Monday, February 6, 2012

My LASIK experience, part 1

Warning: this will probably be more than you ever wanted to know about my experience. Sorry! Or, you're welcome in case you were overly curious :) Since I'm long-winded, I'll make this a multi-part series. Please, try to contain your excitement.

Spoiler alert: I can see! And I'm not (permanently) maimed!
I can see
not pictured: the nasty red bruises on my eyeballs (mostly hidden
under my lids) from the suction ring they used while cutting the corneal flap.
Also? why are iphone self portraits so awkward?

After all the drama from last week, I was given the all clear for surgery this past Friday. I went in to get checked out the Wednesday before, and I honestly thought they'd call off my surgery again because my eyes were feeling even more dry. I'm talking Sahara desert, eyeballs sticking to my eyelids at night dry. Fortunately, my corneas somehow managed to heal a bit, I guess from all the drops I was putting in them during the day, so they were looking better.

I had also done a ton of research (thank you, Google) and managed to figure out that I might be having a reaction to a preservative in two of the drops I had been taking. It's called BAK (Benzalkonium chloride) and when I mentioned it to the doctors (they were both in the office seeing me), they agreed that seemed like a likely answer, although it's a pretty rare allergy. Either that, or it was the active ingredient in the antibiotic drop I was taking (Zymaxid--also not a common allergy). They put me on Vigamox instead and made sure my lubricating drops didn't have any preservatives, and said my eyes would probably be all healed by Friday. But just to be sure, they said I could go to the doctor's private practice 20 minutes away for a check before I wasted more time driving all the way out to Greensboro.

Like I said, I got the all clear, so off to Greensboro my mom and I went. I was actually less nervous walking in than I was the first time. But as soon as I started signing all the paperwork, I started to freak out. You have to sign all the papers in your right mind, not under the influence of anything (go figure, ha!) so I didn't get the Xanax until afterwards. At that point I was so freaked out that I needed another half of a Xanax to calm down.

I got called back all by myself, where they took my glasses, put a cap on me and washed my eye lids. I laid down on the table and got ready for step 1: the eyeball slicing (aka creating the corneal flap). For the record, there was no actual slicing involved--it's all blade-less (they used IntraLase). The doctor placed suction cups on my eyeballs, slid the laser over me and went to work, one eye at a time.

Then it was time for step 2: reshaping the cornea. I had to get up and walk from one table to another, where they set me up under the fancy-schmancy laser I drove all the way to Greensboro for. It's a wavefront Allegretto laser, in case anyone was wondering. I'm not sure the exact time it took, but it seemed like only seconds per eye. I'm glad it was pretty quick because the smell was gross. I'm glad they told me ahead of time that it wasn't the smell of my eyeballs burning, it was just the smell of the laser working (what's the difference? I don't know, but that made me feel better). It felt like he used a paint brush to put my corneal flap back in place. It was pretty soothing and I remember thinking it was kind of like the paint brush they used on my face the last time I had a facial. Is it weird that I was thinking that? Probably :)

On thing that really surprised me was that I didn't have any trouble keeping my head or eyes still. It's a lot of pressure, having to sit absolutely still and stare at a red light OR ELSE. That's obviously because of the Xanax, I can't even tell you how sosososoSO glad I am that I took it.

Anyway, after it was all over I got guards taped over my eyes, sunglasses on, and basically got ushered straight out the door to the car. I was kind of surprised they didn't want to have me recover a bit and check me again before I left, but I guess that's what the 7am Saturday appointment was for.

Stay tuned for the riveting conclusion to my lasik experience, part 2... The suspense. OMG.

1 comment:

  1. Yay! Glad you survived - and glad you can see! The suspense is KILLING me. :-)


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