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Women's Health

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My Odyssey With LASIK Surgery

Seeing the Light


The surgery itself is pretty simple: an assistant cleaned and swabbed my eyes and applied a numbing solution. Cavanagh asked me to open my eyes wide so he could tape my eyelashes, so they wouldn't be harmed by the laser. Next he put a speculum in each eye -- yes, a miniature device similar to the type used for a gynecological exam. These were then cranked so that each eye was open as wide as possible. This was the only painful part of the procedure, and prompted me to say, "Ouch."

I was told to relax, look at a red dot that was shining into my eye, and not move. But it was hard to keep my eyes totally still even with the tape and speculum, because the light has a slight pulse. They also warned me, as the procedure began, that I would hear a slight buzzing sound.

After both eyes were done and freed from the restraining devices, I was told to blink a couple of times, then read Cavanagh's wristwatch. It was very blurry. (He explained later that was partially due to the contact lens-like bandages he'd placed over my corneas to make sure the flaps healed in place.)

Next, plastic bubbles were placed over my eyes and taped to my face, making me look like a giant insect. I was told to sit or lie in the waiting room and keep my eyes closed. That was a little difficult because I was anxious to see if I could see, and eager to get home. Before I left, the nurse gave me a little cosmetic-type bag with postoperative instructions, three kinds of eye drops, and wraparound sunglasses. I was instructed to keep the bubbles on except when I was putting the drops in, and at night. I asked if I could drive myself back the next day for my first follow-up; yes, I was told, if I felt like it.

As a friend drove me home, I found as forewarned that my eyes were very light sensitive, but that wasn't unusual for me. Once home, I fed my dogs and let them out, then went to bed, dozing on and off. This was to be my position for the next three days.

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