I was SO nervous before getting my Lasik eye surgery and now that I am a week out, I am SO glad that I got the surgery. I truly feel that this surgery was life-changing for me. I was a -4.75 in one eye and a -5.75 in my other eye and I now have better than 20/20 vision. Its amazing to wake up and be able to see our ceiling fan and read the numbers on the clock. I now have better than 20/20 vision. I had no idea how much I couldn’t see in my regular contacts! Did you guys know that some taillights have individual LED’s that most people can see? Did you know that there are rocks in pavement that a lot of people can see while walking? I had NO idea.
A lot of friends, family and coworkers have asked about Lasik, so I thought it’d be nice to do a blog post with some dos and don’ts, a short Q&A and explain what you can expect if you get Lasik surgery.
Where did you get your surgery done and were you happy with them?
I had my surgery and the 20/20 Institute in Indianapolis, Indiana. I am very happy with my results and LOVE 20/20 Institute. I love them for a few reasons:
1.) Both surgeons have performed 1000’s of surgeries and lower than average (1/2-1/4 of the national rate) side effect rates and redo rates;
2.) They are REALLY nice and welcoming. I had a lot of anxiety before, during and after my surgery. I thought they handled my extreme anxiety really well. They catered to me and made me feel like I was acting normal even though I was not. I thought this was very compassionate and felt that they understood my fears.
3.) The location was near my house and did require me to travel for my surgery.
How much does Lasik really cost?
My surgery was around $4000 for both eyes. I’ve heard the commercials for $295 per eye too and was a bit surprised that my surgery was so costly. I shopped around and found that $4000 total was a fair price for someone with my eyesight and an astigmatism.
I also chose to get a lifetime guarantee, which means that if my eyes ever change to less than 20/20, they will redo the surgery at no cost. This was an extra $600. My eyes have been pretty stable in the last 10 years or so, but since I am only 33, it seemed likely that they will change sometime in the future.
I looked into the $295 deal and decided it wasn’t for me because in order to qualify I had to have a prescription that was under -1.00 with no astigmatism. Further, they $295 price does not use the blade-less technology that 20/20 uses and I did not think I could go through a surgery on my eye, while awake with a blade. I also did not like that the $295 did not include any of my follow-up appointments. In the end, I felt that the clinic offering this $295 “deal” was a bit deceptive in their advertising. I liked the overall package that 20/20 Institute offered best.
Did it Hurt?
The actual surgery does not hurt. They numb your eyes really well and I did not feel anything in my eyeball. The numbing process did not hurt at all either. Once the numbing medication wore off, I was in pain. 20/20 Institute recommends that patients go home and take a nap right after their surgery. I was not able to sleep, despite taking Tylenol PM (as recommended by my doctor) and prescribed anti-anxiety medication. As the pain worsened, I got more and more anxious. For reference, I do not have a pain high pain tolerance. For example: I was considering a natural birth until I felt one contraction. I immediately begged for an epidural.
Would you do it Again?
Absolutely. This was life-changing for me. That being said, I do not think I will get the correction surgery unless I am unable to drive without glasses in the future. This was a scary experience for me and it hurt. I will most likely still need reading glasses when I reach 40 (like most people) and Lasik cannot fix this. I will probably get the reading glass correction surgery that 20/20 institute offers if I am a good candidate.
Do you have any of the Side Effects?
I see “halos” around lights at night. I had this before the surgery and its not any worse. I experienced dry eyes for around 7 days after the surgery. My eyes feel great now and its only been a week and a half.
What to Expect before during and after Lasik
I was really surprised at the sales tactics and marketing used by Lasik centers. I felt I was being “sold” to at nearly every place I visited. This made me uncomfortable because I had anxiety about the surgery and I generally do not like being “sold” to because I feel like the salesperson is trying to trick me. All the centers I visited did an exam and all said that I was a candidate. The exam was similar to a yearly regular eye exam and included dilating my eyes. There was no “air-puff” machine.
Most centers will give you anti-anxiety medication to take before the surgery, like percocet. I was told that the medication might make me feel like I had one glass to wine or a beer. Honestly, I did not feel any different. I am not sure that it helped at all. The numbing drops worked well for me. They used a device to hold your eye open – its not as bad as it sounds. Since your eyes are completely numb, It almost hard to tell that your eye is being held open. The actual laser part only takes around 10 seconds per eye.
I could immediately tell that I had better vision than before my surgery (that’s how bad my eyes were). Right after the surgery, you will feel like you have your eyes open under water. Its blurry, but you can see. The numbing drops wore off on the way home. I couldn’t open my eyes once they wore off because it hurt. Taking a nap was a no-go for me. I wondered if I had done the right thing by getting the surgery because I was in a lot of pain. within 24 hours, I felt much much better. Those first 24 hours were not pleasant. Once a week passed, I felt pretty normal and was very happy with my results.
Dos and Don’ts
Do shop around for price and a doctor who is experienced. Ask how many surgeries your surgeon has performed. Ask what percentage of patients need their surgery redone and what percentage experience side effects.
Do ask what percentage of patients that the Lasik center rejects. I think this is telling as to the quality of doctor. My clinic claims to reject about 10% of potential patients through pre-screening over the phone and an additional 12% after their consultation. This rate made me feel like I was truly a good candidate who would actually benefit from the surgery and that I should expect good results.
Do bring a hat to your surgery. This was helpful for me, I pulled the brim down to keep the light out of my eyes on the way home.
Do not google Lasik side effects/Lasik gone wrong. I did. I won’t tell you what I found. Just don’t do it.
Do not expect your surgery to be pain or symptom free. I had to remind myself a few times that this is a surgery and I shouldn’t expect to feel 100% right after. I was really worried that my dry eye symptoms might be permanent, but the subsided almost completely in a week.