Friday, August 25, 2006
The "Eyes" Have It
Smarty Pants is back and pleased to report that despite all the catastrophizing she did about her eyeballs exploding or going blind, she’s fine. Better than fine, actually. My follow up appointment today measured my vision at 20/15. Can’t complain about that. Today is also the last day I have to put in eye drops or wear those goofy goggles to bed. They sure kill the mood, I’ll tell you. Good thing DB is working nights.
Although unrelated to writing, several people were interested in how it went, so I’m going to write up a brief summary. I’m going to be honest, so if you’re squeamish, be warned.
I went to a local Lasik clinic here in Huntsville. I opted for the CustomVue Lasik, which measures the contours of your eye and targets only those areas that are causing the visual distortion. I also opted for the new Intralase method, which is blade-free. Traditional Lasik gives the same treatment to everyone regardless and uses a tool called a Microkeratome to create the corneal flap. I liken it to a potato peeler and had avoided Lasik for years just because of that thing. Mine was completely done with lasers.
The morning I showed up, I filled out all my consent forms, paid, then they took me back. I got a hairnet and shoe slippers, they bathed my eyelids in iodine, put green sticky dots on my forehead and stuck tissue over my ears. (Not my finest moment, thank goodness there were no cameras). They put some drops in my eyes to numb them. The doctor gave me a pill to relax me, then they took me into the surgery room. (I could’ve used a few more minutes for it to kick in, honestly. I was freaked out.)
They laid me down on this bed-type dental chair of sorts and fit this pillow snuggly around my head so I couldn’t move it too easily. They added a few more drops to my eyes, then swung me over to the first laser to cut the corneal flaps. Then came the part I didn’t anticipate. I’d heard they use these clamps to keep your eyelids open. I wasn’t thrilled, but I was prepared. Instead, he put this plastic ring in my eye that sort of looked like a bubble wand kids use. The outer part kept my eye open, then the inner part fit perfectly around my iris. Not too comfortable, but ok. Then he said something to his assistant about turning on the suction.
What’s that you said?
Suction. Yeah. They sucked my eye up through that ring. Not out of my head, of course, but it drew the curve of my cornea up through the center ring so they could cut around the edge with the laser. Fortunately, that made my vision go dark. It didn’t hurt, but it was unnerving, like someone was wrapping a rubber band around my eyeball. 45 seconds later, the flap was created on one eye. Then they removed the ring and made the flap on the second eye.
They took the ring out and swung me over to the other laser for the actual procedure. He taped my eyelids open and told me to watch this orange light. Apparently with the Intralase, the laser just perforates the flap, then the doctor goes with a little tool to actually flip it up. As he moves your corneal flap around, the orange light moves, so I was following it and I got chastized for not keeping my eye still. Apparently, I’m not good at that. Anyway, they finished that, then I had to stare at the orange light again while they did the actual procedure. No big deal except for the smell of burning flesh. 15 seconds on each eye and it was over. They removed the tape and did some other stuff and of course, in the interim, I got yelled at some more for not keeping my eye still. Whatever. The bright lights in the room made my eyes want to roll up into my head. I kept them still during the part with the laser and that’s what was important.
They flipped back the flaps, put some drops in my eyes and took a gander at them through a scope of some kind. All looked good, so they gave me my take home kit and that was it. All in all, I got there about 10 minutes to 9 and left by 10:15.
I went the next morning for a follow up and a week later for another. I go back in 3 weeks for a 1-month checkup. Totally worth the money so far and nothing about the procedure was so awful that I would say to anyone not to do it. My vision is fairly clear now. Sometimes I have to tell myself to focus, but when I do, I see great. I’ve also got some night halos which they said would dissipate in time.
The worst thing so far has been these steroid drops I have to put in every 4 hours. They run back around my eyeball and down my throat (who knew they were connected?) and they taste totally funky. I drink a soda or eat some crackers or whatever and it goes away. Not bad, all in all.
The best thing (other than great vision) was getting my three days on the couch. I made the most of it, napping at every opportunity. Heck, I couldn’t read, get on the computer or watch tv, so naps were the only thing left to do. Plus I was pretty tired for some reason. My brain got the break I was hoping for. Now it’s back to revisions. Sigh.
Posted by Andrea Laurence AKA Smarty Pants at 8/25/2006 12:13:00 AM