I’ve done it…..it’s taken me about 8 years to grow a pair of balls and give in to herself’s nagging, cajoling and encouragement, but I did it.
I flew home to Ireland to have my LASIK surgery last weekend, and I can honestly say that the results, thus far, have been nothing short of amazing.
The first question I get from my Dutch friends is “Why did you get it done in Ireland?”. Well, for one simple reason….I will not let a Dutch quack anywhere near me. My personal experiences (already documented here and here) were enough to deter me from having some Dutch idiot take a scalpel to my corneas. No….it was REAL, PROPERLY QUALIFIED doctors for me, thank-you-very-much.
When we were home at Hallowe’en, we paid a visit to the people at Ultralase in Dundrum. The consultation lasted about two hours. But during those two hours, the professional and highly trained staff explained everything to me in minute detail, putting me completely at ease. I left having made an appointment for treatment later the following year.
Those three months couldn’t come quick enough for me. I was amazed at how excited I was to finally be able to get rid of my old specs. I flew over solo to have the treatment, as herself wasn’t able to join me due to work commitments etc. But the Mammy would take care of me until I would leave a few days later 🙂
On the day of the surgery, I arrived a few minutes early and was greeted by one of the nurses who brought me a coffee and then took me in to the surgeons office. He ran through my patient file again, asked a few questions, asked if I had any myself and then then took me over to another nurse who would administer the anaesthetic drops and walk me through the drops and aftercare regime (which incidentally takes longer than the surgery itself!!)
I was trying to remain cool, calm and collected the whole time. When I walked into the surgery room, I was asked to lay down on the bed, which swivels between the laser and the machine that creates the flap in my eye.
It’s a bit of a strange sensation to be honest, and I will try to spare you any or the gore. But basically you sit on the bed, they allign the laser on one eye. The machine looks at your iris and recognises your iris mapping from the prior consultation to confirm that this is indeed the patient and you are indeed getting the correct vision correction.
The doc swings you under the cutting machine, pops in a kind of speculum over the eye. This helps guide the Intralase tool (which cuts the flap (it’s bladeless)) onto the eye, as well as prevent me from blinking. He then swung me over to the laser machine and using a tool, carefully pulled the flap over to expose the eye to laser. This is the weirdest bit. Once minute you have the same shitty vision you’ve always had. But as the flap is pulled away, you see nothing but a watery, milky blur. You concentrate on looking at the blinking red light, which as the laser fires and works its magic, slowly begins to get a little sharper.
The laser itself only lasts about 30 seconds. In fact it was 27 seconds on my right eye and 37 seconds on my left eye. Once the laser firing is finished the doc places the flap back into position and makes sure it’s nice and snug. And you immediately notice that the blinking red laser allignment light is much sharper. He then does the same on the other eye. Total time from walking into the surgery room to walking into the recovery room is 9 minutes!!
There is no pain at all. Just a mild discomfort. The discomfort came as soon as I walked out of the clinic into my Mum’s car. Even wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day, the natural light was so strong that I could barely keep my eyes open.
Linda, my consultation opthamologist, explained that as the nerves wake up from the anaesthetic it will feel like grit in my eyes. She said the best thing to do is go home and sleep through that stage. Well, that was no problem. My eyes were stinging like as if I have just cut a thousand onions. All I wanted to do was go to sleep in a dark room.
The Mammy woke me up about two hours later for dinner and my first round of drops. I had to have her turn off all the lights in the house. We ate in almost total darkness, which just some red Christmas lights illuminating the dining room. I was also wearing my sunglasses in this weird red light environment. A few Dracula and “nutty photographer” jokes later and I was eventually able to have one or two lights on. By 10pm I was feeling fine.
The following morning, when I woke, I was amazed and just how much I could see. Mind you, it didn’t stop me instinctively reaching for my glasses on the bedside locker 🙂 My right eye has been pretty much perfect from day one. The following day in the check-up with the surgeon, I explained tat my left eye was a little blurry. He looked at both eyes and confirmed that the measurements are both spot-on and that I was healing nicely already. The left eye would “get there” in a few days.
Almost a week later and the continued blurriness in the left eye has indeed begun to dissipate. As too have the halo’s and glare from bright lights at night. Eventually they will disappear completely too (given the specific treatment I chose at Ultralase) so all is looking good so far.
If you’re interested in the procedure, I have included a video of the Intralase technique I underwent below. It looks more gory than it really is….at least I think so 🙂