Gift of sight – LASIK

Part of adulting responsibly involves deciding what investments are worth your while.  I’ve always felt that investing in my health is worthwhile since it’s naturally correlated with a greater quality of life.  So recently, I made one of the best investments of my adult life – the decision to get my poor eyesight corrected with LASIK.  It has now officially been 12 days since I got the LASIK procedure done!

I was prescribed glasses in 4th or 5th grade and have been wearing contacts since middle school.  I switched to contacts because I found glasses to be aggravatingly uncomfortable and was a huge tomboy, always playing sports or running around in the woods.  I swam competitively and wearing glasses while playing any sport – especially swimming, is an annoying interference or simply not an option.
But after nearly two decades of wearing contacts, I was ready to be free.  It was getting to a point where I thought my eyes were rejecting the contact lens and recognizing them for what they are – a foreign object.  My eyes seemed to be getting inflamed or swollen a lot more often.  It was weird and it got to a point where I dreaded having to deal with my contacts in the morning or feeling the pressure from glasses on my face.  Dealing with my poor eyesight via contacts or glasses had become the most annoying part of my morning and nightly rituals.

My entire LASIK experience has been extremely positive.  I made sure to go to a very trusted and highly reputable surgeon – Dr. Holzman.  He has performed over 70,000 laser vision corrective procedures throughout his 25+ years of experience. He has successfully performed vision correction for Richard On the guitarist from O.A.R., Redskins’ quarterback Kirk Cousins, National’s catcher Wilson Ramos, a bunch of other athletes, national and local news anchors, and pilots.

On the day of the procedure, I walked in, got my eyes re-examined to ensure everything was looking okay and that I had done all of my pre-op eye drops. They also wanted to make sure I hadn’t worn my contacts in the week leading up to the surgery date.  They put some drops in my eyes and gave me a Xanax (my first time ever taking it – apparently they offer it to everyone and I’d read on forums that you had better take it or you’d regret it later).  I sat in the examination room for a few more minutes and was then escorted to the laser room.  It was really cold in there (they have to keep it chilly for the equipment) so dress warmly if you ever get it done.  The assistant asked me to lay down, gave me a teddy bear and covered me with a blanket.  All I could muster up to say while holding the teddy as I anticipated what was about to happen was, “Thank you for the Xanax.”  It’s really important that your facial muscles are totally relaxed during the procedure so I checked-in with myself and realized my muscles were veryyy relaxed.  I continued to do some simple breathing techniques to keep me totally relaxed during the surgery.  The technician then put in what felt like 15 numbing drops in each eye.  Finally, the doctor came in ready to work his magic.  He used the Intralase laser to create the corneal flap with one of the two machines I laid between.  Then, the bed I was laying on moved me a few feet over to the other laser machine that does the correcting.


Dr. Holzman proceeded to smooth the flap back in place.  Both eyes combined took just a few minutes.  Then the doc asked me to get up from the laser bed.  Oh em gee!  I could clearly read the clock on the wall that had looked blurrier than an upside-down Monet painting just before laying down on the laser bed.  The numbers on the clock looked so crisp!  It was amazing.  I thought, “What is this witchcraft?!”  I mean seriously – I didn’t know it would work so instantly!

I had this overwhelming urge to give the doctor a huge hug as he walked me up to the counter but I fought the urge to avoid making anything awkward – or throw him off and have him accidentally elbow me in the eye (he’s a tall guy).  Plus, I knew he had more people to use his sorcery on.  Just kidding – but seriously, this procedure has been such a blessing.  It really is like the gift of sight.  I can’t express how happy I am that I chose to invest in improving my eye sight. I was 20/20 at my one day post-op appointment and 20/15 at my one week post-op!  The TLC (The Laser Center) Lifetime Commitment policy is ideal.  As long as you go to all your post-op appointments, and keep all your  annual eye exams, they’ll cover any future vision correction procedures you may need for life.

The only pain I’ve felt throughout the entire process and recovery was halfway into the drive home.  I guess that’s when the numbing drops began to wear off.  They cautioned me that since I had about a 50 minute drive back, I would probably feel my eyes stinging.  If I were only about 20 minutes away, I would have taken the mandatory 3 hour nap they tell you is required as soon as getting home and would have been asleep while the numbing drops wore off.  However, since I wasn’t asleep at that point, yes, my eyes started to sting a ton and I could barely open up my eyes without having a flood of tears burst through the open-gate of my lids.

Finally, once we made it back to Richmond, my boyfriend who was driving me stopped by Martin’s and got me some Pacific Rim Riesling and a box of tissues.  They actually recommend you drink a glass of wine or beer when getting home to ensure you sleep soundly during that 3 hour nap.  Once I got in my bed, I put in the comfort drops they gave and the pain instantly went away!  I had to sleep with these Riddick-inspired goggles every time during sleep and any naps for a week.  I totally looked like a mix of Riddick’s side-kick, an alien and a bug.  My boyfriend kept calling me Horace Grant.  I definitely made sure to never sleep without them.

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I also had to refrain from eye makeup entirely for a week. For optimal recovery, I made sure to stick to the specific eye drop schedule (involving four different drops – antibiotic, steroid, ointment, etc.) that they laid out for me and now I’m down to having to do only two different types of drops each day – the lubricating gel Celluvisc and lubricating Refresh Optive.  I’m definitely using these Refresh Optive drops like crazy, though.

In terms of the recovery, it has been very smooth.  However, I would recommend to anyone seriously considering getting it done:  Don’t do it during allergy season.  The months of April and May in Richmond, VA have been covered with pollen.  I had to stay inside as much as possible for the first week (and am still avoiding it some) because of all the pressure sneezing puts on the eyes and the possibility of having an incontrollable urge to rub my eyes.  Also, they tell you to avoid allergy medicine since it dries out your eyes.  But even with the high pollen count we’ve had, recovery has been solid.  As I said, I’m near constantly putting the Refresh Optive drops in my eyes to keep them well lubricated, which they say [major key alert!!] is crucial for successful recovery.  The thing I’m trying to stay mindful of is the way I take off my eye make-up now.  I have to go from top to bottom over my eyelids (not side to side) for the next few weeks while ensuring the corneal flap is fully healed.  One downfall of all the drops (especially the thicker ointment/gel drops) is that sometimes it gathers in my lashes and dries up.  I’ve tried to very gently break up the dried up parts but have ended up losing a few clusters of lashes 😦  I will get them to grow back once my eyes are fully healed.

  My favorite side effect is seeing halos and rainbows around lights.  They’re not so pronounced where it ever interferes with anything I’m doing.  I really wouldn’t mind if I had that side effect forever lol.  I can’t believe some people complain about it – but I guess if it’s to the point of interference then it’s a necessary complaint.  But 12 days in and I still have had barely any discomfort at all.  It’s so nice to be able to wake up and not have to worry about putting in contacts.

So for those of you out there tired of your contacts and/or glasses, go see if you’re a LASIK candidate!  It’s SO worth it!

Get your eyesight fixed but don’t lose vision:

“I think that the greatest gift God ever gave man is not the gift of sight but the gift of vision. Sight is a function of the eyes, but vision is a function of the heart.” -Myles Munroe

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