“I don’t understand,” Emma sighed. “You are very consquent in telling me that you see clearly with this -6 something. Still the machine says your eye is a -7.25. Guess the machine must be wrong.”
So after a third series of tests the day started with a triumph of woman over machine, John Henry would be proud.
Now we had to wait for Dr G. Emma gave me a bag full of painkillers and eye drops, which concerned me: everyone I had spoken to said it was painless. Emma told me to take two painkillers before the laser. Hmmm…
Dr G. came in her full-on chatty self, looking at the test results she assured me that my cornea were thick enough. They were going to do a LASEK operation and whether I could sign for my consent on the dotted line please.
Hang on: LASEK.
In very short, really you should give this a google should you be interested, there are two commonly used methods (Three but I will explain later.) LASIK and LASEK.
More commonly used in clinics is LASIK: you cut a flap in the cornea, push the flap aside; laser the cornea; flap is moved back into place and healing process means that cells will grow over the flap: keeping all in place. This is pretty much painless and one can see in a day. Chance that there will be complications with the flap later.
LASEK, the preferred hospital treatment. Why? It is deemed safer and less prone to complications. Only a thin layer of cells is removed; cornea lasered;thin layer pushed back, bandage lens put on top and the cells will heal underneath the layer removed. More irritation afterwards, longer recovery of vision: less chance that the flap will play up as there is none.
Then there is something that is called PRK, which is pretty much the same as LASEK but they remove the thin layer of cells all together. Apparently this is the original way of doing it, despite it looking like a botch up cover-up; in case the cells don’t come off intact so you have to remove them!
I realised this as I was signing the papers – well I had paid for it, really quite late to back track now for the difference of a vowel. (Note: LASEK is also prefered for people with thin cornea, a flap cannot be created, so can see why it would have been better for me.)
In the laser-room, I was given more anaesthetic drops (already had a batch and the two painkillers) I lay down on the table and my right eye was covered and my left eye is opened with a little clamp. (“We’ll start with left, as it is non-dominant, should anything go wrong we can correct it in your dominant eye and you wouldn’t have to notice.” “What? the fact that I have only one eye working?)
Dr G and Emma were having a nice little chat: a bit like having two mums in the room. Emma keeps repeating that they will laser my left eye first… I wondered if she does this to remind Dr G. whose short-memory span is a little worrying for someone who’s about to perform laser surgery on my eye.
As she tries try to push aside the layer of cell, there slight panic. Dr G. calls for Emma, then presses on my right eye with her hand by accident, my left eye gets drenched in stuff. I lose sight but after a short karfuffle they seem happy. “Erhm I cannot see anymore'” I try quietly. Emma is there to calm me down. “No, that’s right.” she chirps. “That’s what’s supposed to happen!”
Lord, in Dr G we trust.
The laser starts: 43 seconds. Emma counts down for me. A smell like burned hair fills the room, I try to block out that this is coming from my eye. Dr G. gives me a bandage lens, drenches my eye in anti-biotics. (“Oops a bit much. Ah won’t harm you!”) All done: under a minute!
I am happy as when I enter the car, slowly slowly vision comes back. Still my eye seems to be very teary… Strange. Hours later it hasn’t stopped. At night my left eye swells to the point I cannot open it. Not to worry: this is all as described. Hoorah opting for safer LASEK. Christ.
The swelling has gone down; eye can open! Still a bit teary still a bit blurred. Irritation yes, more by the tears but to my relief still no pain. On a regime of three different eye drops: moisturising, anti-biotics and painkilling ones. All should be well in the next couple of days but patience was never my virtue.
Faff? Yes. Worth It? Absolutely!