I’ve had glasses since I was probably 6 or 7 years old – the result of sitting wayyy too close to the TV. I was picked on as a kid throughout elementary and middle school, they called me four-eyes, etc. but I loved my glasses regardless (I personally thought they looked cool – still do).
Although I loved my glasses, this is my story on why I chose to give Lasik surgery a try. Who you callin’ four-eyes now?
Note: I monitored my vision with yearly eye exams. When my vision had stayed consistent for a few years my doctor said I could go ahead and schedule an appointment for Lasik. So, first things first, ask your doctor! I’m just giving you guys my experience so if you are looking into it – you have a better idea of the process/procedure than I did when I got it done.
In high school (10th grade) I entertained the idea of contacts, paid about $500+ dollars and thought maybe I can try a new look and get rid of my frames once and for all. Wrong. Not only did I have myopia (nearsightedness) and very high astigmatism, but if the contact moved even a little I had blurred vision. I tried different brands and my doctor couldn’t figure out why I was having this problem – maybe the contact didn’t even move – but after 30ish minutes of inserting my contacts, I couldn’t see. So I gave up on the idea of contacts; it just wasn’t worth the hassle or the price. My doctor told me about Lasik at the time but advised to wait till I was 21 or older so that my vision could stabilize. If you have astigmatism, I’m sure your doctor has told you that your vision will get worse as you get older before it just stops. I don’t quite remember the exact number in each eye but it was about -3.75 for a long time.
Fast forward 7 years and I was finally considering getting Lasik – mainly because my sister was getting married and I was over my frames at this point so it seemed like the perfect time. I started researching different areas in Atlanta and found Thomas Eye Group. They were running a summer special at the time where I got 40% off ($2,156 to be exact) but that’s not 100% why I chose them even though the discount did play a factor. So, I made an appointment for a consultation just to see if I was even eligible.
They did a series of tests, including your basic eye exam that requires dilating your pupils but also used a machine in another room to measure the thickness of your cornea – which determines if you’re eligible for Lasik or PRK. The staff was super nice and had no problem answering my endless questions. If you wear contacts when making your appointment you will be told to stop wearing them and switch to glasses a certain number of days before your consultation. If you decide to go ahead with the procedure, you have to drop your contacts 14 days prior to your surgery.
Should you get Lasik or PRK? What’s the difference?
I had a thinner cornea so I was recommended to do the PRK procedure (Photo Refractive Keratectomy). If you have a normal, thick cornea you will be advised to get Lasik. I asked how/why my cornea was thinner and was told your cornea thickness never changes – you’re either born with a normal, thin, or thick cornea. Both procedures are safe to get but PRK is considered to be safer because the corrective surgery is done on the surface of the eye, whereas with Lasik they create a flap, correct your vision, and seal the flap.
The office called in my post-op medication to a pharmacy where I picked them up a few days before my surgery. My dad drove me to my appointment where they did another eye exam in the room and put a number of drops in my eyes. They also gave me some sort of medication to help calm me down – except that medicine had literally zero effect on me. I was sitting outside the surgical room with my dad and caught a glimpse through the door of someone getting their procedure done. My dad reacted with, “Oh look how simple it is!” I started crying because I was terrified. Of course, the nurse comes to get me at the same time. She happily called my name and said, “Come on your turn! You’ll be great!” While in my head now I’m thinking, “Should I make a run for it?” as the lady guided me to the table. As soon as I laid down on the table – I knew I should’ve ran. They told me to stop crying because they had to put in 1 more set of eye drops (how embarrassing). Once I calmed down, they covered me with a blanket and handed me a Winnie the Pooh bear. They said I should use it to squeeze as hard as I want, and to stare at the red light as they repeated “Do not move.”
Given the stakes if I moved even the slightest – I heeded the warning and stayed put, clinging to Winnie the Pooh with NO shame. The clamp they use to keep your eye open was probably the scariest but after the doctor finished the first eye I calmed down completely because the rest was painless. I stared at the red light religiously and when he was done while cleaning the eye you lose your vision for a second (scariest second ever but they warn you before it happens and it’s fine). He did the same for the other eye and that was it! It probably took 15 minutes in total, with set up being the longest part. The actual procedure was probably about 5 minutes all together.
After surgery you’re told to go home and go straight to sleep. Avoiding all forms of electronics is highly encouraged because of course you don’t want to mess up your eyes right after surgery. With PRK you have to use certain eye drops for a number of things and your vision won’t be clear immediately. In fact, it will be blurry but it gets better as the days go by – I spent about 7 days in bed. (With Lasik, you have a 24 hr recovery time and can drive yourself to the next day post-op appointment – with PRK I had to have a driver.) The pain medication they gave me – Tramadol – I took one dose and man it made me sick. I couldn’t handle it and after it was out of my system, I never took another dose again. Recovery wasn’t physically painful so I didn’t need the pain medication but with days of just laying in bed with blurred vision – I resorted to Netflix. To protect my eyes, I didn’t actually watch on the screen. I had my brother turn on a series and had the laptop on my side table turned around so I only listened but it helped me get through my recovery!
All in all, the $3.2K investment is totally worth it! Since I had PRK I’ve had to go back for monthly checkups for 3 months and on the 3rd month I had 20/20 vision! In the time span of the 3 months I could see fine but like I said, with PRK your vision gets better and better over time rather than immediately (like Lasik).
I hope this answers all or most of your questions! If you have anything else you’d like to ask leave a comment down below! I’d be happy to answer them.