Laser Eye Surgery: The Dirty Details

February 28, 2013 · 15 comments

I apologize for it taking me so long to update you guys. Life has been absolutely crazy, and I can’t wait to update you on the changes happening in my life.

Now. I promised LASIK details, and I plan to deliver.

The day before surgery, I had to go in for a 2-hour pre-op eye exam. There, they did all the eye tests you typically get at your regular eye doctor in addition to some I have never experienced.

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The morning of surgery, I was feeling pretty anxious. I sat in the waiting room with my dad talking about how great it would be to wake up and be able to see.

I was taken into a room where I was given post-op instructions and a Valium to relax me. I was told that for a week, I couldn’t wear any eye makeup, touch my eyes (no higher than my cheekbones), get water in my eyes (showering is hard!), or get sweat in my eyes (bye, spinning and sprints). I was given a three-drop regimen that included Prednisone, an antibiotic, and comfort lubricating drops. Every three hours, I needed to repeat my drop cycle.

When it was time for surgery, I was given a “party hat” (shower cap) and brought into the room by my doctor and two med student observers. I lay down on a typical surgery bed with a dipped headrest. My doctor kept my head in his hands the entire time, and if i remember correctly, he had two different machines. The first one was the worst part of the entire experience.

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When the corneal flap is created, there is a suction cup on your eye that doesn’t feel so hot. My doctor was talking me through it the entire time, but I remember digging my fingernails into the bed as it was happening. Suction cups on the eyeball = not so great

By the way, yes, it was uncomfortable, and I’m being pretty frank about the process, but don’t let this deter you from getting LASIK. Seriously. It was all more than worth it.

The second part was strange. I was told to look up into a green light with red lights surrounding it, and all of a sudden, I couldn’t see anything. Then I could see red cloudy stuff. That was freaky. Then, all of a sudden, my regular vision was back, but really, really cloudy. The last step was fixing my astigmatism. Throughout the entire process, my doctor was explaining to me what was happening.

Obviously, this all happened twice, since I got both of my eyes lasered.

Once it was all finished about 10 minutes later, my doctor guided me through the door and into a holding room of sorts. An hour later, I had a post-op exam in which he checked my eyes with the big traditional eye doctor machine. I could see, and I could tell my vision was much better than it had been without my glasses, but it was as if I was looking underwater or through globs of Vaseline. I was also extremely sensitive to light.

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Which is why I got these sweet shades for the ride home.

As for my night-time eye-wear… HAHA. I had to tape these clear plastic clam shell-like protectors to my face for a week so I wouldn’t scratch my eyes. But since I am a sleepy-time rebel, I ripped them off in my sleep the first night. After that, we decided I needed a sleep mask over top of them. From then on, I woke up without the sleep mask on but the protectors in place. Gotta get creative around here.

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Stylin’, brah. Really glad I just put that photo of myself on the internet.

Maybe it was the Valium, or maybe it was excitement of the day, but I napped like a champ the next few days. For a while, all I wanted to do is close my eyes anyway, so it was nice to have ample rest time. The cloudiness went away little by little over the first four days or so, and the feeling like there was sand in my eye lessened by the day as well.

Now, two weeks later, I have amazing eyesight that is still improving. I can’t tell you how strange it feels to not have to take my contacts out at night. My lingering symptoms include the light sensitivity, extreme dry eye, and some itchiness in my eyes. The eye bruising still remains, too, but it’s not near as bad as it was.

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I hope you all like eyeballs.

Oh, and the winner of the Pure Protein giveaway is Lindsay! Congrats, girlfriend. E-mail me your mailing address, please!Screen shot 2013-02-28 at 11.49.56 AM Screen shot 2013-02-28 at 11.50.37 AM

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Angela February 28, 2013 at 3:36 pm

When you had the initial part you said your fingernails were digging into the seat… was it ever painful?? Or more just uncomfortable?
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2 Lauren @ Eat Like An Elephant February 28, 2013 at 3:57 pm

I’m glad you are happy with your lasik decision! I know a few people who have said it was a LIFE CHANGING decision :)
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3 Amber Starr at Love, Laugh, Live Well February 28, 2013 at 4:36 pm

I CANNOT wait to get this done. The part about digging the nails into the chair has me a bit nervous, but I hate having to wear contacts or glasses all the time to see. It’d be so great to just wake up and go and not have to worry about losing contacts/breaking glasses during sports activities. Glad that it went so well and that you’re healing quickly. :)
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4 Ashley @ Life and Fitness February 28, 2013 at 6:46 pm

I can’t wait to save up for this surgery. I’m not a fan of contacts at all and it would be nice to never have to put glasses on again.
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5 Amber K February 28, 2013 at 8:44 pm

I am just going to have to keep my mild seeing problems until they find a way to do this with the patient completely asleep. I can’t do contacts because I can’t stand to touch my own eyes. I can’t even watch other people touch their eyes. I can’t…just eyes…no. No..not for me! Thanks for the honest review!
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6 Sarah B. February 28, 2013 at 10:51 pm

This makes me squirm, but I’m so glad you had a successful LASIK process! I have awful, awful vision and really would be interested in doing this in the near future. I just hate to suck up vacation days for recovery! Ya win some, ya lose some. Sounds like it would be totally worth it, though!
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7 Jessica @ Prayers and Apples March 1, 2013 at 12:02 am

Thanks so much for posting all the details! What about crying? I’m such a baby, I feel like maybe I would cry during the procedure if I got scared lol I mean not balling, but like my eyes might water up… I’m super emotional too, I don’t know if I could last a couple weeks without a single tear (even if it’s just out of frustration! lol) – did they say anything about crying?
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8 Lauren March 1, 2013 at 3:28 am

So good to hear your are happy with your surgery! My dad got Lasik and they completely screwed up his eyes.

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9 Chelsea @ LittleOneRuns March 1, 2013 at 6:23 pm

I’m officially convinced to not get the surgery lol I’ll be A-Okay with my contacts and glasses!
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10 Laura March 1, 2013 at 6:35 pm

I am so impressed you went through with it! I knew what it involved prior but I like the first hand experience take on it all. I dont think the my eye sight is bad enough where I feel the need to get it fixed, but for those people who want it, I think it is a great procedure!
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11 Kristen @ notsodomesticated March 3, 2013 at 7:44 am

Wow, crazy. I still don’t know if I could do it myself, but I love that you shared with everyone. I’ll have to show this post to my husband … he’s the one that was more interested in this surgery than I was!
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12 Britt @ Fit Fit Britt Britt March 3, 2013 at 10:16 pm

You’re the 1st person who has given a detailed experience with LASIK! Most people say “It’s great that I can see now, but the procedure was a bit uncomfortable,” and that’s all you get :P I hope I qualify some day for it! I have had glasses/contacts since I was little.
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13 Brooke March 5, 2013 at 11:40 pm

This is so similar to my LASIK experience! I hated the first part, but it was SO wortth it! It changed my life forever!
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14 Kalley March 10, 2013 at 10:05 pm

I just had successful LASIK on Thursday, so your timing of this post was just perfect! :) Gotta say though, they must do it differently from place to place… there was zero “suction” during any part of my procedure – and absolutely no eye bruising. That looks painful!! So for any commenters that were turned off by that portion… research the clinics in your area because not all of them follow the same procedure. And it is ABSOLUTELY the best decision I’ve made for myself.

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15 Brittany @ DulceVie March 19, 2013 at 3:17 pm

That sounds so painful! My brother might be getting LASIK sometime in the future… thank goodness it is not me ;)
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