I woke up this morning and could see crystal clear for the first time in my life. It is the strangest sensation to have "naturally" perfect vision when you are used to waking up and stumbling through your morning semi-blindly until you pop your contacts in. When I was little I read the book "Hatchet" and thought to myself that if I was ever lost in the wilderness by myself I would die because I wouldn't be able to see to catch anything to eat (err... not that I could catch anything even if I could see...) (I liked that book by the way, even if it's kinda a boy book) (Oh and he kills a moose in the book - goose the moose did NOT like that part).
Less than 24 hours ago I had LASIK eye surgery and I couldn't be happier. I'm supposed to be resting my eyes for 48 hours but as you will learn in a few minutes - my body decided to do just about everything opposite of what it was "supposed" to do.
For those of you that don't know what LASIK is, it's a laser surgery that corrects your vision so you don't have to wear contacts or glasses anymore. I've worn contacts for about 10 years and have struggled with the hassle of them. Beyond the fact that they are a pain in the butt I was also sensitive to contact solution, so I had a case of constant red eyes. Over the 10 years I tried different solutions but finally succumbed to the fact that my eyes were never going to be crystal clear as long I was wearing contacts. It has also crossed my mind that the twice a day pulling of the eye area to put the contacts in and take them out can NOT be good for that delicate eye tissue. Hello premature wrinkles!
Not everyone is a candidate for LASIK; you have to be over the age of 18, have stable vision (not more than a half a point change per eye per year), and I don't think you can have a major astigmatism. They also can't guarantee to get you to 20/20 or better if you have really bad eyesight starting out. For me this was perfect; I don't have an astigmatism and my sight has been stable since high school. I was a -4.00 and a -3.75 at the time of the surgery if anyone is wondering :) Everyone is different through, so if you are interested you should ask your eye doctor for a consult. There are other types of laser eye surgery as well, this is just the one I chose.
I got to my appointment and they immediately took me back to have a few tests run - nothing major, just looking at the "layout" of my eyeballs to help them get the coordinates right (like an eyeball map!). Then they put a hair cap over my head to keep my hair out of my face, plopped two yellow stickers on my forehead, and gave me a Valium to help me relax. The Valium was supposed to calm my nerves and make me a bit sleepy, or as they put it, put me in a "I don't care" mood.
Yes... you are awake for this surgery. Are you queasy yet?
I went back out into the waiting room to sit with my mom while the Valium kicked in. All I could think about was how silly the stickers on my forehead looked, and how I really wanted to draw little walmart smiley faces on them. ------> like so.
After getting the giggles over these stickers with mom I asked the nurse what they were for, and she said it was so that the doctor knew he was doing surgery on both my eyes. Think about that for a second... if I was doing one eye I understand a sticker over that eye, but who goes into LASIK to get NEITHER eye done? No one. So why did I have to have two stickers instead of none? I'm not sure, but it sure gave me a laugh. The hair hat was another laughing matter - I looked like a very silly Dr. Suess character.
So after about 10 mins they called me back, and I told them my Valium had not kicked in yet, which they said was okay. They told me to lie down on a chair/bed and the doctor put a patch over the eye he was not working on. He put numbing drops in, taped my eyelashes back to my lids so they were out of the way, and stuck in the little thing that keeps your eye propped open. All of this sounds worse than it was. He talked me through the entire process, saying things like, "okay look at the orange blinking light, a shadow will come towards your eye, you're doing great". It was all dandelions, rainbows and sunshine.. until the flap cutting part happened. In order to treat your eye they have to cut a flap on the surface of your eye, peel it back, and then laser treat the surface. The only bad part of the whole procedure was the flap cutting. It didn't hurt, but it was a lot of pressure and scariness and then your sight goes completely black and you feel like you have gone blind. It comes back after about 3 seconds though, and you can see that orange blinking light again (I was so happy to see that little light). Then the laser comes on and you hear some clicking and you can't feel anything at all, but you can smell your eyeball flesh burning (sounds horrible but it is really quick!). Then they lie the flap back down, put a few drops in your eye, take off the tape, and voila! Perfect vision! Then they move on to the other eye.
It takes literally under a minute an eye, and the laser is only on the eye about 15 seconds. Piece of cake! They numb your eyes up first and give you a relaxant to help calm your nerves (not that mine worked, lol) so it really isn't that bad. I got the "custom LASIK" if anyone is wondering. I know the picture looks scary, but I PROMISE it's not that scary in real life - you don't really know all that stuff is on your eye.
I then waited about 20 mins and the Doctor came and looked at my eyes to make sure the flaps were lying flat and then sent me home with goggles. I kinda love my goggles - I was allowed to take them off this morning but I still am wearing them proudly. I think I will sleep with them for a few more nights so I don't rub my eyes and dislodge my flaps (which doesn't really ever happen but I am convinced it can).
I was told that I would come home and immediately want to go to bed. Apparently the Valium normally makes people very sleepy so when they go home they just pass out, but he said I could also take a Benadryl if I needed it, which is an over the counter anti-inflammatory that is known for causing drowsiness, and then sleep it off. He also gave me a prescription painkiller in case I needed it, but said patients rarely do. So I went home, got in bed... and nothing happened.
7 hours later, I was still wide awake. As soon as the numbing drops wore off I started to feel uncomfortable so I took some benadryl thinking it would help me sleep - nothing. After all that, eyeball cutting and all, my body was wired to the walls and wide awake, wanting to do anything except sleep it off like I was supposed to. This was the hardest part - it lasted about 2 hours and there was nothing I could do to distract myself (like read or YouTube) because I had to keep my eyes closed. I had to sit under my blanket with all the lights off because of light sensitivity and my eyes were watering like crazy - not pleasant. That was the part I believe most people are SUPPOSED to sleep through (bad Elle).
I finally fell asleep at 9:30 and slept through the night, waking once at 2:30 for about an hour but then falling back to sleep. I woke up with crystal clear vision - it is amazing! I have a checkup appointment in an hour so he can make sure the flap is healing correctly, but considering I am on here writing a blog post and not lying in the dark with a killer headache I think I am doing alright.
EDIT: Just came back from my check up - my eyesight is 20/10!! Which is amazing, he called it "supervision". Better that what I could see with contacts/glasses :)
I would totally recommend this to someone who is considering it, and I would do it over again if I had to. I encourage people to do research and make up their own minds though - I had a lot of people tweeting me/emailing me scary stories about how they know people who have gone blind, etc., but that rarely happens. In fact... according to most research there is not a single documented case of someone going completely blind from LASIK. Also, there is a chance I will have to wear reading glasses after I turn 40 - that does not worry me in the slightest.
So anyway, cheers to naturally good vision, no more red contact eyes, and if I get stranded in the wilderness it will not be my eyesight that inhibits me from surviving :) Time to get rid of my glasses!
EDIT again: I didn't think I had to clarify this... but of course, I shouldn't have assumed. LASIK did NOT sponsor this, my family paid for it. Not that I should have to defend myself, but whatever. I don't believe insurance covers it either, and prices vary by location. Most of the time to consultation appointment is free though.