Laser Eye Surgery

I started wearing glasses in kindergarten. Red, green, and blue, because kids wear everything in bright colors. Huge frames, because it was the early nineties. Every year, my eyes would grow a little more nearsighted, but that was okay because it meant I could look forward to a new pair of glasses and frames like clockwork.

My eyes decided to settle in at around -7, meaning anything more than a few inches from my face was blurred beyond recognition. Heck if I knew which direction that foot-high letter E was facing. No matter. My glasses fixed everything, and since I lived with them since childhood, I didn’t mind.

The little annoyances add up, though: wearing clip-on sunglasses, cleaning (or not cleaning) lenses, not being able to look through my DSLR’s viewfinder without smudging them, not being able to wear over-the-ear headphones comfortably… but sunglasses pushed me over the edge. I run most days, and clip-ons glare terribly from the sides and back. Running with geriatric-style fitovers would have garnered more than a few funny looks and cackles.

All that to say that I got PRK laser eye surgery on April 7th, 2011. I’ll update this post with my experience as I go.

Pre-op

After a few consultations with my doctor, I began taking eye drops and medication that they prescribed. No problem.

Day of surgery (April 7th, 2011)

In the surgery center, I sat in a recliner for about 45 minutes while a nurse doted over me every few minutes to drip more anesthetic drops into my eyes. When the surgery time drew near, she gave me a valium and we watched a brief video explaining the procedure. Then they sent me into the surgery room, gave me a warm blanket because they keep the surgery room cold, and we began the procedure. It took only a few minutes. Watch the video from my procedure (yes, my procedure):

That laser was like staring into the eyes of God. I absolutely loved the procedure itself. You walk in practically blind, and as you stare at a red blinking light, a magic machine blasts your eyes into the perfect shape. I’d do that again in a heartbeat. Did I mention that the laser was awesome?

My only concern before the surgery was that I would be tempted to blink. That wasn’t a problem; in fact, I don’t think the procedure could have gone any more smoothly. The procedure was the best, and easiest, part.

They sent me home with eye shields, and instructed me to sleep for four hours. Then I was to keep my eyes closed the whole day. I was fairly tired, so I got through the rest of the day just fine while listening to a few podcasts.

The Day After Surgery

I went back the next day for a post-op consultation in which they told me everything was progressing normally. They told me to rest as much as I can.

The Week After Surgery

The next few days were a little rough, but only because I’m used to working all day at a computer, going outside to run, and being able to see. After a few days, I could see well enough to work off and on, provided I kept my font size absurdly large. My left eye was progressing more slowly than my right, but at my next consultation, Dr. Husain explained that it’s completely normal.

Week Two

My vision improves slowly. It’s blurry in the morning, and most clear in the late afternoon, but as long as I make heavy use of Mac OS X’s zoom functions, I’ve returned to my normal working habits. Having bought a nice pair of Oakley sunglasses, I can now go outside to run and frolic without consequence.

I stood in the rain, and for the first time I could see without having to look through water-smeared glass.

I knew that recovery would take a long time, but despite reading logs from others’ experiences, I hadn’t fully digested that I would have substantially blurry vision for such a long time. It’s not bad, and certainly worth it. I expect that if I didn’t have to work on a computer all day, I’d notice less.

Week 4+

It’s now six weeks past surgery. My vision continues to get better, slowly. Before surgery, I read articles that seemed to gloss over the later-stage recovery process, but I now know why: There isn’t much to say. The eyes get better over time. At one follow-up appointment, the doctor mentioned concern about dryness, but that’s all. I don’t expect any further updates here unless something drastic changes. If you’re reading this a year or more down the line, you can safely assume that my eyes are doing well.

I would do this again in a heartbeat.

Addendum: One year later, I would still do it again. No problems.





mcav