I paid for this procedure myself and was not compensated for writing about it. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, thank you. The day I had my LASIK consultation, I made the appointment to have it done. I thought I’d share what it was like and whether I’d do it over again.
Written the day after the surgery:
To make a very long story short, my LASIK almost didn’t happen due to confusion/a mix up about the price. I did have it done, though two days later than originally planned.
I checked in, took a valium, did some additional scans for Countoura and waited. I was really unsure whether I should take the valium and if I had it to do over, I wouldn’t take it. I didn’t feel like it really helped and I ended up feeling really disoriented after the procedure was over.
Anyhoo, the tech marked above each eye with a purple pen (that was heck to get off after with eye makeup remover), I put on a stunning hair net, and headed back to the surgery area.
The first machine was the one that cut the flap and this was the worst part of the procedure. I got some numbing drops, a patch over the eye that wasn’t being worked on, then a creepy looking clamp to hold my eye open. The machine pressed down on my eye, hard. So hard that my vision blacked out and I felt like my eyeball was going to pop. The doctor counted down from about 15 seconds so I was able to hold it together, knowing there was an end in sight. Then everything was switched for the other eye. The pressure was pretty extreme and a little scary, and there was a funky smell (the doctor later told me that it was the gases, not my eye tissue as some patients think).
After that, I got up and moved to another machine. They used stickers to hold my upper and lower lids back, folded back my corneal flap and had me focus on a (blobby) green light. It was supposed to take some pictures, then move on to the laser portion, but as is my luck, it didn’t work that way. It had never happened before to my doctor, but this million dollar piece of equipment has multiple failsafes (obviously) and if anything is even slightly off, it won’t work.
I laid there seemingly forever and they put my flap back down, took the clampy thing out and told me to close my eyes. I’m there trying to crack jokes to avoid freaking out.
My joke fell flat and the doctor said, “yes, that’s exactly what we’re doing.” After what felt like an eternity they got the machine back up and were ready to go. It was a matter of seconds, some weird noises and another funky smell. Then it was done.
My vision was very fuzzy and I was feeling pretty disoriented, I guess due to the valium. They took me back to a room and had me sit with my eyes closed for 20 minutes. They checked out my eyes, and the light was very bright and almost painful. Then they gave me a pair of sunglasses and sent me on my way.
The ride home seemed like an eternity and my eyes were starting to burn like crazy. They were watering, which was in turn, making my nose run. When I got home I laid down for what turned out to be 4.5 hours. I tried to sleep but didn’t actually fall asleep until the last half hour or so. Every few minutes I was putting in the eyedrops the doctor called “magic” (they had a numbing ingredient) and blowing my nose. I’ll be honest that I was feeling pretty miserable and kind of regretting doing this.
When I got up, I could barely open my eyes and everything was hazy, though the burning had just about disappeared. My eyes were very red and swollen and my head really, really hurt. I tried to get on my computer but my eyes were very sensitive to light and tired. I knew that dry eye and burning etc. were to be expected but I didn’t realize how bad it would be. Unless it isn’t that bad for other people?
I took some Tylenol PM hoping to get some sleep (it worked) and went to bed just after 10. When I got up at 6:15 the next morning, my vision was almost completely clear. Just a little bit hazy (especially looking at the computer). I drove myself to my follow-up appointment and the doctor said my eyes looked great. The red and bloodshot look was due to the suction of the machine that cut the flaps. He suggested using the Prednisolone drops every 2 hours vs. 4 to help with the swelling etc. Those drops aren’t my favorite because they are very “milky” and make my vision extremely hazy for a good bit after using them. My left eye has 20/20 vision and my right 20/15. I’m hoping that over time the haziness will go away, but overall I feel like I can see better than I could with my glasses.
Would I do it over again? Theoretically, yes, it was worth it for the vision (which is so amazing I want to cry) but the scariness of the procedure and the pain afterward are a little too fresh right now for my to say yes, I’d do it again.
Written the Monday after the procedure:
Today is Monday, so 3 days post surgery. First of all, I just re-read what I wrote on Saturday and wow, holy typos batman (I fixed them, you’re welcome). My vision wasn’t the greatest that afternoon when I wrote it but I guess my typing is worse than I thought.
So, don’t want to say I “regret” the surgery, but…I’m kind of having regrets today.
Yesterday I flew to Las Vegas for the ABC show. I’m really hoping this has something to do with the dry air but my eyes are so.freaking.dry. I’ve been using the lubricating drops (and antibiotic drops and Predisolone drops) as recommended, the lubricating drops even more. Yet, my eyes feel like I have really, really, really dry contact lenses in – like I fell asleep with them in, and I can’t wait to get them out. Except I can’t take them out. The dryness is not only uncomfortable and causing me to blink and look silly (no eye rubbing allowed), but it’s causing my vision to be quite foggy.
My eyes look terrible. I look like I’ve been on a 5-night bender and have bloodshot eyes. You can actually see the red ring where the machine that cut the flap suctioned onto my eye. To make matters worse, I’m not allowed to wear eye makeup for a week (not that I’d want to with my eyes healing), so my yucky eyes are just out there with no camouflage.
Speaking of, I didn’t realize that I’d miss my glasses. I’ve worn them for such a long time that I think I’ve almost hidden behind them. Since I couldn’t see myself with my glasses off (and I haven’t been able to wear contacts in more than a decade), I guess I didn’t know exactly what I looked like without them, and I’m not sure I like it. My face definitely shows its age without glasses on top of them.
Before I’d had the consultation, I actually found a pair of glasses I liked on me. The frames alone were almost $300 and the lenses would add even more. Today, the charge for the surgery hit my credit card and I had to take money from my savings to pay for it, which stung of course.
As of today, if I could go back in time and actually feel the recovery pain and know how I’d feel about this today, I wouldn’t have done it. I would have just splurged on the glasses I liked and lived with it. I’m hoping that I’ll feel differently once my eyes are healed, once I’m out of this desert air, and once I get used to not wearing glasses.
I’m writing this on Sunday, about 9 days after the surgery.
By this past Friday things were feeling (and looking) better, but today, my first day back in Maryland was much better. That dry Las Vegas air was too much. I have scaly dry patches on my skin, my lips are chapped and my eyes were their own little deserts there. I have my “1-week” checkup tomorrow. I do still rather miss “hiding behind” my glasses but I’m hoping that once I can wear eye makeup I’ll feel a little less self-conscious (not that I wore it regularly before). The price still stings. It’s very weird to be able to see in the shower, see my clock, and even see light clearly through the blinds at night.
OK, it’s Monday. 10 days post-surgery and I had my “1-week checkup” today. Turns out, my vision today isn’t quite as good as it was 1-day post-op, and my eyes are dry (duh) but also there are areas that could be “debris” (normal) OR inflammation. The doctor wants me to go back to using the Prednisolone drops. At the appointment, he said every 4 hours but then the office called to say he’d actually like me to use them every 2 hours. I go back on Wednesday. It’s hard to believe my vision could get better than this. It’s a little hazy if my eyes are dry but otherwise, it’s clearer than it ever was, especially since I couldn’t keep my glasses clean.
Today (Tuesday) I was able to look at my visit notes online and it said “possible early DLK.” Stupid me, googled DLK and freaked myself out. That said, it sounds like it’s unlikely to be DLK since it wasn’t present the day after surgery.
It also seems that worst case, I’d probably have to wear glasses again. I’m going to continue the drops as ordered, go to my appointment tomorrow, and stop Googling.
I had my follow up today, and things are looking much better. That means it was probably inflammation, but it’s not an issue since it’s improved. Since I was using the steroid drops so often, I need to taper off doing 3x/day for 3 days, 2x/day for 2 days then once on one more day. I go back next month just short of a month post op. My vision was 20/15 in both eyes today. The tiny letters on the chart were blurry to me, but I got them all right! I’ve worn eye makeup for the past 2 days, and I think I’m maybe getting used to the way I look without glasses.
While I was in Las Vegas, I had a drunk guy start to hit on me, then say “oh, never mind” when he saw my face. Talk about a confidence boost. *sigh*
Today marks 3 weeks since my LASIK. I think I’m starting to get used to how I look without glasses, I’va almost completely stopped going to push up my glasses, and my eyes are hardly dry at all. I use drops maybe twice per day at most. I do seem to always reach for my glasses on the nightstand when I wake up, and I’ve noticed that I have an indentation from where the bridge of my glasses was.
I thought about deleting what I wrote above but I thought it best to leave it, in case someone else is considering LASIK. I really don’t know if all my feelings are totally unusual but figured I’d share everything.
I had my “1-month” checkup today, 2 days shy of 4 weeks post surgery. My right eye has a slight astigmatism, which is why my left eye seems a bit clearer. Still, I had 20/15 vision in both eyes, even though the letters were a bit blurry. The doctor said the astigmatism could correct itself over time. I go back in January for my 3-month checkup.
At about 6 weeks post surgery I’m almost taking for granted being able to see. Some days are better than others as far as eye dryness and irritation goes. I’m glad I can see but my wallet still hurts, ha.
Two months post surgery. I only need drops maybe once a week if my eyes are feeling dry. It’s amazing that I can just wake up and see. I’ve stopped trying to push up “my glasses” and have stopped reaching for them in the morning. To be honest, had I not written this, I really wouldn’t remember how miserable those first few days were. So, maybe my experience wasn’t unusual, the memory just fades quickly.
All of my consultations and follow-up care were included in the cost I paid. If you’re in Maryland and considering LASIK, I highly recommend Maryland Vision Institute. All of the doctors are unbelievably talented and well educated, and the staff is amazing.