I first started wearing glasses when I was 9 years old. Fast forward two years, it went from wearing them occasionally to see the chalkboard, to all the time. When I was 14 years old I got braces and I asked my dad to get contacts. He originally said no and told me to wait it out. But once I laid it out to him, “Hey Dad, please don’t let me be that girl with glasses and braces” (Yes, that was me!), it didn’t take long for him to buy me my first pair of contacts.
I started off with clear, permanent contacts that needed to be changed every year. I wore them almost every single day during high school. Once I got to university, I’d almost always wear glasses when and if I made it to class and kept my contacts for going out.
Contacts never bothered me; that’s until I started working full time. I’m not sure if my eyes have dried out with age or it was a result of staring at a computer all day, but I couldn’t bear wearing contacts to work. When I did, my eyes would dry out and get really irritated. At this point I had gone from yearlys to monthlys to biweeklys to dailies.
Although glasses can give you a stylish look and cover dark circles/bags under your eyes, the cons started outweighing the pros. I started realizing how inconvenient it is to wear glasses. The list of CONS as follows.
All in all, I was fed up wearing glasses and knew that I wanted to get laser eye surgery. In order to get it, you need to ensure your eyesight has stabilized. Although I wanted to get it sooner, the optometrist advised against it. It wasn’t until my late twenties when my eyesight stabilized, that the optometrist gave me the go ahead.
For anyone who has thought of possibly considering laser eye surgery, I wanted to share with you my experience from beginning to end, so that you can make an educated decision.
Is It Safe To Get Laser Eye Surgery Done?
There have been millions of laser eye surgeries performed with little to no downsides. This procedure has been around for over 20 years, allowing long term studies to be performed to see if there are any long term affects. The way I see it, there’s a higher probability of getting into a car accident than going blind from laser eye surgery. Some people are better candidates than others and this will be discussed with you at your consultation. During my free consultation, they did a series of tests after which they deliberated their professional opinion on my candidacy for the procedure. My eye sight was about -4.00 in each eye and I had very slight astigmatism, which made me a great candidate.
Where Should I Get The Procedure Done?
Around the GTA, you have three big names that provide this service – Lasik MD, TLC and Bochner Eye Institute. When debating between the three, I eventually decided to go with TLC. TLC is highly recommended by most optometrists as they have the latest cutting edge technology but isn’t as pricy as Bochner. Bochner is the “creator” of laser eye surgery and due to that, they charge a premium. TLC charges $5000, where as Bochner charges around $8000. You’re essentially getting the same procedure, but paying a $3000 premium for the name. I quickly ruled Lasik MD out due to some unpleasant stories I had heard from their previous patients. Many I know have experienced the halo effect, which is essentially a sunburst or a ring around lights at night. There was one instance where a girl’s eye was very irritated, red and swollen because the flap they were trying to put in her eye was too big and they tried forcing it in. These patients will likely tell you that all in all they are happy with the procedure, but I’m not taking any chances with my eyes. Lasik MD is always offering promotional discounts and I believe is the cheapest of the three, but again, I am not taking any chances with my eyes!
How Do I Finance It?
TLC provides a one year interest free loan, giving you up to a year to pay it off. Depending where you work, you have vision benefits and flex benefits. I used both my vision and flex benefits to cover a portion of the cost. This procedure is also a tax deductible expense for Canadians, for which you should get some money back.
Was The Procedure Painful?
The anxiety of thinking about the procedure was the most painful part. The procedure is very quick and not painful at all. They give you a Xanax (or equivalent of) to calm you down before the procedure. During the procedure, they use a contraption to open your eyes so your eyes remain open during the entire procedure and put in eye drops to numb your eyes. A quick procedure is done on both eyes and you are advised to go to sleep immediately when you go home as when the numbing agent wears off, you will feel burning. It’s important to rest your eyes for the next several hours, as any exposure to light makes it burn. The Xanax made me drowsy and I ended up sleeping for over 8 hours. I woke up with no pain and I could see sans glasses! The clinic will explain to you step by step what to expect in the procedure so there are no surprises.
I got my procedure done on the Friday and was ready to return to work on the Monday. Since I have a desk job, I did feel that my eyes were sensitive to the computer screen and I found myself getting headaches. Mind you, I am prone to migraines, so that could have contributed to it. It took a couple of more days for the sensitivity to go away.
After the procedure, you can’t swim for 2 weeks, so you’ll have to make sure you account for that.
There’s definitely some up keep after the procedure. The first couple of days you have to tape on eye shields when you sleep to ensure nothing goes into the eye and doesn’t get infected. They also put you on a schedule of drops. As each day passes, the up keep decreases until you’re completely done.
After I had completely finished the course of drops I was required to do, a few days later I did react and my eyes were burning. Naturally I got very scared as I thought there was something wrong with my eyes due to surgery. This was on Canada Day (a National holiday) and I called the emergency line. They promptly arranged for a Doctor to meet me on site within an hour. I was very impressed with the customer service despite it being a holiday. The doctor checked me out and told me that I needed a bit more time to heal and I should continue the eye drops for another two weeks. She advised me that most people heal with the recommended course of drops, and my case was rare. Immediately after restarting the drops, my eyes felt better and after the additional course of 2 weeks of drops, I was fully recovered!
Would I recommend Laser Eye Surgery?
In one word, ABSOLUTELY! I personally think I look better without glasses and for the longest time, I didn’t realize how much I was hiding behind them on a daily basis. I love the liberty laser eye surgery has afforded me – from working out freely, to swimming, to the ease of packing when travelling or even for a sleepover. I no longer have to worry about packing my contacts, glasses, glasses case, contact solution, etc. Not to mention, wearing sunglasses have become a heck of a lot easier. Shortly after the procedure, I remember it feeling so weird that I didn’t need to reach for glasses or contacts, but it didn’t take long for this to become my new normal, where now, I can’t imagine a life with glasses.