death by paper cut

{December 6, 2008}   The Eyes Have It

I’ve thought of doing a retrospective of my lasik experience about a month from the surgery, but since I can see fairly well a week later, and I have been asked by several friends about my experience, I think now is a good time as any.

So this is what my eyes look like now. This is a closer look of my left eye.

I have been told by the folks at lasik surgery clinic (LSC) that the redness in my eye (caused by burst blood vessels) is perfectly normal and will go away in about 3 weeks. I have also been assured by a friend who likewise did her surgery at the clinic, and by the same doctor, that the bloodshot in her eyes dissipated.

The burst blood vessels do not affect vision.

The degree of my vision was 600 in one eye and 550 in the other. I don’t like doing anything, especially sporty activity, with my glasses. I have been using contact lenses for about 10 years already and would have continued with the use of contact lenses the rest of my life if I did not opt for the op.

I also chose to go ahead with the procedure at LSC because both a friend and my brother-in-law did their surgery there and are fine. They also assured me that it was fast and painless.

It was fast (15 mins for both eyes), but definitely not painless for me. The numbing eye drops did mitigate all sensation during the slicing and dicing (I exaggerate), but did not help with the pain when the suction ring was place onto my eyeball to keep the eyeball in place. it was the most painful thing I’ve ever experience. Unlike my right eye, my left eye did not engage the suction ring on the first try, I believe it took about 3 attempts before my eye was in place. I was told that it was because my eye moved. I think that resulted in the additional pressure and the resulting burst blood vessels in that eye. First it was an aching pressure that was mounted onto my eye with the suction ring. With the increasing downward pressure applied, the mild ache escalated into a focuses, targeted pain that I could feel all the way to the back of my head.

I did not feel any pain immediately after the surgery, but once the numbing eye drops wore off within an hour, my eyes ached and burned. Sleeping pills were provided to sleep away the pain, but the pain was so excessive that the pills alone did not work. I kept tearing and writhing in my bed at home until I took my own painkillers and a second sleeping pill. It was an ordeal I hope I never have to experience again. Interestingly, my friend and brother-in-law did not experience that much pain after the procedure, and could sleep through the day without incident. So maybe it is just me.

By evening, all pain subsided. I could also see fairly well by then. I was more sensitive to light and glare and had to wear sunglasses even at home for the first few days. I’ll just wear sunglasses under direct sunlight for now.

I am told that except for swimming and eye massage, all other activities can continue as normal. I’ll give myself a few more days before I hit the gym. I just have to take extra care to close my eyes when showering and be extra gentle when wiping my eyelids.

I have already gone for 2 reviews – one, the day after the surgery and the other one a week after. My next review is 2 months from now. I should enjoy near perfect vision by then, or at least what appears to be perfect vision to me.

I have an arsenal of preservative-free eye drops, however, I don’t really have a problem with dry eyes, so now I only have to use it upon waking up, before sleeping and as and when I need to in between.

It was a strange sensation not to see the complete blur that I am used when I wake up. It first felt like a visual overload – there is all this visual information to process all the time. But I guess that is a good thing because now I am not rendered blind and vulnerable should my contact lenses popped out or if i lose my glasses.

I think overall, once my cornea completely heals and the redness goes away, having done lasik would be a worth while investment – both the physical trauma and the financial cost. In any case, I would break even in 6 years since I spend about $500 a year on contact lenses and its miscellaneous solutions.

No regrets.

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