I got my first pair of glasses when I was 7. I started wearing contacts when I was 12. At age 25, I finally got LASIK, and after 18 years am finally glasses and contacts-free! I’ve always heard everyone say that LASIK is the best decision they’ve ever made, that they wish they had it done sooner, and that it’s worth every single penny but now after having had LASIK myself I can finally attest to all of those sentiments. It’s an amazing feeling to wake up in the morning and not have to reach for my glasses, to not have to crawl back out of bed at night after forgetting to take my contacts out, to take a shower and see completely clearly, and one of my favorites…putting makeup on and not having to have my face practically pressed against the mirror to make sure the eyeliner is actually in a straight line. Plus, amid the coronavirus pandemic, a huge added benefit of LASIK is no longer having fogged-up glasses when wearing a mask!
I have always been nearsighted, meaning I could see clearly up close, but the further and further images and objects are away, the blurrier they get. With a contact prescription of -6.00 in each eye, I’ve only had a few people tell me their prescription was worse than mine; most of my friends and family were in the -2.00 to -4.00 range. After years of being fed up with glasses and contacts, I finally decided to take the leap and get a LASIK consultation to see if LASIK would be a good fit for me.
Getting A LASIK Consultation
If you’ve ever considered getting LASIK surgery, my biggest piece of advice is to just get a consult! All the things you’ve tried to find an answer to on Google will be answered that day. The doctors will be able to tell you if you’re eligible for LASIK, if you’re at risk for dry-eye or any other complications, and you’ll also receive a set price for how much your surgery will cost. Plus, the LASIK consultations at Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons are free!
The LASIK consultation is also a very cool part of the overall experience because you get a first-hand look at some of the technology that goes into LASIK. The technology at Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons is top-notch and some of the best in the state of Ohio. They will perform a handful of different tests on your eyes (all are completely painless!) to determine if you are eligible for LASIK. My favorite was the new iDesign Refractive Studio which measures over 1,200 points of your eye and essentially takes a blueprint of your eyes. The iDesign measurements work hand-in-hand with the wavefront laser in surgery to create a treatment that is completely unique to your eyes.
At the end of your LASIK consultation, you will receive a set cost that is inclusive of your surgery and all of your follow-ups for a whole year! I greatly appreciated that there wouldn’t be any hidden fees later as that is hard to find these days in the healthcare world. The only other cost is picking up some eye drops from the pharmacy which they’ll also give you a coupon for. While many insurances don’t cover LASIK, you can apply HSA or FSA funds to the cost. Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons also has an available financing plan if you don’t want to pay upfront. After receiving your pricing quote, you can then decide if and when you’d like to book your LASIK surgery for. I chose to have mine a few weeks later, but you can choose to have LASIK as soon as the same week as your consultation or wait a bit for a time that works best for you.
In Between Your Consultation & Surgery Day
While I’ve never felt like I had dry eyes, at my LASIK consultation the doctors said that my eyes were a little drier than they’d like. They gave me some over-the-counter teardrops to use the weeks leading up to surgery. I also stayed out of my contacts until surgery to avoid drying out my eyes any further. I came in for a follow-up appointment one week prior to surgery to double-check the dryness. At that appointment, they said my dry eyes had a big improvement and I was cleared to get LASIK the following week!
Before your surgery day, you will need to pick up some prescription eye drops for after your surgery as well as the single valium that the doctor will prescribe you for surgery day. You’ll want to bring all those with you the day of your surgery and make sure you have someone who is able to drive you home as you will not be able to drive yourself after surgery.
Since my surgery was scheduled for a Friday, I only planned to take that one day off of work. Since LASIK has a very speedy recovery, you won’t need to take any more time. Getting LASIK on a Friday is perfect because you’ll have the weekend to relax and be back to work with no issue come Monday.
Leading up to my surgery day, I was asked a lot by family and friends if I was anxious anticipating the surgery. Surprisingly, I was not! I’ve known many people who have had LASIK and shared their seamless experiences with me which really set my mind at ease. I also knew I was in the best of hands with Dr. Lohman at Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons! He has performed tens of thousands of surgeries with countless happy patients.
What To Expect On Your Surgery Day
On the day of your surgery, you’ll take your valium about 30 minutes before arrival. Once you get to the office, they will take a look at your eyes, take your blood pressure, and put a bunch of different eye drops in your eyes along with iodine over your eyelids. These will sterilize and numb your eyes so you don’t feel anything during the procedure. But don’t worry, your eyes won’t actually feel numb or tingly! Once that’s complete, you’ll sit in the room for about 30-45 minutes while that all kicks in. Then, you’ll be led to the LASIK suite for the procedure.
There’s two parts to the surgery and both only take about 10-15 minutes collectively! You’ll lie down underneath the machines with the surgeon behind you along with a few others in the room to assist. This is where the valium really helps! I was so unbelievably calm and content even though I was laying underneath a big machine. I am much more anxious and stressed out in a dentist’s chair than I was during LASIK!
People often ask if LASIK hurts and the short answer is no, absolutely not. The first part of the procedure is slightly uncomfortable, but it’s not painful per say. It’s only uncomfortable because they are using a machine to create suction and pressure on your eyes in order to create the corneal flap that the laser will then reshape the tissue under it in the second half of the procedure. The pressure is a little uncomfortable but it’s over very quickly!
The second part is a breeze and was my favorite part of the whole procedure. Going into LASIK, I definitely had it in my head that there would be a machine very close to my eye and I’d be able to really see the laser coming down from it straight into my eye. But that wasn’t the case at all! All you have to do is look ahead at this orange dot (the laser) that is a part of a big machine that is at least a few feet above your head. You don’t need to worry about blinking or looking away as they will keep your eye open for you and there is no discomfort at all. But here’s the best part: as the laser was going, the machine around it was blurry. As soon as the laser was done, the machine around it immediately came into focus. I was completely wowed by the technology and how quickly my vision came into focus!
After that, you’re all done! As soon as I sat up, the room was already about 50% in focus. I was amazed! You then go back into an exam room and the doctor will take a look at your eyes. They’ll then give you an eye shield and some protective sunglasses to wear over the shield and you’ll be on your way! They instruct you to go home and take about a two hour nap. It’s important to keep your eyes closed for two hours to let everything settle before you begin putting your prescription eye drops in.
Post-LASIK Recovery & Side Effects
Those first two hours dedicated to your nap are the only other time you’ll feel slight discomfort. This is because the numbing drops you were given before surgery are wearing off. To me, it felt partially like my eyes were burning and partially like a sinus pressure around my eyes. This being said, I’d only rate it a 2-3 or so on the pain scale of 1 to 10. If you take some ibuprofen before your nap, by the time you wake up the discomfort will be gone.
LASIK doesn’t really have a traditional recovery because after just a few hours you should be able to see everything pretty clearly. When I woke up from my nap, my vision was the same as it was wearing my glasses or contacts. As you can imagine, I was completely amazed and in awe of the LASIK technology! Your vision will come more into focus throughout the day and should continue to improve over time. When I woke up the next morning, I was seeing better than I was when I had my contacts in!
The first few weeks after LASIK, you’ll have to avoid a handful of activities like swimming or rubbing your eyes, but otherwise, you can pretty much carry on like usual. You can visit this page to read more about the do’s and don’ts for after LASIK but long story short, you just need to avoid anything that would cause straining, pressure, rubbing, or potential forceful contact to your eyes.
The biggest side effect of LASIK is dry-eye, which is why it’s so important to stay on top of your eye drops after surgery. You will be prescribed two prescription eye drops and instructed on how frequently to take them. You’ll also want to pick up some over-the-counter preservative-free tears to lubricate your eyes in the weeks after surgery. You can use these as frequently as you want, but the more the better! In my first week after surgery, I aimed to use them every thirty minutes. While your eyes may not feel dry after surgery, the dryness can come over time so it’s best to be proactive with your eye drops to ensure you have the best possible results!
What I’m Most Looking Forward To After LASIK
Overall, I was completely and genuinely amazed at how simple and easy my entire LASIK experience was. Here are some the things I’m most looking forward to in my post-LASIK life:
- No more paying for glasses or contacts, plus contact solution or eyeglass cleaner
- Being able to see first thing in the morning without having to reach for my glasses
- No longer worrying about accidently sleeping in my contacts
- Seeing completely clearly in the shower and when putting makeup on
- No more fogged up glasses when wearing a mask
- Opening my eyes up underwater and seeing clearly
While I am extremely thankful to be able to see more clearly than I ever have been, the best part of getting LASIK is the amazing feeling that comes from taking control of a piece of your health.
In most aspects of our lives and health, a significant change does not come easily. If you want to improve your physical health, you may have to commit to a more active lifestyle. If you want to avoid cavities, you may have to floss every day. If you’re recovering from an injury or a surgery, you may be in physical therapy for weeks or months. If you struggle with your mental health, you may be in weekly therapy sessions. With LASIK, you make the decision to take control of your vision and thanks to the advanced technology and phenomenal doctors at Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons, you’re granted better vision in such a short period of time. Most things in life don’t come so easily or quickly!
By getting LASIK, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to take charge of your eye health and make a simple change that will affect your daily life in such a positive manner. It’s an investment in yourself that you will thank yourself for every single day after. If you’ve been wearing contacts or glasses for years like I had, I simply cannot recommend LASIK at Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons enough.
Have any other questions about the LASIK experience? I did a Q&A on my Instagram stories and saved the stories to a highlight on my profile. If you have any other questions about my personal experience with LASIK, feel free to direct message me!