Happy Tuesday, y’all! I finally took the plunge and got Lasik surgery!
I have had to wear glasses since I was 8 years old and although some of you might think “okay, Andie, that’s totally not a big deal. TONS of people get glasses when they are young,” but, I’m telling you, I was legally blind. Without glasses, I could do NOTHING. I couldn’t walk anywhere, I couldn’t read, I couldn’t watch a movie, I couldn’t eat honestly because I wouldn’t even know what I was looking at. I got contacts the DAY that my eye doctor told my mom “if she can physically get the contacts in her eye, then I will approve of her wearing them at such a young age.” So, because of the drastic difference from my glasses lenses to the real life depth perception, I was determined to get those suckers in my eyes. I was stubborn and tried and tried until it became natural for me to put my contacts in when I was eleven years old and going into 6th grade! I always dreamed of having Lasik surgery but my eye doctor had told me that he advised that I not have it done until my vision stopped changing for multiple consecutive years. I wore contacts/glasses all through middle school, high school, college, and now after college, always waiting each year at my eye doctors appointment for him to tell me that my prescription had not changed since the previous year. This year was the year! My doctor told me that my prescription was the same as the past 4 years!!
So, I called LasikPlus in Alexandria, Virginia on a Monday and was scheduled for my consult that Wednesday! The only instruction given to me was to make sure that I did not wear my contacts 3-5 days prior to my consult. It was right in Olde Town (which is a plus all on it’s own), so I grabbed some coffee and strolled to the LasikPlus center. They did a variety of tests on my eyes to include my vision and eye dryness. The people who work there are just so sweet – everyone from the receptionist to the man who did my tests to the nurse who told me I was good to go to schedule my Lasik surgery date! They even fit me in for surgery LESS than a week later!
They gave me my prescriptions (an antibiotic eye drop, a steroid eye drop, and two Ambien) that I would be needing for after my Lasik surgery before I left my consult so that I could get them filled and have them ready to be used for after my surgery. This was great because it’s not like I had to have my mom drive me to CVS to drop off prescriptions when I would clearly need them ASAP post surgery. Once again, I was instructed to not wear my contacts for 3-5 days before my surgery date. My surgery was scheduled at 8AM on a Monday so my mom was the chosen one to be my DD since I would not be able to drive afterwards.
When I walked into the Lasik surgery center the morning of my surgery, they sat me down and retested my vision to ensure that the numbers they had read on my consult day were correct. This gave me peace to know that they were double checking their numbers because this is a serious and permanent deal! The wonderful nurse then dropped some numbing eye drops into my eyes to prevent discomfort which eliminated the pain but I could still feel pressure when they were to do the surgery (which is normal and should happen – but this not NOT hurt at all). Dr W. Neil Wills came in to see me after the nurses had seen me and he double checked my vision for the third time to ensure that the numbers matched, went over all that he was about to do and then asked me if I had any questions. A little back story for Dr. Wills – he has been performing laser vision correction for 18 years now, 10 of which have been spent at LasikPlus. In total, he has performed over 76 THOUSAND laser vision corrections!!! WHAT!? He has his B.A. and M.D. from UVA School of Medicine, and has 6 memberships to different Ophthalmology boards. Also, in his spare time he likes to read, garden, and spend time with his family. Yeah, I trusted the man, laser me up!
Once I was in the surgery room, they held my hand and walked me (because remember, I’m BLIND) to a reclined chair where the Lasik laser machine was. They positioned me under a microscope and used an eye holder to prevent me from blinking. I felt like I was blinking, I didn’t have to try to hold my eye open or anything, so this was great and made me feel even more comfortable. They asked me to focus on a green flashing light throughout the procedure and Dr. Wills talked to me through out the entire Lasik surgery (which took about 5 minutes total). First, they placed a ring on my eye that held my eye still during the creation of the flap. There were some machine sounds and I felt some pressure on my eye, but as I said, this did not hurt at all. NOTHING during the surgery was painful. NOTHING. My vision during this pressure part did go black, which was normal. It felt like I had just closed my eyes. So to make it even more normal for me, I just closed the other eye that was not being treated. This kept my mind at ease. Then, Dr. Wills just asked me to stare at the light for the remainder of my treatment while the laser altered the “refractive curvature” of my eye, which is basically just the way that my eye is shaped which effects how it sees light. All in all, from the moment we walked into LasikPlus to the moment I was in the car, it took about an hour and half.
Immediately after the treatment, they placed both antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops in my eyes and told me to wear my sunglasses that they gave to me. As soon as I walked out of the surgery room, I could see EVERYTHING. There was a slight bit of glaring to everything, almost like if you were to look through some foggy glasses, but I could actually see everything around me. It was so amazing! Once I got to my mom in the waiting room and she asked me if I could see, I just started to cry because it was truly such an incredible thing to be able to SEE. I’ve never been able to see! Dr. Wills had told me that my numbing drops were going to wear off about 15-20 minutes after I left the office, so mom and I quickly got in the car and headed home because being in Southern Maryland, you’re about 30-45 minutes away from everything. Half way through the drive home was when my eyes started to burn. They instruct you to NOT rub your eyes at all for the first week after surgery, and this was pretty hard not to do when it feels like you’re opening your eyes underwater in the Atlantic Ocean. BUT ALAS, this is what the Ambien is for! I took one Ambien and 5 minutes later, your girl was PASSED OUT in the passenger seat. My poor mom had to get me out of the car and into bed when we got home. What a trooper, because I was pretty dead to the world, but I didn’t feel any pain because I slept for about 6 hours!
After my nap, I could see even better than right after surgery. Things were still a bit ghosty, but it’s gotten better and better each time that I allow my eyes to rest for a while. This morning, I woke up and saw almost zero ghosting/fog! So now, for the post surgery care – for the first week after surgery, I can not rub my eyes, do lawn work (what a shame), no gym (also, what a shame), or swim. I can not wear eye makeup for the next three days and must wear sunglasses when outside. Also, for the next week I have to sleep with this super sexy plastic eye shield on my face which took me back to my old retainer days when I had braces. Anyone know what I’m talking about?! The thing that hooked into your braces and wrapped around your whole head?? I have been through things as a kid, y’all. Anyway, I also have to use the antibiotic and steroid drops every four hours for the next seven days. They also gave me artificial tears because tear production is temporarily reduced after surgery, so I can use these artificial tears at least 4-8 times a day for the first month at least, but basically just whenever I am feeling dry, itchy or irritated. The center told me to remember that it takes 3 months on average for the eyes to officially stabilize and that some glare and distortion will be present at night. My vision may fluctuate from day-to-day and even morning to afternoon. This is all normal and my eyes will actually heal independently of one another. One day the right eye will see better than they left, the next day the left eye will see better than the right. Fluctuation will continue until all inflammation resolves and healing stabilizes. It has not even been 24 hours since my surgery and my eye sight is 10000% better than what it was. To give you a bit of perspective – 20/20 vision is a term used to express normal vision measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at 20 feet. If you have 20/100 vision, it means that you must be as close as 20 feet to see what a person with normal vision can see at 100 feet. Legal blindness is when a person’s best-corrected vision is 20/200 or worse. At LasikPlus, they use a scale from 20/10 to 20/400 and if you are past 20/400, they call it 20/CF or 20/Counting Fingers (HILARIOUS). Well, my friends, I was 20/Counting Fingers and now at my post Lasik surgery follow up appointment this morning, I AM 20/15!! GOD IS SO GOOD!
Now for the money talk. Lasik surgery is NOT covered by insurance. This is an all out of pocket procedure that I saved up for because this was SO important to me and as you can see, has and will continue to make a significant positive impact on my life. Each eye is priced differently and based on the amount of vision corrections that need to be made. With my eyes, my total cost would have been $4,298.00. LasikPlus offers a discount because of the health care that we have, so I received a $898.00 discount, making my total $3,400.00 to be able to see better than 20/20 without glasses or contacts and make me cry happy tears. There is no price tag in the world that can accurately give me the feeling that I have right now! The best part, God forbid if something were to happen and my eyes shifted and I couldn’t see anymore, I am under the LasikPlus Advantage Plan which means that I have lifetime guarantee that my eyes are going to be amazing and that if something changes, they will correct it, FOR FREE. Also, I was eligible for their CareCredit so I was able to split that total up into 12 monthly payments with 0% interest! You could extend it for longer but then you would have to pay interest and I just wasn’t into all that.
I hope that this post was as descriptive as possible and really answered any questions that you might have if YOU are on the fence about Lasik surgery! If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to us in the comment section below, I would love to help you make the decision to start seeing 20/15 today!