Most of you probably know by now that over my summer break I decided to have LASEK surgery. Many of you, especially those of you here in Korea, have been asking me questions about it, so I’m finally sitting down to write it all out. This is probably be a long one, but I’ll try to be as succinct as possible.
LASEK surgery, what’s that? How is it different from LASIK?
Yes, there is a difference. It’s not a typo. Don’t ask me what it stands for, but in short the basic difference is that LASIK cuts a flap in your eye and LASEK shaves a layer of tissue off the top of your eye.
While I could have gotten the surgery closer to home, I decided to go to Seoul. Mostly because after going to the clinic for a consultation I was really comfortable with their level of English and I figured “it’s my eyes” I want to feel confident that I would be able to communicate with my Doctor and anyone else I’d need to speak to.
The consultation lasted 2 hours and consisted of many tests on my eyes to determine where my vision was at, if there were any other problems with my eyes and which surgery, if any, I might qualify for. The Doctor recommended LASEK for me due to my age and the state of my corneas (thin). I scheduled my surgery for the beginning of my summer break.
So, on August 10th, I made my way to Seoul and headed to the clinic for my surgery. The first thing they did was recheck my eyes. Not all of the tests were redone, but several. Then I was prepped for surgery. The nurse put some kind of solution on my face to disinfect the area, and I wasn’t allowed to touch my own face after that. While I was waiting I got a little itchy and I had to tell her so she could scratch or rub or whatever. I did have to wear a surgical gown over my clothes, a cap, and no shoes.
Once I was on the operating table they gave me some drops to numb my eyes, but that was it. They started with my right eye, so my left eye was taped closed and covered. Some kind of contraption was put on my eye to hold it open. First they clean your eye with some type of alcohol solution and then basically shave off the top layer of your cornea in order to allow the laser to reshape it. After the laser does its work a temporary lens is placed in the eye to protect it for a week or so while the corneal layer that was removed grows back. That’s pretty much it.
The doctor explained everything he was dong while he was doing it, and one of the nurses in the room would count down to let me know how many seconds were left in each part of the surgery. Another nurse, well, her entire role in the surgery seemed to be to hold and pat my hand. She was a life saver! I’m fairly certain I squeezed the life out of her hand.
Same procedure for the left eye. Clean, shave, reshape, lens, done. The worst part about the entire surgical process was being able to smell burning flesh, or something like singed hair, when the laser was actually doing it’s thing. It was pretty nasty. Once the entire thing was over, about ten minutes, give or take, they played “Congratulations” by Cliff Richard. I give it to you now for your own enjoyment. Lol.
I was sent home with three different kinds of eye drops, artificial tears, vitamins, and these nifty goggles… I had to sleep with them on for a week!
All eye drops had to be used every two hours the first day, then after that four times a day. I had antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and artificial tears. Once the lenses were out there was another kind of teardrop that I’ve been using. Initially there was also some vitamin C powder as well as pain meds, just in case.
Some of you have asked, “Could you see well enough to get yourself home?” Well, I probably could have gotten myself home, but my near vision and reading things wasn’t the best at first. So, I was grateful that a friend did come to meet me in Seoul and helped me navigate the subways and get back to Gongju in one piece.
After a week I went back and had the temporary lenses removed and they checked my eyes again. I was at about 95% vision in my right eye and 40% vision in my left. I knew from the start that it would be 2-3 months before I had full vision, but what I got right away is still a million times better that what I could see before. Which was basically Jack Squat without my glasses.
My eyes have been corrected like bi-focals, that’s my description anyway. My right eye for far vision and my left eye for near vision. They said if I don’t like it they will correct m left all “all the way” but then I would need reading glasses. I should wait until 3 months to really evaluate that. I don’t see myself opting for that, but time will tell.
This past Saturday I went back for my one month checkup. 20/20 in my right eye and 20/28 in my left. I have to go back in one month. I think that pretty much sums it up. Okay, so not so much sum up as give you a narrative. Questions? Feel free to ask!