Random Quote:

Eric: "I don't really look at the Columbia accident as a tragedy, but more of an engineering learning experience."
Dan Horvath: (Points to Andrew) "I look at THAT as a tragedy."


My Lasik Surgery Experience 
I officially had my LASIK surgery on 1/9/08, at 3:00 pm. Turned out very well, the procedure was interesting, to say the least! This blog post will detail how the procedure went and take day to day account of my (hopefully) improving vision.

Pre-Op Day (1/8/08): A week prior I was diagnosed as being a good candidate for LASIK. My cornea was thick enough for at least 2 surgeries, but it was recommended to get Bladeless since I was young and may require additional surgery later in life since my eyes could change. I opted to get the "Gold" plan, which is only a 3-year commitment plan rather than lifetime (banking on the idea that later in life, different modern surgeries will be available and it would be silly to get a lifetime plan with an old surgery. So, I had to go with the bladed surgery. This was a basic eye exam -- eyes were dialated, some crazy-looking machines were used to get the shape of my eyes and cornea thicknesses. This all took place in Hatboro, PA.

Surgery Day (1/9/08): The procedure was to take place in King of Prussia, PA. My dad drove me to and from the surgery center, which was definitely required since I needed to wear goggles after I left. I arrived at 12:30pm, and after paying for the procedure, had to wait for a bit. I was brought downstairs to waiting room 2 by 2:00, where additional testing was done. One test was (I believe) a mapping of the cornea and pupil size. A second test was a wavefront system, which was a light mounted on a spinning wheel. This device found imperfections in the cornea, which prepared the Wavefront technology to adjust the procedure for my eye shape and imperfections.
Finally, I was brought to the back room where I had to put on clean room booties, scrubs, etc. I then got to meet the surgeon, who told me how the procedure would go, and what I could expect afterwards. I was told I had a slightly larger pupil than normal -- 7.6mm rather than 7mm. As a result, I would probably have temporary ghosting and halos during recovery.
At about 2:40pm, I was given a "happy pill" as they called it -- a mild sedative which didn't really do much for me. They also gave me a painkiller. I was brought into the surgery room at about 2:55, and I was pretty nervous. There were about 4 nurses plus the surgeon, all running back and forth from a back room to get supplied. I laid down on a horizontal swivel bed, facing upwards. My face was covered with a sheet of some sort, then my left eye was covered with another sheet. My right eye was up first -- I was swiveled under the machine and told to look at a red light. I was given eye drops multiple times in a row, which numbed my eyes. About a minute later, I was told to open my eye wide and keep looking at the light, while a clamp was inserted under my lids, which pryed my eyes open with an adjustable screw. This was the worst part, in my opinion -- not being able to blink was actually quite uncomfortable and slightly painful, but this went away shortly. Then next couple steps were the most freaky: my eyes were sprayed with water, then air, then who knows what else while I continued to stare at the light. Then a transparent object with a hole in the middle was place on my eye and pushed down. At this point, my eye went black and the red light disappeared, so I just tried to stay as still as possible. It almost felt as if my eyes were closed, even thought I knew they weren't. The blade came next but I could not actually see it since my eye went dark. There was a loud sound similar to a dremel which I could sense moving across my eye then get retracted. The large object was removed and the red light came back. Then, the surgeon took some sort of metal thing and grabbed the new flap. Once the flap was opened, everything went very blurry. The worst part was now over, and all I had to do was stare at the light while the laser did its job. The laser sounded like a bug zapper go off about a dozen times, and I could also smell burning. Every time I heard a zap, a small part of my vision became clear. Finally, the zapper was finished, and the doctor reached into my eye with the metal object again to replace the flap. A few more squirts of water or some other fluid, then a paintbrush swiped across my eye to finish the job. The clamps were finally unscrewed and removed, and I could blink again. There was a noticeable improvement in vision but this view was short-lived as they surgeon moved on to my left eye. I was given a minute or so for a break, while the surgeon talked to me about RPI. My right eye was covered, and the whole process was continued for the left eye.
The total time in the surgery room was no more than 10-15 minutes. I walked out of the room with significantly improved (but not perfect) vision, and was given goggles to wear for the rest of the day.
The ride home was a big uncomfortable -- not from my eyes, but because of the goggles (hurt my nose). I was very teary for the ride home but kept them closed for most of the ride since they were a bit light sensitive. Once I got home, I was pretty eager to take a nap before dinner, so I slept for an hour or so.
I took my goggles off temporarily after dinner, and my vision was quite amazing! There was a lot of shadowing and halos, but I could actually see pretty well. I had to put in eye drops at 8pm that night, which I actually had to learn how to do since I've never done this before. The drops taste really bad, but I'll have to put up with it for now. I was actually able to play Scrabble and PS2 that night without glasses, so I'm convinced the rercovery time is exceptional with this surgery. By 10pm, my vision was getting more blurry so I decided to go to bed. It was difficult to get comfortable with the goggles on since I sleep on my side, but I got to sleep eventually.

Day 1 after Surgery: I woke up with very clear vision but my face hurt a bit from the goggles. I definitely notice that my vision is excellent outside and in light, but reading and dim light is still a bit blurry. I drove with no problem back to Hatboro for my first post-op, where I learned I am 20/20!! I will be cautious about driving at night, because even during the day the car's headlights looked pretty odd -- there was noticeable glare, and the halos didn't "fade out" as I imagined they would, they actually look a little pixilated, if that makes any sense. Sort of like a checkerboard around car lights and traffic lights. But normally-lit object like trees looked oh-so-perfect and colorful!! So far, I'm very happy with the surgery, I'm just hoping the halos and ghosting goes away eventually. I have to take 3 types of drop,s 4x a day for the next 4 days. One is a milky-looking steroid which (I believe) helps with inflammation and promotes healing. Another is an antibacterial. And the third is just artificial tears which keep my eyes moist. One of my biggest concerns was dry eye, but this seems to not be a problem at all! I was advised to take the artificial tears anyway, since the other drops may dry the eyes and cause temporary ghosting.

Day 1 (evening update): Low light vision is a bit improved from yesterday, but I currently have moderately large starbursts and a bit of glare (however, the ghosting is almost gone). I did a bit of night driving to bring my dad over to pick up my sister's car today, and the headlights were definitely a little strange looking. We'll see how everything looks when I wake up tomorrow, as I continue to use each of my drops 4 times daily. My eyes don't get dry naturally, but just because of the drops. Hopefully they will stay this way. I also noticed I have quite a bit of redness on the whites of my eyes, no big deal.

Day 2: Not much has changed. My vision is still great in sunlight. But still a bit blurry in the evening and low light. Starbursts at night are getting a bit annoying -- I went to a restaurant tonight with a family and the headlights were pretty obnoxious on the way there. At the restaurant everything seemed a bit blurry even though I could read everything well. There were string lights which all gave off some pretty large starbursts. When I got home, I noticed that when I look at a closeby streetlight the starbursts don't exist, then when I look at lights farther away they slowly come back. So it definitely has a lot to do with my eyes dialated. I can't wait until I'm done with these darn eye drops.

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