Wednesday, October 16

Taking the Laser Eye Surgery Plunge

I got glasses in Grade 3. The first ones were a cute little blue-framed pair. Then I guess I developed some "go big or go home" attitude, and ended up with what could very kindly be referred to as an "oversized" pair of black-rimmed beauties for several years.

By Grade 8, I was desperate to get contact lenses, and with my parents' support, I went ahead. The only snag: the optometrist wouldn't let me take them home until I demonstrated - in front of him - the ability to insert and remove them independently. Yeah, that was a problem.

Fortunately my uncle was engaged to a wonderful lady who was willing to help me out with this task (since my parents were too squeamish!) and actually allowed me to practice with her contacts...and her eyes! A bit above and beyond the call of duty of a soon-to-be-aunt, but it worked, and I ditched the glasses soon after. (Thanks, Aunt Lise!)

When I say ditched them, I can't use the term "literally" as of course I did not throw them into a ditch, but close enough. I don't believe I was ever seen in glasses at high school, university or teacher's college, and last year (my 13th year teaching) I wore them one day for the FIRST TIME. Sure, vanity plays a huge role. I don't like the way I look (note that I said "I", tons of people look amazing) in glasses. But there's something about wearing them that makes me feel...underdressed. If that makes sense. Because glasses have always been my ready-for-bed or just-got-up reality, and I don't feel polished and presentable with them on...kinda like being in pj's. And since the 90's jumbo-size pair is long-gone and a smaller, more stylish Coach version currently in its place, I also feel like I'm only seeing a small piece of the world, as my peripheral (and above, and below) vision is blurry while wearing glasses. (I'm pretty blind without a prescription.) Plus, there are all of the other glass-wearer issues - rain, fogging up indoors, what to do during vigorous sporting activities...of course that one's a joke.





The world of contacts and their related paraphernalia has been my reality for 23 years now (quick, do the math) and I don't really complain about it too much. In the past, people have suggested laser eye surgery, but I didn't want to lay out that kind of payment for something that I didn't think I desperately needed. However, a few years ago our benefits changed, and I'm now eligible to have the surgery covered.

My mom had it done a few years ago, and my brother and his wife just this year...and they all rave about it, and the freedom from contacts, glasses and their accessories. I have to admit, I can't imagine traveling without having to pack those things up, and when I go away for more than a night I even try to remember a spare pair of contacts, because heaven forbid I need to put on my glasses while out and about on vacation!

A couple of weekends ago over dinner, my family finally convinced me, and I went on the LasikMD website to book a free consultation. They have an office located in Whitby for pre-surgery consults, and I was able to make an appointment for the following Saturday.

The whole thing took almost two hours, because they had to dilate my pupils to get the full picture, but the bottom line was that I am a candidate (I have to go with the "Advanced Custom Wavefront" procedure - where less corneal tissue is removed - since my prescription is too high to go the "standard" route). I thought it was a bit convenient that they asked about my benefits coverage in advance, and the total ended up being pretty much right on the amount I'm covered for, but I guess what do I care, as long as it's paid for? My package also includes a lifetime vision enhancement plan, so that I can get free "touchups" if anything should change with my prescription in the future.

I booked my surgery before even leaving the office (I went with the North York clinic, since it's the closest), choosing a Friday to limit the time I'll need to be off work (I should be more than ready to get back at it on Monday).

My particular surgeon has performed over 30,000 procedures, plus he's had LASIK himself, so I figure it's pretty safe to call him an "expert", which is comforting.

The fact that they asked me to remove my contacts a week before the surgery just may be my biggest challenge, but I will forego my vanity for seven days, as I think the results will be more than worth it.

I can't even imagine being able to see the alarm clock without picking it up and bringing it to my nose! Think about the seconds of sleep saved! As well as the additional perk of less clutter in my dresser drawer - lens cases, glass cleaning solution, etc,

Anyway, wish me luck! I'd love to hear about anyone's experiences with Laser Eye surgery (well, maybe not any one -in-a-million scare stories) and any tips you might have for the day of or afterwards. I'll be sure to update you after the big day!

4 comments:

Mary said...

Would love to know how it goes for you. I have been thinking about going in as well. This might just be the push I needed to make my app't!!

Anonymous said...

Ok so all of my friends and family tell me I need to do this too. I even went so far as calling and booking a consultation 2 years ago. Then the trailor for the "Final Destination 4" movie came out and that put an end to my eye surgery (no I didn't watch the movie!)
I recently started thinking about it again and I might use your experience as my gauge- if it goes well I might reconsider!
I wish you all the best!
Krista

Tawny said...

Good luck sweetie! I'll be eagerly waiting to "see" how things turned out. I, too, am one of those people who can't see my alarm clock in the morning without reaching for my glasses (which I have to place on top of my white alarm clock in order to see them and grab them to see the alarm clock. Oy!) My mom had this surgery and said it has been fantastic not to be chained to glasses. :)

andie said...

I should be a spokesperson for LASIK because it truly changed my life. When you said that you can't even see the alarm clock, that was me, since I was three yrs old. My husband got me lasik as a gift and it was the single best thing that I ever did. It was amazing and you won't regret it. I was almost blind, literally, and I have better than 20/20 - now 8 years later. I can't tell you enough, how much this will change your life. Being able to see while swimming was also a huge miracle for me - unreal. I still just look outside at how crisp the trees are and I thank God that I can see the world the way he made it, instead of through 3/4 inch glasses. I would love to know how it goes for you, but really, 7 min. each eye and you will never doubt again. Take care and God Bless. Andie
Oh, I also used to see a halo type haze around all light, which I thought was normal since childhood, and that was totally cleared up by the lasik, so driving at night is so much easier. But I have heard that it can make this condition worsen for some people after lasik so I hope that's not true for you. It was like that for the first two weeks or so but then it cleared up completely for me.
abrennan09@hotmail.com