My Experience with Lasik Eye Surgery

I had Lasik Eye Surgery almost 3 years ago, exactly 3 months after weaning my last child. I had wanted Lasik surgery ever since it first became mainstream, but back then I was a young, single girl, and knew that someday I wanted to have kids. I knew that pregnancy and nursing could affect vision, so I waited. And I waited and waited until we knew we were done having kids. I waited 3 months to the day I weaned my daughter (that was the recommendation in 2007.)

I wanted to share my story because I'm a blabber and I've told everyone and her sister about how much I love being able to see without glasses and contacts. Some of my friends, my father, and my brother have since went on to have the surgery. My sister is currently saving up for it. I am a big glowing proponent of Lasik eye surgery, even though I had a complication.

What? Why would someone recommend a risky surgery if they had issues? Because I still think it was so worth it. That being said, I tell people about my Lasik surgery all the time and I never leave out all the scary, gritty, details.

If you are considering Lasik, there are a few things you should know. It's very quick, and it's scary. Yes! The surgery is scary. Like Minority Reportmeets alien abduction scary. I was strapped into a surgical chair and my eyes were held open with metal circles. Then another circle was pushed into my eye so hard that it popped my eye. Technically, I think this is when they cut my cornea, but I remember it has a metal eye popping circle. Immediately after the cut, the red beam of the laser worked it's eye burning magic. This was fairly quick but a little creepy. The laser follows your eye so there's little risk of error, and the burning smells like burnt hair.

Once the laser announced it was finished (mine talked,) my eye was taped shut and the whole process repeated on the other side. At this point, since I knew what was coming, I almost felt like quitting. It really is kind of scary. But before I knew it, my other eye was being popped, the laser did it's business and my eye was covered. Within minutes, I was told to get up and follow the nurse to the waiting area.

I probably shouldn't have, but I opened my eyes. Although it was wet and hazy, I could see the hands of the clock perfectly. Success! I could see immediately, though for proper healing, I had to keep my eyes closed for the next few hours.

At some point in the healing, one of my children rammed into me and hit me in the eye. The next morning I could tell that something was wrong. I had a follow-up exam scheduled and during that exam they informed me that my corneal flap had folded and started to heal incorrectly. I had to repeat the procedure on that eye. NOOooooo! Yes! So I was put back in the chair and thankfully my cornea had not resealed, so they lifted it with a toothpick (I'm sure it was a surgical instrument and not a toothpick, but seriously, same thing) and swabbed my eyeball with a q-tip and alcohol. Gross! Then they laid the flap back down and I went on my merry way.

I'm still seeing 20/20 to this day. Now the other bad part. I paid over $3800 for my lasik surgery; a fact that my husband won't soon let me forget. I researched and went to the doctor who had performed the most amount of surgeries in our state. He had performed surgery on two of my friends and I really believe you get what you pay for. I've had no other complication and am so happy that I don't have to hassle with glasses or contacts. I got glasses when I was 9 years old and had the surgery at 29. I had lived with glasses for 20 years, and even though I will most likely need reading glasses in my 40s or 50s (like everyone else,) 10 years or more of freedom are worth it to me.

My father ended up going to a less expensive clinic and paid about $1600. The follow up wasn't the best and he did have some complications with dry eye and irritation.

My brother went to the same surgeon as I did, but he had since moved to a smaller clinic with less overhead and my brother paid about $2200. This part really enrages my husband. I could have technically paid $1600 less for the same surgeon if I had been willing to wait 2 years. In this case, I wasn't. For that extra $1600, I did also get a lifetime guarantee. If at any time, my eyes lose their perfect 20/20 vision, I can have the procedure redone for free.

I can't explain to you how wonderful it is to wake up and see in the morning. To be able to swim or ski, or go in and out of buildings without fogging up my glasses. And contacts. Don't get me started on those! I hated taking care of my contacts, and I am so glad to be free of them. I always seem to get something in my eye and I never mastered removing them. I'm thankful that were able to afford the surgery. It was definitely worth it.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the details. I have wanted to get this for years, but have been scared of it. My husband's family has all had it done and have raved about it. I'm glad it worked out for you and hope it will be in my future someday too.

Shelby said...

I've wanted it for so long but being 25 I've worried about my vision still changing. It got worse and worse the older I got so I wasn't sure when it would stop. I think they have settled now but I talked to my eye doctor a few months ago and he said I would have to go without my contact for several weeks prior to the surgery. (Not sure if this is just because I wear gas permeable lenses {hard contacts} ) It seems like it would be the best think in the world. I was also 9 when I got glasses. I'm worried about some horrible screw up making me go blind though. Did any part of it hurt?

Angela said...

None of it hurt. My eyes were really dry feeling for the first few days and sensitive to light, so I wore sunglasses everywhere. But after about 2-3 weeks, everything was perfect.

I was 29 when I had the surgery and my eyes had pretty much settled by then. I also had hard contacts and so I didn't wear them for a few months before the surgery. I don't remember exactly how long.

I was worried about going blind too. Nobody wants that. I think the odds are super low. Most lasik places will offer a free consult. Make sure and ask about it. They'll let you know all the stats and mine even let me watch the surgery through glass.

It was so worth it!

Amy said...

I had Lasik Eye Surgery in 2002 or 2003. I had no complications and loved being free of glasses or contacts. I did have to get glasses last year, but I only need to wear them to drive or see far away. I also had a baby in 2007. It was worth it to me.

Just Playin' said...

I had Lasik too a year and a half ago. I just had one eye done. So that eye can see far away and my other can see up close..that way I don't need reading glasses. I do have so dryness that is a little painful. Waking up and being able to see without looking for my glasses is Vonderfu!!!

Janet and Maya said...

Like you, I also had complications - ended up with stitches in my eye and the worst pain I've ever had - I called our local drugstore and said, "how many pain pills can I take without dying?" It was horrible. I went back for the second eye. And I would do it again in a second. It was worth every second of pain to be able to see without glasses. It's been, oh, about ten years for me and I've loved being able to see.

Michele said...

Kay... I have thought about having it done as well. But your post confirms my worst "alien probe" kinda nightmarish thing I could NEVER sit through. Seriously, will probably never have it done.
And also, my house looks much cleaner when I take my glasses off. LOL

Glad to hear that you survived, and your complication was corrected in time. Sorry you had to go through it twice!! Poor thing.
You're sooo brave. You're my hero ;)

AStarrA said...

So with ya, it was the best thing I ever had done! Don't know if you've seen it but I felt like I was in Clockwork Orange, I think the worse was when everything went black, kept thinking ok they messed up I'm blind now. I knew I needed it when my daughter was a baby at the time and needed changing at night and I started trying to diaper her head (yeah I was that blind and sleepy haha) It's cool you posted this, while it is a bit scary I think anyone considering it so go for it! A few minutes of being freaked out and uncomfortable is so worth being able to see clearly.

Angela said...

I can't believe I forgot about everything going black. After the eye popping, it all goes black while until they put your cornea back down.

It is really freaky, but really only lasts at most 2 minutes. And the results are awesome, awesome! It's probably freakier for the drs and nurses who have to actually look at the eye and everything that's happening to it.

LOL on the house looking cleaner with glasses off. I love it!

Holly said...

Thanks so much for writing about your experience! I'm considering LASIK at the moment and reading this was really helpful. :)

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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate all your tips, advice, and well wishes!


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