Well, soon to be.
It's one month after I had LASEK (LASer Epithelial Keratomileusis) surgery. I went back to do a check up today and it turned out I'm on the right track to recovery. I was told that I'd most likely have 20/20 vision. The healing process is generally long though (it takes around three months).
A lot of people asked if I would recommend this surgery. I'd say... yes--if you set the right expectation.
First of all, LASEK is different from LASIK (Laser ASsisted In-situ Keratomileusis). The later, as far as I was told, has a very comfortable healing process. The reason being is that in LASIK part of your cornear will be opened as a flap, where it will be put back on after the surgery. This flap protects the wound so apaprently nothing unpleasent can happen to your eyes if there is no severe inflammation.
However, there are several disadvantages to LASIK:
1. Since you need to open up a flap on your cornear, there is a higher risk of damaging its deeper tissues. For example, the very fine nerves on the cornea will be damaged because of the flap, which result in Dry Eyes--sometimes this can be a permanent damage.
2. The flap may not healed up properly and it will get shifted or fall off--although this is a rare case.
3. Halo... since the deeper tissue of the cornear can hardly healed up so it left a scare that causes halo.
(a full list of risk can be found here
In LASEK, since it doesn't need to have a flap, a lot of the risks from LASIK can be avoided. However, the disadvantage is that it takes a long time to heal up, and it can be very painful and uncomfortable during the first week of surgery. In LASIK you can probably go back to work the next day after the surgery, whereas in LASEK, you probably need to take a whole week of doing nothing but resting on the bed -- no TV/reading/computer or whatsoever.
I have considered doing the surgery for a long time. Early in the year, around March, I went for a pre-op examination where they'll tell us if I'm a good candidate or not. My cornear was found out to be suitable for both LASIK and LASEK, and since I don't want to lose the flap, so I chose doing LASEK.
However, I was so scared that I didn't actually go for the surgery until seven months later! On the day of surgery, KK gave me a ride to the UW Medical Center
(yes, since you can barely see and cannot drive, you need to arrange your ride for the surgery day).
After paying a few grands and sign off my life, I was taken to a waiting room. My surgeon is Dr. Shen
, a UW assistant professor of ophthalmology, and the director of the Refrative Surgery Center. After explaining the procedure, I was taken to the operation room. I was not given any sedatives.
In the room there is a huge machine, and a few other people standing around it. I lied down on the operating bench, and they sterilized my eye lids.
They covered my left eye, and moved position me to under a tube like part of the machine. I saw a bright red dot at the end of the tube in front of my right eye. In order to get me familiar with what's going to happen, Dr. Shen covered the tube, and turned on the laser. I heard a series of cracking sound from the machine. Some anaesthetic eye drops were applied to my eyes.
Then the operation began. My eye lashes were taped, and my eye lips were supported by an eyelid speculum so that I can't blink.
Then the scary part. Some more eye drops were applied to my eyes. Then I feel some pressure on my eye ball--something was circled once around it. I believe Dr. Shen was removing the epithelium--and I saw it moved across my eye.
I was then asked to keep looking at the blinking red light during the surgery. There was an emergency system in the machine where it will automatically shut down if my eye ball moved.
The laser was applied for 42 seconds. There was a nurse counting down by every 5 seconds during the procedure.
At the end of the 42 seconds, I started shaking uncontrollably... I think I'm nervous (for those who know me well, I'll easily black out in situation like this :) While I was shaking, my epithelium was replaced, and Dr. Shen put a bandage contact lens on it, removed the eyelid speculum and the tape....
By the end of all these, I shaked even more seriously! I felt cold, really cold. Fortunately KK was smart enough to hold my hands, which calm me down a lot (and now I understand why people would hold someone's hand when they are about to die....)
The same procedure repeated for my left eye. But since I had something to hold on to, this time was shake-less :-)
I didn't feel painful after the surgery, since I had some powerful pain-killer. However I went to play with my computer and took a few pics, and I believe that teared off the wound a bit--and then I got really painful from that point on.
But anyway, it's a long story. I wonder if anyone is still reading this now kaka!
I wanted to thank a lot of friends though, who comforts me while I was jailed in the room during the recovery. Special thanks to KK/Leon/CL for giving me a ride; Peggy for the chocolate; Stephanie & David Long, Katherine and Eugene, Eva and Felix, KK and Leon, Judy and Peter for stopping by! And fo course, Ho gor for his cooking.... And all who left messages :-)