My photo
mum of three angels

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The LASEK Experience (Part 1)

Friday 17th December 2010 was the day when I finally took the plunge - got myself something that I had wanted to do for so many years but never got to.

I had laser refractive surgery i.e. had my vision corrected with laser.

The surgery was fixed for 11 am that morning. A few months earlier, I had already went for the eye screening test with Optimax Penang. After almost 3 hours of testing, the doctor saw me and went through the options that was available for me. Since my cornea was not so thick, she adviced me to go for the Lasek treatment instead of the more popular Lasik. The difference is the healing time of course and some discomfort associated with Lasek.

After mulling through, I took her advice and agreed to go for Laeek. Of course, I still had another 2 months to make up my mind whether I am indeed going for the surgery.

After lots of internet browsing, I ended up more confused!! There were varied responses from those who have gone thru the surgery in the forums that I had browsed. Some excellent reviews, most with moderate feedbacks while a fraction had horrible experiences.

I went back to the consultants at Optimax to thrash out my worries and finally decided to go for it.

On the surgery morning, after the do's & don'ts explained to me, I was given some drops to numb my eyes several times during the first hour. Then I was aked to go the surgery room located at a different floor. There, I changed into an operation gown, my eyes were checked again by the assistant and then the doctor.

Half an hour later, I was escorted into the rather cold operation theater, come to think of it, all op theaters are very cold! I was asked to sleep on the couch beneath some complicated equipments (during this time, I was off my specs so someone had to literally take my arms and walk me through to the bed - I was almost blind as a bat!!).

Apart from the doctor, there were about 4-5 assistants, here I got a bit nervous - why so many people for what I was made to believe is just a simple short surgery. Eventually I found out each one of them had to do their own albeit small part in the whole procedure.

Once I was made to lie on the surgery bed, my head was positioned right under the equipment. It took several angles of positioning for the girl assistant before the doc was satisfied. During that time, one guy was adjusting the equipment. Another girl was at my foot, adjusting my legs and stood by until the end of the surgery (why, I never found out?!!?). I think one other person was standing slightly far away at another equipment.

2 more girls were at either of my side trying to put on the eye clamps on me. These clamps are necessary to open the eyelids and secure them in place so that I can't blink no more. So left eye was clamped and right eye bandaged. They also had to tape my eyelashes since they were too long, he, he!

All this while, the doctor was talking to me, explaining what they were doing to me. She kept asking me whether I was tensed, had my breakfast, do I have any medical problems etc, etc, her talking was partly I think to relax me.

I could see her using a spade shaped tool to scrape something over my eyeballs - that's the epithelial layer, the doc explained. After a few minutes, she was done. Now, the equipment guy started to readjust the machine over my head again.

When everything was positioned and ready, the doc told me to concentrate on the green dot within the red circle (or was it red dot and green circle - can't remember!). My vision started to get cloudy as in foggy - it was quite difficult at that point of time to concentrate on the red dot!

A few seconds later, I could smell flesh burning - the laser burning the eye ( I wasn't really alarmed as I had already read about it in the net). The guy who was holding the equipment over my head was slowly counting down from 30. Then, at the count of zero, it was over, as simple as that.

The doctor then warned me that she would be washing my eyes with some cold liquid which would be uncomfortable - she was right! It was so uncomfortable esp when my eyelids were still secured down and I couldn't blink! But less than a minute only. The doctor replaced the epithelial layer and secured it with bandage lenses. Then, the clamps were unhooked and bandage put over my eye.

Same procedure was repeated for right eye.

After almost 20 minutes, everything done, they took away the bandage. I was asked to open both eyes very slowly and wow, I could see so clearly!! Like an excited child out on an outing, I kept looking at everything around me, the people, the machines, the clock on the wall. That feeling was really exhilarating!!

However, at that time, the assistant told me to try to close my eyes and took me to an adjoining room with a very comfortable recliner sofa. She asked me to settle down in the sofa and to close my eyes. I could feel her putting a blanket over me. She asked me to just relax and that it's ok to doze off, which was what I precisely did!

Half an later, she woke me up. I went into the locker room, changed into my clothes and then for the first time after surgery, I saw my eyes - boy, were they red or what!! It looked like I was crying non-stop for hours!

Quickly, I donned my sunglasses. I was asked to rest for another half an hour and then I was asked to go back, to return the next day for follow-up check up. The time then was about 2.00 pm I think.

The drive back was uneventful. I was quite hungry by then, after having lunch, DH left and I went to sleep as my eyes were really very tired.

So, what happened next? Catch my next post, only God knows when that will be!! This one took me almost 2.5 months!