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The Complete Scaredy-Cat’s Guide to LASIK

Updated December 2021.

People who’d undergone LASIK were quick to tell me “Nothing to it!” or “Best thing I ever did!” Occasionally, someone would say, “I had to go back in for a tune-up.” or “I had to rest a few days afterward.” But no one ever told me about the procedure itself.

Like I am about to tell you.

1.  Decision: Remember when the I, World’s Biggest Chicken, reversed an iron-clad ban on sharp things near my eyes and chose a LASIK provider?

2.  Pre-op appointment (7 days pre-surgery): I was greeted by the smiliest optical tech imaginable. Lisa rechecked all the previous measurements on my eye — the laser will be set with these numbers so accuracy is imperative. She then had me watch a 15 minute video.

In the clip, a man who plays a doctor on General Hospital told what I should expect from LASIK. It may or may not not give me the vision I seek. It may cause complications like halos, glare, over- or undercorrection, dry eye, even blindness. It may require a second procedure. Afterward, I signed the forms, hand-writing a paragraph of consent.

My doctor, not stingy with his time, spent 30 more minutes answering my questions and calming my fears.

I paid the bill out of flexible spending funds, thereby fully committing to return next week. Really? Did I REALLY just do this?

Aye-yay-eye

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.