Thursday, June 28, 2007

What you should know before getting LASIK

I just had my three-week follow up for LASIK surgery and I'm happy to report that my vision is 20/17.5 (20/15 in my right eye and 20/20 in my left eye). That is quite an improvement from 20/CF. (CF = Counting Fingers.)

It is such a thrill to be able to do the one thing I've never been able to do before--drive without contacts or glasses for the first time in my life. I can see my alarm clock at night. When I wake up, I can see my toes! There is NOTHING between me and the world now. I can see with my very own eyeballs and that is a miracle in my opinion.

Was LASIK worth it? YES. Every penny. But the entire process was not without a little minor adjustment in my routine.

Some things to take into consideration if you decide to have the surgery:

  • First, (this was the best advice I got) get a consultation to see if you are even a candidate (My husband and I did some research and found some helpful sites which addressed my questions and explained the difference between some of the cheapo-never-more-than-$499/eye-centers, the quality care and service for your money centers, and the where-will-ALL-my-money-go? centers). I got some opinions from those with first hand experience, asked for referrals, and went to a couple consultations before making my decision on the doctor that I would trust to cut my eyes up.
  • If you are a contact wearer, you'll need to be out of your contacts for at least two weeks if not longer, like a month. I didn't have current eyeglass prescription so I purchased new lenses for my old glasses. (Try wearing your glasses underneath sunglasses while you're out on Lake Havasu.)
  • You'll need to pick up a box of preservative-free artificial tears (roughly $17 at Costco) and fill your prescription for antibiotic eye drops (ranging anywhere from $50-ish if you have insurance to $80-ish if you don't have insurance). I heard you can negotiate with the pharmacy though I don't know if there is any truth to that. (Dr. Gorski: your insight please?)
  • A few days before the surgery, they will do a more in depth exam than during the consultation (measure tearing, eye dialation, etc.)
The day of the surgery, I was so nervous but a bit of Valium did the job!

Now comes the hard part--AFTER THE SURGERY.
  • Use one drop of antibiotic 4 times per day for five days
  • Use one drop of anti-inflammatory 4 times per day for five days (I wasn't too fond of these drops. One of them left a bad taste in my mouth (literally) every time.)
  • Use preservative artificial tears 15-30 minutes for the first day of procedure, every hour from day 2 to day 30 after surgery. Because I opted for collagen punctal plugs in my tear ducts that would last 6 mos., I only need to use the artificial tLASIK gogglesears every 2 to 3 hours on day 2 through 30.
  • Wear these uber sexy goggles to protect my eyes while sleeping or napping for the first 1-2 weeks. (Don't I just look smokin'?!)
  • No eye makeup for a week. (It's okay, I didn't have any eye lashes to put mascara on anyway).
  • No water in my eyes for 2 weeks--which means I either have to keep my eyes closed while showering (how else am I going to clean myself?) or I can wear goggles (which is not easy to do while shampooing or conditioning my hair)
  • No rubbing my eyes for 3 mos., no squeezing eyes shut, no squinting, no strenuous exercise for a week (not a problem this last instruction...LOL)
  • For the hours after the procedure, no watching TV, reading, computer work (which meant no blogging), or going anywhere. They basically wanted me to sleep--which I did. Besides, I couldn't see clearly immediatly after the surgery any way (I didn't get to sit up from the surgery table and see right away like I've heard happening. My vision was murky, like being under water or in a room of smoke. It wasn't until the next morning that I saw clearly and boy was it the most glorious feeling to be able to see with my very own eyes!) I had no problems checking out from the time I got home around 5:30 p.m. (four hours later from check-in) all the way until the next morning. I only got up for a brief moment to see my husband when he came home from work (he brought cut flowers and my favorite foods (pad-see-ow and squid salad) from my favorite Thai restaurant). After that, I crashed until 2:30 a.m. when I forced myself awake to use the antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops I should have used before bed time.
  • FINALLY--the last instruction (not found anywhere on the post-procedure instruction I was given but nevertheless and important point) NO ALCOHOL while I am using the antibiotic drops. (This...was hard for me to swallow but for the most part, I adhered to the post-procedure instructions.)

That's it. That's all you have to do. In my opinion, it's not that much of a temporary inconvenience to be able to see free and clear (hopefully) for a very, very long time.


Anonymous said...

I'm telling you years later it's still one of the best things you can do to improve your everyday life!

Phat Matt

Hello Daly said...

It is ONE OF THE BEST things I did and it has already improved my life so much!

The other day I was sitting at the far end of a conference table viewing a screen projection of MS Excel off of a laptop and it was just amazing to see every detail with my very own eyes.

I love seeing the world so clearly! My vision is sharper and consistently clearer than when I wore contacts (which tends to get cloudy after days of wearing them).

Anonymous said...

Hello!!!! I have had lasik in one eye and I am waiting for my next eye.
I have had some post surgery problems, and now I have to wear punctum plugs in both eyes.

Thanks for giving me peace.


Daly said...

Hi Esmeralda,

Hang in there! I think it will be worth it. I had wear punctum plugs inserted in my tear ducts from the day of the surgery. They dissolve over six months to help with dryness.

Every day when I look around as far as I can see and I can see so clearly--I'm SO happy that I made this decision.

Best wishes to you!

Ben said...

I'm so glad to see so many people absolutely thrilled with the outcome of Lasik. I am going in for my eyes on Friday, 3 days from now. It makes me feel a lot more at ease about the procedure hearing how it has immensely helped everyone.

Daly said...

Good luck Ben! I wish I was brave enough to have the surgery sooner. There's not a day that goes by where I don't look around a
In amazement at how clearly I can see details around me.

lils said...

Hey, im getting surgery, today im going for like the consultation appointment to see if i qualify for it an everything, im so scared, i dont know what to ask and everything, i really need support from someone who had it, can u email me if you have the time it would meann so much to me, thank you so much,

Ruth Belmont said...

Lasik nowadays is a common way of treatment for people suffering from their eye visions.We wanted have a detailed summary on getting eye surgery for which we scheduled a consultation with Carlsbad Eye Doctor Dr. Michael Tracy a board certified surgeon by the American Board of Ophthalmology. We found out that LASIK is a surgery that works by using a two-step process. LASIK is extremely common, but it’s not the best option for everyone.To be a LASIK candidate, patients must meet certain criteria, such as age (at least 22), be free of eye injuries and infection, cannot have any refractive errors, and much more. Thanks to him for such a wonderful consulation and now we are happy to know about lasik.

Marcus Morgan said...

My wife has decided that she is going to get Lasik surgery. We have never done it before and we don't know anyone who has. So I am researching to see what things we need to know before surgery. This blog was perfect and exactly what we needed and it has a lot of great tips and things to consider.