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Understanding LASIK first hand.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2009

Understanding LASIK First Hand

I wrote this article in 2009 on another blog but thought it might still be of interest to some of my patients.  Just by way of note I still love my LASIK.  My distance vision is great and my wife now has to wear reading glasses and I am still fine with out.  She hates it but I love it.

 
I had LASIK yesterday. As an Optometrist I have been around, recommended and participated in this procedure for many years. I just had never got around to having it myself. I think my motivation for having LASIK was probably different than most. It wasn't that I hated my glasses and want to get rid of them, I actually liked them in most situations. It wasn't that I was blind. I could see alright without glasses, It bothered me some to drive, watch sporting events or movies without glasses but otherwise I did pretty well. I did it for two reasons;

1. My wife was always saying I should. I think she was just tired of me asking what the score was in the game I was watching on TV.

2. I thought it would be a great educational opportunity. Here I am telling patients they should do this(LASIK) and here is what to expect when I truely did not know.

So at my wifes urging I called Danyelle Madrid atHoopes Vision( Sandy, UT) a week ago and said lets do it. Danyelle is the co-management co-ordinator extrodinair for Hoopes Vision. She said great I'm having LASIK on Monday, want to be my surgery buddy? Well there is no time like the present so I did it. This blog will be a log of my experience and I hope will be educational and insightful.

 

Surgery Day:

I probably had less butterflies than most patients. This was not my first rodeo as the saying goes but I was surprised by my concern about whether I was making a good choice for me. Even though I have held many hands as people approached surgery, I still needed a little hand holding and reassurance myself as surgery approached. If I needed it, others for whom it is not as common place certainly will and I need to make sure I provide that.

The procedure itself held some suprises. Dr. Phillip Hoopes Sr. was great and made me feel relaxed through the whole procedure. I have always told people it does not hurt at all. Well that is 95% true. I did experience small amount of pain during the Intralase procedure( laser flap creation). It was not great, probably more accurately described as pressure, but it was there so don't be surprised. The visual sensations I experienced were interesting. My vision going black when the suction ring induced pressure during the Intralase procedure was expected, just how blurry my vision was following the flap creation was not. The coolest thing was having the tissue flap lifted and my vision totally blur out and then having it laid back down and it immediately clearing again. I don't think I experienced the dramatic change in vision that most experience upon sitting up. Once again my prescription was not huge to begin with and the residual haze from the surgery cancelled out any noticable improvement in my vision. I was 20/20 in each eye however even through the haze.

I was planning on going back to my office and seeing patients following surgery. I figured I'm a tough guy and I can handle it. I think we did everybody a great service by moving my patients however. Take my advice, stop by In and Out in Draper, grab a burger and fries, go home and close your eyes after surgery. My vision was not great and my eyes needed the rest.

My eyes felt great aside from a little dryness the first night. The haze cleared after a couple hours and while sitting home watching Monday Night Football I had my first I can see that moment. I could actually see the score and time left in the game. My wife finally had a night of peace without me asking her the score or time left. Both of us were happy. The only residual effect I still had was halos around lights. I imagine if this persisted long term it could become a problem but this night it was just cool. My christmas tree never looked more beautiful with each light appearing like a bright star burst. I imagine people pay good money for recreational substances to achieve the same effect. I anticipated wearing the eye shields at night would be a pain. Besides looking goofy they did not bother me at all.

Day 1:

I woke up the next morning and did something else I had not been able to do. See the clock across the room. Another fun I can see that moment. Eyes felt great, no pain and no dryness. The sticky residue from the tape that held the eye shields in place was hard to remove when you are trying to be gentle around your eyes. Put in my drops and lets go. Full day of work seeing patients and my eyes felt great all day. Vision is good, 20/15 in the right eye and 20/20- in the left when Blanine Bird O.D. checked my eyes. I wanted my right eye to be perfect without glasses and my left to be just slightly near sighted to help with near vision and delay for a few years the need for reading glasses. Nailed it perfectly. Towards the end of the day my eyes felt a little tired and maybe slightly dry but nothing that a quick dose of artificial tears did not handle. Still some haloing around lights on my drive home but that just adds to the Christmas spirit and should disappear about the time the holidays are over so no problem. Worst part of the whole deal so far is that the steroid and anti-biotic drops taste horrible.

Day 2:

Eyes feel fine. Still hard to get all the sticky residue from the tape off my face. Vision is great however. Still some halos but my vision is remarably sharp and crisp. Mountains are vivid as I drive to work. I am use to seeing this much detail with my glasses but it just looks better, more defined, each snow covered tree is visible. Cool again. As I go throughout the day I notice my eyes get tired if I miss my hourly dose of artificial tears.

Day 3:

Suprisingly my eye have been more tired today than any day previous. This may be due to the fact it has been so easy to forget about the drops. I am trying to keep on my drop schedule but when my eyes feel great I just keep working. It is only when I feel them get tired I remember to drop them. Vision is fine. Halos are still present but they should be. I now can see the eye chart as I am working with patients much better. In the past when I have been in the exam room I have not worn my glasses. Today I was working with my patients when I noticed how much dust was on the projector slide for my eye chart. There were little dust spots every where on my chart. I'm sure they have been there for a long time, I just did not see well enough to notice them. I have heard similar stories from ladies in their 70's and 80's who have had cataract surgery and then are embarassed to go home and find out that their kitchens are not as clean as they thought they were. Now I understand.

Day 7:  Still some halos but improving all the time.  Morning dryness is also present  and occasionally throughout the day.  Vision is great however.  Hate the taste of the steroid drops and can not wait to be done with them.

Day 14:  Continued improvement but still some morning dryness.  Vision is great.

Day 20: (Dec. 26th) Had my traditional day after Christmas duck hunt with my father-inlaw today.  Ducks came in and flaired against the pink of the eastern sky early in the morning and it was like watching it in HD.  Have never seen it that clearly.  Awesome!  Love this!  The steam off the water, the sunset, it all looked better.  Still some occasional dryness and still hate the taste of the steroid drops but love how well I see.

Day 30: Done with steroid drops. Yea!!  Vision great and having few dryness issues.  Love it.

Day 65: Went fly fish today.  Better vision makes every thing better.  Saw the size 18 fly on the water with ease.  Saw the spray off my line as I cast.   Getting more than just an education out of this.  Better then I expected.  Wife loves not having to tell me how much time is left in the game.

Day 180: No dryness for over a month now.  Vision is great.  I hardley think about even having had LASIK any more.  My vision is just great and I do not have to think about it.  That is what I call success!

 

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