I have wanted LASIK for a long time, especially as the astigmatism in my right eye developed to the point where I could only see clearly with my glasses if I looked out through a certain angle. (I also wanted it because I am beginning to have some issues with melasma, and I wanted the skin coverage from sunglasses.) On the recommendation of some friends, I went to Dr. Paul Kang at Eye Doctors of Washington for the procedure. I paid $3500, and had to pay about $250 upfront at the time of the final pre-examination. I financed a good chunk of this on a Wells Fargo healthcare credit card that offers 0 interest for the first year, which was the only financing option available.
I definitely did not enjoy the surgery. Here is what happens:
– You take an anti-anxiety drug in the waiting area (where are amazing homemade cookies c/o the office’s great surgical coordinator)
– The staff dose you with numbing eyedrops
– You lie on a table after choosing a selection of plush animals to squeeze.
– They put a ring over your eyeball to stop you from blinking, then direct you to look up at the laser while they push down on your eyeball. You don’t really see anything and after you focus you just have to hold your eye still. If you close your eyes and push on them with your fists, that’s kind of what it’s like, but there is also a kind of vague smell of something burning. I don’t think I had enough numbing drops in my left eye and I could definitely feel something in my eye when they did it, which was uncomfortable, and if it weren’t for that burning smell I think the pain was probably similar to the stinging from the drops when they dilate your eyes. It was all over very quickly, though.
I had my surgery on 6/30 and I can see pretty reliably well now (as of July 17), definitely at least as clearly as I did with glasses, although I am still having some trouble focusing and especially switching between near and distance vision. It can be pretty uncomfortable if your eyes dry out – it feels like maybe a contact lens has folded up and migrated to the itchy corner of your eye when it’s really bad, and when it’s moderately bad, it feels like you have your contacts in after a really long day.
I’m also surprised that lately, my eyes have been super dry when I first wake up – this wasn’t the case at first after the surgery, so I’m hoping that clears up.
I definitely have some issues with halos in low-light environments, but I have no reason to think that this won’t continue to improve. It seems like all my friends had the same initial issues and are now enjoying pretty great results, so I’m tentatively pleased with the results.
Overall, it has been weird, slightly (if briefly) painful, kind of annoying, and tentatively worth it, I really love being able to wear cheap sunglasses and see clearly at the pool. I expect that I will really like it when I do some overnight bike trips later this year.
UPDATE 8/31/2017: my right eye still gets fuzzy if I’ve been awake too long, but I am using fewer drops and overall things are still quite good and slightly better than with glasses. I would expect to spend about $20/week on eyedrops for the first 2 months. Happily, I’ve discovered that the Costco near me sells Systane Ultra drops in a 3-pack for $20. If you don’t see them at your Costco ask at the pharmacy counter, sometimes they are stored off the floor.
UPDATE 2019: my optometrist told me that it isn’t normal to use eyedrops that much and confirmed that I had dry eye after LASIK. I have been on prescription eyedrops (xiidra) for over a year and now I use eyedrops (Systane Complete, a new product recommended by optometrist) once or twice a day (sometimes more often if I am at my computer for too long). I am still very pleased with the outcome. I see better than I did with glasses and contacts and my eyes are more comfortable than they were when I wore contacts. I have gone 3-4 days at a time without using the xiidra too which makes me think that maybe the improvement is permanent.