The Lasik Diary – 21 Days Later

Yesterday was a great day.  After working for about 30 minutes I realized I wasn’t wearing my reading glasses.  While the screen wasn’t in perfect focus, it was good enough!  I worked through the whole day without glasses, only reverting to using them last night while reading on my iPad Air.

Here’s the journey from getting my eyes zapped to that point.

The Week After

The first week after having Lasik will probably be the most frustrating.  For the first 5-7 days you will need to deal with a variety of issues and preventative measure.  In no particular order, these are:

Eye puffiness

The morning after the procedure, I looked like I had cried all night.  By the end of the week the puffiness had receded and I looked pretty much like my normal self – tired.

Eye drops

If you’re not comfortable putting eye drops in, you will be!  Four times a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner and at bedtime), you’ll need to put in two different sets of eye drops.  One is an antibiotic, and one is a steroid.  One drop in each eye of the first, then wait 15 minutes and put in the next set of drops.  Given how poor my near vision was during this week, I used Siri on my iPhone to schedule alarms (“Siri, set an alarm for 15 minutes from now”).  I would clean up the alarms periodically, but I here’s what my alarms list looked like at one point.

Its Alarming Really Alarming

Dry eyes

You are warned that you will need eye wetting drops, and to use them even if you don’t think you need them – especially if you work at a computer all day.  For the first full week, I used them every day 45 minutes after my normal eye drop routine, and when needed in between.  After the first week eye drop process ended, I began using them as needed, and I’ve found that for the past few days I haven’t needed them at all.

Poor reading vision

I don’t know the science behind it, but your near vision may be suboptimal for a while.  Something about the muscles in your eyes having been damaged during the process and needing time to recover. In my case, I found that until recently I needed reading glasses whenever I needed to read.  Even today, while writing this, I’m using them.  Do keep in mind, that at the office I use a slightly lower resolution monitor than I do at home, so I’ve been needing them at home more than at work.

Halos – not just for games and angels anymore

Something you’ll have to deal with will be halos and glare. The first time I drove at night, which was three days after the procedure, they were very distracting.  These symptoms are at their worst when looking at a bright light, when in a dark area.  For example, when I watch TV at night with the lights out, will see glare around the screen.  If individual words are on the screen (like titles, or credits), it’s very easy to see the halo around them.  This is still ongoing for me, but getting better.

The goggles!  They do nothing!

Oh wait, they do something.  Since your eyes won’t be “comfortable” for a while and are sensitve to poking, you’ll have to wear goggles or eyeguards at night.  These are inexpensive, nearly flat shields for your eyes.  You’ll be able to see with them on, but it will be obvious that you’re wearing them.  I wore mine for five days (per instructions).  Once I did wake up when my finger bumped against the goggles, so apparently in my sleep I was going in for an eye rubbing (a big no no!).

Eye strain and variation

Your eye has been operated on.  It’s going to take time to heal.  While it is healing, you will find your vision moves around a bit.  By this I mean, one day it will be “good”, then the next day it might be worse!  This is disheartening, but expected.  I’ve found that, so far, it seems to get better in leaps and then stabilize there for a while.  The negative variability is pretty much gone, now things are only getting better.

After the First Week

After your first week, things start to settle down with your vision.  I’m pretty much fully functional, except for needing reading glasses for some things.  I still can’t rub my eyes, which on occasional requires me to stop a thoughtless attempt to do it.

At this point, it’s really down to “This is great!  I wonder when I’ll know if I’ll need reading glasses?”  I was warned that due to my age they couldn’t guarantee that I wouldn’t, so I’m okay with possibly needing them.  However, the uncertainty is suboptimal.  I just keep telling myself that it will take three to six months for my eyes to be completely done changing from the procedure, and I need to be patient.  The same goes for haloing and glare.  It gets better and better, but it’s still around.  Three to six months, three to six months…

Well, that’s pretty much it.  Have eyes zapped by lasers, spend about a week doing some new maintenance tasks on your eyes, and then ride out the time to see where things stand.

Overall I’m very happy with having had the procedure done, and I’m looking forward to writing a “final” post on the subject in February.

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