I can see clearly now…
My glasses are GONE!
After 20 years of not being able to see more than eight inches in front of my face and years of saving my pennies, and then months of going back and forth on whether or not I would go through with it, I am now well on my way to 20/20 vision.
Since I know you totally want a play by play:
Matt and I had been planning this for months, so he was able to take time off of work to take care of things while I was recovering. Matt dropped me off at the eye doctor and took the kids to the huge park the next street over until after the surgery. They took my vitals and I put my glasses in my purse before I went back into the waiting area where they gave me a valium (upon my request, I was a little nervous). Just to give you an idea of how bad my sight was, I had a hard time reading my book because it was a little heavy and kept falling and hitting my face.
My eye doctor happens to be a friend of the family, so it was really good to have someone I know and trust do the procedure (it’s my eye balls after all). First thing they did was apply numbing and several antibacterial and disinfectant drops. Once I was laid down and under the microscope they taped one eye closed and Dr. Fillmore cleaned and scraped off my eye. I could see it, but I couldn’t feel it. The whole process was so weird. After the eye was ready they turned the laser on and it basically it burned away my cornea until it was the correct shape. I could literally see the different layers disappearing. The machine is very fancy and I was told that if I moved my eye or anything the laser would shut off automatically, but apparently I was a good patient because it didn’t shut off. When he finished one eye he cleaned it again, put in a contact to act as a bandaid, taped it shut and then repeated the procedure on the other eye.
It is kind of ironic that for days after laser eye correction I had to wear both contacts AND glasses most of the time (sunglasses, but still) 🙂
I had PRK not Lasik. With Lasik, they cut a flap in the cornea, let the laser do it’s thing, then put the flap down. From what I understand the recovery is pretty painless and you can see perfectly right away. The problem with Lasik is the corneal flap never fully adheres back to the eye and has been known to detach during trauma later (like a car accident for example).
PRK there is no flap, just laser. The recovery is longer and more painful and it can a month or so to get to 20/20, but it’s safer. The reason recovery takes longer is because you have to “re-grow” the surface of your cornea. The reason perfect vision isn’t immediate is because the process of “re-growing” the surface of your cornea can take a bit of time to smooth out to it’s former perfection.
Thursday night after the numbing drops wore off, I started to hurt a little. I knew I would (my eyeballs had been vaporized after all) and I also knew that the pain would get worse before it got better. Things were also blurry, but it was a different kind of blurry. Before my vision was so poor, that not only could I not read words 10 inches from my face, but stretch that out to 5 feet and I couldn’t even really see shapes. I could discern color and movement. After 10 feet I could only see the color if there was movement! Right after the surgery I could see shapes and colors but nothing had a real defined edge. Kind of like when your eyes have been left open too long and they get too dry and things start to blur around the edges. It makes sense since the surface of my eye was no longer smooth and uniform, but kind of frosted.
Friday things were a little clearer, but they also hurt more. We tried running errands in El Paso but ended up leaving for home early because I was being led around by my seeing eye children since I couldn’t keep my eyes open. They were extremely light sensitive and achy. They also felt like they had some sand or other grit in them. I walked around in my glacier glasses with my eyes closed most of the time. I went back to see Dr. Fillmore for a follow-up and he said things look right on track and told me to take it easy.
Saturday I’m assuming that I could see, but since I spent most of my day in bed with my eyes closed, I can’t tell you for sure 🙂 I listened to everything from CPAC speeches to audiobooks. I drifted in and out of sleep, surfacing only to eat occasionally. By Saturday night though, I was starting to feel better and I think I may have even helped put the kids to bed.
Sunday things were still bright, but I felt a lot better. We went to sacrament meeting, I cleaned the house and made dinner. I ever so briefly toyed with the idea of faking it and getting another day “off”, but the thought was disgusting to me. The idea of laying in bed for another day made me sick.
Monday I went in to get my contacts removed. We then all went grocery shopping and had a nice normal day. Though by this point Matt accused me of trying to give him Seasonal Affective Disorder because I still need the blinds closed most of the time. The man craves sunlight.
Things are still a tiny blurry but they get a little clearer every day. I would liken it to when I’m due for a Rx update or maybe when I only have one contact in. One eye usually heals faster than the other but I can still see just great. I can drive, I can read, I can type and I can see when the kids are into mischief (though to be fair, I usually know that’s happening when I can’t see them).
The weirdest parts are my bald eyes. I had to not wear my contacts for at least a month in preparation for the surgery because daily contact use can alter the shape of your cornea. Then something came up and the originally scheduled date was pushed back a month. So now my eyes seem rather small and bald. I’m used to my glasses framing them. I kind of miss that, but not enough to think about it for more than a minute 🙂
Secondly, when I am getting ready for bed I have to remind myself not to try to take out my contacts. I can see and that’s how it’s supposed to be. I wake up in the middle of the night and I can tell what time it is. Sometimes I keep my eyes open in the dark because even though the lights are off, I can still see shapes in the dark. It’s all very strange but wonderful!
By the way, I’m officially OUT of my funk. Maybe the stress of the upcoming surgery was what was weighing me down.