posted by: Lori Holden
It’s November, and you know what THAT means.
Decisions and predictions. As in those two words that give me hives: open enrollment.
For those who are fortunate enough to have a job — a job with benefits — this is the time of year to decide what coverage to pay for and how much we think we’ll spend on medical expenses for the next year.
So begins my LASIK journey. Will I, or won’t I conquer my fear of cutting/burning things on my eyeballs in 2010?
Being the ultimate medical wimp, I would not have been able to consider such a thing for myself even a year ago. I was plenty happy with glasses and contacts to correct my near-sightedness, especially when the alternative was a machine grabbing my eye, slicing a flap from my cornea, and holding a laser on it, all while I would be fully-conscious. Talk about hive-inducing thoughts. *Shudder.*
I just couldn’t see it happening (yuk, yuk.)
But then, well, there’s no way to gloss-over this. I hit middle age, and my near vision also began to go. Gradually, I quit wearing contact lenses because I couldn’t read with them in. And I was always whipping my glasses on and off, according to if I was looking far (on) or near (off) or having my picture taken (definitely off!).
The discomfort with glasses grew, and I looked at my situation with new eyes (yuk, yuk). If I am going to do LASIK in 2010, I need to work it into my open enrollment decisions. Which means research.
I tweeted about it. I checked into a bunch of LASIK providers in the metro-Denver area. All were very eager to get me in for a free consultation. All had excellent references. Many were clear across town. I made appointments with three. I cancelled two. I went to one.
Last month, I spent nearly 2 hours with the surgeon (not a tech) at Denver Eye Surgeons to see if I am a candidate. Dr Kumar and his staff took topographic images of my eyeballs and let me see the colorful maps. I’m so proud to report that I have beautiful corneas — thick and healthy. More than enough to lase off the layers necessary for my relatively minor level of correction. Dr Kumar explained that the laser part of the surgery would take only 4 seconds, and that I was at incredibly miniscule risk for complications.
No dilation and no dreaded glaucoma test (hives) was necessary for this exam. And the testing went both ways. I grilled Dr Kumar on everything from what exactly would I experience the day of surgery (if I decide to go through with it), to what happens if there is a power outage during the procedure (no one had ever asked him this before; he said the equipment is designed to continue without interruption).
Bottom line? I am a prime candidate. I have the option of correcting both eyes and wearing reading glasses for near vision, or correcting only my dominant eye. This practice, where one eye sees far and one eye sees near is called monovision. It’s not perfect, but why would I have LASIK to shed my glasses, only to have to wear a different pair of glasses?
And monovision effectively cuts the cost in half. The LASIK fee at Denver Eye Surgeons is $1995 per eye (which includes a current special $300 per eye discount). Wow. That’s a lotta moolah. Now I have to figure out how to save up that much. Payment plans are available through most LASIK providers.
So, what’s the verdict? Will I or won’t I face my fear? Can I endure 90 seconds of discomfort for the promise of corrected (mono)vision? Will I prevail over the angst I feel when I contemplate the act of getting on the operation table?
I have decided to withhold $2000 as part of our flexible spending plan for next year. I think. I just need to be strong until open enrollment closes at the end of the month. Then I’ll be financially committed to this idea that gives me the heebie-jeebies but could have a nice payoff.
I’m just glad the fee includes a Xanax. I’ll need it.
Are you planning to conquer any fears in the coming year?