I have a pair of them now. On April 1 (yes, fools day ) i got my lasik laser surgery done. I am writing my experience down here without my spectacles ;-) hope it is useful to some of you who want to do the surgery.
I took a leave of absence from work for a week before the surgery. I consulted a doctor in Aravind Eye Hospital ,Tirunelveli a small city near my home town and decided to get it done there.
I had my pre surgery check up on March 30 (saturday), They took cornea topology scan on both eyes and analyzed my cornea’s thickness. I had around 580 micron thick cornea which is good enough to do a laser surgery. The doctor suggested me to do zyoptix laser instead of ordinary laser. Zyoptix uses wavefront guided laser technology and claims to fix refractive errors which cannot be fixed by other lasers. I asked the doctor about complications, she mentioned about halos and starbursts but didn’t mention about scary things like ectasia but it was mentioned in the agreement that i signed before the surgery. The hospital doesn’t have a “bladeless” surgical option ( i.e there is no femtosecond laser) but the doctor is experienced so i decided to trust her hands with microkeratome. The hospital does refractive surgery on Wednesday’s and Friday’s, i asked them to prepone it to Monday (April 1) they were able to accommodate my request.
Surgery’s are done early in the morning so i was asked to come to the hospital 7’o clock in the morning. We reached the hospital little late thanks to my dad’s driving :-) I was asked to have breakfast before the surgery. After the breakfast i was asked to sign an agreement which basically says no one is responsible if my eyes are screwed. I was asked to remove my shoes and asked to enter the waiting room (room in front of the surgery room) Then i was asked to wear a long gown and a cap to cover my hair. I was also given anesthetic eyedrops before i entered into the surgery room. In the surgery room three scary people were waiting for me with masks over their lower face, covering their mouths and noses. I was asked to lay down on a moving surgical bed, top of the bed had a curve where i could just fit my head. Now one of those scary people covered my face with a sheet. The sheet had a opening that just came right on top of my right eye. It also had a tape like thing , they used to it hold my eyelids so i don’t close them during the surgery. Another nurse used a clamp to enlarge my eye. This was bit uncomfortable.
The doctor, moved the bed back into the laser equipment. The equipment had very bright lights focused at my eyes, it was uncomfortable for me to be under those lights. I would normally use profanity at people who don’t dim their main beam headlights while driving. But these lights were 3-4 times worse than those. The setup had a green and red color light accompanied by those very bright main beam headlights. You could imagine a big alien spaceship on top of your head flashing lights at you. I was asked to look at the red color light to reduce the discomfort. In the mean time the doctor was cleaning my eye and a big equipment was kept on top my eye holding it (microkeratome) . The doctor asked me not to move my eye. (Hello, how can you not roll your eyes when you have a big a** light focusing straight at you ) I heard a wheel rotating sound and could feel something being cut. In my opinion this is the scary part of the surgery. The microkeratome is like your lawn mower but it cuts and creates a flap on the eye. See this video on how it works. I was informed that the lights would go off and asked not to panic. By the time the lights were back on i was asked to focus on the red light again. After the lights were back on i could smell something burning The smell was from the laser shaping my cornea tissues. Once the shaping was done my eye was cleaned with a really cool liquid. The flap was lifted back up was placed in its place. They took a two minute interval before moving on to the second eye.
While doing the second eye i was little bit tensed (because now i know what they gonna do to my eye). More over the doctor was asking about another patient during the interval in a yelling voice (WTF? ) The nurse messed up the clamp so they had to remove the clamp and put it back on and the doctor made a sound that indicated something was messed up (more likely subconjunctival hemorrhage). IMO a doc should not make this kind of sound while the patient is conscious and in surgery. I was shit scared still didn’t open my mouth, as it might add up to the tension. The same procedure was done to the left eye. Once everything was done i was asked to get up and go to the inspection room. The doctors assistant helped me remove the gown and cap. The doctor came back into the inspection room and inspected my eye (flap) again. Everything was normal. The whole procedure took 10 minutes and it was painless. I was asked to wear a protective glass to protect my eye from dust and accidental rubbing. I stayed back in the hospital on the day of surgery. The next morning my eye was examined and my visual acuity was 20/20 . I could read the last line on the board with some help. I was asked to come back for examination after a week for further evaluation. After a week i could read the last line without any help.
After the surgery, first three days are critical because the flap sticks there just using osmotic pressure. It can easily dislocate. I was asked to not to look at TV/Computer for five days. I was given with a steroid (Gatilox GM) (2 weeks) and a lubricant (Systane ultra) for dry eyes.
I had surgery induced dry eyes and subconjunctival hemorrhage. Dry eye problem was severe for the first 2 weeks. I even had head aches because of that. I kept using the lubricant to keep my eyes wet. My eyes became tired in the evenings. I am writing this post three weeks after the surgery, the dry eye problem is almost gone now eyes are not getting tired as earlier. But i have problems with night vision. I have glare problems with Fluorescent lights. I also see halos. These are indications that the flap is not completely closed yet. Night driving is difficult too. I will post more information here as i get better with night vision.
So Is lasik worth the risk? I am still not sure. You will have to evaluate the risks and current conditions before doing the surgery. Lasik has a long healing period unlike what they advertise. For 5% of people the lasik surgery can result in ugly complications. As long as you are not in the 5% everything is fine. Now that’s the risk you will have to take :-)