Surgery Date: September 30, 2011
Travers Lasik Vision Care
Dr. Lori Travers, M.D.
I’ve decided to blog my experience from start to finish because I’ve had many, many questions. This is my outline, in detail.
Scary! Deciding On Lasik
When I first heard of this about 5 years ago, I thought it was the craziest thing imaginable. My first thought was that it seemed far too risky, and who would actually want freaking lasers shot into their eyes? That’s insane. I’d never even met anyone that mentioned having it done, until that time. The lady that had it done was about 55 years old. I thought it was just something older folks would go through with. It scared me even more not knowing anyone else that had the procedure. Then over the last couple of years, I’ve met 5-10 others that have had it done with positive results, and these are just people I work with, or customers. They even mentioned friends and family that had it done. I was becoming more comfortable with the idea. They all went to Travers Lasik Vision Care.
I kept seeing advertisements for Travers Lasik as well, but I don’t always pay that much attention to local ads. I listen to people that have the experience. But geez, everywhere I turned, blabbing on the radio, ads on TV, ads in the paper, ads ads ads. I couldn’t stop thinking about it! I didn’t have a choice- it was a constant reminder.
So one night after hours worth of reading about Lasik Surgery, and sleeping on the thought, and thinking about it obsessively the next day… I decided to call and make an appointment for a free consultation. At least that was a start, even though of course the idea still made me nervous out of my jeans. Here are the main links where I researched intensely:
I know one of my first thoughts was how nervous I was for the consultation and how I didn’t want to sit in the waiting room for half an hour or something ridiculous. I arrived on time for my appointment, filled out some quick paper work, and was immediately called back. Hooray! Everyone was super friendly and the environment was welcoming. I can’t say this for all offices, regardless of medical practice. I went through a series of eye tests, all of which were pain free. Just a bunch of looking into machines and reading letters and fun things like that. Not much to it, but it’s extensive enough to make sure you’re 100% qualified without hesitation. And hey… I was qualified! Next, I immediately made an appointment as soon as I could to have the surgery. If you wear contacts, you have to be out of them for at least two weeks. Luckily I was out of them for a few days at that time already, just because it seemed to make sense to me, before an extensive consultation. I wanted my eyes to be relaxed, normal, and not abnormally dry because of the contacts. All of this meant I didn’t have to wait another week until surgery (as of now, they do the surgeries only on Thursdays and Fridays). I scheduled my appointment for late afternoon so I knew I’d have a ride home since of course you can’t drive after eye surgery.
My Pre-Surgery Assumptions
I thought it’d seem to take longer than it did. I thought the laser would be further away from my eyes. I pictured one single light over my eye, and a huge struggle not to move my eye around. I thought it’d be super hard to stay still from head to toe. I thought this whole wired contraption would keep my eye open, and I’d be 100% coherent and aware that this was going on. I thought that would be awful, uncomfortable, and feared that my eyes would be so dry that I’d want to blink, but wouldn’t be able to. And I thought the “few minutes per eye” would seem like a lifetime. Ughhhhh.
The Actual Surgery
None of my assumptions were correct. I mean, you hear other people’s experiences and realize yours could be very different, so you still hesitate and naturally expect the worst. Plus, if you read enough like I did, then you’re bound to come across bad experiences and maybe a horror story or two from other places these people had gone to. The night before my surgery, I only slept for an hour. I couldn’t fall asleep and I was getting so irritated! I had to work early in the morning and figured I’d want to be pretty sleepy in the afternoon anyway, so I didn’t think much of it. I went into work at 6 AM, and by 11 AM I felt like I was sleep walking, and was very sore and weak. I had generic excedrin and it worked quickly. It woke me up a little too much by the time surgery rolled around at 3:30 PM. I stopped for Gatorade to stay hydrated and keep my blood sugar level on the way and took 1 of 2 sedatives that I was prescribed. I wasn’t supposed to take it until I got there, but it was only 5 minutes down the road, and I was already in panic mode, ready to have a full blown panic attack. All I cared about was not passing out. No fainting! (I had to pick up prescription eye drops, regular over the counter preservative-free eye drops, and a couple of sedatives before surgery day). I finally was calming down a little. I had this weird rush of extreme excitement and a bit of nervousness. A lot of nervousness. I was called back for a couple of more eye tests, questioning, answers. Filled out some paperwork, went ahead and paid so I could just leave when I was done, of course. Waited a few more minutes. Listened to a potential patient talk to the staff about how he was told $9.95 cent per eye, and how he would contribute tin canned food, and hello, he’s David Gray, didn’t you know? He was joking with them, not at all serious, and that whole moment killed a little more nervousness floating around in my brain. Hysterical. Was soon called back, and in for surgery I went. Almost. I wore this cute little blue surgical cap held back by little pieces of tape. Sat in a little private room where they provided water and snacks, and tv/remote. Guess maybe that was my time to take my sedative, which I had already taken. Watched maybe 15-25 minutes worth of tv, skipping past the medical shows I normally am fascinated by, and drank a bottle of water. Once I was called back, things went so quickly that I almost wanted to ask her if she wanted to do anything else while I was there?! Considering what they do, it’s incredible that you’re done in under 10 minutes average. It felt like 5 minutes, max.
There were a few people in the room to assist Dr. Travers. I met her first and she was very friendly, serious, caring, whatever- anything you’d want your Lasik Surgeon to be, this was your girl! She was great, and I never once hesitated and thought maybe I am making the wrong decision.
I laid down in this chair/bed thing. Talk about cushiony and comfortable. Squishy! So that was nice. You might think, well, how dumb is that, who cares. But it makes a difference. Everything was clean, from the floors to the walls to this whole laser machine, the “bed” you lay on. Then what I remember is this goggle like contraption going over my eyes, though not completely at first. She guides me the whole time, making sure I was still, comfortable, and looking at this green light. I’ve had a lot of people ask if I felt claustrophobic, and the answer is no, not at all. You’re completely free pretty much from the nose and down, and your head isn’t exactly inside some machine. More like just something over your eyes. Now remember, this is just what I am remembering and what it felt like. Between the slight nervousness and things happening so quickly, it’s hard to be certain I’m being 100% accurate with that, but I wouldn’t say you have any need to feel like you’re being restrained, closed in, and can’t move.
The right eye was done first, and basically what I remember was this a light piece of tape going over the top eyelid, holding my eyelashes back. It didn’t hurt, didn’t even really feel weird. Almost felt normal?! Then the goggle-like thing going over my eye, and looking at a bunch of random sized red and white lights that move all over the screen. Imagine closing your eyes and visualizing lights, like a bad 80s dance music video on the inside of your eye lids. That’s more of what it was like, so you can’t see around this little eye movie. It’s actually kind of cool. She tells me to look only at the green light, just stay focused. It’s not hard at all like I thought it’d be. Your eye knows better. Your eye can’t move- not really. A couple of times my eye wanted to avoid the little feathery sensation that swept over it a couple of times, but it was just a weird sensation. It wasn’t uncomfortable, definitely not painful, and didn’t really… tickle? It was just weird and awkward, but no big deal, and it only lasts a couple of seconds. Then this goggle thing presses down like a bottle cap on my eye, lots of pressure, lots. Again, not painful, just a little annoying. She asked if things went black or dim, and I said black. About 5 seconds later, the pressure is lifted up, and it’s the best relief in the world. Then you’re back to looking at these lights, and focusing on the tiny green light in the middle. Way easier than you can imagine. Then this little flutter thing happens again all over my eye, and even for a second when I was like, okay hey, where’d the stupid green light go? Back it came. And I just stared in the same spot even when it got fuzzy and confusing. It’s all quite fascinating. A few minutes sounds like it might be a long time, but it wasn’t at all. It was soooo easy. The same exact thing happened to my left eye, and then I was done. I commented on the lovely faint “burning” smell, which was funny to me, because surely that’s not just the laser that smells smoky. I was somewhat dizzy when I sat up, mainly because of my nerves, so I took my time, then walked over to this basic machine so she could look into my eyes. She double checked my left eye again, and that was that. I was done. The valium had definitely made me more careless, but even without it, I don’t feel the experience would’ve been that different.
Then I was given these very cute, or not, individual clear plastic things that went over each eye with tape. They had holes in them for ventilation. The sticky residue was fun trying to get off the next day. We said our thank yous and goodbyes, and I was out of there. I was disoriented trying to walk down the few stairs and my depth perception was really screwing with me. It was hard to tell if I was going to hit someone’s car door or not when I opened the passenger’s door. Luckily I had my girlfriend with me, and she was a champ at making sure I didn’t fall on my face and eat the concrete, or scrape my new cute little hockey mask eye covers.
5 minutes down the road, and I was realizing just how bright the stormy sky was. I wasn’t given sunglasses, which was no big deal. It was late in the day and cloudy, and I just held my hands over my eyes. The more time passed, the brighter everything was. After surgery, before I left, I had my eyes open for a few minutes, and that was it. It was too annoying to open my eyes, and started to burn. But 10 minutes after being in the car, and I was ready to wish hard enough to maybe just end up in bed and skip the next 10 more minutes in the stupid car. I was a baby at this point because the more time passed, the more my eyes burned, teared a lot, bright, whatever, and I just wanted to be at home. In the dark. Quiet. Second sedative… and passed out. I was glad there wasn’t any more travel time than that. 15 minutes or so. And it was also frustrating because of course at the same time all this burny mess was going on, I wanted to see!! I only saw a little bit as soon as the surgery was done and it was somewhat blurry off and on, and my body just wanted my eyes to be shut and relaxed.
Got home, got frustrated because I couldn’t find comfortable clothes, and couldn’t open my eyes, didn’t want to. I laid in my nice cold bed, called my mother out of pure excitement and so she wouldn’t worry, plus I knew she was curious. I cried out of excitement and frustration and madness with this burning thing going on. Which is way more dramatic in words than it actually was, but that was the worst part. And all I had to do was take that second sedative, and I was out. So I’d say take that second one before you leave the office. It would’ve hit me a little quicker. But only about 20 minutes of discomfort, and I passed out. Within 6 hours exactly, I woke up at 11 PM, looked at the digital clock across the room, and saw it perfectly. Absolutely no burning or discomfort, just sticky from tearing up so much and not being able to rub my eyes.
At that point, it wasn’t just cool, awesome, incredible. It was the most surreal thing I’ve ever experienced. It was a complete serotonin high, like falling in love, like having a weird kind of stressful or annoying dream, and waking up and realizing the stress is completely gone and was only a dream, and on top of it, you have perfect vision. It’s worth every little thing you just went through. I’m so glad I did it, and I have no regrets. I ended up taking a natural sedative to relax and then fell asleep for quite awhile afterwards, which is what I needed to do. I had to relax my eyes. I did manage to watch tv for a few minutes, and just laid there in awe. My vision didn’t even make things look that good with contacts or glasses.
Day 1 After Surgery
Ohhhh the drops. Can’t forget the drops. 2 kinds, four times a day, and plus the regular drops. How exciting to remember to do this! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bed time. And the regular drops at least 4 times a day or as often as I need to otherwise. I went back to work, around dust, bright lights, and the potential of paint splashing into my eyes. All of which I took with so much precaution. But it wasn’t near as tricky as I thought it’d be. I was careful and it all worked out just fine. In fact, the worst part was just being slightly sensitive to the lights, and having the most mild headache you could imagine. Not bad at all. Had my check up early in the morning. Everything went perfectly. Later at night, I noticed halos and starbursts, so that was mildly annoying, but from what I read, they are likely to go away after a few weeks as my eyes adjust to everything.
Day 2 After Surgery
Off from work, and stayed at home, relaxed, cooked, wasted plenty of time on my computer. Turned down the brightness because it was bringing back that mild headache. Remembered all of my drops. Oh, and watched tv. Basic activities. Kept thinking I needed to find my glasses, or put my contacts in. Just out of habit, until I realized my vision was crystal clear. I’m coming up on Day 3, and things are great. I would recommend Dr. Travers to anyone, hands down.
Day 3 After Surgery
Off and on mild headache from the light sensitivity, thanks to the huge bright lights at work. Using drops religiously. Getting pretty good at dropping liquids into my eyes. Hated doing that before. Gotta stop dropping the antibiotic drops onto my cheek. Overall, the dryness is really only truly felt when I wake up in the morning. So I have to make a mental note to add drops of some sort basically every couple of hours, one drop per eye. There were times I kept forgetting I had Lasik. My eyes aren’t bothering me at all, and my vision is still amazing. Drove home in the dark for the first time. Definitely have the halo/starburst thing going on, but not especially more than how it was with glasses. Maybe I am just noticing it more since my eyes are a little sensitive to light right now. Turned the brightness down on my phone and computer. Not having the need to rub my eyes like I thought I would. Just a pain to want to clean my eyes and eyelashes from the drops.
Acuity Before: 20/80 and 20/200 w/High Astigmatism
Acuity After: 20/15 No Astigmatism
20/15 vision is better than 20/20. A person with 20/15 vision can see objects at 20 feet that a person with 20/20 vision can only see at 15 feet.
The laser that was used for me: Alcon Wavelight 400 Eye-Q Read more about the machine here: http://www.traverslasik.com/laser-vision-correction.php
Feel free to ask me any questions!
2 Months After Surgery
Because of being on Aviane (birth control) and Spironolactone (anti-androgyn/diuretic) NOT related to Lasik, I was told to use the drops every other hour for three months instead of the standard 4 times a day. This was so annoying to remember! My eyes were pretty dry, but I have to admit, I also don’t drink enough water, both of the above mentioned medications are known for kinda drying you out a little, and I also work in a dusty environment with bright lights! So I got off of the Spironolactone for now, and within a few days, there was a HUGE difference with the dryness of my eyes. I never notice that they are dry anymore! I don’t think they really are, ha. It’s so nice! I have to admit, I haven’t been using the drops every other hour. In fact, a few days I have only done them a couple of times a day. EEEEK. Followed by a light headache around my temples until I use the drops, of course. So I still need to follow the doctor’s orders and get a little better at that, at least for the next couple of weeks until January 1st- 3 months total! Woohoo.
Other things I noticed…
In about the 4th week after surgery, I learned that crying dries out your eyes and gives me a bad tension headache. I was using drops every other hour, but it didn’t seem to be enough. Mainly, my eyes BURNED, burned, burned. Annoying! Not the end of the world, but enough to recommend NOT crying or getting emotional if you can avoid it, haha!
Also, sometime within the 2nd month/8th week? I was out on vacation for a week, so I was not around the typical bright lights. Relaxed, was around dim lights a lot, even the weather was a little blah and cloudy. When I went back to work, I had a bad headache after about 5 hours there, which didn’t go away until I was able to come home and take some medications and lay in the dark… then I slept for about 12+ hours! So going from a long period of time in the dim lights to bright lights one day might give you an annoying headache. I am pretty sure that’s where that came from. I never ever get headaches, so it was annoying, but not the end of the world. Just something I thought of.
My vision is still perfect! It occasionally fluctuated in my right eye, but not for long, and usually at night when I was tired. That was to be expected.
UPDATE 14 MONTHS AFTER SURGERY
Still the best decision I have ever made. No issues AT ALL! I no longer deal with dry eyes, and haven’t but a couple of times since about 6 months after surgery, and maybe just a few extra headaches but again, hardly noteworthy and not an issue. Sometimes if I have a really long cry, my eyes sting a little more than they used to, as my eyes do dry slightly more then, but it’s nothing a couple of eye drops can’t fix. I still use Systane brand, preservative-free. Nothing but the best!@1 year ago with 18 notes
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