October 28, 2013

My Lasik Adventure

Hey guys!  I shared on here a couple weeks ago that I was going to have Lasik, and I did on Friday!  This is a SUPER LONG, detailed recap of the procedure.  I'm sure most people don't care, but when  I was considering lasik, I read a few posts like this one.  I wanted to know EXACTLY what to expect based on others' experiences, so I thought I should share my experience too.  Check it out if you are interested in having lasik, otherwise just skip this one!
 First, some background.  I've been wearing glasses since age 10 and contacts since age 14.  My eyes weren't too bad as a kid, but in high school and college they got waaaay worse.  I used to be able to wear my contacts nearly every day for extended amounts of time, but my senior year in college, I started having issues with them.  My eyes were getting dried out from contact over-wear, and my eye doctor put me in more breathable lenses and encouraged me to wear my glasses more often.  For the past few years I've worn both my glasses and contacts, but contacts less and less.  I've also had pretty bad environmental allergies since I was a little kid.  I take zyrtech and use prescription eye drops, but they have definitely taken a toll on my eyes.  Two Springs ago, my allergies were so bad that I wasn't able to wear my contacts for more than a couple hours a day.  When I put them in, they'd feel like they were scratching my eyes!  I started wearing my glasses more often, deciding it was more important for me to put my contacts in for exercise than for a day at school.  I  finally resigned myself to wearing my glasses every single day at school, and putting in my contacts only for running, yoga, etc. in the evenings.
Me in my glasses...

Over the summer, I finally decided enough was enough when I was sitting on the beach wearing my glasses and squinting because I wasn't able to put my sunglasses on.  I started researching lasik and saving my money.  My prescription hadn't changed much in the last three years of eye doctor's visits, so it felt like it was finally time to do something.  I'd been wanting lasik since I can pretty much remember, but knowing that my vision had been pretty stable for a few years, I decided it was time.  (My eyes pre-surgery were -4.5 and -5.25 btw.  Basically blind as a bat.)

Two weeks ago I went into Lasik Plus in Schaumburg for a consult and eye exam to determine whether or not I was a good candidate for lasik.  When I went for the initial consult appointment, I hadn't been planning on scheduling my procedure for such a near date, but I kind of decided, "Why wait any longer?"  I've wanted lasik for such a long time that the thought of it didn't even make me nervous.  I just wanted to do it!  I went back once more before the surgery for a quick appointment to check my eye measurements and prescription after I'd had my contacts out for at least three days.  (The first appointment I'd worn them the day before, and I guess contacts can minutely change the shape of your eyes, so they need to see your eyes without having worn contacts for a few days to make sure the measurements are accurate.)  As the date of my surgery got closer, I felt like a little kid anticipating Christmas--not nervous at all, just counting down the days!

Friday morning my dad drove me to Lasik Plus for the procedure.  We sat in the waiting room for awhile before a technician brought me into a little room with two comfy chairs.  She put numbing drops in both of my eyes, put my hair in a very attractive hairnet, and gave me some ibuprofen and a Valium.  I probably could have done without the Valium as I wasn't nervous at all, but I guess it didn't hurt!  Then we went over the drops I'd be using after the procedure, and I sat for awhile to let the drugs kick in.  After about 10 minutes, the surgeon came in to talk to me.   While I already knew what to expect from my previous appointments, he talked me through exactly what would happen during the procedure as well as what it would feel like after.  We then went back into the surgery room to get started!

The lasik surgery has two parts--first, the doctor uses one laser to create the corneal flap, and second he uses a different laser to actually correct the vision. I laid down on a flat bed and they positioned my eye under a machine and asked me to stare at a blinking light.  They put some more numbing drops into my eyes and placed a suction-cup-like-thing (very technical term...) around my eye ball to hold it completely still.  That's the only thing that's uncomfortable the whole time--it just feels like a little bit of pressure.  Then, they ask you to keep your eye on the light and hold still while the laser creates the flap.  During this time, your vision may go black, white, or grey--mine did get grey and super blurry, but since I was expecting it, it wasn't scary.  It takes about 60 seconds, and then they are done.  Literally that quick.  Then, they move on and do the other eye.  My vision came right back after, too--no fear of going blind. :)

After both flaps are created, they have you move over to a different flat bed for the actual lasik procedure.  It's very similar, except even easier.  The doctor put more numbing drops in my eyes before using a tool to separate my eye lids and move them away from my eye ball.  That sounds super gross, but since your eyes are numb you can't feel a thing.  It was much more comfortable than the suction-thingy.  Just like before, the doctor asks you to focus your eye on a blinking light and hold very still.  The whole time I was thinking, "All my yoga practice has been building up to this point--staying calm and focusing on a point--I can do this!"  :) 

 I know a lot of people think, "Ugh, it'd be so scary to see that happening to your eye!!"  but the truth is that you can't really tell what's going on.  It's not like the doctor is cutting your eye with a knife like in the old days--THAT would be scary.  All you can see is the blinking light and a little bit of fuzziness.  You can hear a buzzing from the laser, and it smells a little bit like burnt hair.  However, the doctor warned me in advance that it would smell/sound like burning, but that really nothing was burning.  The laser isn't even hot.  You literally can't feel anything.  The procedure for each eye takes jsut about 90 seconds--that's all!  The doctor talked to me the whole time saying, "Keep still, very nice, 60 seconds left, 2/3s done, 20 seconds left, keep still til the very end, all done!"  I'm telling you, it was easier than having a cavity drilled.  After the first eye, the exact same thing happens on the other side, and then you are done!

The doctor had me get up and did a quick exam to check that the corneal flaps were smooth before walking me back into the little room with comfy chairs.  I got more drops in my eyes, and the doctor told me that the procedure had gone perfectly.  Then, the technician came back in.  She gave me a pair of sunglasses to wear home and gave me a sleeping pill.  The idea is that you will go home and take a long nap right after the procedure to rest your eyes.  

When my dad and I were on our way home, I could already tell an amazing difference in my vision.  It was definitely blury, but I was able to read street signs!  We made it home and I laid down for a nap wearing the protective eye shield from the doctor (to prevent touching your eyes in your sleep)--basically a clear plastic shield with foam edges and a stretchy strap.  I only slept for 2 hours on the sleeping pill, but I listened to some podcasts on my ipod for another two hours after I woke up, keeping my eyes closed.  The doctor recommended sleeping or resting for 4-6 hours, so after four hours, I decided to get up.  I put my first round of drops in my eyes--antibiotic drops, anti-inflamatory drops, and artificial tears.  Your eyes can't make their own tears right after surgery, so I had to use artificial tears every 30 minutes or so.  
Lazy Day :)
I was amazed at the difference I could already notice--I COULD SEE!  I could read the clock, see my phone from a normal distance, see detail in the pictures on the walls...I could see like I hadn't been able to since I was about 9 years old.  My eyes didn't hurt--they just felt dry and a little gritty, like I'd fallen asleep in my contacts and slept with them all night.  I knew I was supposed to continue resting my eyes, so I moved to the couch and listened to a few more podcasts with my eyes closed.  When I opened them at different times, though, I was amazed to see that I could look out the window and see the individual shingles on houses across the street.  AMAZING!  The surgeon called me later that afternoon to see how I was doing and ask if I had any questions.  I always appreciate when doctors take the time to do things like that!  He recommended that I continue keeping my eyes closed as much as possible today.
Elaborate eye-drop usage chart...
By evening, I was amazed at how good my eyes felt and how well I was able to see.  I was expecting to still have blurry vision for a few days, but my eyes were crystal clear!  The following morning I went back to Lasik Plus for a follow-up appointment, and the doctor said my eyes looked great.  He checked my vision, and I was able to see at about 20/20 already!  He had told me before the procedure that I would probably continue to see improvements for the next few months as my eyes "settle," so I wasn't expecting to see so well so soon.  

For the next week I'm to continue being very careful and not touching my eyes at all or wearing any kind of eye makeup.  I bought some face cleansing wipes so I can easily wash my face while avoiding getting any soap in my eyes or touching them at all, and I'm glad I did.  I also have to sleep in the eye shield for a week (which I don't love) and take the week off from working out so that I don't get any sweat in my eyes.  After I'm able to get back to running and working out next week, I can't wait to be able to not have to worry about my contacts!
So pumped not to need these things anymore!!
My eyes feel a little dry still, but with the artificial tears they feel much better!  And honestly, the driness is about what I always felt in contacts, so it's nothing new!  They said that should go away soon.  Also my eyes are a little bloodshot--one of the side effects is broken blood vessels in your eyes, but this should also go away soon.  No big deal!

All in all, my experience was so positive with lasik and Lasik Plus.  The doctors were friendly, efficient, and thorough.  All of the staff was super nice as well.  As for the procedure, as I said it was pretty much painless and so quick and easy.  If you are thinking about getting lasik, I highly recommend it!  I am so happy I did it!  It is amazing waking up in the morning and not having to grab my phone and hold it up to my eyes to see the time.  It's amazing to fall asleep reading without worrying about crushing my glasses in my sleep.  I can't wait to be able to run and do triathlons without worrying about my contacts, or to not have to worry about my contacts irritating my eyes during high-allergy summers.  It will be wonderful to wear my sunglasses all summer for a change!

If you have any questions about lasik and my experience, feel free to email me at juiceboxesandcrayolas AT gmail DOT com.  :)


  1. Glad it went so well! I've considered this, too, but honestly I'm just way too chicken. The idea of my eyeball being cut gives me the heeby-jeebies!!

  2. I'm glad it went well for you! The idea of it scares me, and the cost is still high, so those things are holding me back. Good to know you're a satisfied customer though! It must be wonderful to wake up in the morning and be able to see the clock!


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