Monday, February 28, 2005

brief lasik story, and update 5 days post surgery

A tiny bit of background first. My dad had RK surgery back 10 or so years ago, well before laser anything was an option. I remember him telling me about it, and I remember saying something to him like "You mean you were AWAKE while they CUT on your EYES???!?! I could NEVER do that." Funny how time and circumstances will change one's perspective on things. Not only was I not avoiding eye surgery, I was looking forward to it. :)

So anyway Wednesday I slept in a little, then Tim and I ate some breakfast before my 11:00 appointment. We got to the center and they took one more picture of my left eye that the surgeon wanted. When we go into the surgical lobby, a tech has us put those hospital booties on our feet, and has me wash my eyelids and put on a showercap thing to cover my hair. Then she gives me a Valium-type pill and has me wait for an hour or so.

Just before I went into the first laser room, the tech puts the numbing drops in my eye. They sting a little but are not unbearable. I go into the room with the Intralase laser that will cut my flap. Each eye took 60 seconds of laser time. Tim got to watch it all on a monitor. This laser "docked" onto a suction ring that was on my eye and was slightly uncomfortable, but not painful. The worst part was the "eyelid speculum" that held my eyelids open and that was just a small poking sensation like there was something in my eye that I couldn't quite blink away.

After my flaps were made they had me rest with my eyes taped shut for 10 minutes or so while the bubbles dissipated (the laser that made the flap does so by lots of tiny bubbles just under the surface of the cornea). Then I went to the main laser. I had the eyelid speculum again, but no suction ring this time. Tim got to watch this one on a video too. He told me that when they worked my flap open it looked like they used a little hook. My right eye took 36 seconds on this laser and my left took 51. After the laser did its thing they smoothed down the flap with what looked and felt like a little spatula. The surgeon looked at my eyes afterwards and said everything looked good.

We got my post-op instructions and drops, etc and then came home. I rested on the couch for the rest of the evening, getting up twice to do my series of medicated drops. The next day Tim gave me a ride to work and I tried to work as best I could... because I was not seeing 20/20. I wasn't even seeing 20/40. I took a few phone calls and made heavy use of the magnifyer on the computer (a neat thing to play with when you don't need it, but a pain in the bootie when you depend on it... Start, Programs, Accessories, Accessibility, Magnifyer). I had my 1-day followup on Thursday afternoon and they told me that my vision w/o glasses before was 20/2200, and now it was 20/100, so even that was a big improvement. They check my eyes and said that there are some rough spots on the top layer of my cornea that would heal up on their own in time. They requested I come in again on Saturday.

Saturday I'm still not seeing clearly. They check my eyes again and my cornea is apparently still rough. They ask me if I'm having any pain and I tell them that I'm not. My eyes are dry and itchy, but not painful. They told me that if they were hurting me then they could give me some "bandaid contacts". I had never heard of such a thing and almost thought that it was too bad that I couldn't try them out. :P

Sunday I was seeing a little better than Saturday (very VERY gradual and slow improvements and healing), but then today it almost feels like I've had a regression again and that I'm back to Saturday's or even Friday's vision. I know I need to be patient and they said that my vision would fluctuate, but I just wish I healed up faster than this. I got the Intralase and the CustonVue (using wavefront measurements instead of just a straight perscription) to get the best results possible. I just wish the wait wasn't so long. I've been using all my drops as instructed, and not rubbing my eyes, or anything. I need to be patient. I've heard of delayed gratification. The tech who put my numbing drops in told me that I wouldn't see very well on Wednesday but that the next day would be "like Christmas." Maybe my Christmas will be in March instead of February. More updates to come in a few days.

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