I’ve worn glasses or contacts since the second grade. I had a -9.0 perscription, and I couldn’t even see the big E on the vision chart without help. For years, I’ve been waiting for my eyes to stablize enough that I could get lasik.
To have lasik, it’s important to make sure the eyes have stabilized to create an accurate prescription. Lasik is also primarily for those people who are near sighted, and need their faraway vision corrected. What happens is that the doctor measures the cornea, and determines how much change is needed to create 20/20 vision.
Then, in surgery, the doctor cuts the top layer of the cornea so that the middle layers are accessable. The doctor then shaves down the middle layers to a perscription that is acceptable, and replaces the top layer on the eye. It takes approximately 3 days to completely recover. While older technologies had the doctor actually do each cut by hand, the newer trend is to use a laser to get a more even effect.
This year, my eyes were finally stable enough for me to be considered! Unfortunately, my eyesight has progressed to the point that it is no longer possible for lasik to completely fix my vision. Luckily, Dr. Updegraff also does multiple procedures, including inserting ICLs.
ICL stands for Intraocular contact lense. This procedure is geared towards people with eyesight so bad that it cannot be corrected with lasik. This procedure is done in three stages:
- Creating two pinholes in the iris to allow the fluids in the eye to flow normally despite the new obstruction of the contact lense.
- Insert ICL in the first eye (my right eye was first).
- Insert ICL in the second eye after a week.
The first procedure is very fast and easy. I sat at a machine that looks like the one that puffs air into your eye. However, this machine is actually a laser. As the patient, my job was to do the best I could to focus on a red light, and hold as still as possible.
It takes a few shots to get the whole completed (took me three for each hole). The feeling is like that of a dull needle pressing and then breaking. It hurts for less than a second, and not actually that bad.
I was told that light eyed people have a slightly easier time because there is less pigment in iris. Thus, less is needed to complete the hole. I remember there was a trade-off for brown eyes, however I cannot remember exactly what it was. For both eyes, a slight headache is common for the first few hours.
To insert the ICL, the doctor creates a small incision at the side of the pupil, and the ICL is pushed in through the incision. Then the contact lense is unfolded, and settled into position behind the iris and before the contacts natural lense.
After surgery, they test you to see where you are immediately. Then you are expected to return four hours later for another check. The second day, you go in for a third check, to make sure everything is moving smoothly. The next follow-up is a week later, then a month later, and then three months later.
Recovery consists of drops for a month in the eye. The first day, it’s every two hours, then 4 times a day for a week, and tapered off by 1 time a day every week. For the first day or two, you can slightly feel that the eye is rough where it was cut. However, after that, it’s completely unnoticeable!
It takes about three months for complete settlement of the eyes to take place. Fortunately, my first eye was 20/15 by the second appointment the first day. My left eye reacted more normally, however, and it’s taken until the first month follow-up for my left eye to reach approximately 20/20. What’s holding me up is an astigmatism. The doctor says that this often will correct itself by the three-month follow-up.
It is so amazing to me that I can see without contacts in or glasses on. It still takes a moment at night when I’m in bed to remember that I didn’t actually forget to take my contacts out. I absolutely love that I can see so well all the time now!!!