Lasik Surgery

I had Lasik surgery to correct my eyesight on August 6, 2003, and I want to give an honest opinion about it. I also want to talk about the procedure as I remember it. I’d first gotten glasses when I was fourteen years old. I hated them right away, and got contact lenses soon after. I had one serious problem with contacts, though, and that is that I would never take them out. I’d usually wear a pair of lenses for about two weeks straight. I told my eye doctor about this. He then switched me to a brand that was approved for long term wear, but he still recommended that I stopped wearing them overnight. After years and years of these lenses, I finally gave up on them altogether, and started wearing glasses. That was only a reminder of how much I hated glasses. Finally, I went to my eye doctor and said, “I want to get Lasik surgery.” That would be the best decision concerning my eyesight that I ever made.

My doctor told me that since I hadn’t been wearing contacts for over six months I could get the surgery right away. He performed an eye exam, both to make sure that my eyes were okay, and also to make sure my vision wasn’t getting worse. I suppose if your vision is getting worse, you are not a candidate for Lasik. Well, he was satisfied, and so he set up an appointment with the local laser center. This is the first piece of advice I want to share if you decide to get Lasik. Go through your eye doctor. Do not go directly to a clinic, and do not look for cheap sales. It’s your eyesight, it is very important. You want the best for it. I’m not saying that cheap Lasik is necessarily bad, but it is my understanding that low rates usually mean that there will be more costs later down the line. You’ll be charged for follow-up examinations, and usually most people aren’t qualified for the low rates. When I went through my doctor, the cost of the treatment, included one years worth of follow up visits. I paid only one time, up front, for the whole treatment.

My appointment was about two weeks later. Since I wasn’t going to be able to see after the surgery, I had my mom drive me to the clinic. When I first got to the clinic, they checked my eyes again, and when they were satisfied that I was good to go, I wrote them a check right there, and I was off to the surgery.

For the surgery itself, you are laying on your back. The first thing they do is numb your eyes, then they cut off the front part of the cornea, and sort of fold it aside. You are awake for the whole procedure. You see them coming at you with a scalpel. They tighten a lot of braces around your eyes and head to prevent it from moving. When the cornea is out of the way, they start up the laser. The instructions are simple. They tell you to look at the colored dot, and don’t move your eyes. You are worried that you are going to move your eyes. They tell you to keep focusing on the colored dot. I believe it was red or green, but I can’t remember for sure. The laser fires up. It is very loud, it sounds like Rice Krispies on overdrive, it is very nerve wracking. It feels warm. It fires for a few seconds each time. They tell you to keep focusing on the colored dot. Everything is black, except for the colored dot, and it looks pretty blurry, so you’re not sure exactly where to focus your eyes. The laser is all computer controlled, so you aren’t really too worried. The laser fires for the last time.

They move the laser away. Then they replace your corneas. After a minute or two they take all the braces off from around your head, and off your eyeballs. They tell you that you can get up. You walk out into the hall. You can tell right away that you can see a hell of a lot better. Then after a few minutes the sensitivity sets in.

By the time you are being driven home, you can’t open your eyes at all. Your eyes cannot stand any light whatsoever. Sunglasses will not help that first day. The best thing you can do is put your head under a thick blanket. That way if you open your eyes by accident, the light won’t burn your eyes. You can listen to the radio, you can listen to the TV, but whatever you do, just don’t look at any light. Not that it’s bad to, it just doesn’t feel very good. That’s how it was for me, anyway.

After the second day, I was okay. They said I should wear sunglasses for a week, and they gave me a pair covered my entire range of vision, they weren’t very flattering. To be honest though, I stopped wearing sunglasses after three days. I was fine. I went for my follow up visits. A week later, my vision was 20/15. It had been something close to 20/200. I was very happy to be able to wake up in the morning and see. Later follow up visits revealed no problems. Now, I was told that some people may need a second treatment. They do charge you more for this, but it is much less than the original treatment. I did not need a second treatment, and it is my understanding that most people do not.

I would like to talk about cost. Like I said I got the treatment in 2003, and the cost was right around $2000.00 for both eyes. That is probably more than you would ever spend on glasses or contact lenses for your whole life, but it is worth it. The surgery may be cheaper now, I don’t really know, but I had no problems paying that much money, and I would gladly pay three times as much as I did, if that’s what it cost. It is so worth it. They did say say if I needed a follow up treatment it would be about another $600.00, but I did not need this, and I wouldn’t have had a problem paying it.

So what of the horror stories? I honestly don’t know. The surgery went fine for me, and as best as I can tell, it goes fine for most people. I really went into it not knowing much about it. I didn’t want to hear any horror stories. I did not experience a horror story. I can’t say that you won’t have problems, but I think the probability of having a problem is pretty low.

Lasik is the best unessential surgery you can get if you don’t have 20/20 vision. The shear joy of being able to see without the need of corrective lenses is worth any price. If you are contemplating getting the surgery, don’t hesitate, do it. If you don’t have the money for it, save up. If your spouse wants the surgery, get it for them. Your quality of life goes up when you have 20/20 vision. Do, however, go through the correct channels. Talk with an eye doctor, do not look for discounts or sales. No matter what you end up paying, it’s worth it. The bottom line, is that I have been a lot happier since I had Lasik corrective surgery. I highly recommend it.