When I heard I would need a laser peripheral iridotomy and was informed of the potential complications of the surgery vs. the whole gross iris sucking thing that could happen if I didn’t get it done, I did the standard:
omgwhatthehellletmeseewhatothershadhappentothem Google search.
That, my friends, is almost always a mistake. Why? Because most of the people who post about their experiences with surgeries, or medications , or whatever, only post when they are negative. Considering surgeries happen every day, or medication is taken by millions of people who don’t have problems, the successfully treated masses are, in fact, silent. Not to downplay the negative experiences of some people, I know it happens unfortunately, but to show the other side of the coin.
The morning of my surgery I was nervous, I mean it was my eyes. Poke the rest of me sure, but *shudder* not my squishy eyeballs and not when I’m awake. I had this terrible fear that I would leap away from the laser like I do the air-puff thingie they use for glaucoma screening.
I checked-in and waited until they called my name. First-up was a baseline check of my eye pressure, followed by some eye drops that would narrow my pupil and thin out the iris to make it easier for the laser to penetrate. I was advised that it might give me a bit of a headache and they offered me Tylenol should I need it. I did feel a slight pain in my forehead, but as a sufferer of both migraines and sinus headaches it was NOTHING. I did have fun watching my pupil get smaller and smaller though. I was checking it now and then through my phone’s reverse camera after I was sent back in the waiting room for the drops to do their thing.
Eventually they called my name again, and this time putting numbing drops in my eyes and sending me into the treatment room to wait for the doctor. As I sat there I felt my heart start to beat a wee bit faster, particularly when I looked at the laser and saw the handles on the table. You need grips!?!
That is when I took this (very unflattering, but highly accurate reflection of all my feels)
The doctor soon came in and asked me how long it had been since they’d put the numbing drops in my eyes. In all honesty, I had no idea so I told him maybe 5 minutes before that. Just in case, he put some more in and then had me sit down at the machine with my chin and forehead resting on the supports.
He sat at the other side and peered at me through the scope. He put some gel stuff on my eye and then held a small glass lens thing to my eye (which I’ve read is to focus the laser and it helps to prevent the eye’s blinking getting in the way.) He then adjusted a few things, told me that I shouldn’t feel any pain, but may feel some sensation and then asked me not to move.
Now I tell ya, I took that literally… and those grips? Oh yeah baby I was holding on for dear life, terrified of moving.
When the laser started doing its thing, I did feel a sensation. It was a snapping feeling, it reminded me of a slight flicking of a rubber band. Not painful really, just a little stingy and weird. Certainly nothing to cry about. After he was done with one eye, I felt some pressure as he pressed the lens to my iris. I’ve read that is to control/prevent any bleeding. He then moved over to the next eyes, repeating all the peering and adjusting. That one seemed to take him a wee bit longer for some reason, but in the end it was less than 10 minutes start to finish for both.
I was sent out to the waiting room for 45 minutes, so they could check the pressure in my eyes after surgery. One of the risks is that surgery *can* cause the pressure to go up in one or both eyes, but often only temporarily.
45 minutes later I was back over to the reception area and they checked the pressure. She checked it twice and then asked me to sit down again and wait for the doctor. I guessed from all that, that I had an increased pressure. When I saw the doctor again, he said that I did indeed have elevated pressure in my left eye, but that it wasn’t bad enough for him to even have to put me on medication. He strongly felt that it would go down on its own, but wanted me to come in the following week to verify that.
After surgery Tom and I went out for breakfast. My eyes were still blurry from all the drops and the goo that was used for the lens on my eye and I was feeling a bit of glare from the left side because the sun was slanting in the window, but otherwise I was just fine and dandy, just a little light sensitivity and some very mild pain in the eye. I didn’t take any OTC pain meds or anything.
I spent some time staring in the mirror trying to spot the iridotomy holes at the top of my iris as that was where I had read they were put, until I noticed the holes were at the 3 and 9 positions of my iris. After I realized that, I did a bit of online research, and found that is the newer approach to help to avoid the post-surgical glare (light leak through the new tiny “pupil”) that can happen to some people.
The holes are tiny and if you didn’t know where to look, you’d never notice them.
I took a crazy-eyed “before” picture just for that reason:
Aaaand the slight blurry (I couldn’t see very well) and bloodshot eyed “after” photo.
See? Barely noticeable.
A week later I was back for my check-up. The pressure had returned to normal and the holes he said “looked fantastic.” Whoohoo!
Since then? No problems and now I don’t need to worry about angle closure glaucoma, unless of course the holes decide to close up.
I’m back for a final check-up in March, I’m guessing to see that the holes are still holding their own and not closing up. Maybe once they’ve reached that point they’re not likely to do so.
So, for anyone out there who may be scared about getting this done, and reading all those negative posts… here’s one to tell you, from a person who was terrified of eyeball surgery, that my experience wasn’t that bad at all.