Friday, June 23, 2017

My laser eyes - how the surgery went down

These laser eyes see everything. Everything!

Hey friends!

I know lots of you have been wondering how my laser eye surgery went, so I'm here to tell you all the gory (not-really-that-gory-but-eye-surgery-is-squeamish-by-nature) details. You'll also get to see more selfies of me than you ever hoped or dreamed for. Ha.

If you follow me on instagram, you'll know my eyes have been a bit red and creepy-looking (according to my kids), but my vision is laser sharp. Hurrah! I had the surgery just over two weeks' ago and the whole procedure took less than ten minutes. I spent more time eating chocolates and using the fancy toilets at the Eye Institute than I did getting my eyes lasered. (Literal bowls of chocolates in every room. Heaven!)

As I mentioned in my last post about laser eye surgery, before I could be booked in for the procedure I had to get measured up by an Ophthalmologist to check whether my corneas were thick enough for the surgery. They were, which was most excellent news.

Then I had to go in for another meeting with the surgeon and honestly, I'm not sure what the point of that one was. Maybe just to give me a chance to meet him and talk over last-minute concerns, but Paul had to drive me and the whole family across town for that one at 7.30pm at night, which was a bit of a pain. The surgeon did advise me to put hot flannels on my eyes for a minute each night leading up to the surgery, to help get the oil glands working better, so maybe it was worth a trip across town after all.

Finally, the day of the surgery arrived. Paul and baby J went with me (and ate lots of chocolates while they waited). I spent quite a while waiting around before getting called into a prep room where a nurse talked me through the procedure again, gave me my after-care instructions and then applied multitudes of eyedrops to numb my eyes for the surgery.

She walked me into the operating room. It was my first time getting surgery and I felt very Grey's Anatomy when I saw all the nurses standing around in their scrubs. I was asked to lie down on a table and then my surgeon talked me through what he was going to do each step of the way. Here are those steps for you.

Step 1: Tape left eye shut.

Step 2: Put a suction ring on right eye to hold it wide open.

Step 3: Tell me to stare at the light and hold very still. Done. "What just happened?" I ask. "The laser cut a flap in your eye," my surgeon replies, before taping my right eye shut.

Step 4: Remove tape from left eye and apply a suction ring to hold it open. "Ah, I can feel that a lot more than I think I should be able to feel it," I say, nervously. "People often tell us that when it comes time to do the second eye," my surgeon reassures me. "No seriously, I can really feel that," I repeat.

Step 5: Remove suction ring from left eye. Apply more numbing eye drops. Reapply suction ring to left eye. "Does that feel any different?" my surgeons asks me. "No," I reply, embarrassedly, realising my eye had been numb all along, I could just feel the suction ring more for some reason.

Step 6: Tell me to stare at the light and hold very still again. Left eye flap done. Tape left eye shut.

Step 7: Remove tape from right eye. Wheel me to another laser machine.

Step 8: Tape right eyelids open and apply lots of fluids to that eye. Meanwhile, I'm staring into an overly bright light with my eye pinned open, panicking a little that I can't do anything to block the light. I feel a brushing motion over my eye and then everything goes blurry, as the flap in my eye is folded back, which sounds icky, but made it a lot easier to handle staring into a bright light.

Step 9: "Hold very still. Keep holding very still. Keep holding very still. Done." Right eye lasered.

Step 10: Surgeon brushes eye flap back into place and then tapes my right eye shut.

Step 11: Repeat steps 8 through 11 in left eye. Done. Both eyes lasered.

Step 12: The tape is removed from my right eye to allow me to see as I'm led through to a recovery room with a lazy boy and another bowl of chocolates. I'm instructed to sit and relax with my eyes closed until the surgeon comes to check on me. I'm also told not to be shy with the chocolates.

Step 13: Paul and baby J come in to see how I am and to sit with me while I recover. Baby J freaks out a bit when he sees the tape over my left eye, but soon gets over that and starts feeding me chocolates. He knows his mama.

Step 14: After some time - maybe an hour - I'm taken next door where an ophthalmologist applies more eye drops before my surgeon comes in to check on his handiwork. My surgeon brushes my eye flaps some more, to make sure they're lined up nicely on my eyes so they can seal back properly, and then he tapes plastic eye shields over my eyes and instructs me to wear them until the next morning, when I'm to take them off and begin my regime of antibiotic, steroid and lubricating eye drops. I'm not to rub my eyes, for any reason.
Paul can't take anything I say seriously, while I'm wearing these shields.

Step 15: Sent home with painkillers and sleeping tablets and instructed to sleep as much as possible until the next day, when I had a follow-up appointment.

I don't think the sleeping tablets worked that well for me, but luckily my mother-in-law was staying the night so she got the girls from school, helped take L to netball, cooked dinner and got all the kids settled for the night. She was also able to take the girls to school in the morning too, since Paul had to leave early for work. My left eye hurt a lot that first night. It might have got more damaged because the suction ring was applied twice. It was certainly a lot redder than my right eye. But the pain soon passed and within 24 hours I could barely notice it, other than a slight scratchiness.

My sister-in-law, Mandy, drove me to my follow-up appointment the next morning and looked after baby J while I got my eyes tested. My vision after less than 24 hours was two levels better than twenty/twenty vision and my surgeon was pleased with how my eyes were healing, although he did increase my steroid dosage to help combat the inflammation in my left eye.
Wide-eyed photo of my red eyes.
Since I wasn't allowed to wear make-up and I felt pretty ug with my creepy red eyes, I took myself off to get a haircut.
Eyes still a bit red, but at least my hair is fabulous.

A week later I went back for another follow up appointment with my original ophthalmologist. At that one I was able to read one of the letters on the line that's three better than twenty/twenty vision, which is the smallest line on the eye chart. I was thrilled with that, especially since the ophthalmologist told me my eyes will continue to clear up as they heal and settle.

All in all, I'm really pleased with how the surgery went and only wish I'd done it sooner. It still feels surreal that I don't need to take any contact lenses out at night to get ready for bed. I haven't noticed the absence of putting them in as much.

It's awesome being able to see all the time now. Really cool. I've even updated my driver's license to show I don't need a lens endorsement.

The zero waste advocate in me is happy my eyes won't be generating contact lens packets or solution bottles any more. I do need to figure out what to do with all my unused contact lenses and solution bottles, since I obviously don't need them any more. I'll probably just do a shout out on Facebook and see if any of my Auckland friends want them.

And that's the whole story. I've got one more check-up in a few weeks, and then my eyes are just my eyes and I won't have to think about them at all. They'll just be doing their job. Woohoo!


  1. Hmmm makes me wonder if I should give it a go....

    1. It's seriously awesome. I highly recommend it.


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