The journey towards deciding to have Lasik (laser vision correction) differs widely from person to person. By sharing my story, I hope to give you some first-hand experiences to help you come to a decision on whether to have the surgery or not. I will share both the positives and negatives during the past year from the actual surgery and any side effects that I experienced.
Why Did I Choose Lasik?
I’ve been wearing glasses or contacts since grade school so I am quite used to the morning routine: wake-up to a blurry world where I cannot even read the numbers on the alarm clock. I have an active, outdoor lifestyle. One big fear I had, however, was learning how to swim.
With glasses and contacts, learning to swim is an ordeal. I had to wear glasses to see the instructor and the sides of the pools. Contacts could get lost. I signed up for adult swimming lessons and did the first few lessons with my glasses without problem. I purchased some prescription swim goggles that could be secured with a band around my head. However, a scary moment happened: the goggles popped off during a lesson, and I could not see the instructor or the edge of the pool. I panicked for a few moments before going to a back float while the swim teacher found my goggles. This experience finally prompted me to consult a Lasik surgeon in my area.
What Happened During the Lasik Surgery?
I had to do about 2 hours of tests to determine my suitability for the surgery. I had a slight astigmatism, but no major problems. I got the green light and scheduled the surgery! I used money from my health flexible spending account to bring down the cost and saved up the balance. I paid approximately $2250 per eye.
During the day of the surgery, my husband came with me, and we arrived about an hour before the procedure. The office staff had me fill in some paperwork and gave me a Valium for relaxation.
The surgeon’s assistant rolled me into the surgical unit, where it was quite cold. I was given a nice warm blanket. The surgeon described every step of the procedure as he performed it. He placed numbing drops in my eyes, waited a bit, and then placed a suction cup clamp device on the first eye. This part was pretty uncomfortable and painful. The suction did break some blood vessels, and I had bloodshot eyes for about a week.
The surgeon instructed me to look at the little light on the first machine that makes the flap. The feeling was strange, but not painful. He then pulled the flap over and wheeled me to the laser machine where I looked at another small light. It took just 48 seconds for that laser to reshape my eye. I barely noticed a slight burning smell. The doctor then repositioned the flap. This part was also pretty uncomfortable for me but only lasted a few seconds to under a minute.
I then had my second eye treated in the same method.
After the procedure, the surgeon examined my eyes and gave me some prescription drops and pain medication to take home.
My vision was much improved, although still a bit blurry. I went home and took a nap for about 4 hours. I only used one pain pill.
What Happened the Day After Lasik Surgery?
On the day after surgery, I went back in to the surgeon’s office for an exam. On the drive to the office, my vision was incredible! I could see amazing details like leaves on trees and individual letters on signs. My exam showed that my eyes were healing normally and my vision was 20/15.
I opted to have the remainder of my post-op visits at my regular eye doctor. The surgeon also instructed me to keep applying the eye drops for several weeks to reduce the eye inflammation and to reduce the chance of infection.
Did I Have Any Side Effects After Lasik?
My two biggest side effects were dry eyes and night halos during the days and weeks after surgery. Since I had my surgery during the summer months, my dry eyes felt pretty gritty and very uncomfortable. I used drops constantly and finally got a prescription for Restasis. I used that product for about 2 months and the dry eyes eventually resolved.
The night halos were more bothersome and still have not resolved nearly 10 months later. However, I am used to the halos now and barely notice them anymore. The halos were quite distracting during the first few months, and I avoided night driving.
How Has My Life Changed?
My only regret about Lasik surgery was that I waited so long! My quality of life has improved because I do not have to worry about my vision. I feel enabled to do things that I was afraid of before like learning to swim and going snorkeling for the first time.
I definitely recommend consulting a surgeon in your area if you have ever thought about having laser vision correction. If you are a good candidate for the surgery, then go for it! My surgery improved my day-to-day life tremendously, and I’m very happy with the results.