This year, I decided to treat myself to good vision and get LASIK! If you follow me on Instagram you probably already know my initial thoughts but today I wanted to share my experience with the entire procedure in case any of you have ever given thought to laser vision correction. Spoiler alert… I can see without glasses or contacts and it is glorious!!
To give a little back story, I have been contemplating LASIK for many years. I have always been envious of those with perfect vision (thank you, genetics) and dreamed of what it would be like to wake up and be able to see. I’m sure some of y’all can relate! I started wearing glasses in 6th grade and that lasted a whole year before I convinced my parents to let me get contacts and have worn them pretty much exclusively since. I hate the feeling of glasses- they irritate my nose/temples and get in the way and are no fun to work out in. I would pretty much only wear them before bed and without them I was SO blind… like could barely see the E on the eye chart. If you know anything about prescriptions, I was a -5 and -3.75.
My mom got it when I was younger and I know several people who had it done and raved about it. I have been thinking about it for years and got a consultation a few years ago but didn’t go through with it because I got a bad vibe from the doctor and just wasn’t mentally ready… I was scared of the procedure! But then everyone I talked to said it was so easy and let me tell you… THEY WERE RIGHT!
There are many criteria that go into being a good LASIK candidate including your age, stability of your prescription, your medical history, shape of your corneas… I could go on but you get the picture. My optometrist recommended my surgeon because his practice was known for being conservative and only performing surgery on the best candidates. If you are at all interested in LASIK, make sure you do your research because you don’t want a surgeon who does the procedure on just anyone, because that’s when bad outcomes arise. If you are local to Charlotte, feel free to email me or shoot me a DM if you want to know where I went!
If you wear contacts regularly, you will have to be out of them for 1-2 weeks before surgery. I had a preliminary test to see if I was a good candidate and had to go back in 1 week before my surgery for more testing. I had to be out of my contacts a week before the testing and a week before surgery so I decided to do it back to back. This was honestly the worst part because like I said… I hate wearing glasses! The reason you have to do this is because constantly wearing contacts can change the shape of your cornea so they need some time to breathe.
Since I had to work in healthcare, they put me on an antibiotic drop 1 week prior to surgery. They also wanted me to do lid scrubs twice a day. If you don’t work in the healthcare field then you would just start with an antibiotic drop the night before and come in with a clean face & eyes and that’s it!
After I went over the procedure details, risks, and post-op care with the surgeon, I was given a Xanax to calm the nerves. As soon as I got in the OR my surgeon said “I could tell you were pretty nervous” but the meds really did help! The whole procedure probably took about 10 minutes. After putting in a ton of numbing drops, you go under the first laser which creates the flaps on each cornea. I heard this part would be the most uncomfortable because a suction cup applies pressure to your eyeball but for me it was minimal! Maybe a 1/10 discomfort.
After they create the flaps, the table slides over to the excimer laser which is the one that changes the shape of your cornea. The weirdest part was probably when he lifted the flaps of my corneas, it just looked like a clear part of my eye was moving! For the second part you just stare into a light while the laser works (it does smell a little like burning flesh so be forewarned).
Right after the procedure they gave me some sunglasses and I sat in a dark room for about 15-20 minutes. Then another eye doctor that I had seen before surgery checked my eyes and I was free to go! Instructions were to keep my eyes closed as much as possible that first day to minimize the risk of disturbing the flap. I went home (my girlfriends sent me the prettiest flowers!), took some melatonin and Ryan taped my eye shields onto my face and it was nap time! I slept about 4 hours then got up to eat dinner, sat on the cough until about 9:30 then went back to bed.
THE DAY AFTER
My follow up was first thing on Saturday morning and the surgeon checked my flaps and they were still in perfect position. Yay! They also checked my vision and I could see 20/15!! It was still a little hazy but that was normal the day after surgery, it kept getting clearer throughout the day. It was truly AMAZING that I could see with no correction and now it was time for more drops!
Let me tell you that there is a LOT that comes with getting LASIK. You don’t just get your eyes treated and go about your day, you have to be very diligent on caring for your eyes afterward. The week after surgery I was on two different antibiotic drops and one steroid drop. I had to use those several times a day. I also had to wear the eye shields nightly for one week- this was kind of a pain and I hated the sticky residue from the tape!
One of the biggest topics they cover with you before surgery is dryness. Your eyes will be dry after surgery so you have to lubricate them like crazy! They have to cut through the nerves in your cornea so you may or may not “feel” the dryness, but it will be there. Those nerves will regenerate over the next few months but it’s important to keep your eyes lubricated as much as possible. If your eyes are too dry, that can cause them to more easily revert to less than perfect vision.
I take a daily multivitamin, which I already had in my routine, but now am taking a large amount of fish oil daily. This vitamin helps build up the lipid layer in your eyes, further helping prevent dryness. I’m taking 6 of these pills a day for the next 3 months.
And we can’t forget about the drops! For the first week, I had to use lubricating drops every 30 minutes!! Yes that’s a lot to remember but what worked for me was setting a timer on my phone on days I was off and while at work, I printed out a schedule and just crossed it off throughout the day. At my 1 week post-op my doctor noticed they were moderately dry so I have to use drops every hour for the next few weeks. I think you only have to use drops consistently for about 3 months, then just as needed.
The most common side effects after having LASIK are dryness, hazy vision, light sensitivity, and seeing glares/halos around lights. I’m happy to say I’ve had minimal side effects… so far! For the first week or so your vision is pretty blurry in the morning (I think from the crazy abundance of drops) so it’s important to lubricate first thing. My eyes haven’t felt dry but if I’m working a full day I definitely notice they feel tired after staring at the computer for too long. When you’re staring at a screen you don’t blink as much… not blinking = dryness! The first few days I did notice some halos around headlights at night but that has improved every day.
I’m so happy I finally went through with LASIK and like most people say… I wish I did it sooner! What I really enjoy is the change to my nighttime routine- I can see even after taking off my makeup and while I’m lying in bed. This is definitely an investment and an elective procedure, but so far I couldn’t be happier with the results. I will share an update in a few months if you guys are interested and if you have any specific questions, comment below or feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!