I had Lasik eye surgery done about 1.5 years ago. This is an old blog post about what it was like (originally posted to my Myspace blog).
My surgery was scheduled for 1:30pm, so I woke up and had the morning to try to relax. My husband left for a dentist appointment, and while the kids were still asleep, I went online and started reading about other people's Lasik experience---STUPID thing to do. Why? Because there are so many horror stories on the internet. It made me nervous. My husband came back from the dentist, and when I told him I had been reading bad stories, he said, "Don't do that! Get off the internet." He was right, of course. Perhaps there are so many horror stories, because those are the people who have something to complain about, and the internet is a quick, convenient way to do that. Also, I noticed that a lot of those complaints came from people who went to Lasik places that offered cheap prices. So cost should definitely not be a factor when choosing your Lasik place.
We ate lunch, and throughout the morning, we talked to the kids about mommy having eye surgery in a bit. My oldest girl was curious and asked about what they were going to do (the flap, the lasers, etc). My middle child was concerned that she wouldn't see me for a long time. I told her I'd be back home soon, but that I'd have to sleep all day after the surgery to rest my eyes. My youngest was too little to understand much.
Around 12:30, I took 1 Valium to settle the nerves. We then dropped the kids off at my mom's and went to the Lasik clinic. They took me into the "prep" room and sat me down in a recliner. There were 2 guys in recliners also, and they had already been prepped. The nurse gave me Benadryl. Why? I don't know, but I was just going to trust that they would take good care of me. She also gave me other pills to take. Later, I found out that the pills were 2 more Valiums and some amnesiac pills that would make me lose my short term memory.
The nurse then put a bunch of drops in my eyes and washed my eyelids with betadine. She also slathered on some weird stuff over my eyes that felt sticky. She said it'd keep my eyes closed for awhile. I sat like that and started feeling all the meds kick in, but I could hear the other 2 guys in the room being called one by one to go for surgery.
After awhile, the nurse came and escorted me to surgery. The room was cold to keep bacteria away. They laid me down on the operation table and positioned a machine over my head. I was very out of it, so I don't remember anything specific about what happened here. I did, however, feel one eye being taped shut and the other being opened wide with a speculum. It didn't hurt. I don't recall the laser creating the flap in the opened eye--all I knew was that the next thing happening was that my other eye was then being opened up for the laser to make the flap also.
Back when my dad used to go squirrel hunting, he'd bring them home, gut them, and use a torch to burn off the hair on the squirrel's body. (Yes, we were poor and broke as heck! Despite being poor, I hated eating squirrel and never ate it, but the rest of my family had many decent meals out of them.) But anyway, at the moment my eyes were being lasered, I remember it smelled distinctly like burnt squirrel. What a memory to have while in the middle of surgery!
The whole time this was happening, the nurse was holding my hand and gently rubbing it--such a minor thing but it was calming, and out of everything happening, I remember it most clearly. It didn't seem long before they told me I was done and helped me to sit up. The doc said, "Look straight ahead. Who do you see?" I looked, and there was my husband in this small room with a window looking into the surgery room. I could see him clearly. Very cool! I smiled and waved at him. He was able to watch my whole surgery from that room, where there was a TV monitor that showed up close everything being done to my eyes (the laser machines have a camera inside).
The nurse walked me back into the prep room and sat me down on a recliner. She put more drops in my eyes and told me to keep them closed for a few minutes. After awhile, she walked me out to the waiting room, where my husband was. And then from there on out, my mind became a total blank. I don't recall leaving the clinic or getting in the car and coming home. My husband says I walked on my own, climbed into the car, and seat-belted myself. I even talked the whole way home, but I have no recollection of doing any of those things whatsoever. Since I have no memory of this car ride home, my husband claims I made all kinds of promises to him. Right. :D
The next thing I remember was waking up suddenly and everything was utterly dark. I panicked and reached up to feel my eyes, and then I realized I had my eye covers on (I usually wear those to block out light when I have migraines). Underneath that, I had eye shields taped on, which the doc had given me to wear so I wouldn't rub my eyes in my sleep. I took those off and could see pretty clearly, except the edges were very hazy. My eyes also felt like they had contacts put in that were inside out (those of you who wear contacts know what that's like!). I put in some eye drops and went back to sleep.
When I woke up next, it was 8:30pm. I went into the bathroom and looked at my eyes. There were red bruisings on the white part of my eyes. It looked like my eyeballs had gone through some serious punching. But otherwise, everything else looked fine. The sensation of having contacts in that were inside out had diminished a little. Other than that, I felt no pain at all and no discomfort.
The day after surgery, I woke up, took off the eye shields, and looked around to test my vision. I could see clearer and the edges were no longer hazy. The red bruisings in my eyes were still there though. I was scheduled for a post-op appointment that morning, and I decided my vision was good enough that I could drive myself. When I stepped outside onto my porch, I immediately thought, "Oh my god! Everything is so crisp and the colors are so beautiful!" Inside the house, I couldn't really tell the difference. My vision was clear, but everything looked the same as if I still had contacts or glasses on. It must be the lighting, because outside in the sun, everything looked so crisp. It was like high definition TV. Literally.
At the post-op appointment, I told the doc about feeling like I had contacts in that were inside out. He checked my eyes and said it wasn't the flaps; those were healing perfectly. It was most likely due to my eyes being dry, which is common after Lasik surgery. I'd have to use lubricant eye drops regularly. Along with that, I'd have to use anti-inflammatory drops, drops that fight infection, and drops that relieve pain and discomfort. Sounds like a lot of drops, but the only one I'd have to use for awhile were the lubricant ones. The other ones I could stop after a few days. Also, no swimming for a week. Other than that, I could return to my normal routine--work, exercise, etc.
After the doc left, the nurse gave me a vision test. One day after surgery and I could see 20/20. I was in disbelief. I had been so nearsighted for 15+ years (I was around -5.5 prescription), and I just couldn't believe I was done with glasses and contacts---completely DONE!
My eyes remained dry for about 3 months after, but that problem slowly disappeared and I now no longer need to use lubricant eye drops. I experienced no other problems at all. At my last eye check-up, my vision was still 20/20. Since having Lasik, the number of migraines I normally get have drastically decreased as well (I am not sure if this has anything to do with Lasik but they certainly correlate to me).
I used to forget and think that I still had contacts or glasses on, but then I'd remember that I didn't need them ever again, and this big smile would creep across my face. Getting Lasik eye surgery was truly amazing and is, without a doubt, the best thing I've ever done for myself. Money well spent.