Preparing for Life (2)

4
3 hours before operation!
On the day of the laser surgery I was super excited to go through this experience, I had been waiting all week for it! Some people think it’s scary or get creeped out when they think of eye surgeries – I’m not one of those! My masters was mostly in optics so I had full understanding of how the system works and knew there was nothing to be afraid of. I’m petrified of going for a cleaning at the dentist, but I’m super excited about having a surgeon peeling off part of my cornea and blasting a UV laser in my eyes – I know, it’s weird, I must have some condition….

When I was finally able to see the surgeon (after seeing ~ 5 other specialists before the operation), we talked for 1-2 minutes, he saw I was excited to have the procedure done and I was not at all nervous about it, so he told me to get on the table and we’ll get it done quickly. So here we go, I’m going to explain my experience of the procedure, if you are one of those that gets creeped out thinking of eye surgeries, walk away. You’ve been warned.

When I had my head on the surgery table he started preparing the procedure. During the entire operation he explained every action he did, I quite enjoyed that. First he needs to numb your eyes and eyelids and then he placed a speculum in your eyes to make sure the eyelids would not interfere with the surgery.

Now comes the fun part, cutting the eye! For the eye to heal faster they peel off a part of your cornea (= flap), correct the lens that’s beneath the flap and put the flap back on. There are two ways they can make the flap – one is referred to as “all-laser” and the other uses a blade. The all-laser is actually not what it sounds like; my knowledge in bio is quite limited, but my understanding (as one of the doctors explained it to me) is that a laser is focused just underneath the cornea to introduce “air pockets” in the eye. If this sounds like some utter nonsense then please add a proper description in the comments – I’m an electrical engineer and have minimal knowledge in biology ….. Anyway, when the laser has finished the cornea is still attached to the eye, so what they do is that they grab a tool similar to a butter knife – not super sharp but still has an edge – to cut the “bonds” between the eye and the flap. According to one of the doctors I talked to during the initial appointment, this increases the risk of inflammation and there is more pain/discomfort in the few hours after the surgery. I chose the standard way of making the flap, with a blade.

So now the flap has been created and the coolest part of the surgery is right at this moment, because now he needs to lift the flap from the eye! As you’re fully awake during the surgery you can see him grab a hold of the flap and peeling it off the eye – you can see him peel off a layer off the eye!! The limited focus you had before (no glasses worn at this point of course …) is even worse now as he has physically peeled off part of the lens. Honestly, I thought this was super cool – as he did this I remember saying “wow” to the doctor. I couldn’t see his face but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a small smile on his face, how many patients think it’s cool to have their eye peeled like an onion! With the flap lifted off he made the final adjustments to the laser alignment and then it was go time. If the coolest part was peeling off the flap, the weirdest part was the incredibly strong odour when the laser was on – it was the smell of my eye burning!! I still remember how it smells, it’s a very weird smell. The doctor said it’s similar to hair burning, but as I don’t have (much) experience with burning my own hair, or others, I can’t say I know what he means. To me it smelled like a certain kind of plastic burning … weird.

When it was all done he placed the flap over the eye, and that to me was the YATZY/BINGO moment of the operation – as the flap was on I could see everything in almost perfect focus, it was an amazing moment that I’ll never forget – as I have an eidetic memory that won’t be a problem! Then he proceeded to the other eye and when it was all done I raised my head, I could immediately see everything in focus and on the wall I could see an analog clock, it read 12:22 and 20 seconds. I was utterly amazed, I don’t think I’ve ever smiled as much as right then.

The rest of the day was mostly spent in bed and in darkness to let the eyes heal, there was no pain but there was discomfort for most of the day. Lubrication drops take care of most of the discomfort. The service at the clinic was so good that they even called me few hours after just to check-up on me if I was doing ok and if I had any questions!

Day after the surgery my vision was 20/20! 2 weeks later it was 20/15 and almost 20/10, I just needed one more letter for 20/10, if I hadn’t been having fun with the cute doctor I would have passed it! To show me how perfect my vision was she grabbed a pen and placed it through the eye piece of the equipment used to test my vision – no lens to correct my vision was my optimal setting! Brilliant!

Today, a month after the operation, I feel great. My eyes still get a bit dry, I have to put in lubrication drops 2-3 times a day, especially after being outside, but other than that I have no complaints. I had no side-effect, no complications, no pain – I don’t think I could have expected better results!!

This was quite a long post, maybe it’ll make up for the lack of posts lately (not really…), I hope it was at least enjoyable and most importantly informational. If you have ever considered having your vision corrected, I can recommend you go for a check-up to see if you’re a candidate and then you decide if you like wearing glasses/contact lenses or if you’re willing to pay for the surgery. The clinic I chose was LASIK MD in Montreal, my surgeon was Dr. Pierre Demers.

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