What I did do though, that I don't recommend anyone ever do, is look at Youtube videos of Lasik procedures. It may make your stomach queasy, like it did me, and may also turn you away from the procedure, which it almost did me.
Today I had my procedure. I arrived at the location promptly at 830am and had to go over the liability and informed consent paperwork and process payment. Some computer snafu delayed payment briefly, but it wasn't long before I was on my way into the pre-operating room, where my eyes were cleaned, treated with an antibiotic, and a numbing agent was applied. I was given a nice stress ball that looked like an eye, and earlier on I was given a sedative, which believe it or not had more impact on me than the surgery did. Within a few more minutes I was taken into the operating room.
The room was extremely clean. I literally only saw a couple of dust particles the entire time I was in the room - which is excellent, because the last thing you want is dust getting into your eye when the flap is wide open. There were three people in the room aside from me and the entire process took less than ten minutes for both eyes.
The first thing he had me do was sit upright so he could place some marker points on my eyes. Imagine a very small, fine paintbrush gently touching each of your eyes in a couple of different places. After, I was brought over to the operating area, and laid on a table/recliner.
They started off by inserting a brace into my eye which held my eyelid open. This was NOT uncomfortable, even though I thought it would be. I was concerned that my eye would get dry, but there was no time for that to happen. It seemed that they moved through each step quickly and my eyes did not get dry the entire time. I tend to drink about 1.5 gallons of water per day though, and by this time, having gone 20 minutes without a drink of water was dehydrating me pretty badly.
Next, the doctor inserted something round into my eye which was used to hold my eye in place and also allow the Intralace machine to create a vacuum seal against my eye for cutting the flap. This part was a little uncomfortable, but the discomfort was short lived. I found that it became fine once I stopped trying to "fight it" by blinking or manipulating my eye muscles.
The table/chair I was laying on was quite comfortable, comprised of three sections and a head-rest, and it swiveled between what I recall being two different machines. One being the Intralase and the other having the actual laser used to correct my vision. At this point I was given a bunch of drops and swiveled to the left to the Intralase. You can see the machine descending upon your eye (there are only a couple of inches between you and it to start with) and it seemed to latch onto the round device that was inserted into my eye. Then, there was a bit of pressure as it seemed to seal itself. You can't see anything at this point, but it's not pitch black. I noticed odd, thin, small silver polka dot patterns that were very uniform, moving about. Each eye was under this machine for about 20 seconds, which seemed like an eternity, but it really wasn't that long. As soon as the machine was finished, the suction released, and I was swiveled out, and promptly given more drops which I believe were lubricating drops and antibiotics. The left eye was taped up, and then we repeated the procedure with the right eye.
After wrapping up with the right eye, the doctor started the vision correction procedure. I could see the doctor using a brush-like utensil on my eye, and then another utensil to move the flap. Once the flap was moved, everything became very blurry. There was no pain whatsoever in any of this. With the flap removed I was positioned under the laser and told to stare at the blinking light, not to blink, and so on. You can hear an acute but loud snapping sound, where the interval between the 'snap' is very very short initially and then growing longer over the ten or fifteen seconds that you are under the machine. About ten seconds in, you notice a faint but familiar smell - one that reminds you of when you last singed your arm hair on the grill. It's not terrible, but you do notice it, but it's not enough to make you want to jerk out of the chair.
After that, I was shift again, more drops came in, and the doctor put the flap back in place, and told me it was ok to close my eye. The procedure was repeated on the other eye. At the end, I was brought back over to the same place where the markers were placed, and the doctor examined my eyes and made sure the flap was lined back up properly.
He gave me a handshake, offered congratulations, and away I went into the post-op room, where I was given care instructions, some Bono-looking eye protectors, and some uber-cool sunglasses due to light sensitivity.
I think my feedback on the whole thing is consistent with the feedback I have been given. There is a bit of discomfort, but no pain at all. And, the discomfort was a lot less than I thought it was going to be. Actually, the sedative (Adavan) hit me harder than the procedure did, and made me a bit 'cloudy-headed' getting up off the operating table. It's been about 7 hours since the procedure and I can see, though it is cloudy and my eyes are extremely sensitive to light still. I don't have a headache, and haven't had any pain since the procedure. I am able to see, and with good clarity, there is still plenty of fogginess which should go away soon. My eyes are a little bloodshot, and you can see some minor bruising, but again it's minor.
Recovery is pretty straight forward. Lubricating eyedrops with no preservatives every hour on the hour for the next week (or is it month?), and start using the steroid/antibiotic drops the day following (you get loaded up on this stuff while you're there, so no more needed for the rest of the day). They advise that you stay off of the computer (oops) and relax for the rest of the day to let your eyes heal, with your eyes closed. I did that for a good number of hours and for those of you that know me well, you know that I'm going stir crazy sitting idle. But I did get to listen to some good music and radio while relaxing, and took some melatonin and magnesium to help make me a bit more drowsy.
Overall my experience has been very positive. The doctor and his staff are professional, friendly, and took the time to explain everything in great detail, and the procedure went exactly as they had described. Time will tell how much improvement I'll see in my vision, but that's something we'll save for another blog post.