Thursday, May 22, 2008

Two weeks later

Two weeks ago today, I had my Intralase CustomLASIK eye surgery. I haven’t talked about the actual procedure on the blog, so I thought I’d go over the highlights, followed by a small update.

First, the highlights of the highlights: The whole thing was remarkably fast, I had no real pain and recovered pretty quickly. The results have been very good.

I arrived for my appointment early, and was given a mild sedative. They put a topical anesthetic in my eyes, followed by antibiotic/disinfectant (to kill any bugs lurking there). That stung a bit but, I was told, it would’ve stung a LOT without the anesthetic.

I was led into theatre (what we Americans call an operating room), and helped to lie down on a bed thing. I was manoeuvred under the first laser, which cuts a flap in the thin film that covers the cornea. They placed a sort of retractor thing on my eye to keep my lids open, which was a little uncomfortable, but not nearly as bad as it sounds.

I was told to look at a light and the laser did its work. I was told my eyesight would get very cloudy or even go black (mine went black), but not to worry (I didn’t). This procedure hurt; I think it was some sort of pressure on my eye or something, but it was pretty uncomfortable. Fortunately, it only lasted maybe 20 seconds per eye.

I was swung over to the second laser, the one that reshapes the cornea. The eye doctor flipped back the flap and the laser went to work. They put a retractor on my eye again, and this wasn’t at all uncomfortable (I have no idea if they were the same or different, or if the first laser was pressing down in it, but the first was definitely more uncomfortable). I was told to stare at a red light, but as the machine worked, it turned into a sort of cloud of little red dots.

The machine made a kind of buzzing and clicking noise as it worked, and it only took a little longer than the first procedure. There was an odd smell, a bit like slightly singed hair mixed with some other smell (spice?), but not offensive at all. They finished one eye, put the flap back, covered the eye, then did the other one. When they were finished, they covered the second eye and uncovered the first so I could see where I was going as they led me out of theatre.

I sat in a recliner, they put some drops in my eyes, and I rested. After awhile they took me into an exam room where the eye doctor checked my eyes, put in some more drops, and taped goggles to my face. That was it. The actual procedure was only a few minutes, and with waiting and exam time, the whole thing was maybe an hour and a half or so.

My eyes were sensitive to daylight afterward, and if I opened my eyes they teared quite a bit. Once I got home, I had some lunch and went to bed. By this time, my eyes felt as if dust had blown into them—not gritty or painful, just uncomfortable. I dozed for about an hour, took another round of pain relief and went back to sleep.

Four or five hours later I woke up, and my eyes felt pretty good—the discomfort was gone. I couldn’t see very well, in part because of those goggles, but I watched a little TV anyway. I went to bed early. I didn't use the sleep aid they sent home with me, nor any more pain relief.

The next morning, I went in for my first check-up appointment. They removed the goggles, did a quick check, put in drops, and told me to put in various drops myself. I then saw the eye doctor who checked everything thoroughly and I was cleared to drive.

One week later, I went for another check, the eye doctor said my corneas look really good (and how often does somebody say that to you?). My next appointment is at the one-month mark.

The adjustment I’ve had is comparable to getting a new pair of glasses or contacts—the new, stronger prescription takes awhile to get used to. When I wore contacts, my left eye was stronger than my right; now it’s the other way around, and that’s taken some getting used to, as well.

I can now see all day, ever day—including in the middle of the night—all of which is a new experience for me. I’ve had no discomfort, not even any dryness, and I’m adjusting to the new, better vision.

My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. Still, I’m glad it’s done and I’m enjoying the results. I’d recommend it to anyone, even big ol’ chickens like me.

I also discussed the procedure on my podcast, AmeriNZ Podcast episode 88.


lost in france said...

Ooooh -- this is getting very "Nip and Tuck"-ish and I am squeamy about such things!

Arthur Schenck said...

Well, I'm pretty squeamy, too, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be--not by a long shot. In fact, I wasn't even scared, as I thought I'd be, though I'm sure the sedative helped with that.

Anonymous said...

It's one of the best things I've ever done for myself too. The goggles were the worst of it for me.

At the time I laughed at being quoted per eye ($2200) as if I could just do one eye till I afforded the other.

Arthur Schenck said...

Yep, those goggles were the worst for me, too. They didn't even bother quoting per eye, always talkong about doing both. They did, however, offer finance several times. I didn't need the credit, but I still wondered if they'd repossess my eyes if I missed enough payments.