Thank you so much for all your kind messages about my LASIK surgery. I am happy to report that now at a week plus post-op I am doing great and I have 20/20 vision! Many of you asked me what it was like to have LASIK, so I’ve decided to do a special Saturday post and give a little insight into what it’s like!
Before you can have LASIK you need to visit your eye doctor. He/she will check your prescription and let you know if they think it is stable enough (at least 1 year with no Rx change) to consider having the surgery. If your Dr. gives you the OK, you can then schedule a consultation with a LASIK surgeon. Prior to this appointment you will have to stop wearing contacts for at least two weeks (as they can alter your corneas) so that you can have several scans and tests performed that will measure all sorts of things about your eyes — shape, thickness, eye pressure, etc. The surgeon will use the results to determine if you are a suitable LASIK candidate. If the surgeon thinks your results are good, then you’re given the green light to schedule your surgery!
2 weeks pre-surgery
You must stop wearing your contacts 100% at least 2 weeks before surgery, if not more! You will get prescriptions for two eye drops — antibiotics (infection) and steroids (inflammation). You will need to fill these at least 2 days prior to surgery.
1 day before surgery
Your surgeon will have you start you start using the antibiotic eye drops preventatively the day before surgery. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep and take a shower, as you’re not allowed to shower for 24 hours after.
Day of surgery
On the day of surgery make sure to wear comfortable clothes, no makeup/creams/perfume, and no earrings/necklaces. You should bring with you all the paperwork provided at your pre-op appointment, as well as all of your prescription eye drops and your payment! The doctors will check your eyes again, go over the procedure in-depth, go over all of your post-op care in-depth, and get your eyes washed and prepped. Most likely they will offer you a pill to relax you — I highly recommend you take it! Then they will bring you to a quiet room where you wait your turn.
Surgery! (Note: Not super graphic, but I’m giving an honest account!)
When it’s your turn they will bring you into the operating room, which is dimly lit. There is a exam table between two very large machines. One machine is to create the “eye flap” and the other is the laser. After I was on the exam table, they adjusted a little inflatable pillow around my head and covered my ears with tissue so the eyedrops they put in wouldn’t get into my ears if they ran down my cheeks. They also gave me a little stress ball to hold, which I am pretty sure I squeezed to death the entire 10 minutes. They will also tape one eye shut while they work on your other eye.
The first step is creating the eye flap, which now is created via a laser, rather than a surgeon’s blade. (Yay for medical advances!) The flap is created by inserting air bubbles gently under the surface of your eye. To do this your surgeon will hold your eye open and place a donut shaped suction cup over your eye. This does not hurt, but you will feel pressure and it will be a little uncomfortable. Once the suction is turned on, your sight will go black in that eye due to the pressure. Once the flap is created and lifted, you will start to see again, but everything will be milky and blurry. The entire suction cup/eye flap creation probably took 1 minute or less. Then they move the exam table over to the other machine, where the laser is located.
When they put you under the laser they will tape your eyelashes down and use a little plastic clamp to keep your eye open. This didn’t hurt at all, I only felt slight discomfort. They must use special tape, because I don’t remember it being hard for them to remove. Once your eye is all taped up and open (takes maybe 60 seconds?) they will ask you to look up and focus on the laser which has a red light. The laser will then focus itself to you–this allows the laser to follow your eye if it moves/twitches, etc. while it is on. Once they have that all set (again, maybe 45-60 seconds) they will turn the laser on. The laser has a sharp snapping noise and gives off a burnt hair smell, but relax, nothing is burning! The time under the laser depends on your prescription, and the worse the prescription the longer time needed. I’d guess I was under the laser for 30-45 seconds.
Once the laser is done the surgeon will put your eye flap in place with a little metal toothpick-like tool and then brush it down with what looked like a small paintbrush. They then put a zillion drops in your eye, tape it shut, and move on to the next one!
After your 2nd eye is finished, they sit you up and walk you out of the surgery room and into an exam room. They will have you sit for 10-15 minutes in a dim room with your eyes closed and then a doctor will come in to take a look at your eyes and make sure the flaps look OK. After that they put some super attractive medical sunglasses on your eyes and send you home!
Stay tuned for the last half of this post next week — LASIK post-op care!