LASIK First Impressions

1 Aug

I decided to try LASIK.  I’ve worn contact lenses since 1998, and glasses since about 1994.  With two young boys and, in general, a more active lifestyle with a lot of travel, I wanted to experience at least a few more years glasses free — at least until I need to get reading glasses.

The decision was a bit spontaneous but one I’ve thought about for about five years.  Finally at my last yearly eye exam I simply decided that it was time to go for it.  I started the whole process with a phone call and just a few weeks later had my appointment set up.

The initial exam went well.  I had to stay out of contacts for two weeks prior to the exam to ensure that my eyes were in a very “normal” state.  The exam went well and confirmed that I was a great candidate for LASIK.  The news here was that if I got my surgery completed within the next 30 days, and I did not wear contacts again, I would not have to repeat the pre-surgery exam.  With luck I scheduled surgery 30 days out … although that meant traveling a few times for work and going on vacation to Detroit all while wearing glasses.  A small sacrifice in the grand scheme but it left me highly motivated to get surgery completed.

The week before surgery featured a pre-operative assessment by my normal eye doctor which really was a strong dilation in order to look around at the sides of my eye.  The doctor is ensuring that there are no surprises lurking, and I was relieved to discover there were none.  With the last hurdle cleared I now have to order my medication and schedule a time.

The drops … are about $25o out of pocket.  Here again I expected a high cost although this was after a $100 discount that I had in the form of coupons from the LASIK center.  One is an anti-biotic, one is a steroid to address swelling.

The day of surgery has you check in and sign a bunch of legal consent forms.  Next up you sign some more forms and pay in full.  Next they take you to a room to prepare your for surgery.  A few drops go in your eye, they explain what’s going to happen (again), put on the hair net, bunny shoes, and then lead you to the waiting area outside the laser room.  Here they give you a sedative that I think is akin to valium, they scrub your eye area with rubbing alcohol, and they let you chill out for about 20 minutes while the meds take affect.

At go time they lead you into a room and sit you down on a bed in between what I can only describe as two heads to a machine.  The chair goes back and forth between them and you head to the one on the right first.  There is a bright light you’re to stare at throughout.  First thing they put a “restraint” which keeps your eye open.  They then cut open the top part of the eye which causes everything to gray out for 20 seconds.  For those 20 seconds you slide over to the other head of the machine.  Then you slide back and the laser starts shooting.  You can hear it snapping and smell some burning.  And that is it.  Repeat the whole process for the other eye and you’re done.

You gent sent home with sun glasses and I managed to sleep on and off for the next 19 hours.  This helps the heeling and gets you through what is supposed to be the most uncomfortable portion of the healing phase.

I knew that the procedure was fast but it was even quicker than I expected.  The left eye for me felt much more pressure and has an occasional feeling of sand in the eye post-surgery.  The post operative review with my normal eye doctor told me this is because part of my lower eye lid is catching a bit and, with time, that will go away.

I’m 36 hours past surgery and my eyesight is clear and I have 20/15 vision.  My eyes still require drops, and likely will for the next few weeks, but first impression is very positive.