When Morgan Got LASIK
The Night Before
Last Thursday started off with my meds and eye drops.
I knew one of the drops I was supposed to start the day before, so I looked over my bottles and found it. Then, I reread my directions where it said: 4xs a day, starting the day before surgery.
Well, BLEEP. A little late now.
I did the drops that night and twice before surgery.
Surgery was at 1pm, and I was supposed to have a light snack at least an hour prior. So, I had a large breakfast sandwich at 10am and called that “good.”
Packing up to go, they’d mentioned they had stuffed animals for me to hold during surgery. But why use theirs when I have stuffed animals of my own. I slid one I call “Alfred” into my bag and grabbed all the drops for the doctors to check over.
My appointment was the first one after lunch, so the office was quiet when I arrived and logged in. They had a remodeling show on the TV in the waiting room, so that proved suitably distracting from my slowly rising panic.
When the receptionist got back from lunch, she had me sign my wavers and took my money. Then, I sat down for about 10-15 minutes, until they called me back.
The surgery assistant told me that it was fine that I’d only had 3 rounds of the antibiotic and gave me a name-tag to wear. Then she proceeded to give me about 3 more different types of drops, while going over the procedure and the steps I would have to take when I got home, while answering my questions as they occurred to me. She used a cross between a giant mascara wand and a large cotton swab to get the extra drops off my lashes. Plus, she gave me Xanax – to keep me calm and to relax my face muscles.
The surgeon came in with a very low-key vibe, almost surfer-esque and reiterated that staying calm would make everything go much better.
The room was surrounded by windows on the front and sides, with 2 different laser/operating set-ups and carts of tools around the edges. Spot lights were on the ceiling and there were seats for my friend/driver to wait and watch from.
I got a big hug, took a deep breath, and entered the operating room.
The assistants directed me into the chair/bed with all the lights and lasers set up over it. I hugged Alfred to my left-side, out of the way, and held his hand with my right.
Step one was to slice open the lens of my eye.
They had me stare into a bright light, taped my lashes out of the way, and then they put something on the lens of my eye before they made the incision. I don’t know exactly what they did, (and I’m not going to look it up because the thought of it makes me want to panic), but it felt like a hard lens.
The lens for the right eye went in, it was uncomfortable, but I followed directions and concentrated on slow, deep breaths and not moving.
The left eye was not so cooperative. I think I heard the surgeon say, “Huh, your cornea’s a bit small but it’ll fit,” but mostly, I tried really, really hard to stay still and breath quietly.
The back of my head was chanting: Don’t move or you might go blind!
While the front of my head was going: I don’t want to do this any more, he’s really smooshing my eye. I don’t like this anymore! Why am I doing an elective surgery? Why did I ever think this was a good idea?!
Fortunately, that part lasted less than 15 seconds. Three slow breaths and the smooshing was done.
Step Two were the lasers.
As forewarned, they moved the bed over to the second station and the surgeon reassured me. “That was the hard part, nothing else will be that bad. The lasers are easy.”
And he was right.
I stared at a green little dot between two red dots, keeping my eyes as still as possible.
I remembered from remarking on it during my readiness check-up, that when they move the light closer, it feels like your eyes are drifting either up or down, but they aren’t. So, I didn’t panic when I was keeping my eyes on the green light but it felt like my eyes were moving.
I think there was a sensation? But mostly, I remember the smell – like using a curling iron a little too long and you scorch the hair a little. Plus, trying to forget that if I flinched, I could do serious damage to myself.
Each eye, once they were lined up and set, took less than 20 seconds.
As they finished with each eye, they peeled the tape gently off my lashes and just stuck it to my hairnet.
Then, it was done. Less than 10 minutes.
They led me over to a chair, just on the other side of the wall from the observation chairs. I tapped at my driver and waved, then sank into the seat where I hugged Alfred pretty hard.
The surgeon said, “You can put down the–oh, that one’s yours.”
To which I replied, “Now’s when I really need him, with the adrenaline rush and the being able to move again. Now the panic’s setting in.”
He reminded me of my post-op care, escorted me to the door, and I was done.
With my post-op-sunglasses, I looked around in awe. It was like having contacts in, although I was very light sensitive.
About the time we made it to the highway, the numbing drops were starting to wear off. I just closed my eyes and hid from the sun for the 30 min drive.
Once home, I had a regiment of drops: antibiotics, steroids, and moisturizing drops (regular ones for while I was awake, gel ones for pre-nap/bedtime).
The doctor advised chilling the drops, but I’d asked his assistant about that before the surgery.
I don’t even like cold water!
When I’d taken the moisturizing and antibiotic drops pre-surgery, I’d already fought the urge to rub the bottle between my hands to make it closer to body temperature. She reassured me that it was just for comfort and that the drops were fine at room temperature.
I’m not gonna lie–the first round of drops stung a lot, and I asked myself yet again, why did I do this to myself! After waiting 3-5 minutes between drops, I finally got them all in and checked off on my chart. Stumbling up the stairs, I put on my sleep-goggles, carefully made sure I had a pillow behind my knees, and lay down on my back.
The assistant had mentioned during my surgery-prep that it was important not to put any pressure on the eyes or to touch them, especially for at least the first two days. But! If at all possible, it was best to sleep on the back and with the goggles for the first week. I want the best possible outcome, so I’ve been very, very careful.
Following surgical directions, I took my 3 hour nap, got up, and did another round of drops.
The First Day
The first day, steroid drops were hourly, the second day every other hour, and for the rest of the first week, meals and bedtime — just like the antibiotic drops.
The lubricating drops are every other hour for the first 2 weeks, and at least 4 times a day for the first 3 months.
Did I mention in the pre-surgery post that the tear ducts are connected to your sinuses? And thus you can taste the steroids about 5 minutes after you put in the drops. They suggest pressing on your tear ducts/bridge of your nose to keep the drops from draining too quickly, but you can’t hold them there forever. I’ve taken to keeping a box of tic tacs in the bag I carry my drops in.
TV wasn’t hard to watch. Reading was more of a challenge, although my computer screen was worse than my phone. (I’ve turned the brightness down on all my devices). After a bit of TV, I headed off to the mall (it was raining heavily) and got some walking in, and focusing on something further away than a phone or TV screen. I could read my phone, but it hurt my eyes to do it for too long.
The night-halos are as predicted, although I’ve been told they usually get better. Oncoming traffic has larger halos than the red back running lights. Break lights also get the halo.
LASIK – The Aftermath
The day after my surgery, I had a 10 am appointment to have my eyes checked and was declared to have 20:20 vision, just over 20 hours post-op.
They did mention there was some blood in my eyes around the incision site, but it should clear up. If not, I’d go back to the surgery suite, they’d fold back the lens, and just suction it out. (I REALLY hope it’s cleared up on its own, I haven’t seen any blood in the mirror.)
I took a 6 mile walk on a trail near my house. It had been raining earlier, and was heavily overcast – which was just perfect for my delicate eyes. I wanted to get the exercise and taking the long break from screens was really helpful. I needed a nap, though. Either the stress or the healing was exhausting.
I had the surgery on a Thursday and by Monday I was back in my office. It was a little bit of a struggle and I had to turn the brightness all the way down on my monitors, but no headache from that. My work laptop screen is a different story. (Or maybe it’s just because I logged onto it after a long day, when my eyes were already tired.)
1 week out, my eyes still tire easily–especially of screens. This is evidenced by mild headache and my eyes drifting out of focus on my computer screen. I find pressing my palms over my eyes very restive. I haven’t been able to edit much, but I did manage to squeeze in a scene.
My eyes still have edges that sting a little when I put in the drops. Hopefully that will be healed soon! Eyes shouldn’t have edges!
I think my eyes will continue to be a bit photo-sensitive for a while, so will continue wearing the post-op-sunglasses anytime I’m outside in full daylight for quite a while.
P.S Here’s an actual picture of those plastic blue glasses, 1/3rd the size of my face versus post-op Morgan:
Got any questions about LASIK that I didn’t cover?
Had LASIK? Feel free to share about your own experience!