I’m officially 3 weeks post-op from my Lasik eye surgery so I feel like I can relay my experience safely without needing to update with unforeseen complications. In my research, I didn’t find a lot of people who explained how the procedure went for them. Yes there are videos of people getting Lasik done on Youtube, but the only part that goes on camera is the reshaping of the cornea. So let me start from the beginning.
When I first decided to get Lasik, I chose a doctor, had a consult, and scheduled a surgery day and then was called a couple weeks later and told that the doctor closed his practice and sold his clients to the other Lasik doctor in town. Talk about a moment of panic. Being told your doctor is closing up shop is SO unnerving. Why not just tell me upfront so I could go to the other doctor in the first place?
Anyway, once we figured out that it was so he could retire and not because he was a bad doctor we were more relaxed about it. I think it all worked in my favor anyway because I really liked the doctor I went to, TLC Laser Eye Center. They are international and provide free enhancements at any location if you ever need it in the future so long as you have yearly eye exams.
I had to be out of contacts for at least 2 week prior to my pre-op assessment. Contacts cause some swelling in the cornea that distorts the true shape, so they need the swelling to go down to get an accurate measurement for surgery. So I wore my glasses for a month to be sure. They tested my eyes, measured my cornea, and were very thorough in checking my eye health before giving me the go for surgery.
Laser eye surgery is a safe procedure because it deals with the surface of the eye rather than going to the back where your ability to see is housed. So the worst case scenario of going blind is pretty unlikely to happen. That set me more at ease. I personally received the bladeless eye surgery vs microkeratome (bladed procedure). In the bladeless procedure, a laser creates the cornea flap with bubbles under the surface which allows the surgeon to pull back the cornea flap. In the blade procedure, the surgeon uses a metal blade to cut the flap. The information I found online was NOT clear about all that so I just wanted to make sure that it is clear for you. And the success rates of both procedures are about the same.
A day before the procedure, I started some eye drops. The doctor gives you prescriptions for these at your pre-op and a timeline of when to take them. Then day of, I went in to the surgery room, laid on a bench, and held on to the teddy bear they gave me. Probably a psychological thing.
The nurse put numbing drops in my eyes and lots of lubricating drops. Then the doctor put a suction device on my eye which made my vision go dark. That was the moment it hit me… this is permanent. And I had to remember to breathe like the doctor told me to. Once the suction was on (and I couldn’t see) the laser made the flap. It didn’t take long. The doctor removed the suction and my vision was still blurry. The doctor then taped my eye shut and put the suction on the other.
Once both flaps were created. The bed rotated me to cornea-treatment part. The doctor opened the flap on one eye and lubricated. Then had me stare at the green light above me. When the laser treats your eye, there is a smell from the laser like you’re at the dentist with the machinery working. The great thing about the laser is that you can’t mess it up by moving your eye. The laser moves faster than your eye and adjusts with each microscopic movement. Once he was done with one, he moved to the other. Meanwhile, my husband got to watch since there is a camera that shows that part of the procedure on a screen to the viewing audience.
When both eyes were done, I sat up slowly and blinked. The whole procedure lasted about 15 mins top which in the moment feels a little longer than that. They gave me more lubricating drops and told me not to rub my eyes. My vision was watery. The doctor checked everything in his machine and gave me the go-ahead to leave. I walked out with watery vision wearing sunglasses and was told to sleep. You need to have someone to drive you home because at this point you are not cleared to drive.
We had an hour’s drive til we got home and in that time, the numbing drops wore off and it felt like I had soap in my eyes. They burned and stung, so I kept my eyes shut. Once we got home, I got right into bed, put in the eye drops, and put on the sleep goggles and went to sleep. When I woke up 3 hours later, I felt no pain. The reason for 3 hours is because they don’t want your eyes to go longer than that without getting more moisture. Right away I could see as if I had my contacts in, but things were a little smoky. Gradually that faded. The next morning we went back for a follow up.
The next week, I was paranoid about my eyes. There’s a regimen of eye drops you use for two weeks after and they want you sleeping with the goggles so you don’t rub your eyes in your sleep. I was afraid of the shower and washing my face. I really didn’t want to mess anything up which I didn’t thankfully.
One misconception I had was that I’d get the surgery and be done. I wasn’t aware of the many followup visits they have for you. Day after, 1 week later, then three weeks, then two months, and six months. You see the in-office doctor quite a bit so they can make sure everything is healing well. These are usually really short visits. We have to drive an hour to the office for a 5 min appt but it’s worth it for my eye health.
One of the things I didn’t like initially was that I didn’t meet the surgeon before the day of my surgery. He was a travelling surgeon and did Lasik in 4 different offices in the area. But when we met him, he was awesome. Talked to us, learned about my hobbies, answered questions, and didn’t rush the process. He talked to me through the whole procedure, had fun music on in the operating room, told me to breath. I liked him a lot. After the surgery, I got a followup text from him and then a followup email a week later. I didn’t see him again since an office doctor did my followup visits, but I felt like he really supported me. And I know that’s why he does the texts and emails. Also, it’s really good marketing. =) So kudos to TLC for that.
Even three weeks out, I still have a halo from lights at night. But that should go away by 3 months out. I took my first overnight trip without packing any contacts or glasses. AND I LOVE IT! I still am using lubricating drops when my eyes feel dry, but I don’t have to worry about losing contacts or leaving them in for too long or having to wear glasses. It’s truly awesome.
To dispel some of the stuff I read online, I talked to the doctor about what I read. Here’s what he said:
Most people’s eye sight deteriorates around 40 so they’ll have to wear reading glasses. However, if it’s reading glasses vs bifocals… I’ll take reading glasses any day. You still can wear contacts if you need to some day even though lots of people online say you can’t. But with free enhancements from your surgeon, you shouldn’t need to wear contacts unless something else happens with your eye. Also, you don’t have to wait 3-6 months after surgery if you want to get pregnant. It won’t mess with your eyes healing. They just won’t do it while you’re pregnant. Also, the doctor said that the cornea flap heals and seals up on average at 2-4 weeks but they say it takes longer just to be safe.
So what’s holding you back? Is it fear? Or the fear of people touching your eyes? Take the plunge! I’m here to cheer you on!