Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

In which I contemplate slicing open my eyeballs with a laser

Posted by Lissa on November 19, 2009

First off, thanks to everyone who commented here!  I was sitting at my computer yesterday morning, bleary-eyed, and a little petulant.  “Why didn’t anyone comment on my Meditations post?  It was a good post, wasn’t it?  I thought it was good!”  Then I checked in this morning to find that my comment-pouting had been rendered completely unnecessary.  Thank you to Jay, Mike W., Shoothouse Barbie, Weer’d Beard and Borepatch.

And on to the topic of the post:  I’ve scheduled a Lasik appointment for January.

I’m so excited I can’t even TELL you.  The idea of waking up in the middle of the night and being able to clearly see my surroundings is fantastic.  I mean, yeah, there are other things to look forward to — not having my contacts dry out on airplanes, skipping the morning-and-night eyeball-poking routine, avoiding the agony of catching a dirt spec underneath a contact, etc. — but that’s the biggie.  I want to be able to roll over and tell whether the guy in my bedroom is my husband or The Big Bad Wolf.

And to do that, I am perfectly willing to take a Valium, have my eyelids held open a la Clockwork Orange, and trust a machine to slice into my cornea and reshape my lens.

I’m just the trusting type.

If you consider the cost of buying and maintaining soft contacts, the cost of Lasik will eventually balance out over many years.  That being said, I was very hesitant about adding the surgery to the household expenses.  In fact, whenever Mike brought up the subject I firmly dismissed it with a “Maybe some day, that would be nice” judgment.  It is my very good fortune that he did a bit of research and discovered that, in fact, the surgery was NOT the $10-K-per-eye that I’d imagined; it’s more like $2K.  Still, that’s a BIG purchase, and — unlike vacation funds, or saving up for a replacement car — the benefits would accrue solely to me.  So still I was reluctant.

Mike solved my problem by generously offering to fund my surgery out of his “allowance,” in exchange for a year’s worth of gift-giving.  Actually, that’s not quite how it happened.  When we started seriously contemplating Lasik as something I could do sooner rather than later, I mentioned that I CERTAINLY wouldn’t need any birthday or Christmas or whatever gifts for a year.   Mike decided to take me up on that throwaway offer, and therefore gave the gift of allowing me to do the surgery guilt-free.  He’s a sweetheart.

Countdown to cutting open my frickin’ eyeballs with a frickin’ laser:  57 days!

P.S.  We’re going with Custom Lasik rather than regular Lasik, on the recommendation of Mike’s friend J (he had PRK surgery).  As J put it:  “I’d rather have my eyeball sliced open based on a custom print of my eye, than based on whether 1 or 2 looked better.”  Right on.

UPDATE: Marko links.  Thanks!

13 Responses to “In which I contemplate slicing open my eyeballs with a laser”

  1. Mike said

    You left out the FSA part that saves us about a third of the cost as well!

  2. Patrick said

    I had LASIK done about 12 years ago. I don’t know how bad your eyes were, but mine were pretty awful — -9 and -11, if that means anything. Translated, it means I could focus on things about 2 inches from my eye.

    It’s amazing how much my life changed. It was mostly just the simple stuff, like being able to see the alarm clock without shoving my face up against it. But it was also being freed from the dependence on glasses. I’d lived for years with my glasses being effectively the only thing connecting me to the outside world. I wasn’t blind without them, but I may as well have been. I was certainly non-functional without them — no driving, no reading, no anything useful.

    I remember very clearly the moment the nurse said, “Here, let me take those. You won’t be needing them again.” Up to that point, I had a very good intellectual understanding of what was going to happen, but this was the first time I had a gut-level feeling for it. I had a momentary sense of panic when she took my glasses. Without them, I was as naked and unprotected as Caleb without his cup of Starbuck’s. Then I realized just what level of freedom I was going to experience. My eyes might have gotten a bit misty right then, unless it was the anaesthetic they’d rubbed under my eyelids.

  3. Shrimp said

    You will not regret it. I had mine done at about $1500 per eye (they were having a “sale”) almost 9 years ago.

    My sister in law got hers done a few weeks later by the same doctor, and she paid less than I did. Prices seem to have rebounded some, but still a very affordable and worthwhile procedure.

    I couldn’t stand waking up and not even being able to see the alarm clock (other than a glowing red shapeless blob) without putting on glasses.

    Nearly a decade later, and I still have 20/20 left eye and 20/25 right. Considering that I had 20/600 (no, that’s not a typo) before, I was ecstatic. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

  4. Jeff said

    I was all set to get LASIK as soon as my eyes were stable long enough. Then I discovered extended wear contacts. I put them in and I can see for a month. I get all the benefits of waking up and being able to see, etc, except for one night a month when I’m between pairs.

    I haven’t researched LASIK since the custom stuff showed up on the scene, but previously my biggest concern was halos around lights at night. Also the fact that they take a very small knife, cut a flap on your eye, peel it back, and SHOOT A FREAKIN LASER IN TO IT.

  5. mike w. said

    What type of Lasik are you getting Lissa? Traditional (where they cut the flap) or Epi-Lasik?

    I’m looking into lasik as well and am defintely going with the custom software that maps your eye, but don’t know if I want traditional or Epi-Lasik.

    My eyes are terrible and have been since high school. If I take off my glasses and sit all the way back in my chair I can’t read any of what I’ve just typed here. Right eye isn’t terrible, but my left eye is “Holy shit, the big “E” is blurry! bad.

  6. ravenshrike said

    20/800 in my right and 20/950 in my left, and I’m now at 20/25 in both. Although I had to do PRK because my corneas weren’t thick enough for LASIK with how bad my eyes were.

  7. ravenshrike said

    Oh, and Epi-LASIK isn’t really seeing any major long-term different results from LASIK, at least according to the guy who did my PRK.

    Randy Epstein – http://www.trustedlasiksurgeons.com/chicago_lasik_surgeon_randy_epstein_md.htm

  8. I’m anxious to hear your report. I thought about it long and hard when I was working in the field when sea spray, fog and rain would make me blind on deck, now that I’m in a lab it’s not so urgent. Still I wouldn’t mind tossing these glasses in a box and buying $100 in cheap-o sunglasses again.

    As for your comments. It was a great post…I was just busy! : ]

  9. Danimal said

    My first day without eye covering after Lasik was rainy and nasty. As I walked from my car to the office it struck me how nice it was to not have to see through rain droplets on my glasses. That alone was so freeing! And it only got better from there.

    I got Lasik back in 2000, and have had no problems whatsoever. Still 20/20 in both eyes, no starring at night or dry eyes or anything. I’d definitely do it again, and wish you well when you get yours done.

  10. I had Lasik about five years ago, then had to have it done on my right eye again a year or so later (my eyes decided that they wanted to revert). Then I had to have PRK on both eyes a year and a half ago. Do I regret having people mess around my eyes with scalpels and lasers? NO WAY!

    I wore contact lenses for years, the disposables, and my eyes became so sensitive that I kept getting infections, over and over again, no matter what I did. So I switched back to glasses, which were so heavy due to my prescription (even with the “thin” lenses), that I would get headaches, and the temple pieces of the glasses rubbed my skin raw there.

    As other people have mentioned, being able to wake up in the middle of the night and see what time it is, without turning the light on and holding the alarm clock right up against my face, priceless. Being able to take for granted that I can read all the road signs, even at night, incredible.

    Oh, look into getting some kind of “lifetime maintenance” plan, like I did. It only cost me maybe $400 more, but it was more than worth it, since I obviously ended up needing more than one surgery.

  11. wrm said

    I’ve been contemplating lasik for years.

    Problem is, with my cokebottles on, I have perfect vision. And I’m afraid lasik might screw something up.

    With the glasses, I can read anything from bumper-sticker-over-there (which is what the glasses are made to do, of course) to 0805-resistor-over-here (.02″ or thereabouts text).

    Maybe I should do just my non-shooting eye…

  12. bogie said

    I wanted to have it done back in 2000 but it turns out I have an eye condition that means I can’t have it. My “counting fingers” vision (somewhere over 20/1000) is here to stay.

    Hopefully your eyes don’t have any conditions that preclude the surgury!

  13. MeatAxe said

    I had the PRK about 2 years ago. No complaints at all, and I read 3 of the 5 letters on the 20/10 line last time my eyes were examined.

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