Posts Tagged ‘surgery’

One post a year: got my eyes lasered

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Last year I told you about my experience moving to San Francisco. In a similar vein, I figured I could update my blog to describe the experience of having elective corrective eye surgery. It’s not that my life isn’t interesting, but I do so much writing at GitHub that I don’t have the same itch to blog about knitting or babies. Granted, I don’t think I’d be as good a writer if I hadn’t spent all that time navel-gazing here, but let’s get onto the EYE LAZERS.

I did a BUNCH of research before doing it, and found that not many people get the surgery I had (PRK, as opposed to LASIK), so it’s also a public service announcement.

Hilarious, right? This is me, right after the surgery. I have on clear eye protectors so nothing bumps my eyes, and then dark sports shades for light sensitivity. I get to sleep with the clear eye protectors for the next few nights. This also fixes the problem of my reoccurring sleep-racketball problem.

So, the burning question is: what was it like to have lasers resurface my corneas? The answer is: not much. I was super nervous coming in, even though I had learned all about what was going to be happening. Awesomely, the first thing that happens is they gave me Ativan, an anti-anxiety drug. They prepped my face (hairnet, iodine around my eyes, numbing drops in my eyes), then set me down in a chair and put headphones on me. I thought “this is crap pop music, how dare they assume I’m going to enjoy this?” but a minute or two later, it was sounding allllll riiiiiiight. I really knew the Ativan kicked in when some noodly jazz came on and I didn’t even care.

A doctor examined my eyes, and used what I’m sure wasn’t a Sharpie (but like a medical-grade cousin) to mark dots on each of my eyes. This had the excellent benefit of proving the numbing drops (and Ativan) had worked, and I was neither bothered by nor could feel my eyes being Sharpied.

When it was my turn to get lasereyed, I laid down on a padded bench, and the doctor added more numbing drops. She went through the steps of the procedure, taping up and down my eyelashes, putting the Clockwork Orange eye opener on. This was actually a relief to have. The doctor was instructing me to keep looking at the light, but it’s hard to look at a blinding white light, and my eyes were definitely squinty. Now I didn’t have to fight to keep them open. I’d worried this would be something that would feel uncomfortable, or make me feel tiny claustrophobia, but it turned out to be a highlight.

The next step was for the doctor to put a chemical on my eye that would loosen the top layer of corneal cells, then brush them away. This sounds gross. I’m pretty sure it is. But there was this satisfying feeling when, after my vision got super blurry from the cells coming up, when the doctor was brushing them aside. It was like when you brush a couple of inches of powdery snow off your car windshield with your wiper blades. This is probably the Ativan kicking in my brain’s natural reaction to anything, which is to find the silver lining.

Next up was the actual lasering. There were red lights to the sides, and a green light in the middle. The green light shone directly onto my, which made my whole vision fill with pixelated red-and-green DJ visuals. The pixels moved around a little. I could smell something (they’d warned me that there might be a “vapor”) but it wasn’t a bad smell. The actual lasering took about 10 seconds, didn’t hurt or feel weird at all. I wished I had some dubstep to go with the view, though.

The last step was to put a clear, thin contact over my now-resurfaced eye. My lids were released, untaped, and it was over.

That was it. The second eye was exactly the same process.

I got up, and although things were blurry, they were less blurry than when I came in (with glasses off). They checked my eyes, gave me the above-pictured cool shades, and sent me home in an Uber.

I was to spend the next two hours with my eyes shut. No problem. The rest of the day I spend dutifully putting in three kinds of eye drops. I felt good enough to go to 80’s parent-teacher conference this evening at preschool, and to go get groceries (on foot).

From here, we’ll see how the next three days are. Apparently, Thursday is going to suck a little, Friday might suck a lot, and Saturday will be kind of like Thursday. (Where “suck” means “the feeling of chopping onions”.

Here’s my eye, about 5 hours after the surgery.