Wednesday, May 03, 2006


20/20 Vision Overnight

Preparation for laser eye surgery.
I read as much as I could, talked to others about the surgery and searched for as much information as I could on the internet. Hearing others' experiences was very useful, because the advertising tends to ignore the discomfort and difficulties over the months following eye surgery.
I decided to go for the Intralase, Wavefront Lasik surgery because I thought it had the best chance of a good vision outcome. My eyes were about -6.5 and -4.5, both with astigmatism, and I had heard that my moderate to high level of short sightedness is better treated with lasik than PRK (photorefractive keratomy) because the healing process is more predictable.

In Waverfront laser surgery, there is a second laser which detects the tiny motions of your eyes during the surgery. The information is used to guide the principle laser to the correct position. In theory this method should give much better vision than previously. Intralase is is special infra-red laser technique which cuts the flap in the cornea with much greater precision than previously possible with a microkeratome.

I was concerned about night vision, as in a previous consultation with a laser surger centre I was told that my pupils are too large for lasik and my night vision would be affected. Some recent research on night vision and lasik has disputed the link with pupil size.

The day of the surgery.

I arrive at the surgery and was asked if I would like a mild sedative to calm me down. I accept without hesitation. I am shown into the operating theatre, which is utterly clean. I have to wear a hair cover and clean plastic booties on my feet. I lie down on the operating bench, which is between the two large laser boxes. Anaesthetic drops are put into my eyes, and a cover put over one eye while the operation proceeds on the other. A suction cap is applied to the eye and the intralase procedure started. At this point I am shocked to lose vision in the eye. Apparently this is a normal result of the suction. I feel mild pain as the intralase laser creats the flap in my cornea. The surgeon opens the flap and the second laser is moved into place. The laser beam appears green and with a pattern. The corneal tissue removal takes less than a minute. My eye is flushed out with plenty of water, the flap put back in place and a protective cover put over the eye.

The second eye is much the same, although the correction is larger, takes longer, and I begin to smell the burning of my cornea. I was told I would smell the laser, but this doesn't smell like an electrical smell. It smells like burning flesh and is a bit of a shock. Following the surgery, I am able to leave within an hour.

My eyes are very light sensitive after the surgery, and I have trouble getting to the car because the sun was too bright to see. For the first time since wearing contact lenses I have good peripheral vision around the edges of the eye patches.

The next day.
The eye patches are pulled off for the first time and I can see well without glasses. I have 20-20 vision in my left eye, but when my left eye is covered, I think someone has put a lens in front of my eyes. I can only read half as far down the chart.

I have to put lots of drops in my eyes. One set of anti-inflammatory drops and two anti-microbial. All several times a day.

Once I get going on the drops that night, I find that if I put them all in my eyes one after the other the drops will be dripping all down my face. Its hard to make sure all the drops get in. A few days later, after the pain in my eyes subsides, I find that one of the antibacterial drops stings my eyes and I'm reluctant to use it.

Consultation with the surgeon 1 week after surgery.

My healing has been a bit slower than anticipated and I need to keep using the anti-inflammatory drops for a few more days to help the healing along.

Check up 6 weeks after surgery.

My vision on the chart has improved, and even though I haven't noticed the change, my right eye is catching up with my left eye. My right eye can read half the 20/20 vision line and it may still improve. I can see one line below the 20/20 line with my left eye. Neither of my eyes is taking much of a correction, only very slight astigmatism.

I'm worried about my night vision. I really can't see well enough to drive. The surgeon says it will improve.

My eyes are still very dry, especially after using a computer. I'm avoiding using a computer except at work, and then still only a minumum. Computer and TV screens dry my eyes out, make them uncomfortable and my vision goes hazy. When my eyes are uncomfortable, they feel a bit like a contact lens is a bit out of place, and I have to resist the urge to put the contact lens back in place. I'm still getting some discomfort around the inside of my eye sockets. It feels like I'm straining my eyes differently than before, and I've even had a headache or two from straining my eyes, which I've never had before.

3 months after the lasik surgery

I'm worried about my night vision. All summer since the operation I've been avoiding driving at night, but when summer time finishes I'll be driving home from work every night in the dark. My night vision wasn't fantastic even before the surgery, but I didn't want it to get any worse. I don't want to worry too much about it because I don't think there's too much I can do. Its not as if a pair of glasses are going to help the problem.

My eyes are still very dry and I'm having to put drops in them about once every hour or two. I've found that yawning tends to make my eyes water so I'm yawning a lot.

My vision in good light is excellent. I can read fine print easily and see details far away. My right eye is still catching up eith the left eye, but I'm seeing the best I can see with my left eye and not noticing anything strange.

4 months after the surgery

My eyes are much less dry now. I'm only putting drops in my eyes about once a day and I can work on the computer comfortably for long periods. My eyes are fine with central heating, but I still wasn't comfortable at a big shopping complex last week. I'm still getting used to the dry air and low light level some of the shops use.

My night vision is still poor and fluctuating, but still improving. Looking at traffic lights in the dark, I see two images, one in focus and one larger one, out of focus. The street lights look like little sparkler fireworks.
You may consider seeing a specialty optometrist who fits contact lenses for post-refractive patients. The one who helped me is located at His name is Dr. Gemoules and it was well worth the trip for me. He's helped a lot of people with his experience. I found your blog through MySpace and do not have an ID here but I wanted to let you know about this wonderful doctor. If you email him, tell him KP sent you.

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