I just had Lasik.
If you're looking for some honest, transparent feedback about the procedure, pricing, and results from a chick who basically just likes to spill her guts online with the hope someone will get even just a smidgen of help or happiness out of it, then this is the post for you!
I started needing glasses when I was seven. In high school I transitioned into contacts - I was huge into dancing, and having bouncing, breakable things on my face was not exactly helping my technique. The benefits of contacts continued to haunt me throughout college. Glasses became a huge pain in the butt - wiping them in the rain, wiping them when they fog, wiping them when they fall off and I grab them the wrong way, pretty much just always wiping them. And the whole sunglasses thing. Man was I ever into sunglasses. And then of course my makeup would always get hidden by my glasses. I'm not going to lie to you. I was a vain lil-slutty-two-shoes for a while there.
By the time I joined the Army I hadn't worn glasses in years. Imagine my surprise when they stripped me of my contacts in Basic Training and handed me these huge, thick, brown-framed glasses, otherwise known as BCGs - Birth Control Glasses. I kid you not - they were called BCGs...meaning there was no way anyone would ever possibly get some action while wearing those suckers. Ever. And it was no joke. They were horrific. I remember standing in formation once, after graduating to my Advanced Individual Training at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas, secretly wearing my contacts. My drill sergeants knew I hated my BCGs. They knew I continually tried to sneak my contacts into my eyes. I even went as far as just going blind - no glasses, no contacts, no nuthin'. That's how much I hated the bulky, ill-fitting, thick-ass pieces of crap. I stood there one morning, absolutely wearing my contacts, when my drill sergeant came up and asked me where my glasses were. I lied right in his face. "No glasses today, Drill Sargent. Just rockin' the regular ol' eyes today." I remember him glaring at me, moving in closer, telling me to look him in the eye so he could check for contacts. I did my best "open but not open" eye bulge....prolly looked a little like Wile E. Coyote when he gets zapped by something. This drill sergeant had perfect vision, as did most of my drill sergeants, so he luckily had no idea what to look for and couldn't see the huge clear circle around my eye. I like to think the majority of this has to do with me being a Master Fake Eye Bulger. In the rare chance I did get caught with my contacts, they would make me do push ups and flutter kicks for a good 30 minutes.....and I should mention right now, in addition to being a Master Fake Eye Bulger, I am the Worst Push Upper in the nation. Yet I still risked it. I still wore my contacts at every opportunity. This, people, is how much I hated glasses. I vowed once I got out of training I would never, ever wear glasses again. Ever.
And then....my reality check. Around the time I had my first kiddo, my body chemistry literally went to shit. I developed a weird sensitivity to most contacts...meaning they hurt like hell. There was really only one brand I could wear without constantly poking myself in the pupil to shift the contact around in my eye....and this brand cost about $100 a month. Yea. I'm no mathematician, but that's like $1,200 a year. Just for contacts. Not including the solutions. And the cases. And let's consider when I'd open one of these contact packages up and the contact would have some sort of manufacturing/packaging defect and would be all bent up and useless on my uber-sensitive eyes. The cost was getting out of control.
So I asked my optometrist about Lasik <que pharmecuticals commercial haha>. No but really. I trusted my optometrist - he knew how much I was struggling with contacts. He recommended a specific surgeon...explained he'd worked out a referral discount with the guy and trusted this surgeon would take good care of my eyes. After doing a little bit of research on my own, I found out this guy is ranked #1 in the state. Good enough for me!
I went in for my consultation. I had a prescription of -3.75 in my left eye and -4.25 in my right. I also had astigmatism in my right eye. Basically the whole right eye just needed to go. I sat through a number of eyeball measuring tests and photos and at the end of the appointment, was asked whether or not I'd like to schedule the surgery. My immediate response was obvious......how much is this going to cost?
Now I'm sure you've seen those Groupon deals for like $699 an eye, ya? Let me just tell you - this guy was not doing eyes for $699 a piece. PS: Read the fine print at the bottom of those "crazy good" deals. They're often based on old technology and the prescription of the patient. I recently saw a deal where some place offered both eyes for $1k...but only if your prescription was -1.50 or better. Who even needs Lasik with vision like that? Robbers!
I was given a price for IntraLase Lasik, which uses the newest technology to slice, dice, and reshape your cornea. Without the referral it would've cost me $6k. With the referral, my price was knocked down to $4,500 for both eyes. This included the pre-appointment and two post-op appointments with my regular optometrist.
I am not a rich man (said in the voice of Forrest Gump). And I'm also not much of an eye snob....so if you got your eyes done cheaper and are in love with the results, go you - no judgments here.
But these were my eyes. The phrase "you get what you pay for" was ringing in my head for weeks. I decided to go through with it. We saved some much-needed-and-allocated-elsewhere tax returns and, with the support of my hubby (who, frankly, was sick of me whining about my eyes every minute for years), we decided on a May surgery date.
I was out of contacts for a week before my surgery. No eye makeup for a few days prior. This was obviously a rough time in my life.
I also needed to bring two prescription eyedrops and a container of over-the-counter, preservative-free eyedrops with me to the surgery. I had an eye recheck two days prior, just to make sure nothing about my eye shape changed or something. Who knows what those weird eye machines really show. Prolly my soul.
So great news! My soul didn't change. I was a compliant patient and stayed out of my contacts. I'd saved the money and was ready to fork it over for better vision *fist pump*. I was go for launch.
The day of the surgery I was required to arrive with a driver. I had my mom stay with the kiddos (thanks mom!) and Aaron and I set off on the hour-long trip to the surgical center. I was freaking out the entire time.
Now I'm no sissy. I was trained to be a 91-W Series Combat Medic for the US Army. We had "desensitizing training." Yea. Just think about that for a minute.
I've also delivered two uber-huge babies (9lbs and almost 11lbs) completely unmedicated. Pain tolerance is kinda my thing.
And one last point in my anti-sissy defense, I really love the whole surgical process. I like talking to clinical staff and breaking them out of their normal, everyday, ho-hum, another-patient-is-here routine. I'm not afraid of drugs, needles, scalpels, you name it. Give it to me.
But for some reason, I. Cannot. Handle. Eyes. I was a mess. These were my eyes. My eyeballs. I've dissected enough eyeballs to know exactly how fast an eye can go from orb of bliss to puddle of squish with just a bit too much pressure.
Yea. Freaking out.
When I arrived, I was disappointed to hear I wasn't on their schedule. What. I had been prepping for over a week! Luckily, the drug nurse (more on her in a second) shifted a few things around and got me in. First. I was first. I was, like, about to go in. Early. Now.
She handed me some Valium. I told her I was very, very nervous. She handed me another Valium. Drug nurse = best person ever.
I had a few more pictures of my eye taken and then I got all prepped up. I'd used a sterilizing gel on my eyelids that morning, but they went over my eyes again with antiseptic and told me I couldn't touch them anymore. They shoved a cute little blue cap on my head and then I waited.
Aaron was with me the whole time, which was great because I was still freaking out (despite how cute I look, I know). The Valium takes a sec to kick in. The surgeon came and checked my latest pics, said all looked great, and then walked away. A few minutes later I was called into the room by this nice, cute assistant dude. I left Aaron behind and walked on into the room marked "DANGER. DO NOT ENTER. LASER PROCEDURE IN PROGRESS."
The room was a big table with two machines on each side. In the middle of the table was a brown puppy. This is not the Valium talking. This is real life. I laid down on the table and the nice dude gave me the stuffed puppy to hold onto and covered me with a blanket. Clean eyes, check. Valium kinda working, check. Puppy, check.
Someone taped down my left eye. Hey hey, Bad-Eye-Righty was first! The doctor came over and started moving my head around, aligning my eye with this red light. He told me to look at it. Then he started putting drops into my eyes. Now again, I'm no sissy. I do, however, have a strange tendency to head-jerk when drops of any kind are put in my eye. This was no exception. My head automatically jerked backward, without me even knowing it.
"You must relax, otherwise you will cause problems for both you and me," he said. Ok. Relax. So to avoid the jerking (because he was continuing to put fluids in my eye), I just tried to hold my head very still. I was literally flexing my neck like the hulk. He caught on to my tension when he tried to re-position my head at a better angle and again told me to relax. Sure, guy. I'm all noodles over here.
Eventually he was cool with the amount of fluid, made sure my eye was really numb, and then stuck this huge, and I mean huge, clamp in my eye. I was envisonioning something like the Matrix - little metal fingers pulling my eyelids up. No way. This was like a big plastic ice-cream scoop, surrounding my eyeball and forcing it out of the socket.
Don't get me wrong. I wasn't in pain. But holy crap, did I ever feel like my eye was going to pop right out. The pressure was something I'd never felt in my life. So weird. I have a really vivid imagination....and that imagination was on Valium, so....
I got over it quickly - they moved my table over to the machine on my left. The doctor told me I'd lose my sight for a minute but it would come back. Things went black. I heard one of the tech dudes countdown. I felt a smidge of pressure. This is, I'm assuming, when they cut the flap in my eye.
The doctor praised me for doing awesome and moved me over to the machine on the right side of the table. My vision came back. I saw a red light and he told me to stare at it. I tried, really I did. It was hard because the light was blurry - totally not staying where I needed it to. It was like jumping all over. Eventually I was able to lock on and he told me the laser was going to reshape my eye now. I heard a loud-ish noise, like when something metal gets stuck in the roller of a vacuum cleaner.....ditditditditditdit. My right eye needed the laser three times.
Now don't freak out, but because this blog is all about transparency, I have to tell you.
I could smell it. It smelled like burning hair. This was my eye, getting all lasered and reshaped. True story.
After about 2 minutes of laser time, I felt and saw this beautiful paintbrush-like thing on my eye, smoothing clear liquid over it in gentle strokes of bliss. It was awesome. I actually said out loud, "this is my favorite part." I have no idea if they laughed because, well, I was kinda in my own world at that point.
Then they taped Bad-Eye-Righty down and did the same thing to my left. The left only needed the laser twice, I'm assuming because they didn't need to correct any astigmatism.
The whole thing took about 20 minutes - maybe. Prolly closer to 15. It was fast.
I walked out and looked right at this dude who was set to get the procedure next. He looked at me with huge eyes and I just grinned like a drugged-up hoodlum. I was blinking like a crazy person and my eyes were watering all over the place. I was walking straight, but couldn't find Aaron, so I kinda walked one way for a step, then the other way, then back the other way. I remember just being happy I could see. I could actually see this guy's worried face looking right at me.
The ride home was a living hell. We had an hour drive. The numbing drops wore off right away and me, being the Valium genius I was, really wanted to "use my new eyes." I was trying to look everywhere....in the mid-day sun. It was bright as heck. I kept going between "OHDEARHELL my eyes are burning out of my skull!" to " I CAN SEE THAT SIGN! I CAN SEE THAT SIGN!" Aaron tried to get me home as fast as he could but I was doomed. After about 30 minutes I was trying everything I could to keep the sun out of my eyes. I even tripled down on the sunglasses. Hott Jen, lookout.
By the time I got home I just wanted to sleep. I passed out in my bed for about an hour wearing these sweet goggles they make you rock when you sleep. They are absolutely a turn-on for anyone who likes googly-eyed, sci-fi chicks.
The eyedrops suck, I am not going to lie. The prescription drops are thick, milky, and need to be used three to four times a day. I also use those preservative-free drops every 30 minutes. I have no idea how long I need to do this. My one-week follow up appointment is tomorrow, so we shall see.
My eyes get real gooped up, but I can't rub them. This is perhaps my greatest frustration. I love to rub my eyes. I rubbed the crap out of them before. I would take out my crappy contacts and just rub the crap out of my eyes. It was awesome. I didn't appreciate it enough. For the past week it's felt like I have really, really old contacts in my eyes that I can't get out. The solution? More drops. Did I mention I can taste my eyedrops? Yea. Didn't even realize this was possible until Lasik. PS - they do not taste like cotton candy.
I also loved washing my face. This is also not possible right after Lasik. I can wash my cheeks, but when I try to wash off my forehead, the facewash gets right into my new eyes and I feel like they are just going to fall right out.
The combination of goop and no-wash leaves me with this ultra-hip "white eyeliner" look that just knocks the socks off everyone I see. I mean it's that fresh spring glow all the mags are writing about, ya dig?
I also have a little bruising (read = red blood spots) in my eyes. This has started to fade. I'm a little sad to see the bloodspots go, to be honest. They kinda made me look like a badass.
Every day gets better. The discomfort lessens and I need to use the drops less and less. Nothing shocks me more than waking up in the morning.....I look around every day and see everything in HD. Everything is crystal clear - I mean crystal frickin clear. I had a follow-up appointment last Saturday and was told I have 15/20 vision - better than perfect! I have bionic superwoman eyes. I can see a cat crossing the street four blocks down the road. I can see little tree buds blooming. I can see your underwear. Ok maybe not the underwear part but all the other parts are true. It is by far the coolest, most transformative thing I've ever elected to do. Despite the craziness of it all, I am glad I did it. I can see, people. I can finally see.
Have any of you considered Lasik? Any of you gotten it done? What are you worried about? How was your experience with it? Tell me in the comments down below and as always, thank you so much for reading :)