25-Mar-2005 lasik

my lasik experience

On Monday I walked into the LasikPlus office off Hempstead and 59 in Houston, Texas. I was given the most complicated set of tests to measure my visual acuity that I’d been given in a long time. My most recent prescription was -7.50 sphere, -1.25 cylinder, 174 axis in my right eye (i.e. really bad) and -8.00 sphere, -0.50 cylinder, and 015 axis in my left (i.e. really really bad). My eyes were tested, dilated, forced to watch a DVD video about LASIK, numbed, and tested some more. Once done, I was told that I was a perfect candidate for surgery. They have three tiers available and I was recommended the second tier. The first tier used Broad Beam Technology, the second used Flying Spot Technology, and the third was Wavefront Guided Technology. I was recommended LADARVision Flying Spot. Sounds good to me. Fly spot, fly. The cost was $1599 per eye which included a lifetime acuity plan — meaning if my eyes needed adjustments at any point in time there would be no further charge. All I have to do is get my eyes checked once a year I was given a prescription to fill for droplet antibiotics, as well as an extensive list of eye drops. I put $50 down as a promise that, yes; I would return and get my eyeballs lasered. I went home. I did some research on Google for other testimonials. Happy with what I found, I patiently awaited my surgery appointment the following Thursday at 6:20 PM.

On Thursday afternoon I bought two kinds of Alcon brand non-preservative wetting drops for nighttime and daytime, a nice pair of sunglasses, and my prescription antibiotic. I was mildly nervous but it wasn’t like I was on death row. I arrived back to LasikPlus at 5 PM and met my dad in the lobby. A tall security guard that looked like Richard Moll with hair was mentioning his ”bad experience” with LASIK and how he hoped I had a better experience. I held my hand up and said, ”Shush! No bad experience stories!” We went into the elevator and the doomsayer was no more. After filling out papers and paying for things — I chose the 12 months no interest financing that they offered — I was taken to another little room to get my eyes checked yet again. I received a little black bag filled with recovery goodies (droplets, another antibiotic, protective sleep goggles, etc). I was given a tablet of Xanax and given dilating eye drops at least 8 times to make super-sure I was dilated. I was taken to the table where I’d have my procedure done and photos were taken of my eyes for reference purposes. I then left and sat in a small waiting room with the DVD player from Monday. By this time I was getting just a little sleepy. The time for surgery finally arrived. They dilated me one last time, added numbing drops, and laid me back on the table. I had to wear a little blue puffy elastic surgery hat to keep my hair in check. My left eye was covered up with a patch. My right eye was then taped back by the eyelashes on the top and bottom, a speculum was placed over the eyelids so I couldn’t blink. Once in place my eye made a single attempt to blink and immediately discovered that it was a pointless act and gave up. Nice. I could handle that. I could see a red light shining directly above my eye, as well as a long bank of white illuminating lights on the left and right of the red light. Index marks were drawn on my cornea so the flap could be returned to its original position. I found it interesting that they use a special (and expensive) felt tip marker to draw this. A suction device was then placed over the eye to hold it in place. My vision slowly darkened to where I saw nothing but blackness. An excimer laser was used to create the flap at this point. I could tell I was being cut into, but since I was numbed up there was no pain to speak of. The suction was released and I could see the red light and bank of white lights once again. The doctor did some careful manipulation and eventually (meaning probably after 30 seconds) pulled back the newly created flap. At this point everything was super blurry. The only real discomfort I had was the fact that the white bank of lights on each side seemed very intense. Since I couldn’t blink, I figured I’d soldier on and suck it up. They then carefully made sure I was in the best possible position before the laser went to work. Clicking and clacking noises occurred as a computerized voice indicated, ”29 seconds left” — ”procedure 25 percent complete” — ”21 seconds left” … until eventually it said ”procedure complete” and I was able to relax. I could smell some kind of burning tissue but nothing disgusting. If you’ve ever cooked an ant with a magnifying glass — basically this was the same smell. Maybe less anty. Anyway, the doctor then swept my cornea flap over carefully and brushed it back into place. I could then see the red laser light was much sharper than it had been before. I blinked a few times and they removed the speculum and pulled off the tape from my eyes. The procedure was then repeated on my left eye. This was far easier because I knew what to expect and I also knew it was halfway over. The only difference was that one of my eyelashes got in my eye and had to be removed. Not a problem. Once complete, they sat me up. Antibiotic drops were immediately placed in my eyes. They checked me over once again with some measuring devices in another room. I was then given my little black bag of goodies and sent home.

My dad and I stopped off at Chipotle for some dinner. My vision was quite foggy and my eyes felt a little sore from all the manipulation. We then hit the CVS so I could get some Tylenol PM. One of the instructions given was that I should immediately go to sleep for at least 5 hours. After settling down with my protective goggles on, I conked out thanks to the Tylenol PM. The soreness went away. I automatically woke up once at 3 AM since I went to bed at basically 8 PM. I went to the bathroom and pulled off the goggles. Pretty damn clear. Everything is close to 20/20 and the fog had subsided. I took my next dose of antibiotics, did some drops, and went back to sleep. The next morning was even better. At the moment, my right eye is like super sharp, and my left eye seems to be closing in. This is just the first day after surgery, and I understand that vision will fluctuate while the healing process settles down and everything settles down back to normal. My checkup is in 15 minutes so I’m going to cut this short. The next update will include what they do to me at the checkup. This whole process has been much easier than finding a genetically modified radioactive spider to bite me. I think.