December 09, 2008


I have been meaning to do a lasik follow-up post for a while now, but I just...haven't.

For those of you just joining the story, I got lasik eye surgery five months ago.

And, I have been trying to decide what to tell you all.

In the beginning, I was very uncomfortable. It often felt like I had been swimming all day long; my eyes burned like from chlorine. I used eye drops nonstop. I was decidedly not happy.

Over time, I began to notice my eyeballs less. I started to forget they were in my head; whereas, right after the lasik, all I could think about was how itchy and painful they were. My day was like this: eyeballs, eyeballs, oh good lord, eyeballs. But that has passed. So now, at this point I think on a scale from 1-5, my satisfaction level is at a 4. I manage just fine day-to-day without any glasses anymore. I go to work, read books, knit, watch TV, all without strain. But I notice a marked difference in certain situations. Trying to read street signs while driving is difficult now. I also noticed that I couldn't make out faces clearly when I was at the campaign rally. Being in large crowds is a tad unsettling because I just simply can't see as well. I notice it when I am bustling around the store at work or when I am walking the dog, times when I am looking at things that are further away than my TV or my computer screen.

I had my last follow-up appointment in November. The doctor wrote me a prescription for glasses if I want them: +.50/+.25. Now, before the lasik, my prescription was +5.50/+4.50, so that is a huge improvement. But with corrective lenses, I was at 20/20 vision before. Now I'm more like 20/25 or 20/30. So it's a net worsening, even though I have the joy of not cleaning contacts or wearing glasses.

I just simply don't see as well as I used to. It often feels like I have dirty contacts in, like if I just blink hard enough, I will be able to clear my vision. I also am still battling the blocked tear ducts, so my contact regimen has been replaced by a hot compress for 10 minutes a day. I can't really say that I am noticing any difference in my tears.

What's funny to me is that my lasik experience has kinda mirrored my fertility experience. Just like how I never knew anyone who had trouble getting pregnant, I never knew anyone who wasn't thrilled with lasik. I only heard glorious stories of how it would change my life. It was only after I got it done and was less than 100% satisfied that I found out that, for example, one of the people said that she had had to have a touch-up. I didn't anticipate this touch-up thing, and since, if you remember, I have those thin corneas, it's debatable whether I will even be able to touch-up.

So...I can either look into paying $300 for a touch-up or I can pay $100 for a pair of weak glasses to wear when I am driving or at political rallies. Buying the glasses seems to me like it defeats the whole danged purpose of the lasik. But I hesitate to do a touch-up now, because sometimes after about five years or so, your eyes can shift and get a little worse. So, thin corneas and all, I don't want to waste my one touch-up now and then run the risk of not being able to get it later if I really need it. And I hate to pay the money for glasses and then turn around and pay the money for the touch-up later.

So I am torn, and stuck at a satisfaction level 4.

I keep asking myself if, knowing what I know now, would I do it again? I honestly have not been able to decide. It's an expensive procedure, and if we needed the money badly for something else, I would certainly be more frustrated than I am now. Luckily, we didn't really make a financial trade-off in order for me to have the procedure. But if I end up still needing glasses or weak contacts, then what was the point of spending all that money on lasik?

I do enjoy being able to see the clock at night. When I first had it done, I had a hard time sleeping because I could see everything in the room! It was a major distraction; I was used to being in my cocoon of blindness. I haven't been swimming yet because I hate swimming, but the worst part about it used to also be that cocoon of blindness when I got near a pool. (OK, that's not true: the worst part about swimming is water.) The cocoon of blindness is gone. I'm probably still not swimming though.

There are reasons why I am glad I did it. But I am not Lasik's Biggest Advocate. Just like with babymaking, I am now the wet blanket, the rain on everyone's parade: If you want to get it done, just be aware that it may not turn out to be perfect. I expected perfection, because I never learn my lesson. I advise you not to expect 20/20 vision.

But you will be able to see your clock in bed. That is a biggie.

Posted by Sarah at December 9, 2008 04:54 PM | TrackBack

I was thinking of getting Lasik done, but you are the third person I have heard was not 100% happy with it. I will use my money and begin my gun collection while I still can.

Posted by: Reasa at December 9, 2008 05:18 PM

You're not the wet blanket with babymaking! I have The Bad Seed for a first child! I'm the wet blanket!

Posted by: airforcewife at December 9, 2008 08:03 PM

I have been urged by many people to get lasik, but I haven't because the doctor told me that even if I get it, I would still have to wear contact/glasses, just not as strong. (I am at minus 9.5) Like you said, what is the point?

They only way I could justify it is to save money, but if you still have to wear some corrective lenses, that goes out the window.

Posted by: Amy at December 9, 2008 11:07 PM

Hmm... I guess the real question is: Can you shoot well without the glasses? ;-)

Posted by: kannie at December 10, 2008 02:25 AM

Ooh, Kannie, good question. I seem to be doing OK in the shooting department. But my shots typically land about 2 inches northeast of where I aim, so maybe my eyeballs are the problem. Yeah...let's blame my vision...

Posted by: Sarah at December 10, 2008 08:13 AM

Thank you for your honest feedback on Lasik. Befor this, I had heard nothing but great reviews about it. It was good to hear another perspective. And I think I will hold off on having it. (Besides, I am too chicken to get it done anyway. :)

Posted by: Tootie at December 10, 2008 03:38 PM

I've been told that if I had it done, I would likely still need glasses for reading. If I could shoot and ride turret without glasses, I would take that in a heartbeat. Glasses on deployment are a major hassle and occasionally an impediment to warfighting.

Posted by: Sig at December 12, 2008 07:04 PM