The doctor tells me not to move and to look at the green light. I can smell something burning. I’m clenching my teeth because I didn’t want to take the Xanax they offered earlier. I’m still not sure what hurts more- my eyes or my teeth; which are clenched so hard from the nerves I feel they’re about to crack! I try holding my breath so I don’t smell the burning, but I don’t dare move and have the doctor scold me again for shaking so much. I’m staring at this green light thinking I could be on a tropical beach. I mean, I’m paying the same amount!
Then again, what’s the point of being on a tropical vacation if I have to wear glasses over my sunglasses or contacts that don’t allow me to open my eyes underwater, or run to the safety of the indoors if there’s sand blowing. As that big green light glows brighter in my vision and everything suddenly, terrifyingly goes black, I take another shaky breath and remind myself why I’m doing this. I don’t want to be held back by plastic frames and thick glasses. I want to wake up and be able to see my room and what’s outside my window without having to fumble through a blur.
Here are 5 things from my experience that I think y’all should know if you’re considering laser eye surgery!
1. Do a lot of research.
Fellow HelloGiggles contributor and friend, Michelle Konstantinovsky, posted about going through the surgery and it sparked my interest. None of my friends had gotten it done, but my mom got it done over 10 years ago. All I remember from my mom’s experience is that she had to wear some gnarly sunglasses all day and to sleep for a while. I messaged Michelle and she told me that I shouldn’t be scared because she loved the results, but most importantly, I should look into surgeons that have a lot of experience. I looked up the UCLA Eye Center and the place my mom got her’s done years ago. I read each doctor’s bio and felt really confident with my choice. I was putting my vision and trust (and money) in their hands, I had to really do my bit of work!
2. Follow all the pre-op instructions the doctor gives you.
After my consultation, I scheduled my surgery date and they gave me artificial tears that I should be putting in 4 times a day and the prescriptions to the eye drops I needed post-op. Since I’m a fan of leaving things until the last minute, I forgot to put the artificial tears in as often as they recommended and I didn’t get the prescriptions until after the surgery when I was in a very sensitive state with a killer headache. Maybe they had a point about getting the drops BEFORE so your eyes can rest after the surgery and you don’t have to worry since you just went through so much stress. Oops!
3. Take the Xanax the doctor offers you or you’ll regret it later. Trust me.
I get very nervous when I’m the center of attention. I was offered Xanax because being shaky during the operation is not ideal. I passed on it because, what if I got addicted to it and ruined my life? Highly unlikely, but I worry a lot. After the initial laser that cuts a flap on the cornea, I had to rest before the actual “correcting laser” was used. I couldn’t even breathe because I was shaking so much. The doctor even said I was dumb for passing on the medication. I’m sure my experience would have been much more pleasant if I had taken Xanax. So don’t be tough, because your teeth will ache so much after the surgery.
4. You’re going to wear bulky, weird eye protectors for a week.
After the procedure was done, the assistants put the clear eye protectors over my eyes and placed UV sunglasses over that. I was rocking the Kim Jong-Il look that whole day. On the drive back home, I had a terrible migraine that made me cry. I didn’t cry normal tears, they were of terrible pain that caused me more stress. I got home and took an aspirin which helped but I couldn’t nap because I had to use the eye drops every few hours. That day was so uncomfortable and hazy. At night, I found out I had to sleep on my back, which isn’t my ideal sleeping position. I had to sleep on my back for a week so nothing touched my eyes. I also couldn’t let water get in my eyes for that week so I wore swimming goggles during my shower. All in all, all these things protecting my eyes were a real hassle!
5. Your eyes may make you look like the zombies in 28 Days Later
The day after my surgery, I looked in the mirror to see myself for the first time clearly, and I see my scary red, demon-like eyes. WHERE DID MY EYES GO? I showed my friends a picture of my eyes and my “good friend” Jack laughed and declared I am now a zombie from 28 Days Later. Not being a fan of scary films, I had to Google those zombies and then I realized he was right. I’M A MONSTER… for a week. By now my eyes have cleared up and look almost normal.
I went from not being able to see the big E at the optometrist office to seeing the 20/20 line of letters! I still can’t believe it. I miss my glasses so much already. Heck, I’ve been trying to find the ideal Tina Fey glasses for years so I could feel like my hero. Alas, no more glasses for me but it’s for the best. I can now enjoy swimming, running, reading without having to push my glasses up or rub my eyes because of my contacts. If you’re considering getting laser eye surgery, think about whether it’s right for you.
Image via Shutterstock