Saturday, May 19, 2012

Review/Life: Intralase LASIK Laser Eye Surgery

Yep. That's me. Having eyeball Surgery. No Big Deal.

I have received many messages and comments regarding my recent LASIK eye surgery and I wanted to share my experience here with everyone. I know it isn't fitness or food related, but it is life related :)

I have worn glasses and/or contacts since I was in about the second grade. They have gotten progressively worse over the years.

I remember during DH's senior prom (my junior prom), we were dancing and he must have had some crazy moves because he hit me in the eye by accident. It completely knocked my contact out and I was 'blind' in my right eye. We had to leave prom early and we missed the 'after prom breakfast' that the seniors always did after prom, which was something I was really looking forward to. From that point on, I always carried an extra pair of contacts (or two) with me, as well as my glasses and sometimes an extra case and cleanser just to be careful.

That is a lot of crap to carry around.

With my prescription, -6 in my right eye and -5 in my left eye (with a hint of astigmatism), I literally could not see my hand in front of my face. When I woke up in the morning I couldn't see anything until I stumbled to the bathroom to put in my contacts. I hated wearing my glasses because with a prescription as strong as mine, it's very difficult to switch between glasses and contacts. They are just completely different and it is disorienting. I was very used to contacts and glasses made me feel as if I were stuck in a fishbowl and on a rocking boat. That definitely never helped with my nausea.

I had never really considered LASIK before because a) Until the past year or so, contacts never really bothered me. A nuisance, yes, but they were just a part of my life. And b) Do you honestly think I would let someone cut a flap on the cornea of my eye? No.freaking.way.

My parents had LASIK years ago when they still used an actual blade to cut the cornea flap. Dr. Blue said the doctors who performed that procedure were very brave, but the patients were even more brave! I actually watched their procedures being done at the time and it really freaked me out.

I do not like eyeballs. I don't like seeing them. I never liked touching mine to put contacts in. I don't like seeing others touch their eyes. And I most definitely do not like someone coming near my eyes.

So, this was not a decision I made lightly. I spoke with several people about their experience with Dr. Blue and everyone I talked to said it 'changed their life' and it was 'the best decision they had ever made.' I kind of took it with a grain of salt... sure, it changed your life...However, they were not lying. It is only day 2 and if I weren't afraid to cry post-op (I can, I'm just paranoid) I would cry every few minutes. I keep looking at DH and saying 'guess what? I CAN SEE.' I also haven't stopped smiling. ;)

Now, let's get to the details.

What is Intralase LASIK?
Let's start with what actually happens during this procedure. You can get a more in depth description on Dr. Blue's Website.

LASIK is short for "laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis.
It is a two step process, where the first laser, the Intralase laser, makes a small flap out of the outer cornea. The second step is when another laser comes in to reshape the cornea based on your eyesight, etc.

What? No pictures? Um, no.

On Monday, I went to the FREE Seminar that Dr. Blue holds at one of his offices. You can see the schedule on his website. It was a very simple and concise seminar where he tells you all about the procedure, does a slideshow and answers any and all questions. There were only about 7 or so people, so it was very comfortable. If you go to the seminar, you get $1000 off of the procedure! There is really no reason why you wouldn't do this!

I made an appointment for the FREE Evaluation on Wednesday to see whether or not I was a candidate for LASIK. This was a very easy process. All they did was run two 'tests' on my eyes that literally was just like a scan. No puffs of air or anything uncomfortable. They then did the typical eyesight test to see what my prescription was. I met with Dr. Blue again and had a chance to ask any more questions I had.

We then went to see the person who handles the scheduling of the Surgery and told us about payment options. Insurance does not cover LASIK in most cases. Therefore, you can either pay the day of the surgery or they also have an option to do payments through a credit type deal (I didn't read the brochure on this, so I am not sure about the details).

They happened to have a cancellation for the NEXT day, so I decided to go for it. I had already been out of my contacts for 4 days, my fitness classes don't start until next week, and I knew if I had to wait another week I would talk myself out of it.

Surgery Day!:
My appointment time for the surgery was 1:15pm. I slept in that morning. DH brought me a plain Chick-Fil-A biscuit, which we know I don't typically eat, but I was clearly very anxious about the whole thing and I wasn't sure if I could eat anything besides bread.

I then went to Target to get some yoga pants and new PJs so that I could have some comfy pants to wear during the procedure and some cute and comfy new pajamas to wear when I got home. (I heart pajamas).

I ate a KidFresh meal that I had got at Publix for about $1 the day before because it was all that I could stomach. Then we were on our way.

We grossly underestimated how long it would take to get to the surgery center (It is a different location from the other appointment). We also ended up getting lost. We ended up being about 30 minutes late, but they were SO nice about it. It wasn't a big deal at all. I'm not encouraging you to be late, I am just showing you how nice and understanding the whole staff is.

Once you get there they do some more scans on your eye and give you a name tag. I waited only a minute or so before being called back into an office. In the office a lady went over all of the pre and post op procedures with me and I went ahead and paid. She also gave me 10 mg of Valium.

I have never taken Valium before, but I did take Xanax before I had my wisdom teeth out. I will say that Xanax wins ;)

I was taken to another smaller waiting room outside of the surgery area. I thought I would have a few minutes to listen to my guided meditation on my iPhone and let the Valium kick in, but as soon as I sat down they called me back.

I won't lie to you. The whole time going in, my mind was resisting this. Because let's be honest, it's scary. The whole staff is really great though and they give you no reason to be scared. If you don't have anxiety issues like I do, etc. I can definitely see how this could be a walk in the park. Some people told me that they didn't even take the Valium. (No thanks, I never turn down meds, hahaha).

They give you numbing drops before you go into the surgical room.

Once you get into the room. They have you lie down under the first laser. Before the procedure begins however, Dr. Blue uses something that looks like a q-tip (I couldn't see obviously) and he rubs it around your eye, which is honestly a little bit weird if you don't, you know, like people touching your eyeballs and whatnot. He had a little trouble getting me to keep my eyes open during this. It definitely took a lot of will power for me because I was determined to have the procedure done.

Once this is finished, they put the clamp-like things on to keep the eyes open and the Intralase laser makes the flap on the cornea. It was strange. There was absolute NO PAIN, whatsoever for me. When they pulled the flap back, it was sort of like being underwater.

Next, they removed the clamps and I could blink even though I had the cornea flap. They helped me move to the laser right next to it (It's literally about 2 feet) and had me lie down again. The clamps on this one were a little more uncomfortable to have put on, but that may have been because my skin was so dry. Again, NO PAIN in my eyes at all.

When this laser starts to do its work, your sight will go black. But, just remember to stay calm. It is all over in literally 30 seconds, per eye. You will see a blob of green lights in the middle that you are told to focus on and lots of scattered red lights around it. You will also smell a burning type scent. It's a very familiar smell, but I couldn't place it.

Once both eyes are finished (if you are doing both eyes), they will then close the flap back and this was the only time I felt any pressure, because obviously they are pushing on your eye a bit. But, still NO PAIN.

Once this is finished, you can sit up and Dr. Blue asks you to read the clock on the other side of the room. And I could. It was 2:45 PM. I will never forget it.

People who have had normal sight their whole life will never really understand this. My friends who I have told this to who haven't had to deal with bad sight during their life are just kind of like, 'oh, that's cool.' Um, it's more than cool. It's AMAZING. I CAN SEE. Don't you get it? I can wake up in the morning and look at the clock to see what time it is. I can look beside me and actually see DH's face and tell him good morning. Sight is precious. Don't take it for granted.

Here is a video that my dad took. They play the procedure on a TV in the waiting room and he caught the last bit. Nothing gross, promise.

After the procedure, I felt completely fine. Almost as if I hadn't had surgery. I was immediately placed in tinted goggles, but my eyes never really felt sensitive? I am sure they would have if I had taken them off, but the goggles did their job.

Once we got in the car, my eyes did start to 'burn.' Think of it like you were cutting some really strong onions and your eyes start to burn and water. That's what it was like. Lots and lots of watering. But, again, it was not painful, just annoying. They give you one Lortab that you have the option of taking, so I decided to take half on the way home just to 'knock myself out' and forego the watery-burning-ness. I took the other half when I got home and rested for the rest of the evening.

Most people have told me that they slept the rest of the day. Lortab doesn't do that for me. It puts me in a sort of limbo where I am completely physically exhausted, but my mind doesn't stop. So, I just relaxed and let DH pamper me all evening.

I have two drops that I have to take for the next 2 weeks.

A steroid drop and an antibiotic. They are really easy and it doesn't bother me to take them at all. (Much better than dealing with contacts!)

I also must wear the goggles for a few nights. I will probably keep wearing them until my next follow-up appointment on Tuesday.

At my first follow up appointment yesterday (Friday), they said my cornea had already healed (I'm assuming for the most part, I wouldn't suggest going sky diving or scuba diving just yet, haha).

I could also read the 20/15 line on the vision chart. Hello?! This is amazing! (Yes, I will keep saying how amazing it is until you get it ;p )

I also cannot wear eye make up for at least 3 days, which is fine by me because it gives me a reason to not have to wear make up at all.

I have a slight bit of bruising on both eyes, which looks like a bloody ring around my irises. But, again, no pain or anything, just not very pretty.

My eyes have been pretty dry when I wake up in the morning, but once I put the drops in, I am fine for the rest of the day. (I also sleep with a fan, so that probably doesn't help).

Some people experience halos. I can see what they mean and I definitely had them the first day, but they aren't too bad now and they will eventually go away.


I think I have covered everything...if you have any questions, please feel free to comment on here or send me an email at (i.e., if you want to know the cost)


  1. Courtney, thank you for all of these details! I have been considering this for a while, and really appreciate that you shared all of the procedures and your emotions. I *will* do this in the future, and already agree with you that IT IS AMAZING! :)

    1. Hi Jessie! You are very welcome! I hope that you decide to do it and that everything goes just as well! I am glad that you realize how AMAZING it is ;)

  2. That was very informative,I will undergo Intarlazik next week,but my ophthalmologist will see me the day after surgery(that's because I have to travel to another country to do the surgery)
    One thing,after the surgery is it necessary to rest in bed,I mean can't I go out and have fun?

    1. Hello! I had to see my doctor the day after surgery as well. You should ask your doctor about whether you should rest in bed... I rested on my couch and just hung out with DH and the puppies because I didn't want to risk messing up my eyes while they healed, but that is up to you and your doctor. Good luck!!!

  3. I will be going to San Diego for my Lasik Eye Surgery next month. Before that am just going through some of the people's blog who have experienced Lasik. I am little afraid too on this but will try to cope up with this. Thanks for sharing your experience. Take care.