On Wednesday morning, I did a quick arm workout and then ate some cereal with bananas and almond milk. They told me to avoid caffeine and dairy that day in case it upset my stomach during the procedure. They also told me to eat a light snack before going over there. I chose to eat dry cereal in a bag in the passenger's seat of the car while my mom drove me. It was such a typical choice on my part.
I sat next to my mom for a while in the waiting area as I anticipated somebody calling me back for the surgery. While I waited, I saw one young guy go back there and return 20 minutes later with his eyes looking bandaged up with sunglasses over them. I realized that he just had LASIK, and this would usually scare me. Instead of being frightened, though, I laughed at how ridiculous he looked (knowing perfectly well that I would soon look like that and have to be physically walked out by my mom while I stumbled to the car). I knew at this point that the drug was getting to my head and making me feel very relaxed.
My doctor finally came out to take me to the surgical room. He apologetically explained that they had to frantically look over paperwork since they thought they were about to do surgery on the wrong person. It turned out that I booked the procedure under my maiden name Cooke, but the paperwork that I signed about 30 minutes earlier was under my married name Martin. Whoops. You would think that after being married for almost a year, I would know better. I visited Wheaton Eye Clinic before I got married, and it never occurred to me that withholding my new name until the day of my surgery would lead to problems.
This is probably a good time to stop reading if you don't want to know details about the surgery. I figured I'd warn you. If you don't care, then read on.
Once that was settled. my doctor led me back to my surgical room with his assistant. He promptly removed my glasses (the last time I would ever wear them) and asked me to sit down in a chair that reminded me of a dentist's chair. He had me sit all the way back in it. Once I was properly positioned, he put five drops of numbing drops into my right eye. I knew that there was no going back at that point.
He then taped my right eyelids open (they only do one eye at a time) with what was probably some serious adhesive tape. Blinking was impossible. He also put some sort of a clamp on the outside of my eye to ensure that it stayed open. This was actually the only painful part of the procedure. It pushed against my orbit and stretched my skin. It was very uncomfortable. My doctor said that the pain wouldn't last for long, and he was right. Either that, or I was distracted by everything else that he was doing to my eye. He also covered up my left eye.
My doctor was very good about talking me through the procedure. He told me what he was going to do, and he told me what I had to do. I only had one task: stare at the red light blinking above me. If my eye strayed the slightest bit, he would tell me to move it back. The numbing drops kicked in very quickly, because I hardly felt any sensation. There were a few times when he had to use a small sponge to collect the moisture on my eyeball, and I could not feel it. It was bizarre. Then, he placed a suction cup on my cornea. I could only feel pressure. The suction cup was what created the flap on my cornea. This was the cutting part. The scariest part of this was the approximate 10 seconds (or maybe less- I don't know) where I couldn't see anything out of my right eye. I felt like I was blind. That darkness ended quickly, and I could slowly make out the red blinking light again.
The next step was the laser treatment. He moved the flap of my cornea aside (warning: you can see the doctor moving your flap), and the laser was activated. I felt a little bit of burning, but it was no worse of a sensation than getting soap in your eyes. The laser is the most important part of the procedure, and that's what makes the improvements in vision. It alters the shape of your cornea so that you can see better.
After the laser, he replaced the flap (I could see it) on my cornea. Corneal tissue sticks to itself, so no bandage or anything is needed. Thank you for sticking to yourself, eye tissue.
Once he was done with the right eye, he covered it and did the left eye. The procedure was exactly the same. It was all a little bit scary, and I would have vomited all over myself and possibly the machine (if it was a projectile vomit) if it had not been for the Valium. That stuff was gold. I could feel my heart in my chest during everything, but it would have been pounding so much harder otherwise. I may have even passed out. This may not come as a shock, but a laser in your eye is scary.
My mom said that I was back there for something like 25 minutes, but each eye only took something like 2-3 minutes. I only endured 4-8 minutes of something that I didn't like for a lifetime of damn good vision. I'll take it.
When my doctor and his assistant were done with me, he taped my nerdy eye mask onto my face (await photo) and put some awesome sunglasses over them. As I predicted, I looked just like that other guy in the waiting room. He gave me my medicated eye drops (cortisone and antibiotics) along with lubricating drops and walked me out to meet my mom. I made a comment about being able to see the TV without my glasses, and my doctor laughed. He must have been proud of his handy work. My mom then drove me home while I leaned my chair all the way back in the car and closed my eyes because they were tearing like crazy. They were very sensitive to sunlight, just like they had just been dilated (but worse). Now, I understand even more why you need somebody to drive you to and from the surgery. There is no way I could have competently been able to drive home. Driving with your eyes closed=not safe for anybody.
I was supposed to go home and sleep for two hours. Since nobody woke me up and I was drugged and tired, I slept for four hours. That night, I watched TV with my eye mask off and could see the TV perfectly. Other things were still a little blurry. The next day, nothing was blurry.
I went back for a check-up at Wheaton Eye Clinic the next morning. I learned that my eyes were 20/20 combined, and they would only get better. Not bad for something like 8 hours of work, right?
I had to sleep with my eye mask on for three nights so that I couldn't unconsciously rub my eyes. This is what it looked like:
My doctor told me that I could start wearing makeup the next day if I wanted, but I waited a good four days before I tried anything. I've poked myself in the eye a good few times in the past with my mascara wand, so I didn't want to risk anything. I also have to be very careful removing makeup. I can't rub my eye over the iris (the colored part) for a good four weeks, so I have to push up my upper eyelids to safely remove it. It's doable, but it requires extra caution.
For up to two weeks after the procedure, swimming or playing contact sports are discouraged. I don't want an infection or anything at all that may displace the corneal flaps while they are healing.
Aside from some mild burning the first few days, my only complaint is dryness. The lubricating drops really help. My eyes are not sensitive in the sunlight, and I forget to look out for halos every time that I walk outside during the night. They must not be bad enough to distract me. I see them mildly when I look outside my window at night. The halos, like the dryness, should go away as my eyes heal and adjust to their new vision.
The only other issue is a bruise on my left eye that should go away in the next week. It was from the suction cup on my eye, and it is very common. If anything, it looks like I'm tired. It's not much of an inconvenience.
All in all, I am thrilled with my new vision. I keep reaching towards my face to adjust my glasses, and then I remember that they're not there. I can wear sunglasses again and apply makeup without having to hold a mirror to my face with one hand. I'm very happy.
We've had some good times, glasses, but I'm sorry to say that I have to put you away forever.