On Friday I change my vision and all it took less than two hours! After years or saying I wanted to get laser eye surgery but waiting to near the ripe age of 30 so that my eyes would have a less likelihood of changing, I finally went through with it and got laser eye surgery. If you aren’t familiar, LASIK (Laser Assisted in situ Keratomileusis) is a procedure in which a ophthalmologist uses a laser to reshape the eye’s cornea in order to improve vision. Basically you can say goodbye to glasses and contacts immediately after laser eye surgery.
I decided to get the procedure done at the same place my dad and step mom got their eyes done at about a year ago. My dad offered to drive me to my appointment and I’d have to spend the night at their house in Orange County since you aren’t allowed to drive day 1 of Lasik and I’d have a follow up appointment the next day. On Friday I left work at 1 p.m., drove the 1.5 hours to my dad’s house and was in the waiting room of Excel Laser Vision Institute in Brea by 3 p.m. My dad came with me and went from room to room with me for the entire procedure. It was really comforting to have him there!
The appointment began with three tests in which I had to open my eye really wide so that they could take photos of the shape, etc of my eye. Next we moved into a room where I gave a brief medical history to the nurse as well as did a typical eye test using the chart of letters on the wall. Embarrassingly enough, my vision was SO bad going into the surgery that I didn’t even recognize the huge E at the top of the chart!!! I first got glasses for seeing the board my sophomore year of high school but I’m pretty sure I needed them way before then. Within a year or so of getting glasses I started wearing contacts regularly and my prescription got progressively worse. As of the last couple of years though, it has steadied at a nice solid -4.5 (i.e. i can see my hand in front of my face and can read up close but can’t read a single sign or see a computer screen clearly from my desk chair).
Next the doctor came in and started with a test to see if my eyes are thick enough to do the procedure. This is a deal breaker -if your eyes aren’t thick enough, you can’t have the surgery. Luckily mine were! Next we went through a routine eye exam to figure out exactly where my eyes are at so they could use the information to shape my eye during the surgery.
After that, they dilated and numbed my eyes and I signed more paperwork, got an overview of the procedure, and went over the post-operative care instructions. Soon after we were sitting in the tiny waiting area right before entering the surgery room. My hair was put into a hair net and I sat down on a chair similar to a dentists chair except it was surrounded by huge machines.
As soon as I sat down things were in motion. One eye was covered at all times and based on what I could feel, they used some device to pry my eyes open so they wouldn’t close at all during the surgery. The doctor’s soothing voice was constantly telling me to focus on the green light or red light and I could tell they were cutting a flap in my eye. At one point it went completely black and I panicked a bit thinking I had gone blind. They moved to the other eye and did the same thing and then moved back to the first eye. This time I think is when they used the laser because it smelled horrible like frying flesh (sorry gross I know!). Throughout the procedure everything was blurry and all I could do was focus on a blurry red or green light, using that as my beacon of hope that I wasn’t blind! I realized early on that I was holding my breath so I focused on taking deep breaths and getting as much air as possible. I did not feel ANYTHING during the surgery – no pain at all, yet it was highly uncomfortable and I couldn’t wait for it to be over, just because it was so disorienting and somewhat scary.
The entire thing was over in less than five minutes. I was relieved when they said I could sit up and when I did, I could see perfectly! They had taped some crazy clear eye covers over my eyes so things were a big fuzzy, but there was no pain and everything looked fine! My dad drove me home and we were back at the house just after 5 p.m. The entire process was less than two hours. I was instructed to take a long nap and if I couldn’t, I needed to at least keep my eyes shut as much as possible for the next 2-3 hours. I took a 1.5 hour nap and then talked on the phone to Mike and my Mom with my eyes shut for the next 45 minutes or so. My dad filled my prescription of eye drops and I took them starting 2 hours after the surgery every 4 hours, even throughout the night (set an alarm).
The next day I was allowed to take my eye masks off but had to continue the drops 4 times a day. I headed to my post-op appointment at 9 a.m. and was told that my eyes looked great and my vision is 15/20! I couldn’t’ believe how well I could see and how pain-free the whole experience was. The only downside was that I have some inflammation in my right eye so I have to use the anti-inflammatory drops every 2 hours and come back for another appointment on Tuesday (i.e. drive 3 hours round trip during the workday for a 10 min appointment…). But in the grand scheme of things, I couldn’t ask for an easier process to get perfect vision! This will change my life!
If you are considering laser eye surgery, a few things to think about before scheduling your appointment that I didn’t realize. First, you cannot wear contacts for 2-3 days before your surgery so be prepared to wear glasses for those days. You can’t wear make-up or use lotion the day of your surgery. Also, you can’t wear eye make-up for 2 weeks post surgery and you can’t swim for 2-4 weeks (includes hot tubs). You have to wear the eye masks for 2 weeks and do the drops 4 times a day for one week. I can exercise but nothing too sweaty and I need to wear a sweat band while I do so to avoid sweat getting in my eyes. Laser eye surgery definitely will impact your life for a few weeks but not too significantly and it’s totally worth it for the amazing vision it produces!
Have you had laser eye surgery? If not, do you want to get it? Or are you blessed with perfect vision?!