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Laser Eye Surgery – Done!

Been and gone and done it, and I can see!  On Tuesday I arrived at Optical Express at 9am and was given more eye tests and measurements by a friendly, chatty chap called Martin who helped keep me calm!

After a bit of waiting I met the surgeon, Dr Susanna Boytha, who was friendly, efficient and assured me it was normal to be nervous but reassured me that with my prescription and choice of surgery, which she said was the gold standard, I should have no problems and see great results.  She did ask me if I had any questions, and having handed in my consent form earlier I forgot that there were some sections I didn’t initial as I wanted to get more clarification, so I said I hadn’t really any questions – doh!

Back to waiting for a bit longer then a nurse took me through to a room to prep me for the operation.  I was given a run through of the two eye drops I would be using after the surgery, an antibiotic to prevent infection and anti-inflammatory as well as a bottle of artificial tears as over the course of the next month my eyes may feel dry.  Goggles are supplied, to be worn whilst sleeping to prevent rubbing your eyes for the first week,  I have to avoid getting my eyes wet for the next week and am not to wear eye make up for a week either (YIKES!). 

Anaesthetic drops were put in my eyes to prep them for the operation. Unfortunately it was at that point it was brought to my attention I hadn’t initialled all the sections in the consent form, but by this stage I couldn’t focus on what my issues had been so I just signed the consent form after all…. Wasn’t happy with that but was too nervous to point that out by that stage!

Then through to the laser suite, I was asked to lie on the bed which swivels between the two machines used for the procedure.  More drops added to my eyes, left eye covered and then the procedure commenced as I was moved under the first machine.  I have to admit, a mild panic came over me and I felt faint as this was the part I was dreading the most, the cutting of the corneal flap. All I felt was a bit of pressure on the eye, much like when rubbing your eyes. I was startled by the lights on the machine at close quarters, ..I suppose I hadn’t anticipated what the machines would look like to me when under them and with it’s circle of bright, white lights and then this, to me, sinister darkness in the centre I was a little unnerved!  A suction ring holds the eye in position, and although the nerves feel like they are blinking you cannot physically blink.  That part took all of 20 seconds or so for each eye.

Then over to the next machine, where the eye-tracking system is used so the laser can follow slight eye movement.  Asked to focus on the orange flashing light, the clicking and slight vacuum sound of the laser commences, by this time it’s appears dark and in fact in my left eye I struggled to find the orange light at first.

To me the worst part comes next when the corneal flap is placed back, as you see what appeared to me to look like a teeny, tiny spatula being swept over my eye, and other implements to clean the eye, then more drops are put in the eye and the urge to blink them away was strong, but I could not! But before you know it the eyeholder is removed and I was told to close my eyes as the nurse wiped my eyes.

On opening my eyes, I could see through a white mist, or fog, and I was told that this was perfectly normal, so in less than 10 minutes it was over!

I was then shown to a darkened room where I was left to rest for 10 minutes, then taken back through to see the surgeon for her to check the corneal flap and then I was free to go, an hour and a half after arriving!  On chatting with Dr Boytha I discovered she performs 27 surgeries a day, and has now done over 36,000 procedures!

On emerging from the basement, the sunlight streaming in the windows reminded me that I was light sensitive, so it was time for the sunglasses.  Although still a little foggy, I was impressed with what I could see already.  By the time I got home, though, my eyes were nearly closed, they wanted sleep and it was recommended to sleep as much as possible after the surgery, as you recover more when sleeping.

Only after an hour of being home did some discomfort kick in, but 2 neurofen later I was fine.  I would say the only discomfort I have had is feeling a little bit of grittiness in my right eye, and when putting in the drops initially they caused discomfort but now, 2 days later all is pretty well. I would recommend getting some herbal sleeping tablets, as you want to sleep, and my eyes were closed,  but my mind was racing so a little assistance to sleep was required.

Yesteday I had my 24 hr check up and the optician said that my eyes were looking good and my vision is better than it was when wearing my contact lenses.  It will take a while to settle down, and it will be interesting to see what the results are like next week when I attend my 7 day check up.

All in all, so far, it’s been fabulous.  Although I do find it weird as normally taking my contact lenses out was a signal that I was relaxing, the day was over.  My eyes are feeling tired in the evenings at the moment, and normally removing contacts would be the answer but not any more.  Now I see well right up to bed time and I feel I am not switching off until the bedlamp is off!  Old habits die hard. A problem I am more than happy to get through!!

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