Friday, February 12, 2010

Wheras I was blind, now I see (well almost)

8:00-8:45am - Hylan chauffeurs me to Hoopes Vision in Sandy. I spend part of the drive talking to my mom about Pennsylvania's 3 feet of snow.

8:45-9:10am - Check-in, pay for the procedure (Lynn I quoted you wrong it was a few hundred more than I told you on Monday), and sit in the waiting room. Hylan enjoys a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie. I save mine for a post-op treat and continue reading a fitness magazine.

9:10-9:40am - Eye map tests.

9:40-9:55am - Taken back to the surgery waiting room, have blood pressure taken, given a Valium (which I wanted to refuse), read a laminated yellow paper about the PRK procedure*.

9:55-10:05am - Wait, given numbing eye drops, explanation of post-op instructions. "Watch" other procedures through the glass window and TV screen (I didn't have contacts/glasses in so I couldn't see it that well, but it looked cool. I think this part made Hylan a little queasy and made me excited.

10:05-10:20am - Wait in an exam room and have prescription tested one last time. Meet Dr. Hoopes talk about Seattle and have last minute questions answered.

10:20-10:35am - Lay on a cushy table, have eyelashes taped back, have several doctors surround me--one gives me artificial tears every few seconds because I can't blink, stare at a green light and red galaxy star burst with eyes wide open, feel a strange pressure as Dr. Hoopes places a "cookie cutter" (Hylan's term) over my pupil and creates a well filled with alcohol to remove the epithelial layer of cells, then I can see two instruments--one hook-like and the other like a tiny paint brush--and I feel a slight sweeping sensation, then I hear the docs count down and when they get to one I smell a slightly acrid odor (like a hair singed in fire), they placed a non-prescription "bandage" contact lens over my eye and then they moved on. Whoa that was fast and cool, I think. Repeat left eye.

10:35-10:45am - Look at doctor, look at Hylan, vision slightly better than it was before, go to exam room and instructed to keep eyes closed for 10 minutes, talk to Hylan and laugh, given some sweet sunglasses and a candy-filled mug. Go to the bathroom. Go home.

*I had PRK instead of LASIK because apparently my cornea is on the thin side, a genetic thing. The biggest difference between the two procedures is that PRK eliminates the need to cut a corneal flap which acts as the natural bandage once the procedure is done and is also why most LASIK patients have almost immediate perfect vision and little recovery time. For PRK, there is a slightly longer, more irritating recovery, but the same visual result after 4-5 weeks and without the complications that can arise from having a flap. In addition, since the epithelial layer of cells regenerates in 3-5 days and because there is no flap, I will have no scarring or permanent flap on my eyeball. LASIK patients will always have a flap on their eye.

Below is my eye care routine. There are 4 different kinds of drops. One is a steroid drop to be used every four hours for 3-5 days. Another is an antibacterial (I think) drop to be used every 4 hours for 3-5 days. Another is like aspirin for the eye drop to be used once or twice a day (there are only five vials) as needed. And finally, preservative-free tears to be used basically all the time to keep my eyes lubricated for the next couple of months. I've also found that icing my eyeballs has really helped with the bit of pain and inflammation I've experienced.

Below are my "parting gifts." They did 32 procedures at Hoopes yesterday and I was one of 8 PRK patients. Dr. Hoopes and his son, Dr. Hoopes, are the most renowned eye surgeons in Utah and have one of the most distinguished practices in the nation. I fully trusted them and their staff. Together they have performed tens of thousands of procedures. WOW! I was in good hands.

I just keep getting more and more attractive in my pictures, don't I? HAHA. Anyway, this picture was taken the day of my surgery right before Hylan drove me to yoga (Don't worry, we did a very low impact, restorative, meditative practice. I just couldn't see my students very well.) The point of the picture is to show how normal and clear my eyes look. No one but me and an eye doctor with special instruments could tell I just had my eyes lasered.

So now I'm on day 2 and about to go to my local eye doc for a post-op check-up. I feel okay. My eyes need constant lubrication and my vision is still blurry, but I can sort of see well enough to type this blog and to watch TV. My vision will fluctuate between good and blurry for the next several days and won't finally refine until about a month out, but I'm willing to pay that price for child-like vision restored.
Check in for my next update and a video of the procedure if I can get it to upload. Yes, that's right, you will be able to watch the actual procedure done on MY EYES! Way cool.
I'm going to enjoy being off from work until Tuesday as much as possible. There may be some pampering involved. There may be some Olympics Opening Ceremony watching tonight! YAY!
Due to my vision, I will not be able to proofread this blog for a little while, so please point out or excuse any typos or grammatical errors. Thanks.


Lynn said...

I'm glad to hear the procedure went well. We were thinking about you yesterday. So now will you be walking around half blind until your eyes improve or will you have to wear glasses that will slowly not work as your vision gets better? Happy Friday!

Caroline said...

I'm so happy for you too! I'm assuming you're not driving:) Congrats!

Dad Carter said...

Fighter pilots can't have the "flap" approach. Makes you think you may have chosen the better approach!