I Paid Someone to Burn My Eyeballs

I had LASIK.  I love my new eyes.  I'll tell you about the process.

The procedure was a breeze, except for the nervousness, and that was tolerable.  I had all laser LASIK, which means that they use a laser instead of a blade to make the corneal flap.  Creating the flap doesn't even involve an actual cut - it's a serious of tiny, TINY laser zaps to a pre-determined depth all over the area that is to be the flap.  The laser separates the tissue and makes the flap piece able to be lifted right off. 

A loooong consultation with the doctor and nurses seemed to indicate that I was a good candidate.  They did like, 20 different tests.  My procedure was the same day, after lunch.

First, nine hundred thousand drops in my eyes.  Like, seriously, I think they said it was going to be 45 before they day was out.  Eye drops, eye drops, eye drops.  Then waiting in the waiting room.  Then they brought me to another waiting room, and gave me shoe covers and a shower cap style hair cover, and stickers for my forehead.  There were 5 other people in there, and we all looked like freaks.  They took my glasses and my purse and set them aside. 

Then, into the room to see the tech who makes the flaps.  The process for creating the flap was easy enough - they bandaged over one eye, put an eyelid spreader on the other, and attached a suction device to the front of my eye to hold it in place while the laser made the flap.  Everything went black.  That's normal.  Then POPPOPPOPPOPPOPPOPPOP - they were done.    Suction was released, and I could see - though things were very blurry.  (Well, blurrier than normal - I was 20/800 before I started so that in itself was bad enough.)  Lather, rinse, repeat - same thing, other eye.  Once both eyes were done, the tech sat me up and used a tiny instrument to check that the flaps were loose - it was just like sliding around a contact lens.  That was kind of gross considering that was part of my eye moving around.  He was satisfied, and I was sent to the waiting area to await my turn with the doctor for the actual reshaping of my eye.

20 trillion more eye drops over the next 20 minutes while I waited.  I could hear the other procedures being performed in the room down the hall as I lay with my eyes closed.  "Hi, patient, please state your name."  "OK, sit down.  Stare at the orange light.  Don't take your eyes off the light.  There is only that light - nothing else in the universe.  You'll do fine."  POPPOPPOPPOPPOPPOPPOPPOPPOP.  "Excellent."  I think there were about 5 people ahead of me so I became really familiar with that spiel.

When it was my turn, I was lead down the hall to the room (I could still see though it looked like I'd had milk in my eyes - everything was very cloudy) and I sat in the chair.  State my name, agree to worship the light.  OK, OK.  Bandage on one eye, spreader in the other.  (Deja vu?)  He folded back the flap and my vision was reduced to smudges of colors.  How can I hope to see the light now???   But no worries, the light was right above me, only it was more of a flashing blob.  Look at the light.  Don't move.  Look at the light.  I can do this.  Lookatthelightlookatthelightlookatthelight.  POPPOPPOPPOPPOPPOPPOPPOP.  Flashes of light and the smell of burning tissue.  It smelled sort of like burnt hair.  Yuck.  "Great.  Other eye."  Same thing, other eye. Lookatthelightlookatthelightlookatthelight. POPPOPPOPPOPPOPPOPPOPPOP.  Yuck.  "Doing great.  You're almost done."  He rinsed my eyes with saline and laid the flaps down and smoothed them with the smallest spatula I had ever seen. 

After a thousand more drops, I was given a pair of goggles to wear for the rest of the day and more drops to use over the next 10 days, and some instructions.  No makeup for 3 days, no water for two weeks, no touching for a couple days, no rubbing for a month. 

My eyes were gritty and tired for the rest of the day, but that night I could already see the TV from across the hotel room.  I could read a clock in the dark.  It was awesome.

It's been almost 6 months and my eyes are almost back to normal.  They're a little dry occasionally and everyday when I first wake up, but that's slowly getting better.  I can see everything now.  The follow up the day after my surgery had me reading 20/20.  I am thrilled.

I loved my doctor and all the nurses and technicians.  Everyone was so great about explaining everything in great detail and being so caring and supportive.  I couldn't have hoped for a better experience.

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2 Responses Dec 9, 2006

I am going to get the same procedure later this month if all goes well. I am concerned about the month long healing process. My work is very dusty.

Lasers are relevant to my interests.