cut my flap.  Didn't mind not seeing that.  Once the flap was created, they used an instrument to pull back my epithelium.  Once that happened, my vision went a little blurry.  But all I was ever looking at was at a blinking red dot, so I didn't mind.  Then for my favorite part.  No, seriously, I thought it was cool.  THE LASERS.  It didn't really look like anything. I just felt like I was looking at a red stoplight up close.  It made a buzzing sound and it smelt like I burned my hair in a curling iron.  It lasted about 10 seconds.  And then it was done!  The surgeon kept saying, "You're doing great, almost there." and it made me laugh because I wasn't doing anything!!! I was just laying there looking at a red dot!

After the lasers, they put my epithelium back in place and sealed it. And that was that!  They switched eyes.  It was over 5 minutes later.  When I sat up after, everything looked a little foggy.  But I could see. I read the time on the clock across the room.  It was a TRUE MIRACLE.

(This is me immediately after surgery at home- not happy)

Once I got home, my eyes burned for about 20 minutes and it was no fun.  Noah was having his Kindergarten Meet the Teacher night at his elementary school and I really wanted to go and so I did--- 2 hours post op.  And it distracted my eyes from burning and by the time I got home, I was fine. I fell asleep at 8 pm that night and by the next morning, I felt great. I had a post op appointment at 7:45 am (drove myself there) and was seeing 20/20.

I am absolutely THRILLED with the results.  I would do it all again tomorrow.  It is amazing being able to see and have eyes that work perfectly!  It blows my mind that the technology exists.  I am so grateful that I was able to do it.  Waking up in the middle of the night or in the morning and being able to see is amazing. I keep feeling like I need to take my contacts out and then I remember that I don't actually have any!  Best feeling ever.

I'm excited to wake up early tomorrow and hit the ground running (literally- going running) without having to put contacts into burning eyes that are rejecting having anything go in so early.  With that in mind, I gotta go to bed!!!  Goodnight! :)

(Here I am 36 hours post op.  My right eye has a bruise (popped blood vessels) from the suction cup, but no big deal!)


Rachel said...

You know why they kept telling you good job? Because patients like me would have needed arm restraints and I would have been thrashing and biting people. Btw, go to bed, you have to get a boy to kindergarten in the morning. ;) I need to go too but I had to wait to pull my muffins out of the oven. :) And I was curious to see if I remembered my login for my forgotten blog.

Stephen Azman said...

If you are experiencing problems from LASIK surgery such as, dry eyes, halos, star-bursts, glare, blurry vision, double vision, etc.. you may want to check out the site
They specialize in the treatment of post-LASIK problems (without further surgery).

NC EENT said...

Three days post-op and you could already see perfectly? That’s amazing! It's good to know you didn’t experience much of the discomfort one usually have after surgery. Oh well, LASIK isn’t truly a scary procedure, just an hour or two of work and you’re good to go. Congrats on having a perfect vision again! Bruce @ NCEENT