My experience with LASIK

28 03 2015

This is a post dedicated to my friend who is thinking about getting LASIK. My eyesight was really bad, like -8 diopters with some astigmatism. My hand would be blurry about 6 inches from my eyes. I’ve had glasses since 4th grade and couldn’t wear contact lenses because they dried out my eyes, even the best ones at the time (Acuvue OASIS)

I got LASIK in 2009 as a graduation gift from my parents. Total cost was about 6000 USD. My optometrist gave me a checkup and a referral to Dr Tooma in Newport at TLC Laser Center (called something else now). The referral was worth 1000 USD off. So, here’s how it went:

  • Met my optometrist, got the referral.
  • Went to TLC and got a consultation (free). Basically watched a video and told them I have no questions when can you sign me up? Cost would be about 5000 USD, plus some a prescription and eye drops. I think altogher it would be about 6000 USD.
  • On Tuesday, my dad drove me, let’s say around 10 AM.
  • By 10:30 I was in the waiting room. Just a dark room. They gave me some eye drops.
  • I go into the procedure room. The doctor asks me if I have any questions.
  • First there’s the PEERLESS laser, which takes the place of a keratome blade to leave less of a scar. He uses it to cut a U around my eye.
  • Then I move over to the actual CUSTOM LASIK machine, it was an Alcon. He pulls back the flap of eye he made a cut in and tells me to stare at a red light for 39 seconds. At first it doesn’t hurt at all, but after like 20 seconds it starts to burn, like if someone exposed under your skin to air, not from the laser. Also there’s a burning smell which disturbed me and no one told me about.
  • Switch eyes and repeat. This goes smoother since I know what to repeat.
  • They put on some gauze and glasses and send me on my way, it’s probably not even 11:00 AM but now. They give me 2 Vicodin and some instructions.
  • I live about 20 minutes away. My dad takes me to in n out. While waiting in the drive through my eyes start burning like freaking crazy.
  • I get home another 10 minutes later, devour my in n out, pop a Vicodin, and immediately go to sleep to escape  the pain of my burning eyes.
  • Wake up around 7pm. Listen to the radio, can’t see shit still, eyes cloudy. Sleep around 10pm
  • First day after my eyes are still hazy but I can walk around. Can’t look at computers for more than 10 to 20 minutes. I think I saw my optometrist on the first and 5th day after or something like that.
  • Second day i can look at computer for an hour or two, but still not perfect.
  • Third day after, everything is great. I can see 20 20 and look at the computer.
  • I had to apply natural eyedrops, which are like 20 bucks for 100 at costco. I use like 3 to 5 a day, and I had to take them for about a year, but I wasn’t upset because I knew my eyes were naturally dry already. Being in AC office = total shite.
  • At night, I had really bad “starbursts” for about the first month. AFter that, I still have minor starbusts, but not that bad, doesn’t affect much. Minorly annoying driving. If you’re an office worker and dont’ go out much at a night like I was, it doesn’t matter at all. If you’re a Navy SEAL, it might matter. From what I read, the starbusts/other problems are usually only if you have a very large correction (like I had). The eye is convex (round) and the laser flattens it out. Where the flat part meets the still convex part is what causes the starbursts (from what I read, I’m no expert).

It’s now been about 6 years and I’m still loving it. I’ve completely forgotten that I used to wear glasses, and when I see a photo I look at it and think, holy crap that’s me?! My eyesight is probably a 0.5 diopter, which could have been avoided if I waited and got it later, but I got it at 23 because I was impatient.

Cheers! If you decide to get LASIK, I hope you love it as much as I do, but take all the risks into effect and remember, don’t skimp on two of the most important things you possess!


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