Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind

Fact 4: I had LASIK surgery, for free.

I’m going to kind of steal from Emily for today’s fact. 😉

Fact 4: I had LASIK surgery, for free.

I can’t recall exactly when, but at the beginning of 1999, but one of the top LASIK surgeons was having one of those informational seminars about the procedure. (And with a good surgeon, not just one of the LASIK farms where they purport to be “good” because they’ve done 10 billion procedures. With my surgeon I was a person, and not just another number on the assembly line.) I’d done quite a bit of research on the surgery already, so there was no new info covered in the seminar. The only reason I attended was because they were giving out a prize of free surgery to someone in attendance. After sitting through the entire seminar, they put everyone’s names in a bowl, gave it a good shake, and then drew a name. My name. I think my heart stopped for a few seconds as realization sunk in that I had actually won.

I had a couple of consultation appointments after that, and then about 2 weeks later I had my surgery. My younger brother took me to the hospital for the surgery (and if memory serves correctly, he got a speeding ticket when we were less than 1 mile from the hospital) and my mother picked me up afterwards. They had given me a valium to help me relax, but I honestly didn’t notice any difference pre- and post-medication. The surgery itself didn’t last long at all; it takes longer in prep-time than the actual LASIK.

The weirdest part was when they cut into the cornea to create the flap of tissue. A vacuum-type device is used on the eye to hold it completely still, and while that is on, your vision goes completely black. It didn’t hurt at all, but it was weird. They fold that flap back after creating it, to give the laser access to the corneal stroma and reshape it. That takes just a matter of seconds, while the beam of the laser is focused on the eye. I think the laser part only took 15-30 seconds, it wasn’t long at all. After that the flap of corneal tissue was put back into place, and they put one of those clear plastic protectors over your eye area to protect it and repeat the process on the other eye.

The little plastic protectors have holes in them to allow air-flow to the eyes so they don’t dry out, and they made me feel like I had bug eyes. After the surgery it was back out to the waiting room where mom was waiting, and then straight home. I could already see clearly and perfectly (through the air holes in my “goggles”) immediately after the surgery. I was amazed the entire drive home on all the things I could now see &/or read, like street signs and license plates. I had a mild headache post-op (which is natural as the eyes adjust), so I took two Advil and slept the rest of the day away. My follow up procedure the next morning confirmed what I already sensed – my vision did indeed improve to 20/20.

A trip to my eye doctor earlier this year proved that my vision is still 20/20, 6 years later. The cut lines on the cornea are also almost imperceptible. My ophthalmologist was very impressed with how well my eyes looked and were holding up. He said that’s the exact reason he recommends the surgeon I used – patients have a better history of post-op eye health with him and fewer problems, than they do at any of the LASIK-farms where they push you through. I’m just pleased that I was able to have the surgery, and that it went so well. It was something I’d wanted since I first heard about it; but I never would have been able to afford it. If I hadn’t won, I’d likely still have contacts or glasses that I’d refuse to wear.

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