Saturday, January 10, 2009

Lasik: Day 1 and 2

Yesterday I went in to have LASIK corrective surgery for my eyes. I decided to go with Clearly Lasik and they have been very pleasant. To start with I had two pre-op visits. The first one was just to see if I should even bother with corneal thickness and other prescription and shape requirements. That was a go, but I needed to be out of my Rigid Gas Permeable contact lenses for 4 weeks plus 1 wee for every decade I have worn them so 5 total weeks out of contacts and wearing glasses from the mid-90s. Oh well.

First and foremost this is expensive and given that they were playing with my eyes I then opted for all the bells and whistles. Here is a list of their stuff:

  • Extended (pre-op, LASIK or PRK, post-ops for a year, 1 year free enhancements, $499 enhancements later): $1199/eye
  • Extended Wavefront (pre-op, LASIK or PRK, post-ops for a year, 1 year free enhancements, $499 enhancements later): $1599
  • Lifetime (pre-op, LASIK or PRK, post ops for a year, lifetime enhancements): $1399
  • Lifetime Wavefront (pre-op, LASIK or PRK, post ops for a year, lifetime enhancements): $1399

  • Intralase (bladeless, otherwise making the flap uses a blade): $400/eye
  • Temporary Tear Duct plugs: $100/eye
  • Permanent Tear Duct plugs: $150/eye

I opted for LASIK w/ Wavefront w/ Intralase. Basically Wavefront allows for more precise laser signal. Older LASIK had a limit in the diops it could correct for and variation between prescriptions. New technology is more exact. (for more information checkout Wikipedia LASIK)

So I arrived Friday morning at 9:45am for a 10:00am appointment. I filled out my consent forms and headed back to the payment room. Payment was due prior to surgery and day of. Luckily Clearly Lasik is covered by VSP so I got 15% off the bill. After payment, getting some valium, and going over my prescription guidelines (when to take which eye drops) we went back to the relaxation room. Really this is just a second waiting room where they have movies going and snacks available. Luckily I only had to wait about an hour back there before I was taken to the operation room which has a large window where friends and family can watch. Put on some surgical booties and a surgical cap and lay down on a chair. Next step, they lined my eyes up under each machine and made sure everything was set and gave my eyes some numbing drops.

After that they lined me up with the LASIK machine and put on some sort of suction cup for my eye. This was pretty uncomfortable. Let me stress that. When they put the suction on the eye, it must impact the optic nerve as everything goes dark in that eye. Not a big deal, the problem for me is it was not comfortable. It didn't help that I twitched the first time, and it didn't line up well the second time, so it took 3 tries to get the suction on my right eye. Once it is on, you can't see anything out of that eye for about 1 minute. The slid me over to the Intralase machine and it made the microbubbles in my eye for the flap. Next, they did the same thing for my left eye, but that went much smoother but still darn uncomfortable.

Once both eyes were prepped, I found my head under the LASIK machine for the rest of the time (the easy part). The attached another device to my eye to keep it steady. They then flooded it with fluid and peeled back the top layer of my eye where the bubbles where made. After I was lined up you felt gentle puffs of air or water (couldn't tell) and some popping sounds for about 15 to 30 seconds. Next they irrigate the eye again and float the flap back into place. Right eye went well on this round but not so for my left. Either the numbing solution wore off or wasn't good enough because lifting flap made me yelp. With some more numbing solution we were underway and it went very smoothly. Overall time in the operating room was 15 minutes, but really talking 3 minutes total under the lasers. A little check up and plug install and I was sent home.

The rules are you need to keep your eyes closed for the next 8 hours. Optimally you should sleep. Unfortunately, I had trouble getting to sleep. It didn't help that it was now about noon and I really wasn't that tired. Second my eyes HURT. Started out just a slight burn, but it progressed into bad burning and itching. I called the office and they said take some Tylenol PM. I had taking some tylenol earlier as well as my second valium pill. But the Tylenol PM finally kicked in and I slept for a few hours. Ate some dinner, and some more Tylenol and I was down till the next morning.

As it stands, on day one you are taking 3 types of drops at a steady rate. Drops one is the antibiotic which is a breakfast, lunch dinner, bed type drop. Drops two is the anti-inflammation drops which will be a 4 times a day like the antibiotic but is every 2 hours for the first 2 days. Finally, I also have plain old drops that help keep my eyes moist. It is really important to do that or else the flap can dry and lift and that is very bad, so lots of those extra drops.

So now I am on day 2 and I have finished my post-op visit (I have 2 more post-op visits). The result of my first visit is 20/20 vision (almost 20/15). But I still have some blurriness as things heal. Everything after surgery looks like you are looking through a piece of wax. You can't really see. Today I have moments of clarity but lots where it is just cloudy. If you would have asked me yesterday if this was a good idea, I would have said no way. But today things are just getting better and better as the day goes on and I am very happy to see without any lenses (although it does feel like I have lenses in).

Here are some pics:

Day of LASIK before heading out:

day of lasik

Day of LASIK after surgery:

day of lasik after

Day after LASIK:

day after lasik

day after lasik

day after lasik

I don't know how many more updates on this there will be. Things are pretty good right now and look to be healing very nicely. I will still need to do drops for a while but I am sure that that won't be forever.

And my question to the Sarcastic Weasel, is if this is the Ferrari?


Boiler Up! Amy said...

James has been trying to talk me into doing this for awhile now. I am a chicken butt...after reading your account...still a chicken butt...Please post in a few days to let me know if it was all worth it!

The Really Sarcastic Weasel said...

I hope that it doesn't compromise your ability to read things.

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