When I started working in the refractive field I was still wearing glasses. Patients frequently asked me the reason why I was still wearing glasses since I worked at a refractive center. On a daily basis, I enjoyed seeing the excitement of patients after the procedure was performed. Most patients would happily proclaim the improvement of their eyesight soon thereafter. Prior to having the procedure performed on my eyes, I was only able to relate to the patients having the procedure on a second-hand basis. After having LASIK performed on my own eyes, I am now fortunate to be able to share my first- hand experience with you.
The first step to improve my vision was to schedule and attend a complimentary consultation. Several tests were performed to my eyes to determine if I was a candidate for the procedure. At this time, my surgeon came in the examination room to answers any questions I had about LASIK and explain the process of a LASIK procedure. When the preliminary testing was completed, I was quite informed about the procedure and what to expect.
The next step was to schedule my pre-op. At my pre-op appointment, a more thorough eye exam was completed and at this time I met my surgeon again. My surgeon proceeded to review the technician’s testing results and then performed a full eye examination. I was comforted to know that the same doctor who performed all the tests would be the one performing the procedure on my eyes, as well as all the follow-up examinations.
On the day of the procedure, I was working at the center. The patients were thrilled to know that I was having the same refractive surgery done on my eyes. After witnessing so many patients having LASIK surgery performed, I was not the least bit nervous about having the same procedure performed on my own eyes.
At the beginning of my LASIK process I was prepped for the surgery, a series of drops were applied to my eyes. I was able to taste the sour drops in the back of my throat. Numbing drops were then applied to my eyes followed by preparation around my eyelids with Betadine cleansing solution. A low dosage valium was given to me to relax; however it was really intended to help take a long nap once I reached home.
Now, I was ready to go to the laser room. It was a bit cold but a nice blanket was given to me to keep me warm. The comforting voice of my doctor was guiding and reassuring. The next step was the speculum, or lid holder. Depending on the shape of the eye, some patients describe a little discomfort while the speculum is in use, but it is reassuring not to have to worry about blinking.
Suction was applied to the eye to enable the doctor to make the protective flap. The feeling of the suction was more of a sensation than a discomfort. The next step was creating the flap, which was hardly noticeable. When the doctor was ready for the laser treatment, he held my head in position giving me a sense of security. During the laser treatment I saw many beams of lights, while I was concentrating on the green flashing beam of light that I was instructed to look at. The flap was then repositioned and allowed to adhere a few minutes. Lastly, the lid holder and the drape were removed so that my eyes could blink freely. At the end of the procedure, my eyes where once again checked my surgeon to ensure the flap placement.
I had worked all day prior to the procedure and I was quite tired by the time I got home. My doctor had instructed me to take a long nap. When I woke up, I was able to see the TV screen. I quickly turned to the clock in my kitchen and sure enough, I was able to read the time from a distance something I was unable to do prior to my LASIK procedure. My vision was a bit blurry, but I could see things I was not able to see before without my glasses. I carefully followed the instructions given to me regarding drop application and eye care. I went to bed for the night soon after applying the drops, tears and of course, wearing my goggles.
When I woke up I had no discomfort, just a sensation of dry eyes which was remedied with the lubricating drops. Looking out my kitchen window, I was able to see my neighbor’s house. When I took a shower the next morning, I was extra careful to keep water away from my eyes as per the doctor’s instructions. At the follow-up visit to the doctor’s office the next morning, I was delighted to find out that my vision had much improved, as expected. I must confess that I was a low myope, which means my correction was not very high, but enough that I needed to wear glasses all the time. The results and speed of recovery after the LASIK procedure were some of the many issues my ophthalmologist discussed with me prior to having LASIK.
During the next few weeks, my vision fluctuated but eventually stabilized. A little patience goes a long way during the recovery period, it is not unusual to have light sensitivity, dry eyes, difficulty reading small print, or redness in the eyes. I didn’t experience any night vision problems such as glare or halos around lights that some patients had complained about in the past. All these conditions were monitored by my surgeon and are part of the recovery process. How long do these conditions last? They can last a few days or a few weeks. One must always keep in mind the end result, life without the dependency to glasses or contacts.
It has been fourteen years since I had LASIK and I am still amazed by the ease and comfort with which I am able to view the world around me. I am able to see people’s faces across the room without squinting, play tennis without my annoying glasses, and go snorkeling with my family. LASIK surgery has opened my eyes to a clearer and more beautiful world than the one I once viewed through the lenses of my glasses.