Miss00icl: A Personal Visian ICL Experience Story

glasses chart

This Visian ICL experience comes to us from Miss00icl. Part of her experience is being re-purposed here with Miss00icl’s permission. If you would like to see Miss00icl’s full experience in all of it’s glorious detail, please check her blog out: myicl.wordpress.com.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Surgery Day and Post-Op

Words cannot possibly describe what I am going through right now, so I’ll start by explaining how everything went down today.

Before the Appointment

Last night, I spent a wonderful evening relaxing with my two best friends basically gorging on delicious Chinese food and watching Silver Linings Playbook for the umpteenth time. The point of the entire evening was to distract me from my surgery the next day, and it totally worked! Unfortunately, I got home way too late and didn’t get to bed until almost three a.m.

Five-thirty in the morning, my eyes shot open.

Fabulous.

I was exhausted yet anxious with a bundled nervous energy gathering inside me and waiting to burst out at the seams. What I should have done was get up and get started on all that I had to do that morning, but I was too tired to get out of bed and so I stayed until … 9 am when I had to be at the doctor’s office at 11:45.

Which meant I had exactly two hours  to feed the dog, drop him off at the kennel for the day, stuff a load of laundry in the washer, find breakfast, go to the pet store, change the kitty litter (I knew I wouldn’t be able to lift after the surgery), complete a project for work that involved some eye for detail that I might have the ability for post-op, shower, prepare for my eye appointment, and drive 40-60 minutes to the doctor’s office.

Somehow I finished all that and was able to rush out of the house with a head full of wet hair!

On the way to the appointment, I’m pretty sure I was the most annoying and neurotic person to ever exist, yet my fiancé was patient with me as he sped through the city. (Sidenote: this happened to be the day that President Obama and former President Clinton was coming into town and that terrible shooting at Santa Monica College, all of which presented obstacles – ick!) To my relief, I managed to arrive eight minutes early.

Pre-Op

I must have waited around thirty to forty minutes before they got things started. First, I signed eight pages of paperwork containing scary possible outcomes that I read on like fifty different ICL blogs. Next, I waited. And waited. And waited some more. Meanwhile, I was about to jump out of my skin in anxiety!

Finally, they called me in and we discussed post-op care, which included:

  • a pair of dark sunglasses that spanned into the peripheral
  • two sets of clear plastic eye shields to be taped to my face every time I slept or napped (to prevent eye rubbing) to be worn for one week
  • a steroid drop to be used 4x a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, before bed)
  • an antibiotic drop to be used 3x a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner – about two minutes or so after the steriod drops)
  • absolutely ZERO lifting for two weeks (due to pressure build-up)
  • no bending my head forward for three days
  • no eye make up or eye cream for two to three days
  • NO RUBBING OR BUMPING EYES for about a month. Gentle wiping or dabbing as in washing is fine as long as it is not vigorous rubbing.
  • no bathing until the day after post-op
  • shower with eyes closed; it’s not a problem to get water or a little soap in the eyes, it’s mainly the discomfort and irritation that may follow
  • no water in the eye whatsoever for two weeks
  • no swimming for two weeks (sauna, hot tubs or whirlpools are fine as long as the head is not submerged under water)

All fine. Afterwards, they sent me back into the waiting room to wait some more.

Eventually, they called me back in for one last eye examination before surgery to check for consistency since the last appointment. Turns out where my left eye was -11.25 and 1.0 astigmatism*, today was about -11.0 with 0.75 astigmatism. My right eye before measured -12.00 with 0 astigmatism, today measured -11.75 with 0 astigmatism.

Perfect, my doctor said! I also want to note that during the examination, my doctor experimented with how I saw with -12.00 lenses in my right eye only to have me decide that -11.75 was more clear, so that is what he decided to go with for the surgery.

*Astigmatism note: Since I was confused, my doctor helped me to understand the level of astigmatism as the following.

0.25 to 0.75 diopters = mild astigmatism

1.00 to 2.50 diopters = moderate astigmatism

2.75 to 4.75 diopters = severe astigmatism

5.00 diopters or higher = extreme astigmatism

After my examination, I was sent back into the waiting room again.  This time, a few minutes later one of the assistants showed up with three drops: numbing, dilating and antibiotic (I think).

I also got my first dose of Valium! She left and came back to insert the drops again about ten minutes later, and again for two more sets with ten minutes in between or so.

Not more than fifteen minutes after taking my first Valium, I started to feel reeeeeeeally good, like party-mode good. I felt relaxed but still anxious , so I was given another pill.

I wanted to mention that at this point, the doctor’s office became unusually empty. Every time I’ve come here, it is bustling with at least five sets of clients in various stages, yet as I walked through the office to use the restroom, my fiance and I were the only ones who were not employees.

We learned that because ICL is far more of an intensive procedure that involves a lot of preparation as well, they clear an entire block on their schedule to focus on me, me, ME!

The Operation

Finally, it was time for me to go into the surgical room! I sat on the chair so that the assistant could tuck all of my hairs under a cap and tape my ears so that liquid would not get into them, then laid me down and covered me with a nice, warm blanket. More drops into my eyes, but this time iodine to sanitize. Waited some more. More drops again. I probably received drops two more times after that.

I probably laid there waiting for around thirty minutes, which felt like an eternity, and unfortunately I spent half of it almost having an anxiety attack despite the Valium. I was probably experiencing about five to ten minutes of breathing difficulty when FINALLY the second Valium kicked in … and I fell asleep. Ha!

I finally woke up to the doctor coming in. I remember being in the middle of a dreaming state and got confused a few times on what was reality and what was not, but when the doctor settled in above my head and started prepping my right eye – as in prying it open – that dreaming dimension quickly disappeared, for every bit of discomfort snapped me back into reality.

First, a sheet was placed over my face so that only the right eye showed. I wouldn’t say it was entirely uncomfortable, but I do remember a few times when his hand sat on my nose and mouth making it kind of hard to breathe (I could still breathe).

Since I was so very high on Valium, I’m not sure exactly how it all went down, but I remember my eyes being clamped apart and a gel being inserted into my eye. The doctor asked for a blade and then announced to me that he was inserting the lens.

That felt … weird but not too disconcerting, possibly because the doctor updated me on every step of the way. I’d say him adjusting the lens felt more uncomfortable the insertion part itself (“Look down, look up, okay now look down but not all the way down… You’re doing great!”).  Now, what was REALLY uncomfortable was the iridotomy.

He announced it along with a warning about pressure and then  – AHHHH!!!!!!! I felt like a victim in a scary movie (remember Saw?). While that was happening, I was begging in my head for it to stop and what was possibly a minute or two process felt like an hour. I was ever so grateful when the doctor cheerfully announced that my right eye was done. (“It went perfect, you did really great!”)

Side Note 1: There was a time or two when I felt deeply uncomfortable when he had to clamp my eye open farther. Thankfully he was sensitive to that and applied more numbing drops.

Side Note 2: As the doctor switched eyes, I briefly had my first look through my right eye and was amazingly surprised at how much clearer in shape the tiny green and red lights above me were. Exciting!

Just when the doctor was about to switch to the left eye, he casually mentioned that most patients felt that the next eye felt more uncomfortable because now they know what’s going to happen.

At this point I was too out of it to respond anything more than “ummmmph” when I was feeling uncomfortable, so I could only respond in silence.

The assistants took the tape off of the cloth over my face, taped my right eye shut, then replaced my face with another cloth that showed only the left eye. I don’t remember it being much different than the right eye except that it just felt longer in general.

I also hated that he had to pry my eye open even further a few times which felt almost painful (again, nothing that could not be solved with numbing drops). And if it were not for the Valium, I would have screamed during the iridotomy that followed.

Post-Op

When the surgery was over (55 minutes for the surgery alone, according to my fiance), the doctor quickly unclamped my eye but left the cloth on my face. To my surprise, he didn’t want me to open my eyes until my fiancé was in the room (whom he personally walked into the waiting room to fetch!) with me to share the experience.

When my fiancé arrived, they took the cloth off my face and took the tape off my right eye. They encouraged me to open my eyes slowly and then gently but firmly helped me to sit up.

I opened my eyes.

“My SHOES!” I exclaimed. “I can see my SHOES!” Those were the first words out of my mouth. Classy.

The room laughed and my doctor pulled out his personal cell phone to document the moment. To my embarrassment, I started crying as I took in the clarity of my entire environment. I could SEE!

Side Note: My fiance later told me that the entire office, knowing how bad my eyesight was,  was so excited for me to have this procedure done and see how it went. I didn’t notice at the time, but the entire staff was either in the room or crowding right outside the door to view my reaction! I remember feeling this beautiful and happy vibe in the office, and I realize now that it was all the people there who made me feel so cared about and felt so genuinely happy for my immediately upgrade in quality of life. They might have congratulated my fiance too. You might as well have thought I gave birth!

The assistants led me out of the operating room and into an examination room. My doctor came in and pulled out his phone, then asked me to read the letters on the screen.

Turns out, I was seeing 20/20! Like a fool, I was crying again and my doctor got it ALL on video. With my hair a complete mess, my eyes puffy and bloodshot, and tears streaking down my face, I must have looked like a beauty queen at the moment. Ha.

The doctor used a microscope to examine my eyes and announced my results as perfect other than the burst blood vessel in my right eye – “normal,” he said.

In addition, the whites of my eyes were pretty red and every time I blinked I could feel this … scratch? (“It’s normal,” the doctor said, “I did have to cut into your eye you know. It will heal fast.”) Truth be told, though, I didn’t care – I can SEE!

A Break

After that little examination, I was allowed to leave for lunch, but before that the assistant taped those plastic eye shields I mentioned onto my face. I was too excited at the time to look in the mirror, so my fiancé and I raced out the door to get some shabu shabu – perfect for its dark atmosphere to suit my wildly dilated eyes – but I was horrified when I looked into the mirror later to see what I looked like with those shields on. Thank goodness we were the only ones in the restaurant!

Post-Op Exam

After a late lunch, we made it back and my vision was tested again. 20/20 in each eye – yeah! I then tried to see 20/15 was impossible with each eye alone, but I think that after this glaze leaves my eye, I may be able to accomplish that with both eyes seeing at the same time.

Next the nurse applied numbing drops and the doctor conducted a pressure test, which came back as 18. He was expressed his pleasure, but I suddenly started to panic because I could no longer open my eyes.

The office assured me that it was because of the trauma my eyes experienced and that I should be able to lift my eyelids in about 15 minutes. I also mentioned about this mean migraine I started to get towards the end of my meal earlier, to which they said was normal and gave me Advil to take care of it.

Ten minutes later, I was able to open my eyes and I left with the biggest smile on my face while sporting my new doctor-provided shades.

Homeward Bound

So what now?

As many complained about, I see halos, but they aren’t bad.  Actually they aren’t that much worse than the halos I already saw with contact lenses – maybe just slightly more pronounced than when the contact lenses are in that annoying dry state? – so I think I will be fine in that department – hooray!

And as for watching television, it’s a little bright sometimes, but nothing that I can’t handle without my sunglasses. (Ironic that indoor sunglass wearing used to be a pet peeve of mine, yet here I am! Karma.) I am most comfortable with dim lighting at home though.

At this moment, I can focus on the words I type on the screen, but attempting to view very small details like the cuticles on fingernails immediately gives me an eye ache. It disappears as soon as I look away though.

I currently view the world with a slight film in my eyesight that does not interrupt the clarity of my vision. I know that doesn’t make any sense.

It’s just weird that I can look out the window and count the leaves on my neighbor’s tree across the street, yet I feel like I’m viewing inside of my house through a window with a slight film on it.

My eyes are sore. More specifically, I feel like someone punched me in the eyes. This should come as no surprise, being that I did have them operated on after all.

I am tired yet highly energetic. This could just be my own unique biological make-up when it comes to Valium. Speaking of weird biological make up, since it is National Doughnut Day, I did inhale FOUR doughnuts (two chocolate covered with Bavarian cream filling, a glazed twist and a coffee cake) after I left the doctor’s office. This is highly – and I do mean HIGHLY – unusual because I am such a health freak and love nothing more than to eat clean. :S

I feel really, really weird that I can see well, yet I don’t have glasses sliding down my nose. I also keep having these thoughts about rushing to the bathroom to take out my contacts, but have to remind myself my eyes are naked and that those days are over… Over!

I think at the moment, I’m going to get ready for bed even though it’s only 8 pm. It will be strange to take out a huge part of my hygiene routine that I’ve had for so long, but imagine how weird it will be to wake up in the morning with clear vision! I’m excited.

No regrets so far, just feeling blessed.

P.S. I should mention that while I walked to the bathroom to get ready for bed, the baseball game on the TV stopped me in my tracks.  I just could not believe the crazy amount of clarity I could see on screen, even when viewing close up with my corrective lenses in the past.

We watch baseball just about every day, so these players are like family members in my home and I know just about every angle and mark on their visible skin, yet it felt my eyes set on Andre Ethier for the first time in my life.

It was one of those moments I will never forget (like the first time I wore contact lenses) and definitely confirmed that ICL was definitely the best decision I have ever made in my life.

Day 2 + Post-Op Check

The Next Morning

The first thing I would like to say is: I am healing in lightening speeds.

Prior to my surgery, I read nightmare stories about halo-vision, pupils that refused to go back to normal, pain, blurry vision and a general lack of comfort.

Me? Let’s just say, right now I’ve ditched my sunglasses and I’m typing this on my computer like it is any normal day.

Before I go into that some more, though, let me tell you a funny story that happened last night.

After last night’s post, I was bushed and my eyes felt tired. I washed up, taped my sexy eye shields on – want to see? Look:

– and promptly went to bed at nine something.

Two hours later, I woke up to craziness in the house. My poor dog had diarrhea in his pen and right when I woke up, my fiancé was shoving the dog out the door and cleaning the area in a straight up panic, as the dog never ever does things like this. I shot out of bed – eye shields and all – did my own little freak out dance and promptly started digging out cleaning supplies and handing them off to my fiancé.

After the deed was done, I suddenly realized that it not even once crossed my mind to reach blindly for my glasses. In fact, I didn’t even think about how clear I was able to see even through the plastic eye shields!

I was so disappointed in myself. In my head, I fantasized about waking up slowly, reaching for my glasses, panicking that they weren’t by my bedside then remembering about my new corrective-lens-free life.

Oh well.

Anyway, after that incident, I fell back asleep quickly thanks to the Valium. I slept soundly and woke up feeling like a million bucks. Plus, I could SEE!

I was a little dizzy when I got out of bed (especially when taking a turn), but I went about my morning just fine, carefully washing my face and examining my eyes. The right eye is still bruised – as in a massive red splotch on the outside of the eye – but it’s a lot less swollen and the overall redness died down quite a bit.

My pupils also retracted a lot, though my right pupil was still slightly larger than my left. The best thing about my eyes though was that even though my eyes were sore to the touch, my eyelids glided smoothly over my eyeballs as if there was never an incision at all. While I examined my eyes closely, under the right light and the right distance from a hand mirror, I could see the dot created from the iridotomy which was pretty neat in my opinion.

Side Note: I had a “moment” with the eye drops. Usually when I take the eye drops, I am blind and it’s anyone’s best guess if it will land in my eye. Now with clear vision, I could easily lean back and hold a mirror above my face to aim the drop for my eye. EASY! By the way, the drops – a steroid and an antibiotic – did sting but wasn’t annoying at all. Some bloggers wrote about tasting it somehow, but I didn’t have that experience at all.

It wasn’t until I started walking the dog, however, that I started to feel weirdly loopy. I just remember admiring all the leaves in the distant trees and then my dog looking at me weirdly because I forgot to take a turn that I’ve done a hundred times.

I got home okay, but my head was way up on the clouds. I put the dog in his pen, put on my shoes and that’s when my mind and body got into super party-mode: I began to give myself step-by-step directions on how to put my shoes back on.

Further, I had to write a check out and I had to figure out what went in each space and spelled out every word sloooooowly. Simple things became a complicated affair.

Side Note: I did at one point bend completely over to put on my shoes – a no-no as per the doctor – but I quickly got myself out of that position and everything was fine.

I arrived at my breakfast location in one piece and thank goodness there was a parking spot right in front of the restaurant because I was in no shape to run across the street. I swayed quite a bite while waiting outside, but solved it by leaning inconspicuously against my fiancé.

Fortunately my word stabilized once I sat down awhile and got food in me! Then the world became a much happier place.

During breakfast, I found that I could then leave my sunglasses off in the restaurant despite having a window seat, and after breakfast I was able to focus on my iPhone just fine.

Oh and here’s a weird side effect on Valium (aside from my voracious appetite): forgetfulness. My mind would process some sort of information and then poof!

The information would be gone.

For example, my fiancé and I decided that it was time to go to the doctor’s office and so I put on my shoes, walked outside and jumped in the car, only to suddenly become confused and asked him where we were going again.

Remembering that Valium has a half-life of 24 hours, I know I just need to live a few more days before it’s completely out of my system.

Follow-Up Appointment

Before leaving the doctor’s office yesterday, I made an appointment for today at 1:15 pm for a pressure check and overall wellness check.

When I arrived, my doctor was in the LASIK room prepping a patient for his surgery. I can’t tell you how excited I was for the patient! Since my doctor operated on almost all his staff, I can understand now how they themselves can truly and genuinely feel enthusiastic for other patients.

One of the more annoying things about my doctor’s office is that aside from my first appointment, I have to wait around a lot to get to my turn. The second appointment was supposed to take two hours total, but I think it took three to four hours.

The surgery was supposed to take three to four hours, but I was finally able to leave for good over five hours later. Today, I waited thirty minutes for anyone to get me started before I had to wait some more for the rest of the examination.

My first examination revealed that my right eye was seeing a minimum of 20/20 still. HOORAY! As for my left, I was disappointed that I missed the first letter of the 20/20 line, making it 20/15. Being a Type-A personality, you might as well as told me I was blind. <– I need to work on that.

I was led back to the waiting room and waited about twenty minutes more for my doctor to be ready for me.

When I finally saw my doctor, the corners of my mouth could not help but jump in elation. I became quite the blubbering fan, thanking him for changing my life and how incredible I feel overall. I would have rolled my eyes up at me!

The conclusion of my eye appointment was that I am seeing – get this – 20/15 in my right eye! As for my left, it was confirmed that I was seeing 20/25, with an overall vision of 20/20.

Disappointed with my left eye, I asked my doctor about whether or not it was over or under-corrected, to which he mentioned that I had to do with my astigmatism.

He attempted to neutralize it with some sort of method, but it didn’t quite work out 100%. He did encourage me to wait and allow my eyes to settle though, and to see what our appointment next week will show.

He also reminded me that in my contacts I was seeing 20/30 in my left eye and 20/40 in my right eye, so the swap in my right eye seeing better and 20/20 vision overall is an improvement than prior the surgery.

Well, he is right about that, isn’t he. :)

As for the pressure check, I came in beautifully at 16. Unfortunately it required those freaking numb drops again and after the check was done, my eyelids clamped shut again. It finally felt well to open about ten minutes later. Annoying, but thankfully temporary.

Right Now

I keep having this itch to take my “contacts” out, especially when I first arrive home, and then having to be reminded that glasses and contacts are a thing of the past. I think that prior to the surgery, although I found corrective lenses quite annoying, there was something soothing about not seeing clearly.

My glasses weren’t the correct prescription (even though I got them just this past fall!), but I was so content with not seeing well and it gave my mind a rest, sort of like how a person will cover a bird cage when it’s time to sleep.

Now, my vision is clear 100% of the time. It’s probably a little overwhelming for my mind, because while I’m out, my eyes are hungry to take in every detail that I’ve missed in the past few years.

As a result, I am freaking exhausted. After leaving the doctor’s office, we stopped to get something to eat, and while sitting in the passenger seat and looking through the side window, suddenly my eye lids became heavy and I basically passed out in my seat until I came home.

Overall though, I feel WONDERFUL. I’m not entirely sure how my night vision is, but I have an inkling that it’s going to be pretty darn good. In fact, I just might test these new babies out at a night festival this evening. Exciting!

P.S. Here’s a picture of the sunglasses my doctor provided me to wear. Surprisingly, they don’t look that bad, although when I do wear them, I feel like a walking cane would be an appropriate accessory. :|

 

For more on Miss00icl’s Visian ICL experience, check out her blog!

Cheers! to High Definition Vision Miss00icl! She has become a Visianary!