My Experience Getting LASIK!

On Friday I finally got Lasik eye surgery! It was definitely the scariest thing I've ever done in my life. I've been thinking about it and putting it off for about a year now, and I'm glad I finally got it over with. My eyesight actually wasn't too terrible- only about -1.75 in my left eye, and -2.00 in my right. I was simply tired of wearing glasses, which I couldn't run with, and contacts were entirely too drying for my eyes. 

I went to TLC laser eye center in Chesterfield. It's the number one rated laser eye center in the midwest, which I was relieved by. I first met with my regular eye doctor to discuss the pros and cons of lasik, then I had a consultation with Eric Polk at TLC to determine if my eyes are good candidates for lasik. He really seemed to know what he was talking about, and had a professional and knowledgable demeanor.

During the consultation, we discussed the eye tests. My eyes are rather small, which was a risk, but my corneas are very thick, which is the main factor. My pupils are very large, which can cause starbursts and halos. I also have a bit of a slightly oddly shaped eye because my eyelids droop down, which can cause your eyes to change shape over time because of the pressure.

Here's my experience of the actual surgery. On the day of the surgery I took off the whole day of work because I was really nervous about the procedure. I brought the signed consent forms, prescription eyedrops, and the payment with me to the appointment. My fiance and mom came with me so I had someone to drive me home. I had to wait in the waiting room for 20 minutes or so, then I was brought into a room where an assistant went over the risks again, what to expect, and any last questions I had. She gave me some ibuprofen, my eye drop schedule, and the shoe and hair covers for the surgery room. Then we were walked over to another room where I met the surgeon for the first time. He introduced himself and answered any last questions I had. He assured me that the procedure is very quick, and that my eyes shouldn't be as dry as they are with contacts. The dryness was my main concern. He said that most people get the surgery for the same reason as me, which is that their eyes are fine when they aren't wearing contacts, but their eyes are too dry when they do wear contacts. Then he gave me a Xanax to help with the nerves (which didn't seem to help at all), and we went into the surgery room. 

I was only in the surgery room about 20 minutes total. They had me lay down on a table and gave me stress balls and a pillow to prop up under my legs. There were two separate lasers done twice, which I was a little confused by since I thought it was going to be one laser for each eye. The first laser cut the flap, and the second laser cut the prescription in my cornea. the first laser was possibly the worst thing I've ever experienced! Luckily it was super quick. They give you numbing drops so you don't feel anything, but it still hurts because of the pressure. Dr. Wexler said that people who have smaller eyes usually feel the pressure more because the things that hold your eyes have smaller areas to hold onto, and squeeze more. 

First they pry your eyes open with some sort of wires that keep the eyelids from shutting, then they clamp a suction-like device to your eyeball to keep it from moving. This was barely tolerable, but luckily it's so quick and they count down for you ("halfway, 3 more seconds, 2, 1"). The did my right eye first, and during my left eye, the clamp popped open because my eyelid was squeezing too much. So they had to restart the clamp. I have a bit of a bruise on my eye where that happened. They tell you to look straight ahead at the green dot, but it gets fuzzy and you can barely see the dot at certain points.

For the second step, they remove the flap with a small tool, so your vision is blurry. This second laser is when they do the actual correcting your vision, not just cutting the flap. It's funny because I didn't feel the actual laser at all- only the clamps and suctions holding my eye. The lasers and lights just looks like big blurry lights with a bokah effect. This second part was a bit uncomfortable, but not as bad as the suction. During this part, you see a series of lights flash, then your vision goes gray for a second. This was such an odd sensation- almost like being underwater. The second laser smelled strongly, but they assured me it's not the smell of your eye burning! They tape the eye that's not being worked on, so luckily you can't see with that eye.

When both lasers are done, they cover the flap back up in it's original spot, and Dr. Wexler painted some sort of liquid bandage on, I assume to keep the flap from moving. This had to dry, so I had to keep the eyelid clamp on for another minute or so.

I walked right out of the surgery room myself- it's a relatively non-invasive surgery, but the ride home was pretty bad. My eyes felt like there was a burning sensation. Once I got home and I put in the prescription drops, it wasn't as bad. I really couldn't open my eyes without having a that burning feeling, so I mostly tried to sleep. The next day was even better, although I took it easy. Steve treated me to my favorites- BBQ Saloon and Bread Co near my apartment:)

Even though the surgery was one of the scariest things I've done, I would definitely make the same decision if I knew ahead of time what it was going to be like. Having clear eyesight without having to put in contacts affects every day of your life, so that's worth it to me. In fact, in a follow-up appointment the next day, we checked my vision and it was 20/15 (which is better than 20/20)! Currently my eyes are very dry and I have to keep putting in eyedrops, but they say that this goes away in a few months naturally. I'll give a 6-months post-op review on any updates.

lifeupdateAndrea Hock