My Lasik Procedure
I Can See Clearly Now
Can you believe I braved this on Friday the 13th!? My wife took a video of my left eye during LASIK. She was standing outside the room looking in. The procedure was exactly the same for the right eye and took the same amount of time. As you can see in the video, it's close to 2 minutes from when they pull the eye lids back to when they're all done.
A Little Background
I had been wearing glasses since 1996. My prescription remained the same since I bought glasses, couldn't tell ya what it was. But I was nearsighted big time. I couldn't read anything 5 feet in front of me without glasses. I was getting frustrated with glasses and contacts are just a pain in the butt. So it was time.
It's hard to describe the feeling and the thoughts during the procedure. I was nervous as hell! I was scared my heart beat was going to make my eye move and screw up the laser! But it didn't.
So there's the video, let me explain the procedure for ya.
My procedure was done at the Whiting Clinic in St. Louis Park, MN. I had my free LASIK eye exam on Monday, December 9th and was told, thankfully, that I was a good candidate. I already scheduled my LASIK for Friday the 13th when I scheduled my exam, because I pretty much knew I would be good to go (I went to LASIK Plus 2 years ago for the free consult and they said I was a good candidate). I decided on Whiting Clinic after hearing from a few friends and neighbors who also had the procedure done there.
So on the 13th, I arrived early. I didn't really need to because they didn't get me in until my scheduled time. The did a quick check with some equipment on my eyes to make sure I was still good, and then brought me into a comfortable waiting room where they explained about all the drops I have to take and gave me some Ibuprofen and some mild sedative (I think). Then I waited for about an hour by myself in the waiting room. Luckily it was very comfortable, with some magazines, an iPad, a Coke and some good Hershey chocolates.
After an hour, Dr. Whiting came in and asked if I had any questions. He was very kind, and the only questions I had was "Can I get a recording of the procedure?" He thought it was weird that I asked for the actual video of my eye, but just said that the curtains would be open and my wife could watch. Luckily she was able to watch from outside the room, and could see the monitor.
Enter the Laser
I then went into the laser room and Dr. Whiting took a last good look at my eyes, said I had really healthy eyes and brought me to the laser. I laid down on the laser bed, and the assistant gave me a few numbing drops in each eye. Then Dr. Whiting came over and explained what I needed to do.
Let me preface that I knew exactly what was happening the whole time because I watched many video of the procedure online. But I didn't tell him that.
First, he said he'd be placing tape over my eye lids. He said to keep my eye lashes out of the way, but really it's to hold my eye lids open so I don't blink. Duh.
Then he explained that I would feel some pressure and things would go dark. This is around the 17 second mark. This is where he places the ring that he attaches the razor thingy to for cutting the flap (that's at about 33 seconds). And it DOES go dark, completely. It's kind of creepy, but you know it's gonna happen, so it's ok. Then it starts cutting (again, my eyes were numb, couldn't feel a thing, nor see) at around 43 seconds. Looks like it takes about 15-20 seconds to cut the flap.
At 1:09 you see him take a little tool to grab the flap and pull it out of the way. The spongey thing, not sure what that does. Probably just gets rid of moisture on the eye... oh well. At 1:15 when the other image of the eye comes up, that's the laser I assume. That's when the magic happens.
Dr. Whiting calmly reminds me to keep staring at the green light. The smell of burning eye starts filling the air. Pretty much smells like burnt hair, if you've ever done that. You can kinda make out the thing zapping your eye, but not really.
The laser is done at 1:30. You can see him grab that tool again and put the flap back on my eye.
That's where the video ends. I think he does the spongey thing again a couple times, ya know, to get the air bubbles out of the flap. I assume based on other videos I've viewed on YouTube.
And the same thing happens for the other eye. Easy peasy! From into the chair, to done in about 5 minutes. Crazy!!!
I personally couldn't see clearly right after. Still felt like I needed glasses. I then went to where Dr. Whiting could check my eyes again, and sat with my eyes closed for 5 minutes. Dr. Whiting then checked my eyes, gave me some awesome sun glasses, and walked me to the lobby where my wonderful wife met me and walked with me out to the car to drive us home.
On the ride home (about 45 mins) I mostly sat with my eyes closed. Peeking every now and then to see if I could see...I really couldn't clearly.
It was right about when we pulled in our driveway that the numbing drops started wearing off. I went immediately into my bedroom and laid down. The next 2 hours were spent wondering when the burning sensation in my eyes would stop!!! I don't know how to describe it, could be like being sprayed with pepper spray for 2 hours straight, but I've never been sprayed with pepper spray, so I don't know...
Anyhow, every now and then I'd open my eyes, and tears would just flow out like it was pooling up in there. Nuts. But I began starting to see things more clearly.
After that 2 hours, I was able to actually fall asleep, and slept for the next about 10 hours, on and off.
A New Day
I woke up early on Saturday the 14th, able to see clear as day with my right eye. My left eye looked like I had slightly dirty contact. I could see, but it was slightly blurry. They said the eyes would heal at different rates, so it didn't bother me too much. I hopped in my car and drove to my follow up appointment, which was at 8am (just about 15 hours after my LASIK mind you).
Checked in, as the first patient, waited 1 minute before being called back. Not even enough time to try the hot chocolate. Went back and did a quick run through of some letters on the wall, and I was able to read the 20/10 line! Mostly. I guess I messed up 2 letters (F for P and O for G), but the girl was impressed and said "WOW, we'll called it 20/13. That's excellent!!!"
Then another doctor came in and took a close look in my eye, I'm guessing mostly to check the flap. Said I was good to go, and asked if I had any questions. I did not.
Wrap This Up, Paul
Overall VERY VERY VERY happy with the procedure, the clinic, and of course the results! Whiting Clinic did a great job making me feel comfortable. They let you choose the color of the lighting in the laser room (tho I was too scared at the time, didn't even notice if the lights were green). They also play your choice of music during the procedure (again, too scared to notice til AFTER the procedure). Free refreshments in the lobby while you wait, and delightful Hershey chocolates in the personal waiting rooms.
The only suggestion I could make would be to the LASIK doctors, and this is probably not allowed, but if you could, please give patients a couple of those numbing drops to put in after they get home. It's SOOO uncomfortable and painful for those first 2 hours.
That is all.