A Whole New Perspective.....

I've worn glasses since Grade 3, and "hard" contacts since I was 18. When I quit working full time at 48, I'd already worn my contacts for 30 years. I continued to wear them up until early this year -- so that's 35 years -- but I'd started not wearing them every day......and the last time I wore them was to dinner with friends in February. Then I put them away - because I wasn't wearing them every day, they were uncomfortable, and I'd had enough!

At my annual eye examination, I asked my Dr. about laser eye surgery. Years ago I'd asked about it, and he wasn't enthusiastic at the time -- it was "new", I got on well with my gas permeable contacts, etc. Wait and see how it goes (the technology).

So, this year, when I mentioned laser eye surgery, he was very supportive-- the technology had been around long enough, he was convinced, look here, Tiger Woods has had it done -- so if you're going to do it -- these are the people to see!

So, he referred me, I went for a consultation, everything looked good. This was back in June. Being me, I had to think about this seriously, figure out when I could have it done so that it wouldn't impact anything else......like my vacation to Shetland in July, the Knitters' Fair that I do in September (a big day for a small home-based retailer like me), even down to my commitments to my Knitting Guild -- the monthly meeting, the monthly Exec meeting, and the fact that I edit the monthly newsletter. Everything was scheduled right down to attend the two monthly meetings, edit the newsletter, have a weekend to relax, and surgery the following week -- with enough time to recoup before my monthly schedule started up again!

Well, all that happened last Wednesday -- dear Hubby took the day off to be my "designated driver" and off we went to TLC on Yonge at the 401.

I was frankly petrified! The idea of someone cutting a flap on your eyeball so that a laser could go in there and shape your cornea!

Arriving at 10:00 am, it was obvious who were there for surgery, who were the DD's, and who were there for consultations! All of the "patients" had bright obvious name tags on -- to identify who we were, what we were there for - and we all looked nervous! The DD's were giving us support. Come to think of it - there weren't many there for consultation -- maybe this was a "surgery" day and they didn't do the consults the say day!

Just before surgery, you're in a darkened room, stretched out on a leather lounge chair -- relaxing. You have a final consultation with the surgeon -- final check to make sure everything is ok. I went in, the Doc checked out my eyes, explained the procedure, the expected results for me (I'll have to still wear readers - I was wearing them with my contacts and had bifocal glasses -- just because I'm getting older -- so this wasn't a surprise; I might have a night time "halo" effect on lights for a while - but in most cases this goes away within 3-6 months - ok; and in some cases like mine, when you have a lot of correction to do (left eye -10, right eye -6), they might (a 20% chance) have to go back in and "tweak" an eye after - again, they'd do that probably in 6 months or so) -- was I ok with that -- yes, I'd thought about all of these things long and hard -- ok, I'm ready to go.

(This isn't just a rubber stamp kind of procedure at this point -- the fellow that was right before me had a condition identified that eliminated him from laser eye surgery. We have a layer or cells behing our cornea -- it was discovered this fellow's layer was thin and patchy, and after a couple of tests that they did right then and there -- the surgeon decided it wasn't a good idea for him to disturb his eyes with laser surgery. The surgeon apologized for the fact that this condition wasn't identified earlier. This was very disappointing for the patient -- but he understood and appreciated that it in his best interests to not proceed at that time. As a fellow patient -- I appreciated the intensity of the scrutiny that you were placed under to ensure that you were going to get the best results possible!)

Back to the darkened room, and they give you an Ativan just to take the edge off. Give me the Ativan !!!! Lots of drops to freeze your eye - eye cleaning and prep and you're ready to go!

There are 2 laser machines -- one to "cut" the eye flap -- the other to do the work on the corner.
You lie down and to your left is the machine that does the eye flap -- at a point in this procedure you can't see a thing -- not to worry -- this is normal! Well, that wasn't as bad as I thought! Then it's to the right for the actual prescription cornea work -- again, not as bad as I thought -- slightly less than a minute of laser surgery on each eye -- they count it down for you so that you know how much longer it's going to be!

Then you actually see the Dr. repositioning your eye flap -- he works it back into place -- and because it's been lasered open, no stitches or anything! They help you up and back into the darkened room -- where you lie for 10-15 minutes, your freezing starts to come out, and this is the first time you actually "feel" anything. Your eyes are watering and burning a bit -- some more eye drops and a quick check by another Dr. to make sure that the flap is fine -- and you're sent home with your dark glasses on -- with strict instructions for eye drops and a nap upon arrival home -- then you should be fine!

Sounded too easy -- but you know what -- once we got home, I stretched out on one of our lounger chairs -- got all snugged up with my blanket, and had a couple of hours nap. I woke up and felt great -- my eyes were amazing -- I could see!

The day after, you have to go to your own eye Dr. for a follow-up -- yes, everything was great -- I could even drive without glasses right then and there! Dear Hubby was DD again that day -- so I let him drive -- I wasn't ready to solo just yet!

It's been 4 days -- today is the 5th day after surgery -- I'm on 4 sets of drops a day and I'm ecstatic with the results! This Thursday I go for my one-week follow-up -- and after that I can wear makeup and go back to pretty much everything as normal!

Amazing!

Comments

  1. It certainly is amazing! Weren't the Lazy-Boy chairs and the Ativan just perfect!? I had a great experience with TLC too, so I'm glad everything went well!

    It's been 2 years for me now, and still crystal clear vision. Worth every penny!

    :)

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  2. Congrats Anne! I'm such a big chicken, I could never do it.

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  3. Congratulations on a great recovery. I wasn't a good candidate last time I checked, but the technology has improved since then... maybe I could have a chance at it now.

    Must be exciting to open your eyes and be able to see without any help.

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  4. Lucky girl. I went to see about it. The DR said NO. Too much weird stuff to deal with inculding dry eye. So, I am still in my glasses since age 8. I was horribly disappointed I couldn't have surgery. My friend had it 5 years ago and she loves it. It is the only way to go if they will do it for you.

    Congratulations! I am glad you can see. I have to don the glasses before I can find the bedroom door. Wahh!

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  5. What a great description of the process. I'm a big chicken too, but I've really been thinking about looking into Laser surgery recently. That eye flap cutting thing nearly did me in, but your good results might tip the scales.

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