Summary: LASIK was the best thing I ever did for myself. Thank you Key Whitman Eye Center.
Background: In 6th grade Mrs. Hughes moved me to the front of the class because I couldn’t read the whiteboard. After school, my mom took me to an eye clinic built into our local Wal-Mart and I chose my first pair of glasses. It took 2 years of me complaining about my glasses before my mom to allowed me to look into contacts. I transitioned into corrective lenses and only wore my glasses at night. For the next 11 years I learned how to deal with the struggles of wearing contacts and glasses. At 23 years old, I cannot see a thing without my contacts or glasses. Despite how terrible my eye sight was, LASIK was never an option. The thought of a laser in my eye made me cringe.
Why did I decide to look into LASIK?
My imagination ran wild as I pictured myself waking up in the morning with a clear view of the alarm clock where everything is crisp and I was free from dirty lenses and the daily pokes and prods my eyes take just to get my contacts in. I added up all the time and money allocated towards maintaining my eye vision. I knew in the back of my mind I’d never let a laser touch my eyes but I had nothing to lose humoring my imagination and decided to call the Key Whitman Eye Center in Dallas to schedule my first consultation.
Consultation: 3 days before the first consultation I had to stop wearing my contacts and only wear my glasses because contacts change the shape of your cornea. This first consultation was very thorough. It consisted of a dilated and comprehensive eye exam. I walked from room to room meeting with technicians and doctors. Everyone was so helpful and took plenty of time out of their day to answer all my questions I had. Here are a couple of general concerns that were answered.
My General Concerns:
What if my eye sight changes after the LASIK procedure? Will I need reading glasses?
Once you reach the age of 40, like most people, I would probably need glasses for reading, regardless of my choice to have LASIK. This is just a function of aging. If my eye sight changed after the procedure (although this is rare) whether it was 5 days after or 5 years later, I would be able to come back and have adjustments made to my eyes so I wouldn’t have to get glasses.
How long is the recovery after LASIK?
Most people go to work the next day! I was told the best way to recover was to go home and take a nap after the procedure. The next day after my post op appointment, I would be able to see and carry on with my normal activities in the day! Crazy.
What happens if I sneeze or move during the procedure?
This was a huge concern of mine. The refractive counselor I met with told me that the machine detects all movement and if you move, the machine will just shut off. Technology these days…
What are the risks with LASIK?
LASIK is an extremely safe eye surgery and the potential complications are remote. But as with any surgery, there are some risks. The most common ones being flap complications, glare and halos.
How long is the procedure and will it hurt?
Most people don’t complain of having any pain, just a certain type of pressure. This is because numbing eye drops are used before, during, and after the procedure. Most procedures take 10-20 min max! WOW.
I couldn’t believe LASIK was this simple. I just remember feeling so thankful. I scheduled my procedure for the following week.
Day of the Procedure:
Not going to lie. I was a nervous wreck the day of the procedure. Once again I had to stop wearing contacts three days before. My procedure was scheduled for 2pm so I woke up and went to the pharmacist to pick up the prescription eye drops and over the counter eye drops I would need following the surgery. Once I got to the eye center my name was called and I was taken into a room and given two round of numbing eye drops. Before I knew it I was being taken into the procedure room.
It all happened so fast. This is what I remember.
The room had a huge glass window so my mom could watch what was happening on a mounted monitor. I laid down under this huge machine and was told to look up. I saw an orange ring of light with a dot in the middle and was told to focus on the dot. A head rest that kept me pretty stable was placed on each side of my head. I remember feeling pretty comfortable.
I was given another round of numbing eyedrops. My eyelashes were taped out of the way and they covered up the eye they weren’t working on first. Some type of contraption was placed in my eye to keep it open. My eyes were totally numb at this point so it did not hurt and I honestly did not even think about blinking.
Dr Whitman made me feel so comfortable by telling me exactly what was happening. I was instructed to keep looking at the orange light. I tried to be as still as possible.
He said there the first laser was about to create a flap on my first eye. It felt like a suction cup was placed over eye. There was some pressure but it didn’t hurt, it was just an odd feeling. Dr. Whitman told me there would be a noise and everything would go black for a couple of seconds so when it did, I didn’t freak out. It went black for maybe 5-10 seconds. Once I could see again Dr. whitman said the hard part was over. Now that my corneal flap was created, a second machine was placed over my head. I never had to get up which was nice.
This laser went to work and shaped my eye. I didnt feel a thing but it did smell like something was burning and sounded like something was lasering. After the laser is done, a contact that is apparently a bandage was put over my eye that the doctor would take out the next day at my post op apt. After the first eye was done – I was so excited to do the next one, me and Dr Whitman were cracking jokes, talking about how my mom was probably freaking out, it was nothing.
The same procedure was done to my right eye. They put some sweet looking goggles over my face to make sure they were protected. Once I stood up – I COULD SEE!! Everything was a bit hazy – or gloomy but I could see! I gave my mom a huge smile and thumbs up to let her know I was great.
On the drive home my eyes stung a little, almost like they did when I used to swim with my eyes open in a chlorine pool. Nothing excruciating. I immediately passed out once I got home and once I woke up, everything was just like normal except I could see without glasses!
For the next couple of weeks I continued to use eye tears 5-7 times a day to keep my eyes from getting too dry. The only thing I have noticed that has changed with my eyesight are the halos I see while driving at night. They don’t hinder my ability to drive but they’re definitely stronger than they used to be. After it’s all said and done though, this procedure was the BEST decision I ever made.