My Lasik procedure (Friday)

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My Lasik procedure (Friday)

Postby lisamrose » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:53 am

My LASIK was done at [redacted] Eye Institute in Nashville — if you are looking into LASIK, check them out. I was really pleased with everything, and the staff was great. Generally, Dr. [redacted] does exams on Tuesdays and Thursdays and surgery on Wednesdays and Fridays, but in some cases he does the exam in the morning and surgery later in the day. This was the case for me.

My mom and I left at 6:30 a.m. to get to my 8 a.m. appointment. We were there a little early, and the doors to the suite were locked, but we hung out for five or ten minutes until one of the staff members, Steve, came and let us in. After that I only waited about five more minutes before Thor, one of the technicians, called me back for my exam.

First was corneal topography and some sort of refractive exam that estimates your vision impairment — the first was basically “Look straight ahead and don’t blink for fifteen seconds” and the second was focusing on a pattern. Easy peasy. Next, though, was the actual exam. I don’t know about anyone else, but I HATE eye exams — all the straining to make out fuzzy letters you don’t care about, thinking you are getting them wrong all the time when maybe you really aren’t, etc. It went fairly quickly, though. Then there were a lot of questions about my medical history, and measurements of my pupil size, and a set of eyedrops to dilate my eyes, which I’ve never had done before.

Once the drops were in I went back out to wait for them to take effect — ten minutes or so. Then it was back to the exam room, and I had to perform the same eye exam all over again. Yuck. Then I had a short exam with Dr. [redacteed]— no more reading letters, but he checked for glaucoma and made sure I didn’t have any questions.

By 10 a.m., the pre-op steps were finished; I was given a stack of papers, including a copy of the five or six-page consent form, post-op instructions and a prescription for eyedrops I would need later. My surgery was scheduled for 2 p.m., and I had to be back at 1 p.m. to start the pre-op. I was instructed not to eat two hours before my surgery, “And nothing greasy,” Thor advised. But 10 a.m. meant breakfast (which I don’t stomach very well), so mom drove to McDonald’s and I managed most of a chicken biscuit and some Dr Pepper. Once my pupils returned to their normal size (it’s hard to focus with dilated eyes), we drove over to Green Hills and hit up Trader Joes to kill some time. Then it was back to the surgery center.

I was almost immediately called back to sign my consent forms and fill out emergency contact information. I got a wristband and three doses of antibiotic drops, over a period of about forty minutes; then it was time to wait.

At just before 2, the RN, Katelynn, came and brought me to the pre- and post-op room. She was extremely nice and explained everything that would happen as she got me ready. You get to wear a stylish hair cap and have the area around your eyes swabbed with yummy povidone iodine, yay! I also got a sticker with my name on it to put on my shoulder (although the way I was lying on the beds later, no one could have read it, so I’m not sure why it was there). I got drops to constrict the blood vessels in my eyes. She checked my vitals, and surprisingly my BP was up to 148/82 — it’s normal for it to be elevated, but for me, elevated is generally 120/80. I was nervous, but not freaking out or anything.

One of the techs came in next and gave me my first dose of the all-important numbing drops. I’ll point out that all of the drops make their way through your sinuses and eventually to your throat, and they taste terrible. Then Dr. [redacted] appeared. Using a high-tech funky microscope, he “aligned my treatment” and made tiny marks on my eyes with a felt-tip pen. It felt sort of cold, but wasn’t uncomfortable.

Around this time, a man who had LASIK in one eye at 1 p.m. was brought in for post-op. He seemed very calm, from what I could hear (there are privacy curtains), and said it hadn’t hurt at all, which was very comforting. Katelynn brought my valium, which I was more than happy to swallow, and about five minutes later I was being supported into the first OR, where the intralase laser creates the flaps on your lenses.

The techs got me comfortable on the table, and one covered me with a blanket (it was pretty cold in the OR). I was fitted with an O2 saturation monitor on my finger and they took my blood pressure again (I don’t know what it was). Then more numbing drops, and a small plastic drape was taped on my face. Dr. [redacted] appeared and things got serious. They taped my left eye shut and taped my the eyelids on my right eye open, and showed me the light I was supposed to focus on. Then a plastic suction cup was placed on my eye, which was sort of uncomfortable (you can feel the edge sort of slide under your lower lid). It was like being submerged under water at first. When the suction is applied, your vision usually goes dim or dark; mine went mostly dark, then lightened up a little. I was barely able to see the light I was supposed to be focusing on, which was disconcerting, but Dr. [redacted] kept telling me the progress of the laser (“We’re halfway there — more than halfway — three-quarters…”). The creation of the flap took maybe 30 seconds; the suction cup thing and the tape were removed and my eye was taped shut (“If it comes untaped, it’s okay.”) and the whole process repeated for my left eye. The worst part was the pressure of the suction cup, which wasn’t bad, and the removal of the tape, which HURT!

Once they were done, I got to lie still for a minute while they took off my monitor and blanket, and a female tech helped me sit up (the valium makes you a little woozy). At this point you can open your eyes and blink without disturbing the flaps. My vision was cloudy. They helped me into the second OR. This bed had a depression for my head (I actually liked it; it felt very secure) and they put a funny cushion under my knees to keep them bent. There was another blanket and the O2 sat monitor again, and another drape. This one was bigger and smelled like plastic. They cut a slit at my chin, which helped with that. My left eye was again taped shut. More numbing drops were applied, and then they used this awful metal thing (“A gentle lid relaxer” is what they call it, but it looks terrifying and is spring-loaded!) to hold my eye open (in the first procedure, your eye can’t close over the suction cup, so this isn’t necessary). I was shown a green light to focus on.

What happened next may have been the most frightening part — loosening and lifting the flap. I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t a metal tool that resembled a dental pick! But that’s what was used. It felt uncomfortable, not painful, like a tugging at something that shouldn’t be tugged. Then the flap was flopped over to the side and it was laser time! The laser itself was kind of loud (sort of a buzzing, and a noisy fan), but not uncomfortable at all. It was easy to focus on the green light, unlike earlier while the flap was being made. Again, Dr. [redacted] kept talking to me, telling me how many seconds were left and then counting down. It took maybe 30 seconds, but it might have been less. I have read that some people can smell what they think is their cornea burning, but it’s actually the argon gas that the laser uses. I didn’t smell anything.

Once my cornea had been reshaped, my eye was rinsed with saline, which wasn’t uncomfortable but was slightly overwhelming. Then the flap was repositioned and a wet sponge (and at times a dry one — I remember Dr. [redacted] asking for them both) was used to smooth it down for a total of two minutes. The sponging is mostly just cold and slightly disconcerting (something is rubbing all over the surface your eye, which is not usual at all). Once the two minutes are up, they take the lid relaxer off and tape your eye shut, and the process is repeated for the other eye.

Once everything was done, they pulled the drape off of me. I think I lost a lot of eyelashes during the entire process. The tape on the drape is super sticky and it stings a lot when they pull it off. My eyes watered because of it. Then they sit you up and you’re told to open your eyes. My mom was standing at the window, and I remember being able to see the numbers on the clock (when I went for the open house, they had me take off my glasses and sit in the same position on the bed, and I couldn’t read it) and even tell where the second hand was. They asked me what time it was and I was embarrassed at how long it took to respond — I think the valium made me slow. It was 3:15, though; the whole thing took about 30 minutes.

I was brought back to the post-op room and immediately given meperidine (Demerol) and a promethazine (Phenergan), which are pain and anti-nausea medications, along with a Sprite and a fruit plate. The Demerol is mostly to make you sleep. I didn’t have any discomfort, but my eyes felt very gummy from all of the drops. Dr. [redacted] checked my flaps at the microscope, and then I was cleared to leave. They more drops in before I left. I remember trying to stay awake for a while, but eventually leaned my seat back and got comfortable with a pillow and was immediately out. I woke up when we got home, went and laid on the couch and slept again until my dad came home with my filled prescriptions. Mom put the drops in for me, and I slept until 9:30.

When I woke up, I felt violently sick. I thought I was going to throw up, so I had some soup and bread and butter, which made me feel better immediately. I put in more drops. Amazingly, I had no pain or discomfort at all, and still haven’t had any problems. I went for my follow-up Saturday, and I have 20/15 vision! I was also told that I won’t have any pain or anything, if I haven’t by now. :]

Note: Doctor's name redacted.
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Re: My Lasik procedure (Friday)

Postby LasikExpert » Fri Dec 25, 2009 4:25 am

Thanks for the excellent description of your experience. Please keep us informed of your progress. Sorry about the redaction, but we don't allow doctors' names on the forum. You may provide your email addres if you would like people around Nashville to receive your recommendation.
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