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    Old 12-20-2009, 03:53 PM   #1
    Plumwater's Avatar
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    Lasik musings (long)


    I am 6 days post LASIK. I was nearsighted prior to the surgery. At 1 day post-op vision was 20-25 in the left eye and 20-20 in the right eye. I had a very reputable surgeon who is a pioneer in the field.

    I want to get off my chest some thoughts I have had now that I've had almost a week to think about it. For the sake of reference,
    I am 32 years old.

    Reasons I decided to find out if I was a candidate for LASIK:

    1. Convenience.

    Not wearing glasses would make my life a bit easier for my career and the traveling I do.

    2. Vanity.

    I looked totally fine in my glasses. However I had only worn them for about 10 years total. I "missed" myself from before glasses, and thought about how much more I would appreciate the eyebrow waxes and occasional makeup when I didn't have to cover it up with glasses. I felt that they "hid" me somewhat.

    I had been thinking about LASIK for approximately 5 years, but extreme squeamishness about my eyes prevented me from even having my candidacy assessed. I was squeamish to the point that I would not try contact lenses.

    Let me reiterate that as of this point I can see well and I am not having complications currently. I am only having the somewhat anticipated side effects of LASIK (sensitivity to lights - which I had before LASIK already, and halos with night driving that are getting better over time, up close vision has gone a little wonky).

    I had talked to many LASIK patients in the months before my own. Every one of them said the following things:

    -surgery was no big deal
    -no regrets; wish they had done it sooner
    -you will love it
    -I was totally fine the next day

    There are some things I wish I had known before surgery, and that is what I want to talk about.

    1. Valium

    Most people I'd talked to were given Valium prior to LASIK. A few were given Tylenol PM. I had taken Tylenol PM in the past and it didn't do much for me. I had never taken valium before. I did not know how I would react. I am not sure if some of my feelings were due to the valium; this could be the case - more on this later. I was not at all relaxed during the surgery. I was extremely anxious and I felt like the Valium did nothing. When I went to get up after surgery, I almost fell over. This was probably the Valium kicking in. I felt tired but anxious and I slept for only 1 hour after getting home. This was NOT a good time to wake up. It was excruciating. I took Tylenol PM to see if it would help while me sleep longer while the Valium was still in my system. After about 1 hour (the time it took me to get drops in my eyes, make it downstairs to get a drink and pill, and calm down a little), I did fall asleep for another 3 hours.
    The main issue: I did not feel like myself for about 4 days after the surgery. At 6 days I still don't feel 100% "right." See more on this below.

    2. I was extremely anxious prior to having surgery. Surgery was clearly "no big deal" as I had been told over and over by other patients. For me, it was a very big deal. What I learned during surgery was that my squeamishness about my eyes went far beyond even what I even thought (see d below). You can find everything you need to know about the LASIK procedure on the internet. I preferred to rely on the stories of other people, but there are things I still wasn't prepared for. Mind you, these things totally make sense! They are not at all out of left field. But I guess I just wasn't sure what all to expect.

    a. the burning smell during LASIK

    b. you will have a terrible taste in your mouth constantly from all the eyedrops you have to take over the next week or more.

    c. the terrible headaches and faceaches (cheekbone/teeth) from your eyelids being stretched open and the suction, I guess. For me these lasted a few days, as did the black eyes. Yes, I had black eyes! Ibuprofen helped. I still get the occasional headache when my eyes get more tired and there is still tenderness immediately around the eyesocket.

    d. the traumatics of eye surgery. I really want to get into this. Here is where I am not sure if the Valium had an issue on me physically and mentally, or if it was the surgery, or a combination of the two. I now know what hell would be for me. I say this as a joke, but kinda not. I can imagine few things that are more horrifying than laying there with your eye stretched open painfully and having to watch while the flap gets cut and rolled back (and paying for the privilege!). Like I said before, I soon discovered I was much more squeamish about my eyes than even I anticipated. Mentally I was not prepared for the toll eye surgery would take on me. It was more than I can express in writing on the internet.

    Thoughts on recovery:

    1. If you thought you were crazy about your eyes before, you don't know the half of it. Every conscious moment is occupied with "don't touch your eyes, don't get stuff in your eyes, will this affect my recovery?" and so on and so forth. Today I got the slightest bit of shampoo runoff in my eye despite all my best showering efforts (and believe me, I have become the slowest most careful showerer this week) and I had a full on panic attack about ruining my eyes and going blind. Crazy? I don't know. All I can say is "it's eyes." You only get one pair. Let me stress that before LASIK I was not a very anxious person in general.

    2. I have a red splotch in one of my eyes. I'm told this is completely normal and will go away in a few weeks. That's fine, but no issues at all would be better.

    3. I have always had droopy eyelids. I think LASIK made one of them a little worse. I read that it's rarely permanent but may be in some cases; however, as above, no issues at all would be better. Now that there are no glasses to hide behind, I feel like that's what I'm staring at. Oh well, we are always our own worst critic.

    4. Life without glasses. Of course this is taking a lot of getting used to! As I stated before, I only wore glasses for about 10 years and wanted to look and feel more like my old, pre-glasses self. It's funny that now I feel like part of me is missing when it is only my glasses that are missing. I know this will take time. I can't imagine what it must be like for a person who's worn glasses for the better part of his/her life. It is crazy how much we identify ourselves with this.

    Would I do it again?

    Well at this point the jury's still out. I can see great, which is the point of the surgery at the end of the day. I did have successful results. If anyone had asked me up to 3 days after the surgery I would have absolutely said no. It really was that hard on me and there were many times I questioned my decision. Now at 6 days post op, I am finally starting to feel more "human" again. I still don't feel like my usual self completely, but I expect that too will take a little time. So for now I am being patient and glad that my surgery was a success from the ophthalmologist's point of view. I have a 1 week post op tomorrow.

    Well I wrote this pretty fast to get it all out, so if I remember anything else I will surely update. Please share any stories! Let me know I'm not the only out there (ha ha). I would be glad to answer any questions if I can.

    Last edited by Plumwater; 12-20-2009 at 04:04 PM.

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    Old 12-21-2009, 06:48 PM   #2
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    Re: Lasik musings (long)

    At 6 days post op, I don't doubt that you're asking yourself if you did the right thing. I think part of the reason for this is that a lot of the things you read and hear about Lasik make it sound like you have the surgery, and the next day you're fine. But really, for most people, it doesn't happen that quickly. I had Lasik 3 years ago, and it was the best money I ever spent. But during the first month or so, my vision fluctuated, I had bad dry eyes, some starbursts, etc. and I questioned whether or not I had made the right decision. Doctors play off Lasik in their advertisements as a minor procedure, but you are having your lense sliced and your cornea reshaped! What's minor about that??? Your body needs time to heal and your eyes are no exception. Give it some time and I'm willing to bet you will not regret your decision.

    Old 12-30-2009, 01:01 PM   #3
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    Re: Lasik musings (long)

    I agree with the previous post, I too questioned my decision during the first month or so of recovery. I had lasik about 9 months ago. I was also a freak about protecting my eyes, I was so worried that I would get something in my eye, or dislodge my flap! However this all passed and even just a couple weeks post-op I started rubbing my eyes. I'm sure I got really lucky because I rubbed my eyes a lot, I couldn’t help it. I didn’t have very good vision after lasik, but my eyes were -7.5 before I had the surgery, so it took longer for me to recover due to needing more time with the laser on each eye.. (yes the smell was weird, yes I was very anxious as well even on valium, and yes it was a bit traumatic). It took me a little over a month to really be able to see well. I was driving on day 2, but I shouldn’t have been. I was 23 when I had the surgery and I'd been wearing contacts since 5th grade and glasses since 1st grade. I am now 20/20. Every night, even to this day, I still think that I need to go take out my contacts before bed. I even had trouble falling asleep while being able to see, because that meant my contacts were in and I shouldn’t sleep in contacts! I was so used to not being able to see 3 feet in front of me without my contacts in, so it was very weird to go to bed being able to see across the room! I had pretty bad dry after post-op. I was on restasis and tons of rewetting drops. Honestly, my dry eye didn’t get better until about 4months post-op and not until I STOPPED taking Restasis. Weird.

    Anyways the point of this is to tell you to hang in there. Things get better, and once they do every ounce of pain and frustration is worth being able to see. I know there are people out there who have had complications, I was one of them, but now that I’m healed I'd do it all over again in heartbeat. Being able to see without corrective lenses is a miracle for me, since all I've known my whole life is glasses and contacts.

    I'm a little worried what the future might hold, a little worried I might need an enhancement or worried that my eyes will regress, but for now I'm just enjoying being able to see! I am curious to know what people with severe myopia and astigmatism's results are 1-5 years post op.

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