Seeing the World with New Eyes: I Got LASIK!

by ilene on January 31, 2012 · 10 comments

in Uncategorized

I just got LASIK surgery a few days ago!   I LOVE IT!!!   I’ve had to wear glasses/contact lenses since the third grade so I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time.  I’m so glad I did it, it’s a total lifestyle change!  I feel free!  I thought I’d write about my experience in case any of you are curious about it or considering the surgery yourself.  I was initially pretty scared about the procedure but once I heard friends’ experiences, including my sister’s, it really helped me make the decision to finally go through with it.

The morning of the surgery, I was at the eye clinic for a little over an hour, the bulk of that time was spent waiting and going through a few final eye examinations.  During the exams, they put in a bunch of numbing drops into my eyes.  I was also given a half dose of xanax before the procedure to sooth my nerves.  After I was all set to go, I waited 10 minutes for the xanax to kick in a darkened “relaxation” room with lounge chairs, snacks and drinks.  The clinic also allowed friends/spouses to watch your operation on a zoomed in big screen right outside the operating room, too, which I think could also reassure you.  I’m normally an uptight, high strung worry wort, so I think the drugs really helped!  I was so calm, it was almost like an out of body experience.

When it was my turn, I was led into the operating room where I sat in the chair and was lowered under the laser.  They covered me with a blanket and gave me the option to hold a teddy bear, too.  I was in the operating chair for less than 10 minutes.  The whole lasering was so quick and it’s painless!  I honestly have a hard time recalling a lot of the details because it all happened so fast!  The doctor clamped one of my eyes open so that I couldn’t blink. The lasers track eye movement so I didn’t have to worry that I was moving around too much.   Two different lasers were used.  The first laser cuts the flap on your eye lense and I felt a small amount of pressure on that eye.  Then the doctor lifts the flap and uses a second laser to reshape the cornea.  The whole time I had to stare and concentrate at a green blinking light above me.  At one point, the doctor warned me that I would not see anything and my vision went completely black. That was the only time where I started to get scared but that only lasted for about 30 seconds.  Then the flap was put back and I could see blurred images which slowly started to come in focus.  He repeated the same procedure on the other eye.   It was over before I knew it!  It really helped that the doctor explained exactly what was going on to me while he was working and kept assuring me by saying “perfect! great job! almost done!”  I sat up from the operating chair and they took a picture of me with the doctor which they emailed me and I was whisked out of the operating room.  They had me take another half dose of xanax to get me groggy, gave me sunglasses for the ride home (my parents picked me up) and a special pair of  goggles to sleep in.  I immediately went to bed and slept for almost 7 straight hours!  When I woke up, I could already see clearer.  I took another xanax pill which pretty much knocked me out for the rest of the night.  At some point in the night, Jeff flew home, laughed at me in my goggles and took a very unflattering picture.  Maybe I will post it… Or maybe not.

When I woke up the next morning, I was so amazed, I could already see so clearly!!!  For the past 20+ years, the first thing I’ve done when I wake up in the morning is reach for my eyeglasses.  I can’t believe I don’t have to do that anymore!  No more fumbling around for glasses!! Jeff is one of the few lucky Asians who has had perfect vision his whole life so he has NO idea what a huge deal this is!   I went in for a post-op appointment that morning where I was examined and discovered I could see 20/15.   It’s a miracle!!!   It’s been a few days since the surgery and I am on a bunch of eye drops for the next month or so.  The only side effects that I have are halos and dryness, which is suppose to slowly improve over the next few months.  I’m thrilled with the results, I wish I did this earlier! I keep asking myself, why did I wait so long?!

If you are considering getting LASIK, I definitely encourage you to at least get a couple free consultations from various doctors, it doesn’t hurt to see if you are a good candidate.

A couple of other things to consider:

1.  LASIK costs a pretty penny.  Different clinics charge different prices (I ended up paying $4,500. I pay $700 annually for daily contact lenses so I justified that this expense will pay for itself after 7 years.) and you need to pay for a bunch of pre-op and post-op eye drops, vitamins and cleansers which add about an additional $125.  If you plan ahead, you can put money into your FSA during open enrollment time and save a little using the untaxed money.

2.  All the appointments you have to go to are a pretty big time commitment.  I had 2 pre-op appointments and will have 5 followup post-op appointments over the next 6 months.  You also can’t to a bunch of things like sports after the operation, so plan accordingly if you lead an active lifestyle.  You also can’t wear your contact lenses for the week before the surgery and you aren’t allowed to wear eye makeup for the week afterward, so I did the surgery at a time where I didn’t have a lot going on socially.  I’m a different girl in glasses and without makeup!

3.  Make sure you find a reputable eye surgeon that you are comfortable with.  I did a lot of research and checked out a couple clinics.  Ultimately, I went with the same surgeon who did my sister’s eyes and many of my friends’.  He is known to be the best on the west coast and performed over 100,000 operations (e-mail me if you want his name, he works in Newport Beach, CA).  I have nothing but great things to say about the office I went to.  It’s important to find someone who has state of the art technology and has good bedside manners.  I’ve gone to other consultations at other clinics where I felt that the appointment was more of a sales pitch – run from those doctors!!

So that is my LASIK experience in a nutshell!  I know its not for everyone, but I am glad I did it!

Good bye contact lenses, good bye glasses!

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1 Jen January 31, 2012 at 10:09 am

Wow that’s great! I’m considering lasik myself, but I want to wait a few years because I still plan on having one more child and I know your vision can change when you’re pregnant. It’s great to hear about your experience though, definitely makes me less nervous to get it done myself!

2 Natty January 31, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Go xanax!

3 January 31, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Aside from the whole “I smell my eye burning” thing, my experience was very positive 🙂

4 cravesadventure January 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Congrats – here’s to testing out the new and improved peepers:)

5 Annie February 1, 2012 at 1:50 am

Awesome post, Lene! Thanks for all the info- I didn’t realize how involved this whole procedure is, so it’s probably best if I schedule it for a time where I’m not traveling like a madwoman. I’m most freaked out about the idea about not wearing makeup for a week! Let me know if you have any probs with eye dryness, that’s what I’m most worried about. Sorry I had to miss you this week in Irvine! A giant cockroach dropped onto me in HK this morning.

6 ilene February 2, 2012 at 3:47 am

Hey Annie! Believe me, I was super worried about not wearing any makeup for a whole week afterwards! And having to wear my super nerdy and did I mention crooked 7 year old glasses the whole week before! That’s one of the good things about escaping down to SoCal for the surgery, you high school friends have seen me thru the good, bad and UGLY and I know yawl wouldn’t care!

7 Sini February 1, 2012 at 10:00 am

I got my Lasik done 4 years ago, it was a good decision as I couldn’t use contacts all the time because of my allergies and glasses were not good at the hobbies. My operation went pretty well, the only thing was that the pre-medication didnt help and I wasn’t relaxed at all. And yes, the burnt eyes smell and everything.. I’ve been happy about the operation, still missing glasses sometimes because I like the look 😛 (not going to put fake glasses on)

I did my operation at summertime, what was bit bad decision as I needed to keep sunglasses all the time during 2months and no swimming either.

8 Mel February 2, 2012 at 1:22 am

Going to use your doctor once I move back to Socal! Yay, Eye-lene! (Haha, I’ve been saying that too much, huh?)

9 Anonymous February 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I got lasik done 5 years ago, and reading this made me remember my experience. It was wonderful, truely one of the best things I have ever done. They gave me a half of valium to ‘relax’ before the procedure and I remember getting the giggles for like 15 minutes! My husband thought I was crazy, but I just couldn’t stop laughing!!

10 Frank Kim March 5, 2012 at 3:39 am

I’m glad it went so well!

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