11/19/13 – Pre-Op
I began contending with the idea of LASIK surgery a year ago and 3 days from today, I will be able to see clearly all on my own. I just wanted to log this in case anyone is sick of glasses/contacts and are considering going this route. LASIK fall under cosmetic surgery so insurance will not cover the procedure. However, you can buy up to $2500 or however much is allowed of flexible savings which saves you about 33% on taxes. My surgery, including a portion of discount, comes down to $4,850. I don’t think this is too steep a price to pay for perfect eyesight but this could be a setback for many people so I’m just putting it out there.
What first attracted my attention was a deal on Lifebooker for 2for1 LASIK at Diamond Vision. I’ve heard this name before and thought I go in for a consultation. I was recommended PRK instead of LASIK because it’s safer. Here’s the difference between PRK and LASIK.
PRK is done by rubbing a layer of your cornea away with a chemical ingredient and then performing the laser correction on the portion of the cornea that will never grow back. This portion of your cornea will grow back in a few weeks, during which time you will feel uncomfortable and vision will be blurry. You’ll also experience changes in your vision for the next 6 months to a year. It’s a long process but you don’t lose corneal thickness and the correction is done closer to the top of your cornea.
LASIK is done by cutting the top layer of your cornea and leaving a portion connected, mimicking a flap. The doctor then open the flap to allow the laser access to the portion of the cornea that will receive the correction. After the laser finishes, the flap is closed. After a day, the flap will seal itself and no further changes to the vision will occur. You’ll be seeing 20/20 the next day and a week’s recovery is recommended.
I was all set on doing PRK until my eye doctor recommended TLC Laser Center. After an initial consultation, I was sold. They said I was an ideal candidate for LASIK, but I’ll need to wait a year in order for them to monitor my vision to ensure that it will no longer change. They also guarantee lifetime correction if I do need it. Everything is done via lasers, no blades are involved. Everything just screamed better care, better technology and better service.
After 3 separate free eye examinations over the course of a year, I was deemed ready for surgery this Friday. Today’s pre-op exam was long but very thorough. My eyes were dilated to confirm my prescription level, consistent between machine and manual. I won’t be able to update on Friday, but I’ll definitely enter another post as soon as I’m able to see. I really can’t wait!
12/2/13 – Post-Op
The operation was a huge success. It has been a little over a week now and my eyes are completely back to normal/not blind as a bat anymore! I can’t emphasize how worthwhile it was. No more glasses or contacts. I can see from the moment I open my eyes to the moment I close them. Everything looks more colorful and picturesque. I love it.
The day of the operation went like this. I get to the clinic around 10 AM though my appointment was at 9:30 AM. It was raining that day and I had been working up until 30 minutes before the surgery. Even though I was late, TLC was so accommodating and the paperwork began almost immediately. I also lucked out since it was a slow day due to the rain. After signing away my life, I was ready for surgery. 🙂
I took 2 Valiums. I felt happy with heavy limbs. With only a couple hours of sleep the night before, I just wanted to get the surgery over with and sleep. Luckily I was in and out of the surgery room in 5 minutes. First I’m taken to a dark room to receive the anesthetic drops. They also covered me up with a blanket so I was comfy as can be. The surgery room had 2 giant machines and 1 lounge chair. I lie down on the chair and put my eyes in the hand of Dr. Speaker.
The surgery begins with a clamp that holds my eyes open. Luckily my eyes are wide so it wasn’t uncomfortable. The doctor began with the right eye. A suction cup is place on my eyeball and I go under the first machine. After a few seconds, the laser trimming of the top corneal layer is complete. The doctor then flips over the flap. At this point, I am staring at a giant spot of light which takes up most of my field of vision. The light became even blurrier but since I can’t blink, my automatic reflex to clear my vision by blinking is stopped.
Next, I am told I will hear clicking sounds and smell a burning odor. The clicking began and I knew the laser has begun its work to remove bits of my cornea. I felt extremely calm and even intrigued by the light, which made it a lot it easier to stare straight at it. After about 45 seconds, I hear the doctor say, “That went perfectly. You can give lessons to my other patients.” He places a few drops of steroid and antibiotics in my eye and closed the flap. He used a tiny sponge to smooth out the flap and placed a few more drops of medicine. He then removed the clamp and covers my right eye with a square gauze.
“Let’s move on to the left eye now.”
The same procedure took place and the surgery was over as quickly as it began. The doctor puts plastic eye shields around my eyes and secures them with tape. The shields are clear with holes.
Upon completion of my left eye, I was moved to to the waiting area and again covered in a blanket. I’m not sure how long I dozed, but next thing I hear is my mom. It was already 12 PM or so. I must have passed out for over an hour, oh, how blissful my sleep was. My mom leads me downstairs and we grab a cab home-bound.
Eyes drops every hour for the first day plus restful sleep. I was seeing 20/20 the following day during my post-op checkup. A few days later, another checkup and I was told my flaps were healing perfectly. Today, I can resume my normal activities and I really do need to. The holidays plus no exercise equal insulation overload.