Sunday, January 15, 2006

Vision

The Short: My vision has been corrected. Well, mostly, it is still slightly blurry. Not blurry that I can't see well enough, but blurry as though a soft filter has been placed over my eyes. Kind of like watching Barbara Walters on tee vee. Everything has that soft, slight glow as though all the harsh edges have been removed from the world.

The Long: Little more than a week ago I went in to get Lasik. Really, PRK, a procedure similar to Lasik (it still uses a laser only the surface of the eye is ground down, reshaped and is left raw and exposed) with the added enhancement of CustomVue. With that as my description, it makes me wonder why I went in for it at all. It is not as painful as childbirth, and initially it is far less painful than laser hair removal (I'd be the bearded lady, otherwise), except with the hair removal, it hurts at the time and then it's over.

Prior to making my first visit, I already had considerable confidence in my doctor and his practice at Kraff Eye Institute as I had a referral from a friend who is very, VERY discriminating. Without boring you all to tears, they were friendly, efficient, and Dr. Kraff's straight forward, no-bull/no-salesy consultation confirmed my research. I signed up, even after gulping at cost.

I was scared to death the day of the procedure. Not necessarily because my eye balls were about to be manipulated by laser, but because I'd still had leftover agita from that horrid stomach virus. What if I had to race to the bathroom while the laser was on? Would my vision be destroyed forever? Moments after taking my Valium, I knew that wouldn't be a problem. There were two people ahead of me and another in the chair. I could watch if I wanted. George read the paper (much like when my daughter was born) and I figited.

When it was my turn, I took my place in the hot seat. Drops were put in both eyes. More drops. My lids were taped open and I was told to relax. Even with the Valium, my fists were still clutched. I was instructed to focus on a blurry red light while there was some fussing and prepping. Then there was a hazey purple light, an acrid smell, and suddenly the red light came into sharp focus. Wha la! Vision. It was the same for the second eye. It hurt more when they pulled the tape off from around my eye. I moved into a small room where I was given more drops, dark sunglasses and instructions for the next few days.

With the PRK, it could take from 3-7 days for the initial recovery and up to six months for it to stabilize. I was hoping for 3 days, but it was more like 6. I was sent home with some pain medication which I didn't think I'd use. However, after returning home and the drops and Valium wore off, I ran about in a blur to find that precious bottle. Whew! Later that evening, while chatting with my mom, I was ecstatic at how well I could see.

Day Two: I awoke with a little more fuzziness. At my checkup, my doctor told me that my vision would get much worse before it got better. I returned home and slept most of the day. Indeed the world became increasingly blurry each time I awoke.

Day Three: I continued to sleep, a lot, and took my pain medication exactly as prescribed. I had the horrid realization that my last pill would only cover me until noon. Just as well as my bowels had nearly stopped functioning and, well, it had been three days since they'd moved. My eyes burned and itched for the remainder of the day.

Day Four: My eyes could barely open. I began to wonder if having my eyes closed for so long that it might become more difficult to open them again. I cabbed it to my next appointment. My doctor announced my eyes were 95% healed. Impossible, I could barely open them. He explained that as the cells on the surface healed, a ridge forms that refracts the light. The distortion felt as though spot lights shined directly in my eyes.

Day Five: Hmmm, I could see. Too blurry to drive, yet, but I could see, I could see. I removed the protected lens that had been put in my eyes, only to scratch my right eye with my eye drop container. Ouch! No, OUCH!

Day Six: I could see even better. ABC news came to interview Chloe and I about adopting our cat, Lucy. I didn't give them the big Hurricane Katrina rescue drama they had come for so we only got about a 5 second spot. Just as well.

Day Seven: Better still. I drove Chloe to and from school. Night driving would still be a challenge with all the halo's.

My sight continues to improve but ever so slightly. Reading is still a challenge and looking at a computer becomes tiring. I'm almost ready to lose my frames completely. The ones that will have no use with my family or friends will make their way into the basket at the Kraff center. I believe they are then donated. Cool. My recommendation is still too early as I haven't achieved perfect vision, yet. But at this time, I am well pleased.

Oh, and for those interested in Lasik... If you don't need the PRK, I've heard that after the procedure you go home, sleep off another dose of Valium, and then you're done. That's it. Great vision in about five minutes.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing that. I don't think I've heard anyone describe what actually happens in such detail, and that's totally what I needed. I do think that I need the PRK, which is kinda scarey to me...let me know after you have 20/20 if you think the whole deal was worth it.

    And, very cool that you're donating your frames.

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  2. I hope you are hanging in there. Can you send me clip of your news spot? How is your vision today?

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  3. I could not stop reading about your laser eye surgery but it pained me to read it. I felt myself squirming in the chair right with you. I think I would have absolutely been in a panic for the few days where you couldn't really see much. You can't read or watch tv. What do you do while healing? I think I'll stick to my glasses.

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