That sounds scary..and the entire idea of LASIK is super scary!!
Here's a quick walk through of what happens. I might get graphic, but you need to know!
You arrive at the surgery center with butterflies in your stomach (or really angry bats in my case) and they check you in and let you sit and think about what you've done. Then they pull you back to some eye machines that look like Star Trek devices and supposedly measure something eye-related. Then you go to an exam room and an optometrist who looks like she walked in off of Hollywood Blvd comes in and claims to be a doctor. This might differ at other places, but this was who I had check my eyes first.
The "doctor" does a quick look at your pre-op exam notes from your regular eye doctor and then looks close-up at your eyes for about 2 minutes and declares, wow, you really do have thick corneas. I've always been a thick girl-who knew my corneas were also?
Then she declares with a signature on the file: you are a great candidate! I think we're ready to move forward.
And then they send you back to the front desk to pay. And pay you do....
Costs vary at clinics, but really, you get what you pay for in some cases, right? In the case of a laser altering the shape/dimension/feel/look of my eye, I am okay with paying a hefty amount. And so I did. I don't typically share personal financial information with the world, but I know you all want to know....it cost $3400 total. This includes: Pre-op exam by my doctor, LASIK surgery, follow-up appt with the surgeon, follow-up appt with my eye doctor. It also includes any touch-ups that have to be done now or at any point in the future. Sometimes your initial surgery doesn't work that well or sometimes you just have a fluctuation in your vision as you age. These touch-ups will be fully free if I need to have anything else done. I also got a nifty post-surgery kit that includes a million gallons of eye drops, which I think I will need.
Anyway - you pay at the front desk and then they take you back into the pre-op area. This is a good place to be...because this is where they give you the drugs. It's just a bit of an anxiety medicine, and they weren't really generous with it, but it definitely helped prevent me from running out of there (which I did consider).
You get your medicine and then they start walking you through the kit and what you can expect. Dry eyes, a little pain, a bit of tiredness, etc. The kit includes some awesome goggles to wear at night that you are supposed to tape to your head, as the strap doesn't create a vacuum-pack seal. (Has anyone with hair ever tried to tape something to their head? It's not easy!)
They put your hair up into a nice blue cap and they tuck some gauze pads over your ears to prevent any liquid from dripping in them. Is this painting a great picture? It is as great as it sounds.
Just before it's your turn, they put some numbing drops in your eyes. I asked for extra because I felt like I only got half of one drop in one eye and I just knew I was going to want to die from the pain if she didn't give me another. She was kind enough to humor me on this.
The medicine makes you a bit sleepy and in a haze, which is good because as they lead you into the surgery room, you really start to feel that urge to run -but your feet and head aren't talking and so you end up just following the nurse like a zombie. They lay you down in the exam chair and move this large black contraption over you.
And then the surgeon comes in and asks if it's okay to say a prayer first.
What?? Really? Yes, apparently at my clinic, with the surgeon on duty that day--we pray. I considered running at that point too--I think the doctor should have been confident in his ability at that point, or maybe he should have started his day with a private prayer to do his best, but whatever. If he needed to pray to make that laser work, then we will pray. I suspect there was no god in that black box...it was really purely a scientific event.
Then the main event happens. This is where the squeamish people should scroll down past the blue font.
The nurse sits besides you and is your narrator. She literally said aloud everything that was going to happen as we went. She was awesome. I wanted her to read me a bedtime story.
They prop your eye open-which was the most discomfort I felt the entire time, and it's only uncomfortable as they are putting it on, then you don't even notice it.
The nurse said: just look at the red light for a moment. Your vision will go black for just a second.
This is where they make an incision to create a flap on your cornea. A little machine slides over your eye and its done so fast you have no time to think about it. I only knew about it because I watched a video before going in...
Then that thing is moved and you see the doctor take some tweezer like things and move the corneal flap to the side. Next, they line up the laser and you just stare at this one red dot. The nurse tells you that you'll hear the laser for a moment, and the black box starts humming for about 15-20 seconds (it felt like 20 minutes), and then it stops and the doctor comes back with his tweezers to put the flap back in place. And you then repeat for the other eye.
As soon as that second eye is done - you're up and out of the chair and they have you sit in a different chair and the doctor puts on a contact lens bandage to help the flap seal back down. You have that lens taken off at your post-op 24 hrs after the surgery.
The entire surgical portion of the procedure took less than 12 minutes. I was walking out of the clinic less than 20 minutes after they had me in that chair.
And I could see immediately after it was done. Not 20/20, but definitely close. My eyesight on Thursday morning when I woke up was 20/550. My eyesight on Friday morning when I went in for my appointment was 20/40. This is the first time since 1982 that I have been able to see across the room without glasses/contacts!!
My eyes are still really dry and feel like they are bruised a tiny bit on the inside. My vision is a little blurry now and again. I'm still a tiny bit sensitive to light. All of these should clear up in the next few days, 3 weeks at the longest. Let's hope so, because right now I mostly feel like I'm wearing really old, expired contact lenses-which is a frustrating feeling.
But overall--omg-I can see!!!!!!!!
What kind of miracle is this?? How on earth did this ever happen??
What crazy genius scientist isolated in a lab somewhere in the middle of nowhere came up with the idea to shoot a laser at someone eye-but make sure to cut away and move the cornea first-to fix your vision? And what even-more-crazy person was the first to do this?? Who was the test subject for this??? Isn't this the craziest thing ever? And to think there are so many people paying big bucks to have it done to them! Like me!! And I just wish I had done it earlier in life...I feel like I have a new-found freedom.
Except from eye drops. Eye drops are my new best friend.