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Looking Back at Lasik One Year Later

Posted By Jim On 05/30/2012 @ 7:15 am In Personal Finance | 24 Comments

Nearly a year ago, I did a cost benefit analysis of Lasik eye surgery [3] and determined that I was ultimately paying around $500 an eye, after deducting the expense of eye care for twenty years. When I was doing the analysis, I had already decided to get the procedure done and I was running the numbers just to see if anything surprising jumped out at me. The fact that I could peg the additional cost at around $500 an eye over the course of 20 years did surprise me but when you’ve already agreed to spending a few thousand an eye, finding out it’s only $500 won’t change your decision.

Looking back (get it?), I’m glad I made the decision.

The Procedure

The procedure was much faster than I expected. I was ushered into a room where I spoke with the eye surgeon, whom I’d been seeing for a couple years to deal with my dry eyes, and we went over the procedure, the risks, and all that scary stuff. I got a few drops and walked to the room where the procedure would be performed.

My first reaction to the room was that it was kind of cold, the room was spartan, and the machine was bigger than I expected. I laid down and was asked to look up at a ring of lights. There were a few more drops, more numbing and cleaning drops, then the surgeon lowered a suction ring down on my eye to immobilize it. The procedure took a few minutes for each eye but basically you look at some lights, you can feel the laser, the lifting of the flap, your eye going dark for a few seconds (eerie), the replacement of the flap, and all that jazz. All the while, the surgeon was explaining what he was doing, what I should feel or expect, and it was generally a good experience.

So the weirdest part comes after you get up and look around for the first time because everything is hazy but clear (like looking through fog). When I went into the room, it was all blurry because I took off my glasses. When I left, I could read the clock on the wall and that was weird.

Recovery

Recovery wise, I slept the rest of the day, mostly because my eyes hurt so much, and had to sleep with plastic shields on my eyes for the next two weeks. They were there to prevent me from rubbing my eyes in my sleep. I also had drops that I was supposed to use to help the healing process. In the beginning I had some haloing at night, which is what you get when you get out of a chlorinated pool, which made it trickier to drive. After a few weeks, that subsided.

I now have 20/20 in one eye, 20/15 in the other – which is only really noticeable when I’m driving and trying to read street signs. One eye gets it clearer than the other, fortunately my dominant eye is the “good” one.

Would I Do It Again?

About a year ago, my contacts started bothering me, which is what prompted me to seriously consider surgery. Even knowing what I know now about lasik and the after effects, if my contacts hadn’t been bothering me, I wouldn’t have done it. Surgery is serious stuff and given what can go wrong, I don’t think it’s worth doing unless you have a good reason. My contacts were messing up my eyes and that was enough to push me to do lasik.

If you have any questions about it, let me know and I’m happy to share my experience and my thoughts. If you did lasik, especially if you did it several years ago, I’d love to hear about what you think, how it’s been, and any words of wisdom you might have for someone who is only a year in.

(Photo: justin [4])


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[3] cost benefit analysis of Lasik eye surgery: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/lasik-laser-eye-surgery-worth.html

[4] justin: http://www.flickr.com/photos/justin/388284294/sizes/z/in/photostream/

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