Wednesday, March 13, 2013

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My Lasik Experience

In college (some 20 years ago), I noticed that I was having trouble seeing the professor's notes in the front of the classroom. During a break, I went home and my Mom took me to her optometrist and I received my first, and only, pair of glasses. I've had this same pair of glasses for 20 years and rarely wear them. Not that I didn't need to wear them, but I preferred to only use them when driving or at the theater. Last year was the first year that I failed to pass the eye exam when renewing my driver's license and so I decided to look into Lasik. I heard conflicting things, some pros and cons, and decided to put it off, but Dadda monkey made a consultation appointment for me. I had already decided that if I was going to do it, I wanted it to be with 'that guy who does all the Spurs and Cowboys', so my husband took me to my consultation at his office. I was not about to allow some random doctor shoot a laser into my eyes.

One of my first questions, obviously, was 'Am I a good candidate for this?' Their answer was yes.
Next, I wanted to find out if it was true that I might have to get it redone in a few years. They said they use a new Z Lasik procedure and that I shouldn't need it redone unless my eyes get worse around 50 years old, which is apparently fairly common. After all was said and done, we decided to make the appointment for the procedure.

On my appointment day, I was extremely nervous, but everyone I've talked to has always said it wasn't a big deal, their vision improved almost immediately, it takes just seconds, etc... Let me tell you, it does take seconds to shoot the laser, but 20 seconds is a long time when you've got to try to focus on a tiny green light, people are helping you keep your eye open, and you're not used to people messing with your eyes. Also, the whole procedure is about 10 minutes. 10 minutes of eyes wide open, lasers and lights around you, and an already nervous patient. It was not the easy breezy walk in the park I had been told about. Granted there wasn't any real pain, but it was HARD. They kept telling me to focus on the green light (the green light that would sometimes move out of view...) and to stop squeezing my eyes. I'm sorry, but you're messing with my eye, my natural reaction is to fight against it and to try to force myself not to is HARD.

Anyways, after the procedure (around 5:00 in the evening), my husband drove me home IN RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC TOWARD THE SETTING SUN. Not the brightest (no pun intended) thing we've ever done. Even with my special after-procedure sunglasses they gave me, the light and long drive home were agonizing. They gave me a Valium and a Tylenol PM and told me I'd be out cold soon. No such luck, even after we arrived home, I couldn't sleep a wink. I kept my eyes closed for hours and later that evening I finally fell asleep.

The next morning we went for a follow-up appointment and I noticed on the drive there, that road signs weren't much easier to read. At the appointment they said my vision was a blurry 20/20 because I could read the letters, but they weren't crisp and clear. So much for that miraculous instant improvement. Now, I'm not being cynical because I guess it is improvement, but not the eagle eye vision I had hoped for. I was told that was normal (guess I didn't talk to 'normal' people) and that my vision would improve over the next few weeks. I hope that's true, because now a week later, I still don't notice much improvement. I have another appointment tomorrow so we'll see how that goes.

In hindsight, for about $4000, unless things improve dramatically, I'm not sure I'd do it again. Dadda monkey thinks it's because my vision wasn't horrible before. Personally, I had hoped (maybe unrealistically) that I'd be able to go to the theater and not wear glasses, see my kids playing across a sports field clearly, and be able to read all street signs with ease. As for the road signs though, Dadda monkey, who has perfect vision, says they're not always easy to read even for him, due to glare, fading, etc... Hopefully, I'll have a better update soon.

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