So, I finally got LASIK. I say finally, because I was going to get it after undergrad, but then when I started law school my eyesight just plummeted even more. Thus, I waited another three years, and FINALLY, on Friday, December 6, 2013 I got my eyes lasered. And actually, I did not get LASIK, I got PRK. PRK is a safer version of laser eye surgery, and the only procedure the military allows. Instead of cutting a flap on your eye and fixing underneath the flab, as they do in LASIK, they basically shave off a layer of your eye. It takes a few extra days of healing, as opposed to LASIK’s 2-3 days of healing, but overall I imagine it’s a similar experience. I got PRK, because it was suggested that due to the shape of my eye, PRK would be a better option.
First, I was majorly impressed that I was in and out of the office in one hour on procedure day. Also, I only had to go without glasses for a week prior, and without make up for a week post. I thought it was going to be a month. Reality TV lied to me!!! What else has it lied to me about??? Everything. I know, I know. Everything.
Did you know your eyes are connected to your throat? I found this out when I could taste my eye drops in the back of my throat. Gross, I know. But I guess that’s why they lump Eye, Nose, & Ear doctors into one. Makes sense now…
The actual procedure was very quick—15 minutes tops, if that. Most of the time I spent in the office was spent letting the drugs kick in. I took a Valium, some steroids, and an Ibuprofen. They warned me that the steroids tasted horribly, and initially I didn’t taste it. I even said out loud, “I didn’t taste a thing!” But as soon as I said that, the rancid after taste of the steroids crept up the back of my throat and I regretted my words. It really was rancid. Yuck.
Once I was in the “operating room” I laid on the table, they numbed my eyes some more, and then before we got to the lasering the doctor started brushing my eye with what felt like a tiny, soft, electric toothbrush. After she was done with that, she either scraped stuff off my eye or spread something on my eye. I thought she was scraping, but I realized it could have been either. Keep in mind, my eyes are numb, so I can really feel anything. I can see everything, but I can’t feel it. I felt slight vibrations from the brush, but not much. That part was really weird though, because you’re told to keep looking at the light, but you can’t even see it. Plus, you want desperately to close your eye; however, that is impossible, as there is an eyelid opener in your eye, keeping you from doing so. Weird, huh?
Then it was time for the laser. The hardest part about this part was just staring into the light for so long—except it really wasn’t that long. It’s very bright…greenish-yellow. I felt like I was in some sci-fi movie. When they laser finished its job, I could smell a distinct after-laser smell. And then it grossed me out a little, because I realized it wasn’t just the smell of the laser, it was the smell of the laser on my eye.
After that was all good and done, she moved onto the next eye and repeated the process.
For the three days following the procedure, I slept more than I knew was even possible. It was basically like being in a coma with brief periods of waking to eat a little or put eye drops in. It’s hard not to when your eyes are burning to the point where you can’t even open them. So what else are you going to do when that happens—sleep. Or write a song. I did both. Well, I wrote half a song, until it became too uncomfortable. Then I went back to sleep.
Still, I’m not sure if I was just that tired, or if the chemicals in the drops made me sleepy, or just the strain and stress on my eyes made me sleep that much. It was incredible. I wish I could do that all the time. Mind you, I still got lots of work done. Luckily the worst of the healing process occurred on Saturday and Sunday. But on Friday, I answered emails when I could, Siri became my best friends, and I even made the boyfriend respond to emails and help me with some work. It was fantastic. Sidenote: I am SUPER impressed with how well Siri works on the new iPhone 5s now. I never used to be able to use it, but now I use it al the time.
I had to go in for a follow up Saturday morning, Monday morning, and finally Wednesday morning. Right away she told me my eyes were healing very well—that was good. It’s hard to tell since with PRK your eyesight remains blurry. It’s definitely, noticeably better right after…but still blurry. Part of the blurriness is due to the contact bandage they put in your eyes to help the healing. Apparently, they don’t’ just have contacts without prescriptions, so there is a slight prescription on the contacts that also make things a little blurry. Additionally, with PRK, your eyesight is supposed to get worse before it gets better. I will definitely say that they got worse late Saturday through Monday. The burning is the worst part, because especially on Monday, I couldn’t go without eye drops for more than thirty minutes. That is, I had my two prescribed eye drops, but I also had artificial tears with a small amount of numbing solution. It’s the artificial tears with the numbing solution that helped me. I realized, however, that there was another set of drops that were given to me at the doctor’s office that I had forgotten about, and I didn’t know when or how I was to use them, so I didn’t start using them until Monday night. That helped a lot…I think. By Tuesday I experienced no discomfort at all—just slight blurriness, likely due to the contacts.
I can’t really tell you what amazed me the most about the whole experience…well, probably just the fact that I can now see for the first time, in 15 years, without the aid of glasses or contacts. However, one thing that did amuse me, was the fact that on Monday I was told that, vision-wise, I was legally allowed to drive. I just couldn’t believe it, since I knew my vision was better, but it was not at all perfect. I did not dare drive though, I didn’t want to get caught in the middle of the road when my eyes started burning again. That would not be good.
Wednesday morning, today, I went in for my final follow up, and they removed the contacts. It’s like I have brand new eyes! Crazy…
I would say if you’re in your twenties, maybe early thirties, I’d definitely recommend getting the procedure done; unless of course, contacts and glasses don’t bother you. To be able to operate on your eye, with little pain and discomfort, and such a short recovery time, is still just mind-blowing.
Oh, also, make sure you have a chauffeur for the weekend, if you do get this done. I am ever grateful to my friends who helped out. Thankfully, I prepared my food ahead of time, but getting to the doctor’s could not be done alone.
Another thing--they told me that people who get LASIK can go back to work on Monday, following a Friday procedure, but people who get PRK done cannot go back to work until Wednesday. Rest assured, I got a buttload of work done. It's possible, if you work from home, blurry vision and all. It can be difficult when you're feeling discomfort, but where there is a will, there is a way. If you don't want to work…well, then great, you get 6 days off!
BIG LOVE & HUGS