I recently got LASIK. It's something I have been considering for a decade but was too scared to get done. Now, my only regret is I didn't do it earlier. I wanted to come on here and talk about my experience and answer some questions I got on Instagram for those on the fence or considering LASIK.
I'll proactively update this after one week, one month, six months, and a year.
DISCLAIMER: Please keep in mind, I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL. Do your own research and please ask your eye doctor/surgeon for their professional opinion. There are many pros and cons to getting LASIK, but it was the right choice for me. Everyone has a different experience.
Why did you get LASIK?
I've had glasses since I was in 2nd grade! Everyone in my family has had glasses. My parents got LASIK when I was in fourth grade. Most places recommend you get it done before 40 since your eyesight worsens as you get older.
Honestly? I hate glasses. My vision is pretty bad (R: -5.25, L: -5.50) so my lenses are thick. I hate how I look. I hate that it pulls my hair. I hate that I'm blind when I wake up and can't see anything in the shower. I hate the marks it leaves on my nose. I started wearing contacts in 8th grade which was never an issue unless I was swimming or scuba diving. My two favorite hobbies 😐
During the pandemic, I completely stopped wearing contacts because it was a waste. I tried putting my contacts in once and it was traumatizingly painful and uncomfortable. I also constantly get headaches even with stable eyesight for 3 years due to a minor astigmatism that my contacts can't correct. Something told me life would be much better without contacts or glasses.
I decided to get it done when I came to Arizona in September for 3 weeks. There was a tight timeline to get it done because I booked a scuba diving trip booked for 10/8 in New York. I knew I needed two weeks of recovery before diving.
For divers - According to the people at LasikPlus, you can dive one week after receiving LASIK. Changes in pressure (like flights or diving) won't affect your eyes but getting water in your eyes will. Please check with a professional beforehand.
What was the Process?
The first thing I did was book consultations at two well known institutes - LVI and LasikPlus. My parents had gotten theirs done at LVI, but they didn't have appointments until September 23rd which was cutting it too close.
LasikPlus had in-person appointments everyday in 15 minute increments. I also checked with my eye insurance and they back LasikPlus as well as offer discounts. Dr. Perry has performed over 30k procedures and has 20 years of experience and I trusted that!
I did feel like this is a place that churns people out, for better or worse. Although Dr. Perry, the surgeon operating on myself, called me before and after the procedure, he never saw me until the day of. I met with 2-3 different technicians for testing but would have been more comfortable meeting with him and having the opportunity to ask questions.
I arrived at my consultation. Everyone was masked up and all social distancing/sanitization procedures were followed. A technician took 3D scans of my eyes, checked my eye pressure, got my current prescription from my glasses ("dang girl, you're hiding a lot of correction in these"). Keep that negativity to yourself, lady. All that schnazz when you typically go to the doctor. My eyes were also dilated. I watched a 10 minute informational video while waiting for my eyes to dilate for half an hour.
Another person brought me to a room, eyes fully dilated, where they have you read as many letters on a line as you can and switch between lenses. This made me dizzy af because dilation makes everything blurry. This is where I was told I qualify and that LASIK would be very straightforward for me.
At the front desk, I was told what the cost was and was scheduled for my operation on 9/24 with a follow up on 9/25. I was sent home with an informational folder and papers to sign.
I know right now a lot of people are able to book tele-health consultations, but considering how many tests they ran during the consultation... I wouldn't recommend showing up day of surgery without fully making sure you qualify. There are many reasons to be disqualified for LASIK and it's important you get a second opinion.
What was the Procedure like?
The Night Before
The day before, I got a call from Dr. Perry asking if I had any questions. I don't pick up calls from numbers I don't recognize lol. So I missed that call lol.
The Day of
You must have someone drive you there and back on the day of the procedure. You can't wear any scented lotion, no perfume, and you can't wear contacts for 24 hours before. I wore clothes I would be comfortable napping in later. The day of, I arrived at the center about 25 minutes beforehand. I checked in, paid leftover dues, received information about post-op care as well as my medicated drops.
I moved into the second lobby where I could actively see people getting LASIK and coming out of the room. Dr. Perry pulled me into his office, said "you are very blind young lady" (LOL), bonded with me about being from New York, and then he pricked my finger and drew blood for a rapid COVID-19 test. After it was confirmed negative, I was pulled into the op room.
I hung my stuff on a hook and was told to sit in a chair. Dr. Perry put numbing drops (local anesthetic) into my eyes and checked my eyes with a light. I was then led to the first machine where I had to put on a hair net and laid down. One of my eyes was covered, and a clamp was inserted into my first eye to hold it open. It was suctioned to prevent blinking and a machine was brought on top of my eye. Everything went a cloudy grey, I couldn't see anything through that eye although it was fully open. It was kept open for 17 seconds which Dr. Perry counted down. There was no pain, only panic lol. The clamp removed and I was blind in one eye, which is normal. Then that eye was covered and the other eye was clamped and then I was fully blind. This was the creation of the eye flap. I only felt slight pressure on my eye.
I was then told to sit up. Dr. Perry helped me move with my eyes closed to a second machine where I laid down. I seriously didn't think I would know how to open my eyes again. But once again, one eye was covered and the other was clamped and suctioned. I was told to stare directly into a green light for about a minute without moving. There were red lights all around it. There was a faint smell of burning... And then it was done. I could feel drops running down my face. Then the other eye! This part was when the laser altered the refractive curvature of my eye. Again, there was absolutely no pain.
A squeeze ball would have been perfect during the operation. I had absolutely no chill and left nail marks in my hands. Sometimes, I caught myself holding my breath. I've heard some people have Xanax or Valium prescribed for the procedure.
What happened Post-Op?
The Day of
After both eyes were done, I sat up and opened my eyes. I had a very narrow line of vision and the edges were cloudy and grey. But I had instant vision improvement!! Dr. Perry checked my eyes with the light one more time, placed protective goggles on my face, and sent me on my way. I met with my mom in the lobby and walked to the car without any issues. Even bragging about how it didn't hurt at all.
The car ride was MISERABLE. ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE. I WANTED TO DIE. It was about an hour home. The Arizona sun was painfully bright in my face. I wanted to scratch my eyes out! They felt SO dry and like I needed to rub sand out of them. Or like there was sunscreen in my eyes? You know the feel.
As soon as I got out of the car and walked to my bedroom, my eyes started to tear and I instantly felt better. I fell asleep for 3 hours (goggles on!). When I woke up, my vision was cloudy but significantly better. I was just really sensitive to light. We put in the prescription drops, and then the tears 10 minutes later. The prescription drops are ~spicy~ and feels like I'm applying sunscreen directly to my eyes. I noticed my eyes were covered in bursted blood vessels that look absolutely brutal against the whites of my eyes. Dr. Perry called me around 10pm to make sure everything was okay. I popped two painkillers, refreshed my eyedrops, and went to sleep.
The Next Day
When I woke up, my vision was a bit cloudy but I was s h o o k. I had crystal clear vision!!! It was like I fell asleep with contacts on. My parents kept asking me to read random things. I could see in the shower! Again, I still felt a bit sensitive to light and was instructed to keep the goggles on for a full 24 hours.
At LasikPlus, my follow up was maybe 3 minutes??? My eyes were looked at with a light, and then I was asked to read a few lines of letters. Seriously, I couldn't stop smiling from how happy I was. I could read every letter, down to the last line! I had 20/15 eyesight! Thanks to LASIK, I went from being super blind to better than 20/20. I still can't believe it.
We celebrated with cannolis, fried chicken sandwiches, and boba 🙂
I still have to wear sunglasses as much as possible, spend less time on screens, use eye drops, avoid rubbing eyes, avoid water in eyes, and avoid eye make up for another week. But I'm well enough, considering I'm writing out this blog post on T+1.
How much does it cost?
The initial consultation was free.
Since my eyesight is terrible, I had to get the most expensive option. The option came with a lifetime insurance, which means I can get enhancements as needed. Prices begin at $250/eye for some people. Options for payment are cash, paying in full by credit/debit online or in person, and payment plans starting as low as $92.11/month. You can also use your HSA.
|Right eye: Wavelight/ Lifetime Advantage / IFS (Bladeless all-laser)||$2395.00|
|Left eye: Wavelight/ Lifetime Advantage / IFS (Bladeless all-laser)||$2395.00|
|$1000 off (September Promotion)||-$1000.00|
|Insurance 5% Discount||-$189.50|
|Pred-Moxi (prescription eye drops)||$30.00|
|Blink Preservative Fee (2 packs from Target)||$20.00|
|Mandatory Rapid COVID-19 Test||$35.00|
The first seven days after LASIK was not too difficult but definitely a little uncomfortable. The prescription drops stung my eyes every time, and they needed to be used for a minimum of 5 days up until the bottle was done. It also left behind goopy white residue in my eye which was really irritating unless I carefully fished it out each time, which is difficult when you can't rub your eyes or risk scratching them.
Also of note - light sensitivity. Being in Arizona made it a little more difficult because it was always so bright outside. I had to sit in the dark in my room and rest otherwise I'd get headaches. I took the Friday after my surgery off, so I had Saturday and Sunday to recover too. But looking at my laptop screen again on Monday made me nauseous and intensified my headaches.
The red spots in my eyes lasted about a week or so as well.
I'd say week two was plagued with intense migraines. I was able to get brunch with a friend who told me it took around 3 weeks to get over the migraines which was comforting.
14 days after the surgery, I was diving in 1000 islands. My second dive I felt a lot of pressure on my eyes but I think it was a result of my mask squeezing my face and not the surgery. I did 7 other dives with a maximum depth of about 89ft without any issue.
During week 3, I kept feeling like my head was spinning and had to take a few hours away from my screen during work. I think this was because my eyesight is still stabilizing and will continue to for a few months according to the documents I received. All the while I do have clear eyesight. Sometimes, things look ever so slightly blurry but goes back into focus. This is pretty rare or unnoticeable for the most part.
By the end of month 1, I was having minor headaches and irritating dry eyes, especially at night. The eye drops aren't comforting at some point, and I tend to rub my eyes because they just feel so dry.
All in all, everyday I'm a little shook I have clear eyesight. Sometimes I'm like "holy crap I fell asleep with contacts on!!" It's really the best decision I made.
Several months into post-LASIK and honestly I forget I ever had glasses.
In terms of symptoms, I would say extreme bright light still causes discomfort but I'd have to say... when would it not? I have had one or two instances where my eyes were severely dry but it was usually caused by something, like allergies. Rubbing my eyes too hard also causes discomfort
I have had one or two weeks where I just had migraines the entire week which never happened before LASIK.
Otherwise, there's nothing else that I can think of to share. Sometimes I do experience fear that my eyesight will get worse, especially since there's no one year post-op check up. I do recommend checking in with your eye doctor to make sure everything looks good when you need some comforting.
A year in - whew! The only lasting side effects are sensitivity to sunlight or direct light which gives me headaches or blurry, dark vision. I invested in a great pair of sunglasses which helps significantly.
I do notice myself squinting to see signs that are further away that I would have normally been able to read within the first six months.
Overall, a very worthy investment and I'm glad I got it! I think I'll need adjustments in the future but over a year in I'm still at 20/20 vision.