First some background information. I have glaucoma. A condition in which fluid builds up in theeye chamber because it cannot properly drain. Pressure builds in the eye chamber which can damage the optic nerve. Glaucoma is a leading cause of suddenblindness. Normally glaucoma can becontrolled by taking eye drops. I hadbeen on an eye drop regimen with two medications since 1999. Unfortunately medically treating the glaucomawas no longer an option for me and my physician recommended a laser trabecuplasty. There we go, damn laser. I said no. Put it off for a year. The pressurekept building and finally it was down to do you want to continue to see? Hopped on board then. Surprisingly the procedure was pain free,no discomfort and I no longer needed glaucoma medication. This led me to consider LASIK.
LASIK is Laser Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis. Using a laser the cornea is reshaped toimprove your vision. It can be used tocorrect all refractive errors, near/short sighted, far/long sighted, and presbyopia(the inability to focus the lens, requires readers) and astigmatism (blurredvision).
After wearing glasses and contacts for almost 40 years (andfeeling big and bad since my medical laser treatment) it was time. I discussed this with my ophthalmologisttreating me for glaucoma and he felt that I would be a candidate. So with his recommendation I made an appointmentfor a surgical consultation.
During this consultation you will have an eye exam and arefractive exam (measuring your visual acuity). The surgeon should discuss your options thoroughly so you can make aninformed discussion. I was myopic (nearsighted) and had astigmatism. Thesurgeon did advise that due to my age readers would be needed after theprocedure (not a problem for me). Therewas also the option for Monovision LASIK. One eye is corrected for distance, and the other for close objection. Monovision LASIK completely eliminates theneed for all glasses. I did not selectMonovision LASIK. I had no desire to seedifferently out of each eye.
If you have a condtion such as thin corneas, you may not bea candidate for LASIK. The surgeonshould tell you if you are not a suitable candidate for LASIK.
I scheduled my procedure and the office staff thoroughly wentover all pre and post operative instructions. I was also given these instructions inwriting. If you wear glasses very littlepre op prep is needed. I do believecontact lenses wearers may have additional pre-op prep see your physician.
You will also be given a prescription for an antibiotic/antiinflammatory eye drop. GET THIS FILLEDBEFORE YOUR PROCEDURE AND BRING IT WITH YOU THE DAY OF YOUR SURGERY. Immediately after the procedure these eyedrops will be administered. If neededyour surgeon may also prescribe medication (such as valium) to ease any anxietyyou may have. I skipped that.
You will not be given a general anesthesia so you do notneed to worry about your diet beforehand. Eat as your normally would. The day of the procedure you will report tothe surgical center/physician office. Youcannot drive home so have someone there that can drop you off and take youhome.
Expect more post op instructions and supplies. You will probably be give eye lubricants,surgical tape, your pre surgical refractive results, etc. Ten to 15 minutes before the procedure eyedrops will be administered to anesthetize the eyes. You will be taken into the surgical suite andasked to lie down. More eye drops. A retractorwill be placed to keep the eye open. More drops. You will be asked to focus on a light (don’t getexcited this is not the laser).
The corneal flap is removed and a laser is used to reshape thecornea to improve vision. Do not expecta Star Trek size beam of light! It issubtle. Check it out. The link below will take you to an actualprocedure. This is not time lapsed. Expect about 5 minute per eye.
After the procedure plastic eye shields will be placed onthe eyes and taped in place. You willprobably be given sunglasses as well. FOLLOW ALL POST OP INSTRUCTIONS. You will be told to go home and take anap. No TV, no computer, no cell phoneuse. NAP!! This gives the corneal flap time to heal. If your procedure was in the morning, you maybe able to watch TV after five or six o’clock. But for all you sex fiends out there no SF, nosexting, and no reading erotica on that Kindle!!!!
Take your antibiotics and lubricating drops asdirected. Keep your shields on until thenext morning. Go about your normal activities, exercise, work, whatever. Avoidany activities that may result in eye trauma. For the next 3-4 nights you willbe required to wear the eye shield (surgical tape keeps them in place)
When you wake up the next day you will revel in you newfoundfreedom. You will probably have a followup exam the next day. You can driveyourself and trust me you will grin from ear to ear. You will read license plates, signs, everything.
My post op visit showed I had 20/20 vision. Suggested reader strength was 1.75 to2.25. I went to Wal-Mart and purchased acouple of packs of 1.75 readers. Myvision continues to adjust. This is tobe expected. But the freedom of atwatching TV, movies, driving, exercising without glasses is exhilarating.
Costs for the LASIK $2000-$5000. My procedure cost of total of $2500. Do not expect medical or vision insurance tocover the procedure. You may be lucky ifyour plan does, but don’t count on it. However,LASIK is payable under a Health Savings Account or Flexible SpendingAccount. The physician office may havefinancing options or take Credit Cards. I don’t like debt and paid cash. See if your physician will discount if you are a cash pay patient.
If you think you got lucky and stumbled across a providerthat does the procedure for $400-$500 per eye. RUN!! If you are consideringLASIK, see your medical doctor for recommendations. Talk to friends and family members that havehad LASIK.
As with any surgical procedure there can be side effects,bad outcomes etc. You lessen thesemishaps by following all instructions you are given. But they can occur. Some include over or under correction, halos,poor night vision, dry eye, etc. Discussany concerns with your surgeon!
If you are considering the procedure I hope this has been ofsome help. If you have any questions PMme. I will be happy to answer anyquestions that I can. However, I am nota medical professional. The precedinginformation or any information I give you does not constitute medical advice. As a LASIK patient I can only tell you what mypersonal experience with LASIK has been.