As it stands, this evening vision in my right eye is razor sharp. My left eye is still a little fuzzy, but it seems better than it was this morning. The doubling has gone away. So I'm quite hopeful and so far pleased with my results. My noticeable improvement from yesterday to today and from this morning to this evening are encouraging and confirm what is being told to me about the healing process.
I want to describe my experience with the surgery both for myself and for anyone else who might be curious before it fades from my memory. When I arrived at the clinic yesterday I had to take care of some paperwork, of course. After that was all done, I had one final examination by the doctor that would actually be performing the surgery before going on to pre-op.
Pre-op consisted of putting a surgical cap on my head and receiving numbing eye drops along with the antibotic eye drops that I had started the night before and a steriod eye drop. I was also given an oral sedative "to help me relax." To be honest, I didn't really notice much of an effect. Then all of the post-op care was explained to me. It's basically what I should and shouldn't do and for how long after the procedure. So instructions on how to continue using the antiboitic and steriod drops and precautions on things to avoid doing.
Next she cleaned my eyelids and around my eyes with some sort of an antiseptic wipe and I just sat with my eyes closed for several minutes to wait my turn. There was already one person waiting in one of the chairs when I got there. She had already had her eyes cleaned, so she was sitting with her eyes closed. She was a younger girl--I'd guess mid-20s--there with her mom. I exchanged some conversation her and her mom. She was pleasant and sarcastic.
As I was waiting, more people came in to the waiting area. One arrived--a man--before my eyes were closed, and it sounded like two more--another man and a woman--afterward. The first girl went in after awhile and returned not too long afterward. Then it was my turn.
I got to open my eyes to go into the operating room. There was a bed in there that was hinged to a large equipment setup. The bed had a little teddy bear on there. I was told to lie down on the bed and hold on to the bear. I asked if the bear had a name. The nurse didn't seem to think it did, but replied "squishy" or "headless." I didn't really get it, but it wasn't important and I got the impression that wasn't a typical question. :P
Once I was down on the bed, it was swung into position under the laser apparatus. The doctor sat at my head with a large control console to his side. Above me was a small red light that was my target to look at during the procedure and a ring of white light around it. I assume the white light was to light the area well for the doctor to see what he was doing.
He did my right eye first. He started by taping my upper and lower lid and then putting on a device that would hold my eye open so I wouldn't be able to blink. There was a nurse explaining what was happening or about to happen throughout the procedure. My actual eyeball was numb, but I could feel pressure sensations and some stuff around my eye. He then proceeded to clean debris off my eye. He says you'd be surprised how much stuff is normally there that we're not even aware of. He actually used a little brush to basically clear things away. I couldn't feel it at all, but a brush going across the surface of my eye was a weird thing to see from a first person perspective.
Next he placed the device on my eye that would create a flap in my cornea. The way the procedure is done is that they cut a flap in the upper layers of the cornea and then treat the lower layers with the laser to reshape it and correct your vision. The flap is then put back in place and is essentially a natural bandage as it seals and protects what they've done.
This device put a lot of pressure on the eye and they told me that my vision would fade out in that eye. It did. Kinda weird since both eyes were still open and looking at the target. Since they were both looking at the same thing, what I was seeing just seemed to get gradually dimmer. It took me a moment to perceive of the fact that I was actually only seeing out of one eye. Again, I still wasn't feeling any pain, but I would describe the sensation as "uncomfortable." I could feel my muscles tighten up and I gave the bear a pretty good squeeze. I wasn't really scared, but anxious and unnerved. It's not too hard to believe considering this was very much uncharted territory for me.
Then the device made its cut. My vision came back, and it was sort of a bizarre thing to see. I saw the target and light ring again, but briefly saw what looked like a crack pattern. It was kind of like the lines of shattered glass. Not the kind that radiates from a central point, but just cracks. They were very fine lines and red, I think. My memory is already getting a little fuzzy on it. They only lasted for just a quick second. It was almost like a video display. They were very precise looking. I guess maybe that was my eye electrically registering trauma? I didn't really ask about it.
Then the doctor peeled back the flap and everything got really blurry. He covered my other eye, so I could only see out of the one that was having the procedure done. Now it was time for the actual laser. I was told it would last 20 seconds. Apparently the length is determined by the prescription. This was neither particularly short nor long. It wasn't the easiest prescription, but not the hardest either. They said some are done in like 10 seconds...others can take a minute.
The laser made a clicking sound and I could see little purple spots around the target while it was working. I didn't see any actual laser beam or anything. It made a smell like when a dentist drills a tooth. I suppose in both cases tissue is being burned away, so it makes sense. What was interesting was that I could actually see the target and light ring getting sharper as it was happening. Then the doctor replaced the flap, flushed everything out, and used the brush to make sure everythng was clear and positioned correctly. Then it was on to the left eye...
The left eye went very much the same way. Creating the flap wasn't nearly as uncomfortable. It really hardly bothered me at all. I'm not sure if I was just better prepared, my left eye was more numb, or I just preceived it differently. I saw the same cracked pattern, the same dots from the laser, and the same funny smell. I didn't really see the instant improvement in vision with the left eye though. But like I said, both eyes are better today than they were yesterday...and certainly better than they were before, uncorrected. I'll just have to give them time and see how everything plays out.
At this point I was done and they took me into an exam room just to do a quick check and then Bryan came and picked me up to take me home. My first order of business at home was to take a nap. I wish all my prescriptions were like that! ;) A 3-4 hour nap seemed kinda long though. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to manage it. But I had woken up early that morning, so I was still a little sleepy anyway.
As it turned out, I had no trouble going to sleep and slept for two straight hours. I woke up and put some of the prescribed eye drops in and then just went right back to sleep for another two hours. I guess I was pretty tired. I suppose I'd been through quite a bit at that point and my body was in healing mode.
I still have to put in the steroid and antibiotic eye drops periodically for the next few days. The antibiotic drop stung a little on Thursday night and Friday morning, but I don't even notice it now. It does remind me that the sinus cavities are all connected with the eyes and throat. I get kind of a funny taste in the back of my throat after I use them. It's kind yucky, but it goes away. The steriod is milky. When I put them in I kinda feel like I'm swimming in a cereal bowl. :P I used to be clumsy with eye drops, but I'm a real pro now. I rarely miss. I also have these plastic eye shields to tape to my face when I sleep to prevent me from rubbing or bumping my eyes while I sleep. Obviously I'm to avoid that kind of stuff while I'm awake as well.
Tuesday should be the last day for all that stuff. Then I'll have my one week followup on Wedesday. It's a little bit early since I'll be on a plane to go road tripping with juwi_bean Thrusday, but the doctors are ok with it all. So hopefully everything will checkout fine and I won't have to worry about any extraordinary measures or medications while I'm gone...just be careful with my eyes--which is not a bad idea anyway.