Friday, January 26, 2001

Laser Eye Surgery - the blog

Yesterday I had LASIK laser eye surgery. In short, this is where they take the front part of your eye off, burn a pattern on the surface of the underlying cornea, and put the front bit back on again.

In long...

You have a consultation where your prescription, your pupil size and the shape of your cornea is measured, and they work out if the treatment is possible. Although they can correct myopia and astigmatism, they can't correct everything, such as keratoconus. They also measure the thickness of your cornea to ensure there's enough material to work on. Presumably this is to avoid burning right through your eyeball and making a mess of their shiny new laser by covering it with whatever fluid that might erupt henceforth. Yum.

Having passed over those hurdles, I returned yesterday for the treatment itself. I decided to go to Boots in Regent St., London, on the basis that I'd have easier access to lawyers and a support environment in the UK if something went wrong, than I would in the USA. Also, Nadine works at Boots so it must be good. It was about 50% more expensive than in New York, but then Nadine does get to drive a nice car, and you don't have to tip the surgery when you leave. I was escorted there by the lovely Nurse Melanie. Those of you who know her will not be surprised by the fact that one of the nurses had to explain to Mel, after I'd returned from the Abyss (more below), "you're not meant to be laughing, you know".

Having arrived for the treatment, I sat done with Mel to eat lunch. Shortly thereafter I was rudely interrupted from a rather tasty chicken and mozarella sandwich by the need for yet more tests. They re-checked the measurements and explained that my left eye would be corrected to perfect vision, and my right would be left with about .25 dioptres of myopia. This was to leave a little bit more thickness in the cornea (they wanted to keep their laser clean) and might even delay the need for reading glasses in later life.

The next bit was the though bit. You lie flat on a couch. They produce a clamp that they insert into your eye to hold your eye open. Then a vacuum clamp sucks itself onto your eye. A knife appears and they slice into the top of the eye. Of course, it's your eye, so you get to see this happening. Then the laser comes. Someone explained that I'll probably smell a strange smell. I jokingly said "you mean like the smell of burning flesh?". There was no reply.

And then there was this funny smell of burning flesh.

The main problem was I'd been told the procedure would last 20 minutes. So I thought I would be lasered for 20 minutes. Actually, you're only lasered for 90 seconds. Nevertheless that expectation, plus the thought of what they were actually doing, added up to a very grim time. The guy was saying "stop rolling your eyes!" and I tried to explain, through my hyper-ventilating, that I was unable to control them. Shortly after I realised that backing out wasn't an option. All you want to do is close your eyes and get away, but you can't. Anyway, somehow it all worked out, eventually, and it was over.

But of course, the basic human model comes with two eyes.

So it was on to the next one. This time it wasn't half as bad, as I knew what to expect. Uncomfortable, but ok. I left the room and my eyesight seemed much the same. Over the next few minutes, I tried squinting through my (strong) glasses and realised that they actually made my eyesight worse. So I was now unable to see properly at all, without or without my glasses. What a bargain.

The surgeon came in a few moments later and explained that altough I'd had a "very unusual reaction" (I didn't realise most of the population didn't mind having a vacuum pump clamped to their eyeball) and that I was the most difficult patient he'd had, he was very pleased to say that the machine had done everything it needed to and he thought that I was going to be fine. Mel and I had a nice cup of tea and found plenty to laugh at, non of which I can remember now.

All I had to do then was pay. Funny how they wait until you can't see before asking you to sign the Visa slip...

I was a bit embarrassed for being so squeamish in the theatre, but they were all very nice about it. Two female nurses had been holding me down, it turns out - one with a rubber glove on too. I left before they decided to charge extra for that bit.

I noticed all sorts of things that blind people must live by - the beeps in the underground for when the doors open, the annoucements over the tannoy saying what station you're at, the rough parts of the street where the crossings are. Thankfully Nurse Mel led me back to college.

The next 20 hours or so I spent in the dark. The treatment requires a dilating fluid in the eye which renders the patient photosensitive. I just kept my eyes closed. Other than that I felt fine. My eyes stung a little but nothing too serious. I talked to Mel and called home, but I could only call people who's number I knew off by heart because I couldn't read my address book.

Today, my eyesight has been getting better and better by the minute. I learned to point my eyes in the same direction at about 11am, to read at about 11:30am, to read number plates at a distance about noon, and so on. I cancelled my direct debit for my contact lenses at 12:30. Never imagined I'd be able to do that. Focus is still a bit hazy for reading. I'm writing this because it's easier than reading. I guess it's silly to strain too much today. I get to have a checkup tomorrow.

So, did it work? The objective is to avoid carrying around glasses and contact lenses, and avoid sore dry eyes after transatlantic flights or after sleeping in contact lenses overnight. At this point, I don't know if it worked. My sight isn't as good as it was with glasses, and that wasn't as good as it was with contacts. Hopefully it'll continue to get better. If not, I'll need a new pair of glasses/contacts.

Lessons learned - 1) go with someone. But for Mel and Ma offering, I would have gone on my own without even asking someone to come along, and I'd have had to spend the night outside the clinic on Regent St. 2) it's not the painless, quick operation some of the advertising would let you believe. It's not that it hurts, particularly, so much as the thought of what's going on. Also, it takes a while to recover use of your eyes. Take two days off. 3) Contact lenses are more trouble than you realise, once you don't have to wear them. They're not perfect all the time, they can get a little dirty or dry. Even now, before my eyesight has settled down, it seems to be one of those Change Your Life things, worth every penny.

113 comments:

Chris said...

This is a well-written, funny, and truthful post. I've been scouring the net for some good first person accounts of Lasik surgery. I've found some good, some bad, but yours is the most entertaining and thought provoking I've found. I'm glad your experience with lasik went well and was a "change your life" experience.

Cheers.

Laser Eye Surgery Halifax said...

I just came across your blog. Loved your post. How have your eye's been since the surgery? it has been 7 years. any complications?

Carson (Laser Eye Surgery) said...

How was your experience in getting LASIK surgery done to your eyes? It was painful...

Optegra Eye Care said...

Informative and interesting personal insight into the laser eye surgery procedure.

James said...

have you had any complications since your eye laser surgery or is everything fine? also what made you want to go for laser surgery?

Tim Jervis said...

After nearly 8 years, my eyesight is still excellent! I would say it is even a little better, there is less halo effect around lights at night. But I could be wrong. My memory probably hasn't fared as well as my eyesight.

hjkl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Zway said...

I've heard many people saying that they experience the halo effect. Is it affecting you with day to day activities?

Anonymous said...

Hi Tim!
Thank you for sharing your LASIK surgery and your results 8 years later. I hope you continue to have great vision after your LASIK surgery. http://www.2020sandiego.com

Laser Eye Surgery said...

This was quite a entertaining post. Thanx a lot for sharing

Dawn said...

Wonderfully entertaining posting. Doesn't prevent heightening my own anxiety as I prepare for my procedure on Wednesday, however. Thanks for sharing.

Chirag Mehta said...

This is an informative, elaborative post very well written. The description makes heart beating faster!! Can you help me if Astigmatism can be cured as well ?

sahrier nafis said...

Nowadays lasik surgery is very popular for the oblique of glass.Its very important to know about lasik surgery who want to use it and also should know what happened after lasik surgery and it's infection.It is very essential to choose a genius specialist for lasik surgery.In new york lasik surgery is very important to find a good specialist and helpful for all.Sometime after lasik surgery some problem may be faced, If you face any problem after lasik surgery please contact your physician or surgeon immediately

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I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
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Lisa Loves Lasik Columbus Ohio said...

Your blog cracked me up! I can totally relate.
I like how you were rudely interrupted by the sandwich. lol
Have a good one!
-Lisa

Anonymous said...

I really liked your post. I am looking into getting LASIK and found out that the side effects of LASIK eye surgery are experienced by a relatively small percentage of patients. It has been reported that about 1 to 5% of patients will experience some kind of side effect. I also found some more information on http://www.aclusa.org/the-most-favorite-placement-for-the-eye-surgery

Lasik San Diego said...

I have also had the procedure. It was much faster than I thought it would be. Only took about 20 minutes. It was not painful at all, just a little awkward feeling and itchy.

You have a great blog, thanks for the post!

LASIK eye surgery information said...

I just came across your LASIK blog and I will like to show an interested website relevant with your blog http://lasik-secrets.com

citrate sildenafil said...

Although they can correct astigmatism, you can not fix everything, such as keratoconus. You also measure the thickness of your cornea to ensure there is enough material to work.

Fran Taylor said...

There are a lot of stories about laser eye correction operations. I'm done with eye evaluations from an optometrist in Indianapolis and in a week I would be undergoing an operation. Thanks for posting your experience. It's well written and very witty. This would be a great help for prospective lasik applicants.

Rick said...

I had my Lasik done about 4 months ago and all the halos and strange little healing effects are completely gone. They lasted about 2 months until I was completely healed. I had mine done at San Diego LASIK 926 8th Ave., San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 393-6600

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BILAL said...

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samo said...

Thank you for this topic helpful, This topic is very important because it contains the advantages and disadvantages also,But there is a risk of laser eye surgery risks and other side effects,but all of which can be treated easily and the potential side effects are infection and can happen at any time after surgery.thank you again

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Visky Tamás said...

Hi,
I also had PRK surgery on 21st of August, 2010. I’m in my 4th week, so far so good. There’s still place for improvement, but I can see quite well. My left eye is very clear, but with the right is not so clear on distance. Also, my eyes get tired at the end of the day.
I hope it will get even better, but at the moment I’m very happy with my decision to have the surgery.
If you’re interested, I’m starting to write a blog with my experience: my-prk.blogspot.com

Nancy eye laser said...

Due to the prevalence of different eye problems and eye disorders, eye laser correction is one of the options in treating the eye disorders. However, eye laser surgeries are associated with risks and disadvantages.

For example,after the surgery, some patients are developing infection and healing problems. The infection can develop or worsen the eye problems and can prolong the healing process of the eye.

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cheap laser eye surgery said...

Surgery initially involves the application of anesthetic eye drops being applied to the eye followed by an incision being made to the cornea. This is then peeled back to expose the middle of the cornea. Rapid pulses are then made with a laser to vaporise a thin portion of this area. The flap is then replaced. Both eyes can be treated in one day but quite often they are treated in separate procedures.

Michael said...

I hope your eyes are ok.


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Travis said...

Thanks for sharing your experience in getting a LASIK eye surgery. I believe it is resources such as this that helps the public to overcome the fear and fully understand the advantages of laser eye surgery.

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Samantha L said...

"This is a well-written, funny, and truthful post. I've been scouring the net for some good first person accounts of Lasik surgery. I've found some good, some bad, but yours is the most entertaining and thought provoking I've found. I'm glad your experience with lasik went well and was a "change your life" experience."- Indeed one of the best I've ever read.

Eye care Tucson said...

LASIK isn't a remedy for everyone eyesight anomalies. You will need realistic expectations while you think about LASIK eye surgical procedure.

Frans said...

Eye lasering really was an eye opener for me ;). Really happy I did it and I can in many ways relate to this blog.

Laser Eye Surgery Houston said...

insightful experience you shared with us.is there any side effect of this and need any regular treatment like eye drops?
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Tim Jervis said...

Still no side effects and still no need for glasses, contact lenses or eye drops. I had hoped to have 10 years without glasses, and it worked well for me.

sports handicapping services said...

excellent site and very important information for people who need surgery and doubt make

Brooke Davis said...

Wow! Not going to lie, that sounds very painful! Was it painful at all? I have had glasses for years now and I'm at that age where I just want my vision back. I have pondered the idea of surgical vision, but the idea of surgery scares me. My friend just had surgery on her eyes and used all laser lasik. With this type of surgery, it can be tricky. The surgeon needs to create a corneal flap. And this can be accom-plished using a mechanical instrument called a microkeratome, or a femtosecond laser. I heard that it is thought that there may be more precision in some patients using the femtosecond laser as to the thickness of the flap and to the universal form contour. I personally, have to find the right doctor to get the job done. Hope this helps many out. Thank you again. I loved the reading. Have a great day

Anonymous said...

Good post Tim,

Four friends have just had laser eye surgery - all of them had problems which is putting me off at the moment.

What I didn't realise is that if it does go wrong, you can (hopefully) get corrective surgery by claiming compensation.

3 of them are using Armstrong James http://armstrongjames.com/claim-types-laser-eye-surgery-claims.aspx to help get their eye sight restored.

I'm sure there is a small number of people affected but at least if it does goes wrong things can be pursued legally.

I'm still considering it but not sure I want to take the risk just yet!

Cecilia said...

Thanks for sharing with us! I have been looking at different sites for this kind of information because I am supposed to get Laser vision correction this spring and I am a little nervous! Thanks for helping with this process.

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Johannesburg Lasik Surgery said...

Great blog post... good personal account of Lasik Surgery. It's great to hear of the life changing lasik surgery experiences.

tara needs lasik said...

Thank you so much for this balanced and hilarious post. I couldn't stop reading it! Congrats on your new eyesight and keep us all posted.

Marcus said...

Not very often you come across a post which is both serious and funny at the same time, providing some great information about Laser eye surgery and why it benefits you.

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Paul Herman said...

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