For those of you who don’t know, I had LASIK surgery on Thursday, February 9th. I had decided to look into getting it done after my fiasco on top of Mt. Shasta when my glasses froze and I couldn’t see at 13,000ft. That was not fun, not safe, and not something I never wanted to repeat.
At my last eye doctor appointment back in November, I asked them about LASIK and they told me I would have to find a doctor who specializes in it to make sure I was a candidate. I started asking people at work who they used. I’d say about 30% of my team has had LASIK. Some have had PRK as well. Of those who had LASIK, most had gone to see Scott Hyver or Craig Bindi, so I decided either one of them would be great.
During my chats with co-workers, I learned that in order to get the best price, I should open an FSA, which you’re only allowed to do once a year in November. My account was funded as of January 1st with $2,600 before taxes, which will be taken out every paycheck from now until December.
Thanks to Linkedin, we have great vision care, so VSP pays $2,000 towards LASIK, on top of a 20% discount on the full price, which brought the entire price down to $3,295 for both eyes. Subtract my FSA, and I was left with $895. Not bad if you ask me. Yes, it’s still a lot, but my life was going to be changed forever, so worth it!
Let’s move on to my thoughts on Scott Hyver, my surgery, and finally, my recovery (still ongoing).
From my first appointment at Scott Hyver, to my follow up day after surgery, I’m not going to lie, I felt like just another number. His business is a well oiled machine that’s designed to get you in, get you approved, figure out your financial situation, and get you in for LASIK. I went into it knowing this, so for me, not really a big deal. If anything, it made me chuckle on surgery day as every 15 minutes he called the next patient in for LASIK. Popping em out like doughnuts at Krispy Kreme.
My first appointment with Scott Hyver was an initial consultation to make sure I was candidate. They run all kinds of tests, including one where they numb your eye and poke your cornea (SO UNFUN). It took about an hour/hour and half. After which they tell you if you’re a candidate or not. In my case, yes, so off to talk to the financial person. They run all the numbers and explain how much everything costs and ask how you will pay. Once that is determined, they ask when you would like to have your surgery. I could have opted to have my surgery (which they call a procedure) the next week, but I opted to wait as I had a bunch of upcoming trips.
Once scheduled, you have to come in a week prior to have them run more tests and dilate your eyes, which if you haven’t had, it super awesome. NOT. But we’re talking about lasering your eyes, so damn straight they should be thorough. You also have to start taking anti-biotic drops 24 hours prior to your “procedure”. All of which I did, of course. And of course, I started to get sick 2 days prior to my surgery. I called them day of and asked if I should still have LASIK and they told me it was fine.
Surgery day. Thursday, February 9th. Go in 15 minutes early with Brian so I can get some valium because I’m freaking the fuck out. I mean, it’s my vision, so if they mess it up, it’s not like I can get my eyeballs fixed. Get some new ones via a catalog. By the way, I did forget to mention that they have you read multiple documents about how they could mess it up and you have sign all them. Including the one that says the “procedure” is elective, so you can’t sue them.
Once they finally called my name around 8:45 (yes, my appointment was at 8:30), I get whisked into a room where they iodine my eyelids and put drops in my eyes. They tell me exactly what to expect once I’m in the laser room. Peachy I say, but I’m still freaking the fuck out. Can I get more drugs? No, sorry, but you’re going to be ok. Right. I totally believe you.
Then they tell me it’s time. And here comes the gory details, so look away if you don’t want to hear about it. I’m going to be open and honest about every part of the surgery because it would have actually benefited me to know… instead of people telling me it wasn’t so bad and discovering, holy crap, this is pretty awful.
They bring you into the room where there’s a table similar to an MRI table. They tell you lie down with your head facing the machine. They put your head in the top area that’s designed to keep you from moving (understandable as they are about to laser your eyes!) At this point, I’m actually shaking because I’m so nervous. They give me stress balls to help ease my anxiety. Right. Cause that’s always what I do when I’m having an panic attack, grab the closest stress ball.
You look up at red light. At this point Scotty (I’m gonna call him that from now on), explains what’s about to happen. First, we’re going to put this thing in your eye to keep it open (aka the part in a clockwork orange where they keep his eyes open). Look up. Tape your eyelashes. Look right. Insert some kind of contraption to keep your eye open. Look down. Tape your eyelashes. Whew. That was relatively ok. No pain, just a weird feeling. Now comes the hard part. First, numbing drops. All the drops. Next, stare at the red light, and as you stare at it, there will be some pressure and then darkness. This is the part where they are cutting the flap in your cornea. And when they use the word pressure to describe it, I call bullshit. Try to imagine if you had goggles on and then someone starting smashing them into your eye socket. Yes, this is what that felt like. That hurt. They don’t numb your bone around your eye socket. For 20 seconds of hell, Scotty counts down. And then it was over. I may have forgotten to mention that he held onto my head for this part because I was still shaking.
Next up, stare at the green light. Ok. Staring at the green light. You’re going to hear some humming noise and a smell, but it should only last about 10 seconds. Yes people, this is part where they are lasering your cornea. It’s a LOUD humming, and it smells like you’re burning. Because you are. It’s all good though. I’ve done things like that before. This part didn’t actually bug me that much. What did bug me is once that’s over, they basically paint your eyeball with a paintbrush. This is Scotty cleaning up and then placing your flap back. It’s very un-nerving, but pretty quick. Then they remove the torture device from your eye and you’re instructed to blink. Exciting. One done. One to go. At least with the second one I knew what to expect. Still unfun, but it went by quicker.
Once you’re done, they bring you back into the holding room where they give you your parting gift; a bag full of the world’s crappiest sunglasses, natural tears for days, prescription eye drops, and a fabulous goggle mask to wear at night for the next week. They send you home and say your vision should get progressively better as time goes on. The first 4 hours they want you to keep your eyes closed, then after that, a strict regiment of antibiotics and anti-inflamatory eye drops.
For me, I could see right away, but it was super hazy. I did keep my eyes closed for 4 hours and after that, it was still sort of hazy. Light of any kind made things feel blurry. I had to take pain killers the first day once the numbing eye drops wore off because my eyes hurt too much.
The next day was the best day for me. Everything was in 4k. It’s like being re-born. I read so many license plates on my way to work. So many details. Leaves on the trees. Blades of grass. OMG! Amazing. Life-changing.
Since then, my right eye has given me the most trouble. It’s blurry most of the day. Working on computers is the worst. And here I am, writing a blog post. LOL. Night driving is hard. Night driving with rain is really a no go for me. Everything has such a ridiculous glare or halo or starburst. I’m told that this will go away eventually. I hope they are right. I did call them about my right eye and they say it’s still healing and to wait until my appointment in March when they will re-evaluate. It feels like the flap isn’t right. It feels like there’s constantly an eyelash in there. I tried to compensate by using more natural tears, but it really doesn’t help. My left eye is amazing, which is strange as it was always my worse eye. Now, it’s the dominate one. Yay! Go left eye! I also can’t see super close up anymore, which is hard to lose, but worth it if I really do see 20/20 now.
Was it worth it? I’m going to go with yes. If there is, in fact, something wrong with my right eye as I suspect, they will fix it, free of charge. I’m not super interested in going back under the laser, but if it comes down to it, I will.
One of the things I love the most is I can go walk around in the rain and not need to worry that I’m going to get drops on my glasses. I love that. I love that I don’t have switch back and forth between my prescription glasses and sunglasses anymore. If I walk into a store, I put my cheapy sunglasses on my head and, guess what, I can see!!!
The moral of this story is, when they say it’s pressure and slightly uncomfortable, they’re lying. When they say you’re most likely going to have side effects, you will. Count on it. But when they say you won’t have to wear glasses, they aren’t lying and it really is amazing. I hope my recovering ends without this random blurry vision and I will update once I have my follow up in mid March. Until then, laser eyes are awesome!