When I told my friends that I was getting LASIK eye surgery, I kept hearing the same phrase over and over again: “I got LASIK and my only regret is not getting it sooner.” Now, I’m one of those people. Why did I wait so long to get LASIK eye surgery? Needless to say, I’m a massive fan of this procedure and it really changed my life in an instant (in the best way possible).
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I’m going to tell you a little bit more about my personal journey with my eyesight, tell you all about my consultations and the procedure itself, and explain why it’s important for frequent travelers to consider LASIK eye surgery.
A Near Lifetime of Nearsightedness
It all started back when I was nine years old and entering the fourth grade. Sitting near the back of the classroom, I started to struggle to read the blackboard. As it became more and more difficult to make out the words and numbers, I was overcome with that feeling of dread. I knew that I’d need to get glasses. While I had a lot of friends growing up, I was still a bit of a keener. By having to wear glasses, I knew that I’d descend down the rankings into even more of a “nerd” status.
After wearing glasses for a few years and begging my parents to allow me to get contact lenses, they finally allowed me to wear them by the ninth grade. I remember struggling to get that first contact lens in my eye. It took about 30 minutes, but I was desperate to wear them and ditch my glasses. Finally, I got the first lens in, and the second one only took about 5 minutes after that. Soon enough, I was a contact lens wearing pro. And I’d remain a contact lens wearing pro up until a couple of weeks ago when I decided to give this whole LASIK thing a shot.
The Inconvenience of Glasses and Contacts
I wore my glasses at home when I knew I wouldn’t be leaving the house. Otherwise, I put in contact lenses almost every day. By some miracle, I only had an eye infection once in my life, and it was awful. With contact lenses, the risk of developing an eye infection is as high as 1 in 100, whereas the risk of infection with LASIK is only 1 in 1500. I really had no idea about all of this until I went in for my LASIK consultation.
However, even with excellent quality contact lenses, my eyes always dried out towards the end of the day. I’d have to carry eye drops with me at all times. And I’d always bring my glasses and a contact lens case when I went out at night, just in case I had to take my contacts out. That’s just for day to day life. How about when I was traveling long distances or participating in more vigorous activities?
Traveling with Contacts and Glasses
When flying on a plane to another country, I’d often wear my glasses to the airport and on the plane. Then, when we were an hour or two away from landing, I’d go into the airplane bathroom to put in my contacts. Of course, I’d be armed with all of the hand sanitizer in the land because airplane bathrooms are notoriously dirty!
While participating in sports, especially water sports, I’d always worry about losing my contact lenses. I went whitewater rafting in Ottawa and one of my contacts got lost in my eye after hitting a wave. Even though I gained my vision back a few minutes later, it could have gone horribly wrong. I also nearly lost a contact lens while surfing in New Zealand, and I tend to shy away from putting my head under the water while swimming, too.
And then there’s the general annoyance of having to lug around contact lenses, extra pairs of contacts, glasses, and contact lens solution when you travel anywhere overnight. Once, I forgot my glasses at home for a trip. When I had to take my contacts out in the evening, everything was blurry for the rest of the night.
Why Did I Hesitate to Get LASIK?
My sister had LASIK eye surgery about 10 years ago. Even after her rave reviews, I still hesitated. Is LASIK safe? Is the procedure scary? Does it take a long time to recover? I met more and more people who had the procedure and they assured me that it was a total breeze. So, I thought that perhaps I should go to a LASIK MD eye care center to receive a consultation. After all, the consultation is free, so what did I have to lose?
The Pre-Operative Consultation
I went to my local LASIK eye care center, LASIK MD Mississauga, just outside of Toronto. Upon my arrival, I was warmly greeted by the front desk staff and took a seat. Before long, I went through a series of short eye tests by trained members of staff. Everyone greeted me with a smile, and they answered any questions that I had. I was provided with a folder with lots of information about the company itself and the safety of the procedure.
Determining My Eligibility for the Surgery
After receiving several tests, I’d find out if I was eligible for LASIK eye surgery or not. Most people are candidates, but not everyone is eligible. Thankfully, I was approved to have the procedure. An employee informed me that I’d have two options for LASIK surgery: the advanced custom wavefront LASIK with a lifetime warranty (if my prescription slowly returns over many years, I can have an enhancement procedure to regain 20/20 vision), or the standard technology. As I have fairly large pupils, there’s less chance of experiencing halos around light at nighttime (ie. while driving) with the advanced procedure, so I opted for it.
The Cost of LASIK Eye Surgery
The cost of LASIK is different for every person. It’s a custom LASIK procedure for your eyes. Everyone is different, so please don’t feel that your surgery will be the same price as mine. For your reference, my advanced custom wavefront LASIK was $4480 in total. I was quoted $3080 for the standard technology. At LASIK MD, LASIK starts at $490 per eye, and they offer a lowest price guarantee (they’ll price match other clinics and knock $100 off the price of competitors). At the end of the article, you’ll find a personalized discount code, from me to you, that will save you some money on your surgery!
To my surprise, once I decided to get LASIK, I was offered an appointment just days later! I went in on a Thursday for my pre-consultation, and elected to have the procedure the following Monday. That didn’t give me very much time to stress about the procedure itself, thankfully. At the end of my consultation, I was given a background fact sheet about my surgeon. Dr. Mounir Bashour, MD, CM, FRCSC, FACS, DABO, PhD (yes, that’s a LOT of initials after his name!) has performed over 80,000 LASIK procedures. With all of his credentials and past successes, my mind felt at ease.
The Big Day: The Procedure Day
Before long, my procedure day had arrived and I was ready for it. I wore my glasses to the clinic and was ready to say goodbye to them. If you’re getting eye surgery, you’ll be provided with an information sheet about how to prepare for your surgery day. You shouldn’t wear soft contacts for 12-24 hours before the procedure. It’s also important to not wear make-up, perfume, or hair products. Interestingly enough, you shouldn’t wear wool or fleece because it can create lint in the air within the surgical suite. It’s also important that you arrange transportation to and from the clinic because you won’t be able to drive yourself home.
When I arrived at LASIK MD Mississauga, there was a certain energy in the air. First, the place was packed with people either about to get their surgery or having already had their procedure. About half the room was wearing their own prescription glasses, and the other half wore these black sunglasses that looked straight out of Men In Black. The energy of the room was very positive as everyone chatted casually about random things in life, and I felt somehow reassured by these overall vibes.
Final Eye Tests and Prepping for the Surgery
I was in the LASIK MD Mississauga office for about three hours on the day of my procedure. The surgery itself took only five minutes, max. There were a few tests before the surgery, such as a basic eye test and an easy procedure that mapped my corneas. The test involved staring into a machine and not blinking for a few seconds here and there. The staff asked how I was feeling. If you’re feeling particularly anxious, they’ll provide you with a pill to lessen those feelings. I wasn’t feeling too bad, so I didn’t take any extra pills or anything like that.
After paying for the LASIK eye surgery, I sat in a little waiting area in front of the surgical room. A staff member put some numbing drops into my eyes, and I waited about 10 minutes or so. Then, before I knew it, I was whisked into the surgical room itself. My heart started to race a little faster. It was about to happen.
What It’s Like to Get LASIK Eye Surgery
Dr. Bashour, who I recognized from his picture on the info sheet I received a few days earlier, welcomed me to the surgical room. I was invited to lay down below the laser apparatus that filled the room. I didn’t look at the machine too much because I didn’t want to stress about it. A staff member placed a stress ball in each of my hands and explained what was going to happen.
First, they’d operate on my right eye with my left eye closed. The entire procedure for one eye would only take a minute or so. My vision would go completely black for about 10 seconds, and then I’d start to see little sparks of light. Then, I’d regain my vision completely. There would be a few seconds when I’d smell an odor of burning hair. Then, it would be done and they’d move over to the other eye.
That’s exactly how it all went down. For my right eye, I didn’t feel a thing. My vision went dark, I saw little sparks of light, and then my vision came back. I was told that I might feel a slight pain or pressure for my second eye because my brain would be anticipating that something was about to happen (even though the numbing drops cause you to feel nothing). For my left eye, I felt a bit of a pressure sensation, but it didn’t hurt. The entire surgery itself lasted only a couple of minutes. It also was not a big deal at all. Even with my eyes open, I couldn’t really tell what was happening, and it was over in an instant. I can’t believe that I worried even for a moment about it.
What Happened Immediately Afterwards
I was given the really cool Men In Black sunglasses (okay, they aren’t very stylish, but whatever) to wear for the next 24 hours. The staff at LASIK MD Mississauga put in my first set of eye drops. Then, I’d have to put in three different eye drops four times a day, for the next four or five days. After that, I’d graduate to using regular lubricating eye drops anytime my eyes felt dry, especially over the next month or so.
While my vision wasn’t perfect by this point, there was a massive improvement to my old blurry eyesight. As the evening went on, I started to see clearer and clearer. On the day of your surgery, here’s what you should avoid:
- Don’t rub your eyes. Use the lubricating drops when they feel irritated.
- Don’t watch TV, use any screens (computer or smartphone) and don’t read.
- Don’t shower or get water in your eyes (baths are fine)
- No drinking alcohol or smoking
- No driving
The Post-Operative Consultation
The very next morning, I went back to LASIK MD Mississauga for my first post-operative consultation. I met with an optometrist for about 15 minutes and performed a basic eye test. My vision was almost 20/20 by this point. I was given permission to drive again and resume most normal, low maintenance activities. The day after surgery, you can go back to doing the following:
- Showering (try not to get water in the eyes)
- Going to school, the office, reading and writing
- Driving short distances
- Using a computer or watching TV, while keeping the eyes lubricated
- Flying in an airplane (lubricating the eyes every 30 minutes)
- Using a sauna, steam room, lifting objects of moderate weight
You might have to wear sunglasses outside as your eyes will be more sensitive to light, but they can be your own sunglasses (not the Men In Black ones). Three days after surgery, you can resume most regular activities, like exercise, wearing eye makeup, and participating in most outdoor activities. After seven days, you can go swimming and sailing, and within 1 month, you’re even allowed to go parachuting and bungee jumping while wearing eye protection.
I had my second post-operative consultation a couple of weeks later where I took another eye test. My vision is actually 20/15 now, which is even better than 20/20! Wow! I’ll have another followup appointment next month to make sure everything looks good. After that, I’ll have another followup appointment a year after my surgery to make sure there aren’t any complications.
Questions I’ve Been Asked (And That You Might Have)
Following my LASIK eye surgery, my friends have asked a lot of questions about the procedure. Many people are curious and wonder whether or not they should make the leap and get the surgery. I have been urged to write this blog post by some of my followers online, so I really hope that you find this to be useful! Please, if you have any other questions that I haven’t covered here, please ask them in the comments section and I’ll try to answer them as best as I can.
Is LASIK safe? Can I go blind?
LASIK is safe! It was approved by the FDA in 1999, and custom wavefront-guided correction treatments were approved in 2003. Millions of people have had LASIK eye surgery. LASIK MD is Canada’s leading provider of laser vision correction and have performed more procedures than any other clinic nationally – over 1 million procedures!
The chances of going blind are virtually impossible. Since LASIK MD opened in 2001, there has not been one single case of blindness caused by LASIK at any of their clinics.
Can there be complications?
It’s very rare to develop complications from the surgery, but they are mostly minor and treatable. You can develop dry eyes, flap complications, and starbursts or halos. I did not receive any complications after my LASIK eye surgery.
Is LASIK permanent?
Yes, it is! The shape of your cornea is permanently changed with the surgery, allowing for improved eyesight that lasts decades or the rest of your life. In very rare cases, a small amount of prescription can return to the eyes over many years. In this case, LASIK will perform an enhancement procedure. My LASIK eye surgery has a lifetime warranty, so if I ever need to have any enhancements years down the line, I won’t have to pay a dime.
Did it hurt to have LASIK? Was it scary?
No, not at all! I didn’t feel a thing. The only sensation I felt was a slight pressure on my second eye during the surgery that didn’t hurt. As I explained above, this was merely my brain anticipating that something could happen. You might not feel anything at all during your surgery. Your eyes are completely numb and it won’t hurt. Over the next two or three days following surgery, you may have to wear sunglasses outside if it’s too bright. I didn’t have any issues using computer screens or going outside in the day following my procedure. I didn’t need any sunglasses at all!
No, it wasn’t scary! I am the kind of person that can overthink things, and my nerves didn’t get in the way until I entered the surgical room. Everyone at LASIK MD Mississauga was so nice and really put me at ease. And I had no reason to be scared. The procedure is safe, fast, and the results are nothing short of incredible.
Is LASIK Worth It?
Yes, yes, 100% yes! I swear that I am the biggest cheerleader now for getting LASIK eye surgery…as is every person that I’ve chatted to that’s had the procedure in the past. No more glasses. No more contacts. Just waking up every single day with perfect vision from the moment that I open my eyes. It’s pretty close to a miracle if you ask me. I’ll sum it all up by saying that famous phrase that I kept hearing and the one that I’ll continue to utter now, “I wish that I had done it sooner.”
Are you interested in getting LASIK? Use my discount code LMD-JustinPlusLauren before April 15, 2020 for a $300 discount on a Custom LASIK procedure. *Procedure is redeemable at all LMD clinics except clinics located in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.
This post is brought to you by LASIK MD. My opinions are completely my own, and I can’t say enough good things about my LASIK eye surgery and LASIK MD Mississauga.