(**Update from my re-lasik
on 12-20-03 below!**)
This is the story of my experience getting Wavefront Lasik (Laser) Eye Surgery
at Lasik Eye Centre
in Vancouver, BC on August 22, 2003.
Update 2008: Lasik Eye Centre in Vancouver is now closed. Instead, you can contact Clearly Lasik, run by Dr. Joseph King. They have a location in the Vancouver area (Burnaby) and Seattle area (Renton). I recommend both of these centers based on the amount
of time they have been doing these procedures, and they are the only center in BC that offers the newest technique, i-LASIK, a combination of laser flap creation and wavefront guided Lasik. (Please tell them Daymented sent you!)
Cast of Characters:
Me - age 32 with eye prescription around 6.50. Wearing
glasses since 2nd grade.
Sean - my husband - we live in Seattle
Dr. Hugo Sutton - the surgeon
Shane - Sean's cousin - lives in Vancouver
Debra - Sean's cousin - lives in Vancouver
Sean & I left Seattle Friday morning with just enough time to get to
the Lasik Centre. Because of our lack of planning, we did not have any canadian
cash for parking, nor did we know exactly where the building was. Luckily
it was easy to find, and Sean got money for parking just down the street.
got to meet Ginny as soon as I walked in. She was the person who answered
all of my questions on the phone for the past month. The office is
gorgeous with leather couches and a nice fish tank and lots of space.
I was given my forms to consent to the surgery which took a few minutes
to fill out, then I had my exam to make sure my eyes were healthy
and they took eye measurements.
measurements are taken at four different computers - none of them
touch your eye. You look at a light that moves in disco patterns
and in seconds they have pictures of your eye - topographical looking
rainbow-colored images. After this I went into an office where they
explained how to take care of my eyes after the surgery. A few different
kinds of eye drops are explained, and all of things I can and cannot
do, and for how long.
No rubbing my eyes at all. No shower for a few days (bath is okay,
just no direct water into the eyes). No eye makeup for a week. Sunglasses
must be worn outside for the first week. Then she explained these
goggle things that I have to tape to my head to sleep. Eye drops
all the time. Tylenol if there's pain. And some weird super-gluey
drops if there's a LOT of pain (it numbs your eye and really does
feel like super glue in your eye - but ahhhh... it does numb the
Since your cornea can't be rubbed in any way, you wear these round
plastic cups over your eyes for the first week - any time you go
to bed. They are two separate cups that are taped around your eyes
with surgical tape. They are dorky and incredibly not-romantic.
She asked if I wanted the procedure explained to me, and Sean and
I both said "No!" and she said "Okay, then there
are two things I have to tell you. One, they will press onto your
eye and you will blackout in that eye for ten seconds. Don't be
alarmed. Two, the laser may smell like burning hair. Don't be alarmed."
This was all I knew, and all I wanted to know, when I went to put
on my paper booties and shower cap.
They had me lay on a long bed with a loop for your head. A machine
swiveled over my face. They put a heavy blanket on me and gave me
a sedative to put under my tongue (this was an option - they recommend
that you sleep for at least two hours after the procedure - if you
think you'll have a hard time falling asleep then take the sedative
or you'll be laying there awake with your eyes closed for two hours).
I think the sedative was for kittens. I never felt it kick in.
Patricia was explaining every step as Dr. Sutton moved. Everything
was very positive. The first eew was Dr. Sutton keeping my eyes
open - it's a thing that felt like an unbent paper clip - just a
small looped wire that fit inside my eyelids to keep the eye propped
open. While I'm still thinking eew he put anesthetic eye drops in
and I couldn't blink.
On the thing swiveled over my face is a red light with a starburst
pattern coming out of it. Patricia is explaining that they will
press on my eye and I will black out for ten seconds and oh WOW
OW OW that was rough for me. Actually I think I was going OW OW
OW the whole ten seconds. And then a little zippy sound, the eye
gets sight back, and my cornea flap is cut.
Whoa. REALLY weird. When he moves the flap, I'm looking out of my
eye with the cornea flap removed. I see my clear vision swivel away.
The red light becomes red static. Eew. It was totally bizarre. So
then he does the laser thing, and I don't think it hurt. I'm so
weirded out by this point I just don't remember. I do know it wasn't
pleasant, but I am a total wimp. A few dabs here and there on the
inside of my eye, and with each dab, the red light changed to a
different color, blue, then green, then back to red. I have no idea
Then he swivels my corneal flap (eew) back onto my eye and zwoop!
I see the red light as a regular red light again. To stick my cornea
back onto my eye, they just kinda squeegee it down and it sticks.
He takes the paperclip out of my eye and puts one piece of tape
over my eye to keep it shut.
Then Patricia says "Half way done! Ready for the next eye?"
and I was saying "ohgod ohgod ohgod." I think they may
have asked me if I wanted to wait a few seconds, and I said no.
The next eye was just as freaky, with me saying ow ow ow but it
I'm emotionally tied
to my glasses, so I didn't. But what a great place to put one of those glasses
donation boxes, eh?)
seconds after the second eye was finished and he removed the paperclip
from my left eye, Patricia removed the heavy blanket from me and I
sat up. My eyes were burning. A kid came in and took this picture
of us. Dr. Sutton asked my what time it was and I looked at the clock
and said "Ten till four" and that's when I realized - I
My vision was kinda like having a bunch of Vaseline smeared in my
eye - and oh god it hurt so bad. My eyes felt chopped. They led me
to another dark room with leather couches and had me lay down with
the heavy blanket for a while. They brought my glasses to me and set
them next to me. (I could have donated my glasses in the room where
I put on my paper shoes and hat, but
I was really tripping. It hurt, and my eyes felt hacked, and I suddenly
got nervous about what I had done. It was not a good time for me to be in
that dark room alone. I was scared. After maybe ten (?) minutes Patricia
came in and said "How are you feeling?" and I said "Can my
husband come in here?" and she said "Actually, you can go now!"
and I was surprised that I was expected to just get up and walk out. I walked
down the hall and walked up to Sean wearing my giant black plastic sunglasses
and said "Hi Babe. Can we go? I need to freak out." and we walked
Once outside I was clutching him. I felt traumatized but I think it was
just shock and pain. I am a total wimp. We got to my car and the sun was
searing my eyes through my sunglasses AND my eyelids.
Debra was not home,
so we went to Shane's. Shane was not home, either. It was hot and sunny
and I really needed a cold dark room soon. We crouched in the shrubs (in
the shade) in front of Shane's so Sean could put some eye drops in my eyes
for me and I figured to people driving by, we probably looked like we were
in a huddle doing drugs. I didn't care. I was crying by now.
I kept saying "Baby it hurts." Sean then drove
to Debra's as I'm going "Ow ow ow man this stings, ow Come and
Play ow MAN this HURTS!" and Sean says "What did you just
say? Come and play?" and I pointed to a sign across the street
that said "Come and Play." It hurt to open my eyes (even
with the sunglasses on) but when I did, briefly, I would read a sign
or a license plate out loud and then resume my sentence. I'm sure
it was confusing for Sean. I hardly remember the conversation.
We went to Debra's work, but she wasn't there. Too much time was spent driving
around. We drove back to Debra's and Sean just parked and I covered my head
with a t-shirt while Sean went to get canadian cash, get change, find a
payphone, and call Debra to see when she'd be home. It was probably almost
two hours from the surgery to the time I was laying in bed in a nice dark
room. That was way too long.
By now I was in Super Wimp mode because I was frustrated that we had no
plan and nowhere to go after the surgery. It was totally stupid on our part
and we should have planned better before we got to Vancouver. I guess I
just assumed that I'd be doing a song and a dance as soon as surgery was
over, because everyone I spoke to that had Lasik was like "Oh yeah
it was great! Didn't hurt at all! I drove myself home!"
Thankfully Debra had some homeopathic sedatives and I took two. She and
Sean delivered baguette slices with cheese on them, and juice, and I finally
passed out, with those giant black plastic glasses on.
couple hours later I could kinda cope. It hurt to look at anything
but I could function. Sean made a totally awesome dinner. We took
a couple pictures and I put tons of drops in my eyes and looked forward
to taking a bath (with all the drops and rinses during the surgery,
while I was laying down, all those drops drizzled down my neck and
behind my head, plus I had been sweating. I felt gross). My eyes were
stinging and tired and still felt chopped up. It was very strange.
But I felt immensely better than hours before.
Later that night we went
for a walk around Granville with my silly sunglasses. My eyes were burning
but I was still trying to read things and Sean would point at a sign and
say "What's that say?" And I would squint and say "I just
see Vaseline in my eyes." But then I would read the sign out loud.
I just had to blink a lot.
pictures were taken that same night. I was happy it was over but you
can see that my eyes hurt. The picture on the right is a blood blister
or whatever from.... something. Who knows. It's actually even bigger
now - two days later. I had other little pink dots in some spots as
well. Sean watched TV but it hurt my eyes to look at it.
Once we got back to Debra's we taped those silly cups over my eyes and I
slept with my face propped up on my hands (I sleep on my stomach with my
face in a pillow, which doesn't work so well if there's cups taped over
The next morning I was wide awake by seven. I called my Mom and walked around
outside for a bit with my giant sunglasses again. I could tell that I felt
better and I could see better.
My follow-up (day after) appointment was for 9 am and as soon as we walked
in they had a basket of normal sunglasses to choose from. Dr. Sutton gave
me a normal eye exam and it turns out I had 20/20 in my left eye and 20/15
(better than 20/20) in my right eye.
||Then we talked for a bit and... it
was over. I have to schedule a follow-up with my local doctor for one week,
one month, and three months, to make sure everything is healing properly.
If your sight isn't perfect after this, they do it again until it is.
After this appointment Sean & I met with Shane and we walked around
board shops and had lunch. He digs the black plastic glasses. I should have
left them for him. Besides, I have these spanking silver sunglasses now.
I keep saying to Sean
"I want to take my contacts out!" because that's how it feels.
So I just keep putting in the drops.
stayed at Shane's while the Robosexuals had their band practice,
but my eyes were burning and Sean was bored, so we went to Debra's
to get our stuff and drove home.
Those of you who wear contacts: you know how it feels when you've
had your contacts in for too long, or you've slept in them? Like
sticky and your eyes hurt? That's how it feels.
(Robosexuals say Bye-bye)
I used the numbing drops on Sunday - it really does feel like super glue
in your eye. But it was worth it.
Each day it gets better - not as much pain. Today, Monday, I think the pain
finally eased up this afternoon. Up until then, though, UGH.
I have tons of crusties on my eyelashes and around my eyes from all the
drops, and the eye cups that I tape on my face at night leave marks that
are pretty dorky. They finally went away around lunchtime. Perhaps if you
sleep on your back it doesn't matter. My eyes look and feel tired. I'm sure
this will pass in a couple days.
So if you are considering Lasik:
- Make sure you have somewhere to stay right after the surgery. Somewhere
peaceful and dark where you can sleep.
- Be able to make many phone calls. Conversation is your only source of
entertainment for the first 24 hours since you can't read, watch TV, or
use a computer. And you won't feel like partying.
- Have those eye drops on you at all times.
- Be VERY careful taking clothes/shirts off.
- If you get a hotel, make sure there's a bathtub and not just a shower,
since you can't shower for a couple days (and the bath is also something
- Have lots of Tylenol, or better, handy.
- Do NOT have plans for the next day or you may be disappointed. Everyone
says it didn't hurt, but for me, it hurt like a motherbitch.
I'm still so glad I had this procedure done. If you have
any other questions please let me know. Any technical questions I can forward
Dr. Sutton Dr. King.
Right eye was 20/20 briefly, but then it wasn't. Then it got blurry. Then
it got really blurry. I noticed it when I drove home from that
Hot Hot Heat video shoot -
it was about midnight, and the highway was dark, and I realized I couldn't
see the oncoming headlights sharply, and the highway signs were a blur.
My local Seattle doctor wanted me to wait a while to see if maybe it would
sharpen again as it healed, but by November, Sean and I went to the Lasik
Centre while visiting Vancouver, and they had a look at my eyes. The right
eye was still blurry. We decided that I would call them the next time I
planned on visiting Vancouver, and if my right eye was still bad, they would
I was invited to a Christmas
party on December 18, and decided to make an appointment for December
They did the tests and prepped me for surgery. It was a miraculous experience
compared to last time. I had told them that my last experience was awful,
so they gave me two kitten sedatives this time. I also took a valium before
I walked in the door.
They put the paprclippy thing in my right eye and numbed it with drops.
The new doctor, Steven Kirzner (Dr. Sutton is no longer there as he opened
up another Lasik Center), used a tiny scalpel to make the corneal slice,
instead of shoving that car cigarette lighter thingie into my head. I could
see him doing it but I couldn't feel it. Then he lifted my cornea up, made
some zaps, and pressed my cornea back down and squeegied it flat.
I was in the post-op room for about 10-15 minutes talking to another guy
who just had the lasik done and it was nice to have someone in there to
talk to this time. He was there with his brother and his brother's wife
- ALL getting lasik done.
Oddly, I felt no pain. Maybe the valium and sedatives? Maybe the procedure?
All I know is, I walked into the lobby and immediately asked Sean "Can
we go to the Moderne
Diner on Broadway?!" I took half of a vicodin at lunch, then we
went to the drug store to buy me an eye patch. I took the other Vicodin
half when we got to Shane's, placed the patch over the one plastic goggle
protective thing, and passed out for two hours. That night, we went to Debra
and Dave's, went shopping, made dinner, and played cards. I was amazed at
how good I felt - my eye didn't hurt in the slightest.
The next morning I had no pain at all. I had my check-up at the Lasik Centre
and went out to brunch with friends. I can not only keep my eye open at
all times without pain, but I can also see so clearly! I'm so glad I had
this done. I have to use lots of drops every two hours, but with the one-goggle
one-patch system, it's a lot more comfortable. And I can see!
Drugs. Drugs are great.
Update 2008: I am still really happy with my eyesight and get e-mails all the time asking me if I recommend Lasik. I absolutely do. But please feel free to send me an e-mail if you have any other questions! I love hearing from all of you!