My LASIK Experience

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Since elementary school (the mid 90s) I’d worn some form of corrective lenses and for as long as I can remember I’ve disliked them. For a good while I had huge, dorky glasses and as I got older I BEGGED my parents to let me try contacts and they didn’t put up too much of a fight.

Scan 33
These metal frames were’t terrible but I still hated them. I remember sometimes on photo day I would try to have my photos taken without them.

For several years I wore soft contact lenses during which time I tried every contact lens brand under the sun and they were all. very. uncomfortable.

The biggest complaint I had was dry eyes, regardless of the brand. I finally settled on Acuvue Oasys contact lenses, but even those came with their limitations: I could not shower, swim, or nap with contact lenses in.

Over the last few years Anthony and I have become a bit more comfortable with our finances so similar to how I BEGGED my parents for contacts, I BEGGED Anthony for this surgery. Also similar to my parents, he didn’t put up much of a fight (because he loves me). I knew that LASIK was not covered under our insurance and that it would come with quite a price tag as well as other side effects, so I started to do my research.

After a days of research, I had decided to make a consultation with what seemed like the most reputable and appealing clinic: Whitten Laser Eye.

October 2, 2017 – LASIK Consultation at Whitten Laser Eye

My first impression of this clinic was: holy wow they are super organized and have this process down! Dr. Whitten answered every question I had and here are the key take-aways I had from this free consultation:

  • The surgery would cost $3,500.
  • The procedure itself is painless, recovery afterwards is mostly just uncomfortable, not painful.
  • Before and after surgery I would have a few prescription eye drops, these would be covered under my medical insurance.
  • For several months after surgery I would need to use OTC rewetting drops.
  • I would need to stop wearing contacts 1 week prior to surgery.
  • I’d have follow-up appointments 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months following surgery. All but the first follow-up would be at my local Optometrist’s office. All follow-up exams would be included in the $3,500 surgery cost.
  • There’s a lifetime warranty on the surgery, so as I age if my vision reverts some I can come into the clinic for updates.

Everything sounded great to me. Recovery didn’t sound that terrible and the benefits certainly seemed to outweigh any side effects or costs. So after kicking around the idea for a while (and delaying for a while for completely unimportant reasons), I scheduled my appointment!

A week before surgery I threw away my last pair of contact lenses and switched to glasses for a week. For reference, here’s how that looked:

before-lasik

It wasn’t easy to do my workout classes wearing glasses (most of the time I just took them off and went blind), but I got through it.

Day 1: February 21, 2018

Surgery day was finally here! I arrived at Whitten Laser Eye around noon and upon checkin I was given a Valium (in hindsight I bet I didn’t need that but it’s standard procedure and I didn’t have anything to prove) and escorted to my pre-op exam room… where I received this cool hair net to keep my long hair out of everyone’s way:

lasik-prep
Not my best look, but worth it.

After going over a few last details and agreeing to standard stuff, I said hello to Dr. Whitten and then they walked us to the waiting area. After only a few minutes of waiting they brought me into the operating room. Anthony stayed right outside the operating room in the waiting area – now time for the action!

Anthony was able to watch my entire procedure on TV from the waiting room. And by “entire procedure”, I mean all 10 minutes worth. Here’s a partial video he took:

He had brought his iPad so he could read comics, but he didn’t even have time to unlock the iPad before I was already walking out of the operating room. They guided me to the post-op exam room where the nurse went over a few care instructions, then soon enough they had us on our way home with a pair of super dark sunglasses and instructions that Anthony should drive.

When I arrived home, I decided to rest for the day in the guest room where I would be separate from the dogs, cat, and plenty of hair floating around our bedroom. I taped on my protective eye gear, took a pain pill, and napped for a few hours.

post-lasik2

I was instructed to take a very long nap as a few hours after surgery I could experience some pain and they wanted me to sleep through it. But after 2-3 hours of napping I just could not sleep anymore! This is actually abnormal for me and may have been due to the Valium they gave me right before surgery. Thankfully when I woke up I wasn’t in any pain. I would say that it felt like I had eye strain, that’s about it.

The eye drop schedule started on Day 1. They gave me a medication log (which I love because I do the same thing for my pet’s medications – yes, I’m that type A).

lasik-eyedrops

The rest of the day I just sat around and watched TV. I wasn’t allowed to use any close-up screens such as my phone, tablet, or computers. So if you texted me on this day… the response you got was from my trusty assistants Anthony and Siri.

Day 2: February 22, 2018

Soon enough it was the next day and time for my first follow-up exam at Whitten Laser Eye. Anthony drove us to the clinic and when we arrived they showed me right to my exam room.

Dr. Whitten took a look at my eyes for a few minutes, and said everything was looking great! He had me read off the eye exam charts a bit, then sent me on my way home with instructions to continue the normal eye drop schedule until completed.

Although my eyes were still sensitive to light, I popped on my sunglasses and drove us home! My first time driving without prescription glasses or contacts, it was freeing!

1 Week Post-Op: February 28, 2018

A week after surgery I started my follow-up appointment with my local Optometrist at Nilsen Eye Care. They performed a normal exam (minus the puff of air for obvious reasons) and determined that my eyes were a bit dry but all things considered they were doing great. They assured me that I could use the rewetting drops as often as I felt that it was needed.

At night when driving I notice that headlights and street lights give off quite a bit of glare. Not enough to make it so I cannot drive, but I was warned of this temporary side-effect. Also at night my eyes get tired before my body and brain does, but this is normal especially for how much I look at screens.

My vision was testing perfectly though!

1 Month Post-Op: March 22, 2018

This exam was also at Nilsen Eye Care, and similar to the last exam. Eyes were still a tad dry but the eyes were healing very well. I started to notice around this time that I no longer saw much glare when headlights were pointing at my while driving at night.

At night I’m still noticing some tiredness in my eyes, almost like eye strain. But nothing terrible, just a little uncomfortable.

Vision tested perfectly again!

3 Months Post-Op: May 23, 2018

Another exam at Nilsen Eye Care. At this point my eyes are only dry when I first wake up in the morning and right before I go to bed, but still using my OTC rewetting drops a few times a day. Vision was still perfect! I can’t even explain how weird it is to leave an optometrist’s office without a new Rx for glasses/contacts.

6 Months Post-Op: August 29, 2018

My last follow-up appointment at Nilsen Eye Care! After this point I’ll have my regularly scheduled yearly exams to check my vision but nothing related to the LASIK. My eyes are hardly even dry in the mornings or late at night, sometimes I forget to use drops even though I probably shouldn’t.

Vision is still perfect!

In the end, I highly recommend LASIK to everyone I know that’s been interested and considering it – at least go get a consultation to see if it’s an option for you. Every place I researched does a free consultation at the very least.

I know I definitely went with a pricier LASIK clinic and could have chosen a cheaper option, but to me it was worth it that the cost was all-in, no paying for each follow-up visit or nickel-and-diming parts of the procedure such as the Valium to help calm me before surgery.

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