Tuesday, August 8, 2006


Lasik was the best $4390.00 I've ever spent. As someone who's needed corrective lenses since age 9, it's a wonderful freedom to just be able to see the clock in the middle of the night. My pre-surgery presciption, for contacts, was a -5.75 in my left eye and -6.00 in my right eye. Pretty much I could not see anything clearly past about 12" in front of me. Corrected, my vision was about 20/15.

I had thought about getting my eyes fixed for several years, first when I heard about PRK back in the mid 90s but that always seemed too risky to me. I started hearing more and more about Lasik and how using the laser provides a lot of precision because it's calibrated on a machine and doesn't rely solely on human control.

Towards the end of 2005, I realized I was going to have close to $900 left in my flexible spending account and decided to at least talk to my optometrist about what lasik would entail.

I had my surgery on 12 January 2006 at LaserView, performed by Dr. Tom Walters. I had to be there at 10:30 am for a 12:00 pm operating time. They needed to check my eyes again to make sure my prescription hadn't changed. If you wear contacts, you have to stop wearing them all together as far before your surgery as possible to ensure that the shape of your eyes go back to how they would be naturally. I wore my glasses for about five weeks.

After I got the green light to go forward with the surgery, I started to get a bit apprehensive. What if something did go wrong? Someone has to be in that small percentage who has complications and the pages and pages of possibilities you have to read and sign a waiver for before hand is unnerving. Addtionally, I apparently have large pupils so I also had to sign a waiver that I understood my night vision could become worse because of the surgery.

Well, I decided to proceed and they start by putting all kinds of drops in my eyes every few minutes to numb them. Then they gave me a Vallium. The doctor next marked these black dots on my eyes with a marker but I don't know what they were for.

After about an hour of this, I got prepped for surgery with a hair net and lots of iodine swabbed all over my closed eyes.

The Lasik procedure is a two step process. The first step is for the doctor to cut the corneal flap. I opted for the all laser option so a laser made my flap using the Intralase machine versus a microkeratome blade; this option is about $400 more expensive than traditional lasik but it is much more precise and has better results.

In order to cut the flap, a suction cup type device is placed on your eyeball to keep it open for about a minute so you can't blink. You're told to look straight up at this light and the laser then cuts the flap.

After the flaps have been cut, there's about a 20 minute wait where you keep your eyes closed. It supposedly makes the flap easier to work with for the second step in the process. At this point, you go to another machine, the one that will do the actual corrective procedure.

Again the suction cup device is placed on the eye ball and you're told to stare at a light. This is where it gets a little freaky because once the flap is lifted, you're pretty much blind in that eye. The laser started zapping my eye and it smelled like burning hair, something I didn't expect. Again, it was a very short amount of time for each eye, maybe two minutes. And it really doesn't hurt that much but the suction cup device is uncomfortable.

The amazing thing was that right after the surgery was performed, I could see; it was blurry but things were in focus for the first time! I was instructed to keep my eyes closed for the rest of the day (which wasn't hard since I had the Vallium and just slept mostly). My mom was there to help me out. You have to put in lots and lots of drops over the following two weeks and use steroid drops for four weeks. I was a bit puffy after my nap :D

But now, my eyes are great! My vision is 20/20. I'm very pleased and would encourage others thinking about this procedure to talk to your optometrist. Many places also have financing if you can't afford to shell out a couple thousand on the spot. There was no visible sign that I'd even had surgery and recovery time was less than a day. I was sparring in my Tae Kwon Do class the next night (with protective goggles).