Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lasik - The Surgery

I went for my Lasik surgery on Friday, March 20, 2009, at LasikPlus in Rockville, Maryland. My surgeon was Dr. Jay Lustbader (who's done 10,000+ Lasik surgeries and is also the Chair of the Department of Opthalmology and Director of Cornea Service at Georgetown).

Before the surgery, they checked me in (and collected my payment of course! - for the record, with a discount they gave me for my insurance plan, I paid $3390 total for both eyes, with a year of postop exams and lifetime "enhancements" (touch-up surgeries if I have any problems) - the "standard" price is $2099/eye). Somebody examined my eyes to make sure the corrections they'd recorded earlier were still accurate, and I met with somebody else who gave me the post-surgery care instructions.

Finally I was called in by Dr. Lustbader, who I liked -- he was very relaxed but professional, explained the surgery, and asked me if I had any questions. They sent me back out to wait for a short while, then brought me into the operating suite (which is partitioned from the waiting area by a glass wall, so you can watch the surgeries, including a TV camera showing the eye as the operation proceeds).

They gave me "squeezy balls" to squeeze (and telling me to squeeze those, *not* my eyes!), then put numbing drops in my eyes, and a patch over my right eye. Then Dr. Lustbader inserted a lid holder into the left eye, which wasn't exactly painful but was *really* uncomfortable. After that I couldn't really see very well. Then he put some sort of cup device over my eye, at which point I basically couldn't see anything (but he had warned me about that). Then they cut the flap (I have no idea how that went, since I couldn't see or feel it!) Same thing on the other eye.

Then I had to get up (with my corneas cut away) and walk across the room to the other table, which was a little weird and disorienting. That's where they did the actual surgery on the cornea itself. Again with the lid holder, and this time they also taped my eyelashes down -- again, not painful, but very uncomfortable and not at all pleasant. The weirdest thing was when I could see the doctor's hand coming at me with a pair of tweezers to peel back the corneal flap (which took a few tries).

Then there's a flashing red (now very blurry) light you have to look at, and the laser makes these funky clicking noises, and you are very aware that your cornea is being reshaped, which is quite disturbing and sends an adrenaline rush through you like you wouldn't believe. The squeezy balls turn out to be quite useful at this point.

They were great about telling me exactly what they were doing and how long it would take. Then I was done, and that was it - the nurse walked me out to the lobby and told me to wait with my eyes closed for a few minutes.

More in the next post...

1 comment:

Joel Stoddard said...

That was a really helpful post! I'm going to get Lasik in 3 weeks with Lustbader. I appreciate your sharing.