The post surgical advice the laser specialists give you is to go home and sleep but I found this rather impossible to do. My eyes felt like I'd been standing in the middle of a circle of smokers and I couldn't rub them, they also ached and were very bloodshot, they looked like I'd pulled a all night drinking session but didn't feel tired so I couldn't sleep.
My vision was hazy and it was difficult to keep my eyes open because the light hurt a little so in the end I plugged in headphones and listened to LBC radio over the internet. This worked well because it's a chat station so it was easy to mentally get involved with the discussion and keep my eyes closed. About 9pm that evening my appetite started to come back so krys (my wife) very kindly bought Pizza.
It must have been something of a surreal sight, sitting there on the bed, curtains drawn, lights out, munching pizza listening to radio over the internet :) The blurb says that 2-4 hours after surgery your eyes will feel better. Mine took 5 hours but the change at 5 hours was remarkable, I could see, my eyes ached a little but as long as I avoided bright light I was fine.
For the first seven nights after eye surgery they give you a funky eye mask to wear. This is designed to stop you accidentally poking or rubbing your eyes. It takes a few goes to get it sitting comfortably but it works well and that evening I had a good nights sleep even in goggles!
Another thing to note, for the first 7 days you are on a cocktail of eyedrops, anti-biotic, anti-inflammatory and artificial tears. I must admit that I never thought I'd need the artificial tears as my eyes used to stream at the drop of the hat but since laser surgery that's pretty much stopped.
The next day I was able to get up, use the computer for a little bit and walk around with near perfect vision. I was impressed, after 20 minutes of using the computer I had to walk away though as my eyes were still a bit light sensitive. It was at this point I noticed something wrong, my distance vision was perfect but my close up vision wasn't right.
My right eye was fine but my left eye hard marked double-vision which caused me slight panic until Krys very kindly slapped me on the head and told me to calm down as it wasn't even 24 hours post surgery. Also, I had a follow up appointment that day so it was best to see what they had to say.
That afternoon I was able to walk from home to the local optical express (about a km) although I needed sunglasses even though it was cloudy. My eyes were still very light sensitive.
At optical express I was seen by the same person who did the pre-op assessment and I have to say that throughout the whole process she has been awesome.
So, This first post op assessment was quite positive with the exception of inflammation and dryness. The inflammation being caused when I squinted just before they created the flap. I was told to use more of the Pred Forte (anti-inflammatory agent) in the left eye only and to use a lot more of the blink drops (artificial tears). The good news was that there were no striae (bubbles in the cornea due to flap movement) and an eye test showed that my right eye was 20/20 whilst my left was 20/30 - not perfect but a lot better than before surgery.
The next appointment was supposed to be a week later but was set for the end of the week as they wanted to check on the eye dryness.
Anyway, rather than go on about each visit to the optician I'll summarise it quickly. In two months I've been seen 4 times with a 5th appointment due in another three weeks or so. One appointment was cancelled due to the optometrist getting caught up on the M20 after a very nasty accident but it was rescheduled for the next day.
The second visit showed that the anti-inflammatory had worked but I still had slight ghosting in the left eye. This was due to excessive dryness which was still causing problems so I was given some gel to use of a night to help keep my eyes moist.
2 more check-ups on and I'm finding that my eyes are still light sensitive but they always were prior to surgery so that's not a big surprise, they are not as dry as they were but still dry so I make sure I've got the artificial tears on me at all times. The blurb says that your vision will continue to improve and it's true. 8 weeks on and I suspect my left eye is 20/20 now so I'm looking forward to a follow up eye test to see if it's true. The follow up care from Optical Express has been second to none. The apologies (and free cup of tea) when the optometrist was stuck in traffic was lovely and they have been more than generous with additional blink drops and other sorts of eye gel supplies.
The two hardest bits for me were finding something to do the evening after surgery and not being able to get my face wet in the shower or wash my eyes in the sink for the first seven days.
Your eyes and eyelashes need cleaning after the eyedrops because they can be messy, the way you have to do it is with a face cloth and kettle boiled water (let it cool down obviously!) then you VERY CAREFULLY dab your eyes and lashes - It works but it is cumbersome. The reason for this is simply because you can't risk any sort of bacteria taking hold on the eye or worse under the cornea.
So that's about it for my experiences. The first evening was hard going, the next day better and since then my vision has been perfect in my right and near my perfect in my left and improving. Not having glasses has given me a whole new way of looking at the word and I do mean that literally, I no longer have the frames of the glasses in the way of my vision, my night vision and peripheral vision are incredible. I did have halos for the first few weeks but they faded quickly and as I type this its very hot outside so I know I'm going to need additional eye drops, especially in my left eye, and I'm making sure my sunglasses are close to hand but that's it, the procedure, for me at least has been a resounding success and I am very grateful for the opportunity to see without glasses.
So, one last question - Will I need glasses again?
Insufficient information to answer that. There is a chance that as I get older I'll need reading glasses. This is nothing to do with laser eye surgery it's just a fact of life and something to do with the back of the eye changing so it cannot be fixed with a laser.
What about short-sightedness? Could it return?
Yes it could. That's also a fact of life. My eyes should stay at 20/20 for 10-20 years, after that they might deteriorate again, if they do I can get them lasered again for no additional cost which is a very fair deal to me and depending on my age at that point I might not bother but that's something to decide in the future.