Well, I’m officially one week post laser eye surgery. And I was unprepared for most of what happened last Thursday and in the days that followed.
You see, I purposefully didn’t read the literature. I interrupted the experts as they tried to tell me the details of what was about to happen. And trust me, if I had of known the full story in advance, I doubt very much I would have gone through with it.
Those of you on the fence about eye surgery – do not read on, this might influence your decision and it probably shouldn’t. Other peoples experience may be totally different to mine.
The procedure itself was only 20 minutes long – for both eyes, and I didn’t loose my eyesight completely. But – I kinda wish I had of. If they had of blinded me, I would have had no idea about several of the harrowing elements involved in SMILE.
I want to stress that my distance eyesight is better than what it was with my glasses on just one week after the procedure. I am driving and I’m back at work. That being said, I went back to work on day 5, and I really needed the whole week. The bright, florescent lighting in the office played havoc with me, and my close up vision hadn’t returned yet which complicated… well, everything.
Actually, that’s a really good place to start. My close up vision. About 10 minutes before I went into surgery, the staff did push some information on me. When they correct my distance vision, they effectively flip my eyesight. I could watch TV almost straight away, but I couldn’t read what was on my phone… In fact – the vision I had relied on for about 20 years, was totally gone. It is starting to return now – but the consensus is it could take about 3 months for everything to even out, and for my brain to process what’s happened. 3 months. Cool.
So in I went. Let me be frank. The only thing that got me through the door is the fact I had spent $120 on magnetic false lashes the week before in anticipation of parting ways with my glasses. I could never wear false lashes and glasses – they rubbed on the lenses giving me a very disconcerting feeling. Anyway – I bought the lashes so at the moment of truth, while I was terrified to the point of tears (with 10mg of Valium in me, may I add) the fact that my new magnetic false lashes had shipped just the day before was the clincher. Yep – that’s really how my brain works.
They numbed my eyes – I couldn’t feel anything. The thing I was most worried about – the speculum (the metal thing that holds your eyes open) wasn’t an issue. What was an issue – and I’m trying to block right out of my memory, was when they sterilised my eyes. They literally wiped them… while they were open, and I could see. I tried not to squirm but it’s pretty darn hard with that going on.
The laser part itself was a piece of cake, it was the last part of the process that I really struggled with. I’m not sure what they did, but I could see, pretty well – and they had a tool in my eye. *IN* *MY* *EYE*. I could feel pressure for about 3-5 minutes as they completed a part of the procedure – and I have to say it was unpleasant – but of course, not painful. All I could think the whole time was “cute lashes, cute lashes, cute lashes”… and the cute lashes (that I still haven’t been able to wear, mind you) got me thorough.
After that – they taped me up, gave me some shades and basically kicked me out. $7,000A for 22 minutes and a pair of dark glasses that were about 20 sizes too big. I’m seriously in both the wrong profession and the wrong industry. Imagine the pressure though – this is a persons eyesight you are dealing with.
I need to point out that I couldn’t see well – or clearly when I was discharged. I needed to be escorted and seeing things like steps – was a total impossibility. My distance vision was immediately better, as in I could watch television without squinting or the need of any help. It was cloudy (and remained cloudy for a few days), but I could see. My up close vision was for total shit. I couldn’t write or read anything for days.
Am I happy I got it done? Yes, yes I am, and next time, when they need to re-lens my eyes, I will be asleep, so that’s the worst its every going to be.
Even now, I am noticing things I’ve never been able to see, like the subtle difference between a planet and a star at night. The raw beauty in a cloud. And the fact they moved the Mexican section at the supermarket, from the other end of the isle (priorities).
My advice – if you’re thinking about having it done – go and have the consultation. It’s $50 and at least you will have the facts. What I will warn you about – your private health insurer (we’re talking Australia here) will not pay a single cent – and they will actually manipulate their way out of contributing to your surgery – even thought that means they will not be paying for glasses for the foreseeable future. It’s just another black mark in the private health insurance column for me – why I’m still a member is totally beyond me.