This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My Bionic Eye

Finally, I had 'lasek' done to my left eye. It wasn't really lasek, but it's the more common way to relay what my eye went through.

It was really PRK, which stands for photorefractive keratectomy. The procedure is similar to LASEK. The gory details are, well gory, but in the end, LASEK cuts a flap then laser is 'applied' where PRK does not cut, but instead, does something else that I don't know how to describe.

The cutting part is something to avoid. In fact, I had LASEK done to both eyes two years ago. The right eye went perfectly well, but the left eye's cut did not go too well. Laser was not applied to the left eye and thus, two years went by before I decided to get it done.

My vision, thus far, is still a bit blurry. I have a contact lens over it which acts as a band-aid over the 'stuff' that the doctor did to it.

I haven't had too much pain after the fact, but during the procedure, it was not so much fun. This is similar to what I went through two years ago.

It's almost like a torture session.

After trying to relax the patient (that would be ME) with a valium, the patient is taken to the 'operating room'. A pretty stark, cold room with a big machine. The doctor then puts something around my left eye to keep it open...wide open...and thus, no way to blink. Oh, the right eye is covered and thus, is not traumatized by what is about to transpire.

Numbing drops are placed in my eye. Soon after, the horror begins.

A number of instruments are used that scrape over the top of my eye. Things are moved, scraping occurs, movements of all kinds happen and the eye is forced to endure. I can't close my eye for god's sake -- I have to watch this! Does it matter that I can barely feel it? Not really -- I see it and I know something is happening.

I have no idea how long it takes to go through this but it feels like forever. I dig my nails straight into the 'comfort ball' they give me to 'squeeze' while I go through this. There is no way I could squeeze anything -- I am trying to strangle it.

And don't forget, I'm already on valium!!

The laser part takes ~45 seconds. I hear them counting. And I hear my doctor, who, BTW, is the most amazing doctor ever, cheering me on "You're doing great! You're doing great!" I don't know how she can say that when I can't do anything! But truly, the laser part is the easiest to go through, if you don't mind the smell. Something is burning once that laser hits. I don't want to ask what...and I don't.

The LASEK procedure two years ago was just as bad, maybe more so?

First, there's something they put on the eye ball that has something to do with its pressure. THAT HURTS. A LOT. I was so relieved to hear that this round would not have that done. I was not looking forward to that.

After the pressure thing, the blade cuts the flap and I don't know if the doc flips the flap or what, but there is sudden darkness. FREAKY FREAKY FREAKY.

But I pulled through the first time and almost instantly I could see perfectly. That time was the last of wearing any glasses. I had to wear a contact in my left eye until two weeks ago, when I took it out in preperation for this surgery.

It's still considered cosmetic, which is amazing. For those of us who have had horrible vision for years, the very idea that you are able to see anything without help is amazing and honestly, life-changing. To wake up in the morning and actually see things clearly is indescribable. And for two years, that was with one good eye and it was still 100 times better than what I could see with my glasses and contacts.

Already, after Thursday's procedure, I can see much better. As I said, not so much pain, which is supposed to happen. Mainly, I have more irritation than anything and I'm sure a lot of that comes from the contact lens/band-aid. That gets taken out on Monday and then I'll see how much pain I'll have with the eye now being exposed to the elements.

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