Tales From the Lasik Waiting Room

As an experienced Lasik patient I thought I might give a glimpse into the worst part of the Lasik procedure... the waiting room. I have had a Lasik procedure twice, the second being a follow up since one of my eyes needed additional work after the healing procedure was complete. I was distinctly less nervous about the second procedure, and observed and talked to a number of the other Lasik clients that were waiting with me.

One was a young woman in her early twenties who talked incessantly trying to keep her mind off of any of the Lasik brochures and information on the table. She had been thoroughly oriented to both the Lasik operation and post-op procedures, but had brought along a few stuffed animals to keep her company during the operation. Most Lasik physicians recommend a minimum age of 18 due to sufficient maturity of the eye, but maybe waiting for some emotional maturity might be another factor. On the other hand, I wondered what I looked and sounded like waiting for my first Lasik operation.

Talking to a few of the other Lasik clients, I realized I was not the only one in for a second Lasik procedure. Two others were like me in that they did not get sufficient improvement in their vision to satisfy themselves or the Lasik surgeon. In all of our cases, our first Lasik procedure of several months earlier went well, and none of us were particularly nervous.

It did surprise me, considering that it was 6:30 AM, of the variety of clothing styles of the Lasik clients. Most of us, considering the hour and the rather frigid temperature of the Lasik operating room and the waiting room, were dressed in snug and warm sweat suits or other comfortable wear. One Lasik patient was dressed in formal business attire with full makeup.

This puzzled me for at least two reasons: any makeup, lotions, or other things that could get into the eye are forbidden for at least 24 hours before the surgery, and it is highly recommended to go home and sleep as quickly as possible after the Lasik procedure. The only thing I could figure out was that she wasn't actually getting a Lasik procedure, but no one else is there at 6:30 AM. Her dominating and withering look made me decide that any pre-Lasik conversation with her was better left unsaid.

I was probably the fourth person escorted into a waiting room for a final discussion on Lasik post-op procedures, but I could not tell how long I had been waiting. I think they avoid clocks for a very good reason. The lady two seats down from me was calm enough about her Lasik procedure to go back to sleep while waiting, which seemed like an eminently sensible idea.

Each patient is offered a mild sedative before the Lasik procedure starts. It is mainly for psychological purposes, as my first Lasik experience was not painful at all. I did take it for my first experience, but my own Lasik history and the others I have heard in the waiting room make me think that I don't need it. But I take it anyway, just in case.

I hope that this window into a Lasik waiting room helps give the attitude that for most people it is not a dreaded procedure, and for those of us that have had Lasik done, a rather uneventful one.

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