Monday, April 15, 2013

YAG laser iridotomy

The first thing they did to me today after bringing me back into the examination room was to place drops into my eyes that constrict my pupils, so they have a larger space in the iris to work with, where they're punching the holes. I've gotten tons of drops in my eyes over the years, but man, those suckers felt like you were getting lemon juice squirted into your eyes.

It takes about 30 minutes for the drops to wear in, so they kept me busy by signing a ton of forms about all the risks I was taking, and some other general medical stuff that you need to sign before having surgery. I noticed as I went on that lights started to became blurry from my pupils constricting. The effect is very hard to describe, because it's the opposite of getting your eyes dilated, where lights are also blurry. It's really just a different kind of blurry where you get the feeling that light is hanging out around a light source when it shouldn't be.

When they was all finished they took back to their laser room, where they perform their lasik operations as well. At first I was a little worried seeing the chair all the way back with a laser above it the size of a small car, but that's what they use to do the lasik. The laser they were using on me was kept in the corner, and was about the size of the regular equipment in an eye exam room.The laser itself is called YAG, which stands for yttrium aluminium garnet. It's called this because it uses a synthetic gemstone to create the specific wavelength of light.  Basically you sit at a table, and put your chin and forehead up against a frame like you would for many of the other measurement machines you go through on a regular eye exam. I was completely calm until they pointed out the grip handles on the table on either side of the table and asked me to hold on to those. It really gave off the impression of a soldier telling you to bite a bullet while they sawed your leg off.

They put some drops in to numb my eyes and then stuck a lens over my right eye to keep it open as they lined up the laser. It hurt about as much as I expected, basically like having someone flick you in the eye. The first time it happens it sort of catches you off guard, but after it's done a few more times you don't really notice. I was under the impression that since they are punching two holes into each iris, there would be two laser zaps and it would be over. That wasn't really how it worked. The first or second "zap" of the laser opens the hole, but the remaining tissue around it will seal back up if it isn't carved away as well. I joked with my doctor that it's almost as if the eye doesn't want you to punch holes into it. Depending on where the initial hole is punched, there may be lot more laser zaps because that particular area has more to take out, or they may be less needed. 

My right eye was done relatively quickly, the highest level of discomfort I experienced was when I forgot to blink with my left eye and things got blurry which makes you woozy. Since both eyes are numb it's easy to forget that you haven't blinked in a while. 

The left eye took a little bit longer because the second spot he choose to make the hole was apparently very near a vein in my eye, which caused lots of pigment and other stuff to float through the hole and get in the way. I'm told it bled a little, but if he presses the lens down a little tighter on my eye it stops quickly. It wasn't anything I could feel though, beyond that occasional sensation of getting flicked in the eye.

Once everything was done they went over the drops that I have for inflammation and gave me a couple reminders about the surgery next week and sent my on my way. I could see right afterwards, but it was like seeing through a really dirty windshield. That feeling went away after about three hours, and I was able to put my contacts back in. I've looked into my eyes with a mirror for a bit, and there's definitely no way of knowing they've got some new holes. 

Since then I have noticed one side effect from the procedure. I can tell the holes are at the bottom of my eyes, and letting in light. If I'm staring at a larger computer screen and reading something at the top of it, there's a faint glare in my vision, sort of like a shimmering around the edges. If I move my eyes further down, that glare goes away. When I blink there's a faint white line that moves from the bottom of my vision and settles at the middle. The best way I could describe it is like having an eyelash across your vision.

I decided to wait to post this to see if the this feeling has gone away and so far it hasn't. It's been 6 days since the iridotomy. My eyes still feel kind of scratchy, but are otherwise completely fine. The white line doesn't bother me as much as it did the day after the procedure, but it's definitely still there, and I think once everything else is done, I'd like to explore any options about getting rid of it.

The ICL surgery is tomorrow morning.

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