A slightly different experience

I went through many of the same steps, but in my case, the various antics done to measure the exact correction required was done a week or two prior to the actual scheduled operation.

I used to wear glasses, because anytime I tried to get a lens into my eyeball, I start turning and tearing as if my life depended on it. This severe reluctance to keep still while someone is thoroughly inspecting my eye was of course noted by the nurse doing the measurements, and I was invited for a talk with the doctor.

She advised me to go with LASEK instead. It's similar, but the primary difference is that instead of using a scalpel to cut open your cornea, they throw in some nasty chemical that just weakens the bond between eye and cornea so much, they can rip it right off. The advantage of this particular style of operation is that the 'tracker' has a much easier time, and the patching up part, where they envisioned the most trouble, would be a lot easier; stick the cornea back in, put in a so called 'bandage lens' with the diameter of a decent shot glass (I shit you not), wait 3 days, remove said lens, and, voila. Perfect vision.

Who am I to reject such advice, so, LASEK it was. Getting my eyeballs carved up was an interesting experience. From the moment they took out the cornea, I had a serious case of blurry vision (this is normal), and then I actually thought I could smell the burned eye going up in smoke, though that may have been vivid imagination on my part.

Now the real story starts, though - I ended up going home, feeling just great. Of course, as it goes with LASEK, your vision is not great yet, you can't actually see much until 2 days or so into the healing process. I didn't feel a thing. Later the doc explained to me this was because one of the drops I got pre-op was a nerve inhibitor or painkiller or some such. Basically turns most inner eye muscles into a paralysed state, along with the nerves, so you don't feel much.

About 2 hours after the operation, I'm starting to feel an itch. I was warned that this was both normal and that, in NO CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER, was I to so much as get within touching distance of my eyeballs for the next week, especially the next 3 days.

Unfortunately, said itch is getting worse. Very much worse. The fact that you can't read or watch something to try and get your mind off of things isn't helping. Just my luck, but most of my friends were out of town, so there wasn't a whole lot to do except sleep.

This worked for a while, but by now the itching has changed into a full blown searing pain. Felt like I had a couple of needles stuck in my eyeballs. Sleeping was out of the question, and at some point I had to forcibly sit on my hands to prevent myself from ruining my vision by rubbing at them.

This lasted for -3 whole days-. The only break I got is a re-application of the paralysing drops, which killed all the pain (and, unfortunately, also the healing process, so they can't keep you on drops forever. In fact, I was told that applying drops slows the healing process more than the timeout you get from the itch and pain, but I really needed a break) and let me sleep a blissfull 4 hours.

After my 3 days in hell, I had another appointment with the doctor (I did call a couple of times to confirm, with a somewhat incredulous tone, if this was how the hell it's supposed to be) and fortunately my vision turned out nearly fine. Right eye was pretty much perfection, left eye had a remaining -0.20 or so nearsightedness to it, and I was asked if I wanted that corrected again, no charge.

Hell No. I'll take -0.20 in one eye and perfection in the other, thank you very much.

On the whole, though, the operation was even more of a success (aside from the whole 3 days of hell thing) than I dared hope. Unlike most people who undergo this sort of operation (LASIK or LASEK), I did not end up with significantly more 'dry eye syndrome' than usual, and I already had that prior to the operation. I also did not run into aversion to anything too bright. Normally after such an operation you'r slightly more sensitive to very bright light, and you're advised to buy sunglasses and use them a lot. No such problems for me, fortunately.

On the whole, am I happy I did this? Yes, I am. I'm definitely happy I didn't go to india or turkey or some such to get this done, as there were certainly complications. I also heard from the doc I was a somewhat unusual case due to the odd shape of my cornea which may explain the unusual recovery period antics I had to go through.

Something to consider. It works, but be prepared, and preferably, just in case, make sure someone's there and willing to stay up for long periods of time right after you return from the operation.