I got laser eye surgery last year at the Montreal Eye Institute and I just got a new pair of glasses about 10 months later. This is my detailed account of the before, during and after that led to these new cat eye cuties.
Why Laser Eye Surgery?
Except of course for the two biggest factors in my hesitation. The cost and the fact that I hate any and all medical procedures. Needles make me sweaty with tension, I’ve had panic attacks at the dentist…I’m basically just a big baby when it comes to physical discomfort and pain.
First of all, I felt things. Lots of things. Second of all, my fear came from having to go through the procedure with full consciousness, period. Unless I could be unconscious and not remember any of it, I was going to be tense, scared, and uncomfortable, even if it wasn’t any more painful than getting a shot or stubbing a toe. I had asked for some anxiety medication during my consultation and somehow the entire staff forgot about it until I was lying down in the laser room and brought it up. In the end, I don’t think it did anything to help, probably because it was the lowest dosage possible and they gave it to me so late. The whole time I was at the clinic, I was shaking. Probably because it was cold, but also because I was so scared.
For those who hate medical things and eyeball talk, or if you want to get Lasik and are scared too, skip down to the end of the post where you can just see my cute new glasses! For the rest of you, I am about to describe all the things that I had no idea would happen that really put the cherry and sprinkles on top of my misery sundae.
The Gruesome Details
Then comes the actual lasering part, which doesn’t hurt per se, but the smell was something I was not prepared for. It makes total sense in hindsight. You are burning off part of your body. Of course there will be a smell. It reeked while the laser was going. It smelled like burning hair, and so strongly, because of course it was happening just inches away from your nose. This may not bother some people, but it was shocking because re: I WAS TERRIFIED ALREADY. My body was already in a state of anxiety and fear, so that just added more discomfort and anxiety to the whole lovely experience.
The Recovery (Graphic image warning below!)
After your eyeball gets lasered, it starts to sting and burn a bit. I found it very difficult to open my eyes fully for a few hours afterwards, until the pain started subsiding. Your eyes start watering and tearing up right away too, I’m talking big-ass tears rolling down my cheeks for about two hours.
You have to put in two different types of eye drops (three for me cause of my dry eyes) several times a day for a few weeks. No air travel for about a week, no makeup or sports for two weeks. You are basically never allowed to touch your eyes. You’ll go for a follow-up appointment the day after to make sure everything is healing correctly and your vision is okay, then a week later, then five or six months later. And I am experiencing some common side effects, which should improve over the next year or two, basically poor night vision, halos and dry eyes that seem to get worse in the winter (but I had dry eyes to begin with, so it hasn’t changed that much).
During the flap creation, some blood vessels popped in my eyes (which may have been why it hurt for me) so you might have really scary-looking veiny, red eyes for a week or two, but it doesn’t hurt and will heal itself. I just wore sunglasses everywhere so no one would have to look at my gross eyeballs or keep asking me if I’m okay.
Now, after some weeks passed, I noticed that my vision was still a bit blurry. I went for all my follow-up appointments and everything was great and normal and healing properly. But I swear…I remembered the world being sharper when I wore contacts. So I went to my own optometrist just to get a second opinion and he confirmed that I did not have 20/20 vision, but it was very close. Side note….Did you know you’re allowed to drive with 20/40 vision??? That’s kind of scary.
I thought I had solved all my nitpicky problems with glasses when I switched to contacts, and they were great for a while, but after I developed dry eyes, my contacts started getting really uncomfortable. They always felt like they were ready to pop out of my eyes. I tried different brands that were supposed to be more moist, but none of them felt like “nothing on my eyes.” And I started wearing more makeup in the past few years and my contacts would get ruined when I applied eye makeup that had some unknown oil or wax in it that would create a foggy film over the contacts. Makeup lovers who wear contacts, you know what I’m talking about. You can’t just rinse that shit out, whatever it is. You’ve ruined your contacts and have to throw them out.
And finally, I had really, really bad eyesight. The worst eyesight of anyone I had ever met except for legally blind people. So bad, contact lens companies didn’t make them in my precise prescription because it was not worth it for them to stock those .25 and .75 versions.
In the end, it’s really a personal decision for each person I think. I do not regret getting my eyes lasered, even though the results aren’t perfect. Even if the doctor can’t correct my vision to be 20/20, I do feel my quality of life is better. And I don’t technically need glasses. I can do everything in my daily life without having to wear them. It’s just if I want to read things far away or see a clearer picture when I’m watching TV, I will put them on. I even drove a camper in New Zealand without glasses, so it’s not like the iLasik did nothing! But if you don’t hate glasses and contacts like I do, and don’t have a strong prescription, would I recommend laser eye surgery? No. Save your money. Don’t go through the hassle.
And if you’re considering it and I’ve scared you, try not to be too scared. I’m being really dramatic about how bad the procedure was, but of course, it’s something everyone can go through without much trauma. In the end, it’s like getting a filling at the dentist (which I hate and am scared of too by the way.) And it turns out really well for the vast majority of people who get laser eye surgery. I mean Kyler got better than 20/20 vision and he went to the same doctor. I think I just had particularly bad luck with how my body reacted to the medical procedure, which is a risk for any surgery I think. And my prescription being so high didn’t help.