January 3, 2016

LASIK: Consultation

As you can see from the prior post, there are many reasons why one may not be a good candidate for Lasik surgery. The only way to find out for sure is to consult with the surgeon. I went through my insurance to locate an in-network referral, which also qualified me for a discount.

WARNING: Never drive after your have had your eyes dilated. NEVER. Always make arrangement to have someone drive you, if you know it is going to happen.

Although I was warned that my reading vision would be adversely affected, I did not expect that I would not be able to read street signs or the mileage on my GPS for hours after I left the office. Although I was wearing sunglasses, the taillights of the car ahead seemed like some kind of unbearable lasers. I am not even talking about the sun itself, once you get out of the car. Oh and don't even get me started on the size of those pupils… Seven hours later people were still commenting on how big they looked. Needless to say - I've never had my eyes dilated before my Lasik consultation, so it was an unexpectedly shocking experience.

For an hour and a half the doctor and several assistants thoroughly examined my peepers, confirmed my prescription, and decided that - aside from aweful vision, one eye not focusing as well as the other, astigmatism and god knows what other conditions - my eyes are healthy, which means that I am a good candidate for the surgery. In addition, I will most likely end up with the coveted 20/20 vision after the first procedure and will not need to have another one to bring it to the optimal, which I was initially afraid of due to the strength of my prescription. Also because my prescription is so super high, I opted for custom procedure, which is of course more expensive, but hopefully will allow me to avoid any unforeseen issues.

There was a very thorough checklist of the different items, points, warnings, etc. that were explained to me. This is where my expectations are set.

Before the surgery:
Although contacts put pressure on your eyeballs and change the shape of your eye, my eyeballs rebound enough in a matter of several hours of wearing glasses.  So I will only need to wear glasses for a couple of days before the procedure to allow them to return to their regular shape. Apparently, some people have to stop wearing contacts up to two weeks before the surgery.

The procedure:
The doctors took a ton of different measurements of my eyeballs. They will input them into a sophisticated machine. Based on that input the machine (and the doctor) will know precisely what, where, and how much to cut. Some contraptions will hold my eyes open. Super bright strobe lights. Ten minutes. Done.

After the surgery:
I am pretty sure I will be able to see some things right after the surgery. You cannot drive yourself home the day of the surgery, but you should be able to drive to the follow up appointment the next day. Relaxing in the dark and napping for the rest of the day. Some bruising may occur in the eyeballs and the general area around the eyes.

I will need to use several different kinds of eye drops for a couple of weeks after the surgery. The doctor gave me the prescriptions already, so I can fill it before the surgery and have them readily available.

Another interesting expectation - your vision will not be 20/20 right after the surgery. Apparently, it could take up to a couple of weeks for it to stabilized. So it can be 50/30 one day, 40/30 the next day, 30/20 the day after, but in the end I have a very high chance of having a 20/20 vision. In addition, Lasik corrects such issues as astigmatism and the eyes may even feel less dry then when wearing contacts, because they will be able to breath better without them.

Sounds like I am going to be as good as new. There are only a couple of things that I am not completely comfortable with.
  1. No makeup for two weeks after the surgery. However, this is an absolutely justifiable precaution to avoid poking yourself in the eye. 
  2. No exercise for a few days. This is to prevent sweat and dirt from getting into your eyes as to not develop an infection. 
Since there are no stitches you have to be super careful not to move the tissue. Basically, baby your eyes for two weeks after the procedure. Do not touch or rub. Wear protective goggles to bed. Oh well… Beauty is on the inside, right?

You can read more about my LASIK adventure on my official LASIK page.

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