Friday, January 31, 2014

How to Prevent Possible Lasik Eye Surgery Complications

Everyone I know has had Lasik and has ranted and raved about their results. So after ten years of being wishy-washy, I finally too the leap of faith and went for it. And I ended up with complications during surgery, which I thought I'd share how this could have possibly been prevented.

The Lasik eye technicians said I was the perfect candidate for Lasik. I had more than enough layers on my cornea to be able to reshape my eye. And all the other tests they did confirmed that this should have been a simple, in and out, procedure.

For three weeks I prepared. I took my mult-vitamin. I took Fish Oil. I took vitamin C. And I didn't wear contacts for over three weeks. My eyes were rested and had plenty of tears being produced to be able to do the surgery.

But they forgot to account for one thing. My bone structure around my eye. At least that is what they said. Personally, I think some of it may have been bone structure and some of it had to do with being the last patient of the day, on one of their busiest days of the year.

So I went in at 3:30 pm, with four kids in tow, believing the entire procedure would last 1 1/2 to 2 hours. I told my husband to take the kids to dinner and by the time he arrived back, we should be ready to go. Was I wrong!

While he was gone, they gave me a Zanax and numbed my eyes. I was feeling really good and comfortable and didn't have a worry in the world. When my husband arrived, it was time for my surgery. They brought me into the Lasik surgery room and laid me on the table. From there all they needed to do was get this plastic suction attached to my eyeball. The suction had a rim around it that needed to go under my eyelids. After two tries and  a lot of pushing, the surgeon finally was able to attach it to my right eye. And successfully lasered a flap.

Then came the 2nd eye, which we all were hoping was going to be a breeze. But it wasn't. The surgeon tried to attach the suction three times, causing bruising and swelling to my eyeball. Finally, they gave up and took me into another room with my husband to discuss options. I was still drugged up and my eyeballs were completely numb so I couldn't feel any pain. I also had no idea what my eyes looked like.

Options: 1. Wear a contact in that eye for the rest of my life or 2. Get PRK.

The primary difference between PRK and LASIK refractive surgery is that in LASIK, the vision correction occurs under a flap, while in PRK, the vision correction is performed on the surface of the cornea after the epithelium has been removed. The epithelial cells then heal during the following three to four days, in order to cover the cornea.

Originally, I told them I didn't want to do PRK no matter what. The healing process is almost two months. And you can't drive right away. With four kids and a husband that travels, I really didn't want to have PRK surgery. But at that moment, it seemed like the best option for me. It was one eye. So I went for it.

They reviewed everything I needed to do when I got home, like put eye drops in my eyes every 30 minutes and wear these plastic eye protectors every night for a week and take my vitamins. But they also stressed that I should take a pain killer the next night and then the following morning because my PRK eye will be hurting something fierce. And they weren't kidding!

At 8:30 pm, five hours later, we were finally ready to go home. My husband pulled up the car, loaded our four kids in, and drove us home for the night.

 
January 4, 2013

The next day wasn't bad pain-wise. My eyes were very sensitive to light. But they had given me the coolest sunglasses to wear to help. Both my eyes were blurry and felt like they had sand in it, making them uncomfortable to keep open. I guess my eyes looked pretty bad because my husband asked me not to take off my glasses. They were swollen, red, and had a blood clot appearance.



Later that night I started to feel pain out of my left eye, which was my PRK eye, so I took a pain killer and went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, my eye felt as if someone had stabbed it with a knife. I was in so much pain. I took another pain killer, which made me beyond nausea to the point I felt like I had the flu. I was miserable and snappy. And my uncomfortableness lasted two whole days--just the PRK eye. My Lasik eye felt great on the 2nd day. And I could see perfectly.


January 9th (six days later)

My Lasik procedure was on January 3rd and today is the first day that I'm starting to be able to see well out of my PRK eye. It's still a little foggy and itchy. But I've made it through the hardest part.

So here is my recommendation to anyone having Lasik.

Pre-surgery:
  • Ask them if there is any way to know if they may have difficulty attaching the suction to your eye during the surgery.
  • Take all your vitamins and do everything they say before surgery

Surgery:
  • Don't be their last patient for the day.
  • If you have complications with your Lasik, I would not recommend PRK if they have already tried to get the suction apparatus on your eye several times. My eye was so swollen and bruised, which I think caused my pain to be amplified.
  • Discuss what you want to do with your spouse or whoever is with you prior to you being drugged and numbed. I was feeling so good that they could have taken out my eye and I wouldn't have cared.

Post-surgery:
  • Get extra eye drops from them and tape to attach the plastic eye protectors.
  • Take the pain killers for PRK. I didn't need them for the Lasik. But boy did I need it for the PRK.
  • Remember that PRK recovery is a lot longer. Driving at night has been a bit challenging for me. Especially (prior to today) only one of my eyes has had really good vision.
Feel free to share your experience or questions.


3 comments:

Emily said...

Oh my goodness--you poor thing! Glad I read this. I have been interested in Lasik surgery for a while and like you, I have only heard of great things. I will keep this in mind if I ever scrape up the extra cash to have it done. That looks like it was really painful. I hope everything healed well and that you can see perfectly!

Melissa Perry Moraja said...

Hi Emily, I'm really glad I did it! But wish that I wasn't their one candidate of the year who needed a plan B during surgery. PRK is a lot longer recovery. And the second and third day was pretty painful. After that, it's a breeze! And with Lasik, everything was great a day later. Amazing the differences. Good luck when you get it done!

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