Last year in March I bit the bullet and got LASIK. It’s something I had been thinking about for years, and it finally felt like the right time. I have been wearing glasses since the 6th grade — and contacts for just as long.
A bit about my eyesight: I was nearsighted (could see up close, could not see far away) and -3.75 in both eyes, with almost no astigmatism. I didn’t need reading glasses and had really good close up vision.
I’m going to share my experience with LASIK — keep in mind your experience will probably differ, depending on what kind of laser surgery your eyes require, and your doctor’s procedures. But this was the process and my experience at Dr. Hyver in Santa Clara.
Finding your doctor: Do your research! Get personal referrals. Ask a lot of questions. I was referred to my doctor (Dr Hyver) through a bunch of my colleagues. I got really good vibes from him during my consultation. He answered all my questions patiently and truthfully, and talked me through the pros and cons of LASIK. One con is the loss of your close clear vision later in life. If you get LASIK, you will need reading glasses at some point later in life. This has something to do with the way they change the focal point in your lens. It is not avoidable. This was definitely a big thing for me to consider because my close vision was excellent. I did not need glasses in order to read, but after LASIK, I will sometime in the future.
During my consultation the technicians ran a bunch of tests to make sure I was a good candidate – they test your eye pressure, lens shape, vision, natural tearing ability etc. Not everyone is a good candidate for LASIK (although there are other laser eyesight correction procedures), and it’s not just because of your vision prescription. It has to do with your eye moisture, lens shape, prescription, etc.
You’ll have a pre-op appointment where you’ll do a thorough vision test, they’ll dilate your eyes and check their health, and you pay. This is typically the same week as your surgery.
24 hrs before your surgery you will start antibiotic eye drops, once every 4 hours (while you’re awake).
On your surgery day, you arrive at the center and they go over the aftercare (more on this later), the receptionist also gave me some Ativan when I checked in, to help with nerves, although I don’t really know if it did anything… I still felt pretty nervous.
Then you have a quick surgery prep: You take off your prescription glasses (for the last time ever!) the surgical tech will drop some numbing eye drops in your eyes, wipe iodine around your eye area to sterilize, and give you a surgical hair net and booties. This takes about 10 minutes total.
Then you’ll walk into the surgery suite and lie down on this machine bed thing. It’s kind of a trip! Your surgeon will ask you to confirm your name, date of birth and procedure (IE: “My name is Abby Mills, I’m getting LASIK in both eyes today”).
The surgery technician gave me 2 stress balls to hold in my hands that actually really helped throughout the procedure. I found myself focusing on them instead of thinking about what was happening. The surgeon will perform the surgery on one eye at a time, first they hold it open with some kind of hands free device. This isn’t as uncomfortable as it sounds. Each eye takes about 5 minutes, and you really don’t feel anything other than some pressure. The surgeon directed me and kept me updated the whole time. IE: “Follow the green light, now you’ll feel some pressure. Now it will go dark, now look at the green light again” etc. While I wouldn’t say it was an *enjoyable* experience, it certainly is completely tolerable. Especially since you don’t feel any pain, and it’s over very quickly. The only weird thing is you can’t close your eyes — obviously. Usually when you have an uncomfortable medical procedure you can close your eyes and breathe to calm yourself down. You can’t do that in this instance, which was just a bit odd.
Once the surgery part is over (maybe like 10-15 minutes total, seriously). You walk out of the surgery suite, don a pair of dark glasses and you’re good to go home.
Crazy right? You can open your eyes as you make your way out of the building, but you cannot drive yourself home. Once you get in your ride home, they ask that you keep your eyes closed for 4 hours. When I got home, I changed into my jammies and laid down in bed chatting on the phone for a few hours. Before I knew it, four hours had passed and I was good to open my eyes. My vision was perfect right away, but for some people, it can take a week for your vision to fully adjust. You have to sleep in these very attractive goggles for a few days so you don’t accidentally rub/scratch your eyes in your sleep.
Some side effects: My eyes were drier than normal for the next few months. Even a year later I still experience some dryness, and usually put in a tiny eye drop in each eye in morning when I wake up.
Overall it was a totally painless and very easy experience. My only outstanding concern is my night vision when I’m driving. I’m not convinced it’s 20/20, but I have yet to get an eye exam to prove my hypothesis! If you have any further questions drop them in the comments or shoot me a message on Instagram.