LASIK Jan 28 (11 days)

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LASIK Jan 28 (11 days)

Postby cshlin » Fri Feb 08, 2008 9:44 am

Hey guys,

Just wanted to start off my own thread here. I had written a journal entry about my experiences a few days ago, so I'll just post most of it here. Right now, my biggest concern is my right eye. It's blurry (although getting a bit better), but it tests at 20/25. This used to be my good corrected eye. My left eye, which was blazing sharp 20/20 after the surgery, seems to have gotten worse, after a few nights of dry eyes while sleeping.

Things seem darker at night as well. I had asked if they did contrast sensitivity tests, but they said usually not. Unfortunately, I had only come across the '50 tough questions for your eye doctor' article the night before surgery, so I wasn't sure if they would be able to test that on the morning of the operation. I wish I had some accurate measure of what my pre-operative contrast sensitivity was though so I can at least put the wondering to rest. It could be all just in my head.

I'd like to know. Has anyone else had contrast testing, or can report a significant decrease in sensitivity?

Anyways, here's the entry :) Thanks for the support :)


After many years of thinking about it and watching my friends go get LASIK, I decided to get my eyes done last Monday. This time, I wouldn't read all the scary literature on the web, and would just go by all my friends' positive experiences. Cognitive dissonance? Maybe, but at 27 and fed up with not being able to nap in contacts, those testimonials were good enough for me. Well, it was until the night before surgery, when I went online anyways and freaked myself out. No wonder during the surgery I was shaking uncontrollably. Either that, or it was because I was wearing only a short-sleeved collared shirt in the dead of winter.

An hour before the operation, they give you some medication to make you drowsy. You know what, you can find all of this on the web. I'll tell you what they didn't tell you.

So they tell you to stare at this green blinking light, right? And they tell you that you're not supposed to move at all when the microkeratome blade is slicing a flap in your eye, or when the laser is burning a hole in the same. Just before your eye is cut open, the doctor puts a suction ring on the eye, which blacks out your vision. The green dot begins to move all over the place, and eventually disappears. You're told not to go looking for it. Well, it's pretty scary when you have nothing to focus on anymore, and there's this motor sound making the rounds around your eye that seems to stop when your attention seems to waver and you think your eye begins to drift. I don't even think that your eye can move that much when the suction ring is on, but hey, with nothing to look at, I'll make up anything to worry about.

Next, the doctor peels the corneal flap back, and you regain your vision again. Sort of. The green blinking light now is a green blinking blur that fills up most of your vision. Sort of like staring into a traffic light from a foot away. The doctor tells you to be still again, and now the laser begins to zap away tiny layers of the cornea. The smell reminded me of the smell that you get when you rub your hands very quickly together and sniff. Smouldering live cells, mmm. Anyways, I'm lying there quivering, hoping that the laser is quivering along with me so that I get the results I'm aiming for. Once the zapping is done, the doctor puts the flap back on, soaks the eye with a ton of drops, and starts scraping it nice and smooth again.

Post-operative care. Having a friend nearby for the next 24 hours is recommended. Trying to do everything yourself like me is only for the very self-assured (read: paranoid). You're not actually supposed to open your eyes at all, or all the way. You're taught to open your eyes 1/4 way, then another quarter, slowly, to be able to navigate and put drops in. Snapping your eyes open could dislodge the flap. Three different kinds of drops are applied every other hour, on a rotating schedule. I set my cell phone alarm clock to wake me up (while still under the influence of depressants) to put in drops. The bottoms of the tiny bottles are labelled with huge capital B's, T's, and P's marked in permanent ink. Every half hour, I would wake up and try to figure out which drop I took last, and which drop was next. The schedule went something like: P, B, T, B, P, T, B.. etc. Not the easiest thing to follow in your head when you're falling asleep and waking up so often. It wasn't until the 6th hour that I finally got smart (the drugs wore off) and laboriously wrote it all down along with times. Now I could just wake up and very carefully and briefly glance over at the piece of paper to see what drop went in next. Looking back at the piece of paper, I'm sure I missed a few drops in the first 6 hours. This continues on for another 16 hours, until you are driven back to the post-operative exam. By this time, your eyes are glued shut from the steroid drops, which coagulate and form an annoying wall of white goo that you're not supposed to touch.

When I got to the exam, the doctor helped me clean all that goo away (quite forcefully too), and told me I could open my eyes all the way again. Perfect. Better than perfect, he said. I was tested with 20/20 vision in the left eye, and 20/25 in the right eye, with 20/20 effective vision using both eyes. I was sent home with instructions to put 4 more different types of drops in over the next week, and to wear eye shields to bed at night.

So, one week later, am I happy? Not quite yet. I'm not sure that I ever was. In my left eye, I was almost seeing better than I ever have with contacts. Although I remember that I was seeing very clearly with contacts before, even at night. My contrast discrimination has gone down a lot, which means I can't readily pick out faces and colours in a dark bar. My right eye remains 20/25, with a lot of ghosting, which doesn't sound so bad, but if I were to have that sort of vision in both eyes, I don't think it would be safe for me to drive. Before the operation, I could never see 20/20 in my left eye no matter what corrective lenses I used, but I had perfect vision in my right eye with contacts. This was a really disappointing change.

These things are supposed to take time to heal, so I was somewhat patient, and hoped that each day I woke up, it'd be a different story. However, even with doing all the drops, my right eye remained just as cloudy, with no noticeable improvement at all. The doctor at my one-week post operative exam even said it was strange, that my eyes were very dry, that most patients experience results like I am seeing (ha! .. i take what little humour i can these days) in my left eye, and mentioned words that I didn't want to hear: 'enhancement surgery'. I was clenching my jaw now. I went out, even though I wasn't supposed to, to relieve a bit of tension.

The lubricating eye drops that I was taking didn't seem to feel very good - they would make my eyes scratchy, so at the end of the week, I bought a different set of eye drops which actually felt like they were doing something when I put them in. Maybe this would make things better.

Last night, I went to bed for the third time without my eye shields on. I woke up once scratching my right eye (great), and once face down on my pillow with my left eye propped open and completely dried out (perfect). This morning was a bit of a shock. My left eye, which had been perfect all week, now saw like my right eye. Blurry, maybe 20/25, with a lot of ghosting. I'm pretty sure I didn't dislocate or wrinkle my flap, since it's supposed to be quite painful, and I'm hoping that if I keep my eye well lubricated, my vision will return to its previous crisp state. If not, maybe my tears of sadness will help the healing process. My right eye, surprisingly, seems to be seeing better today. Or maybe I only think that because it now exactly matches the vision in my left eye, but at this point, I'll hope for anything. I was supposed to go to Whistler today and do some heli-skiing, but I think the dry climate and the possibility of falling off a cliff might exacerbate my condition. I think my weekend of indiscretion was quite enough.

Would I do it again? With my inability to discern objects on my bookshelf in the darkness (who does that, anyways), the nice halos over street lights and headlights at night, combined with my crappy daytime visual acuity, my answer right now is no. But things may change over the next month, when my healing is supposed to occur.

On a positive note, the main purpose for my getting this surgery done was fulfilled - when I close my eyes to take a nap now, my eyes feel better, not worse, than taking a nap with contacts in. The bad part is that I don't really feel like taking naps anymore, since my eyes don't get tired. But I'll be sure to try to get as much quality of life out of that anyways, if I can't get it from being able to see as well as I ever did.
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