Since so many people have asked me to tell them about my recent Lasik surgery, I thought I would share it here for everyone. I hope it helps others like me to deal with the nerves and anxiety of eye surgery. Its a bit long winded, but I wanted to cover all the things people have been asking me!
I have worn contacts since I was 16. Even though its been 16 years of wearing them, the thought of touching my eyeball still creeps me out. I hated it so much that I slept in my contacts. Yep, every night. For weeks. I knew it wasn’t good for my eyes and I dealt with the dry, scratchy contacts rather than touching my eye more than I had to. I would avoid going to the eye doctor because the only thing worse than touching my eyes is for someone ELSE to touch them.
As a photographer, my vision is everything. I knew my prescription had changed and I knew I needed to get them looked at. One morning when I actually changed my contacts I had a REALLY rough time getting them in. Yes, after 16 years, I still really sucked at putting them in since I did it so infrequently. In my frustration, I decided I would get Lasik and be done with it.
I had been wanting Lasik for years, but the idea of the surgery just touched too many of my anxieties about my eyes. I remembered the episode of Newlyweds where Jessica Simpson had the procedure done and it was just too much for me. I had constantly dismissed the idea out of fear, but this particular morning I let the frustration with my contacts win out.
I jumped online and researched eye surgeons in Tallahassee. This is where I came across Dr. Palmer’s website- www.palmereye.com and found tons of information for what I was looking for. I emailed them for information and was able to schedule an exam and surgery consultation. I think they could tell I was terrified and they booked the appointment quickly before I could chicken out.
I had to go without my contacts for days prior to the consultation and that alone made me committed enough to force myself into the doctor’s office. The consult wasn’t bad- I had exams done on tons of machines and the nurse showed me the results and explained to me what everything meant. They even showed me some problems with my vision I didn’t even know I had!
We scheduled surgery for Jan. 28th, about a week after the consultation. To say I was nervous is a HUGE understatement. Terrified comes closer to it. I tried not to think about it to be honest.
Surgery time was 7:15 and as soon as I got there they took me back and gave me a Valium to help keep me calm. We waited for that to kick in and another patient was taken back for surgery. That patient came walking out smiling only like 20 minutes later… I would like to say that really helped calm my nerves, but I think it was the second Valium that did that.
They took me back to the Lasik room and I sat in the big chair by the machine. I was given a stuffed animal to hold for the procedure. This might sound goofy, but it was actually comforting and gave me something to do with my hands (and my nervous energy). I was given numbing drops in my eyes and was moved under the machine. This is when my anxiety totally kicked in, but all the doctors and nurses were so sweet and talked me through everything. The actual procedure is only a few minutes in each eye and was only uncomfortable… not really painful. I think the discomfort also came from the mental anxiety more than anything else.
Once it was done, I put on my sunglasses and was sent home. I kept my eyes closed for the drive, got home and went straight to bed. I slept pretty much all day and anytime I opened my eyes I could see almost as well as with my contacts. My eyes felt dry and itchy, but not really painful. By the next morning they barely bothered me. I did the prescribed drops as needed, but really after the third day I felt fine.
Now its a bit over a week since surgery and I feel totally completely normal, and I have 20/20 vision. I have one more check up to go, but everything looks perfect! My vision is definitely better than with my contacts and I don’t have the annoyance of contacts. I actually got rid of all the glasses and contacts in the house and it was such an awesome feeling.
In the end I am so glad I had the surgery and forced myself to get over my own anxiety. Its far better in the long run to have a few scary minutes of Lasik surgery than go through daily annoyances of contacts or glasses. I am so thankful to the team at Palmer Eye Center for taking good care of me and dealing with my crazy anxieties! I would definitely recommend them to anyone in Tallahassee looking for an eye doctor!