Well, after a very long buildup (like 15-20ish years), I finally went through with correcting my vision with laser eye surgery. A bit of background; I first needed glasses when I was eight years old, and my vision pretty much deteriorated every year until my mid-twenties, when it stabilized at a prescription around -6.00/-7.00. Laser surgery is not recommended unless your vision has been stable for several years, so it was sort of a shiny, unattainable object to me most of my life. Last year, I mustered the courage to ask my eye doctor about it at my yearly exam, and she enthusiastically let me know I was a perfect candidate and handed me a list of referral clinics to contact. I brought my list home but pretty much chickened out and ordered my year's supply of contacts the next day.
This year, I just went full steam ahead and tried not to think about it too much at any point in the process. I have a very unpleasant physical reaction to needles and a few other invasive-type medical procedures, and it turns out lasers in the eye was one of them. My partner looked through the list of clinics for me and reported back in less detail to help me choose one to book a consult with.
At my consult, they did a typical eye exam, but also tested the pressure in my eye and numbed them to test the thickness of my corneas (that part wasn't great but it was over pretty quick). That's when I was informed PRK would be the better option for me rather than Lasik, as my prescription was quite high and my corneas are relatively thin. Both procedures are a similar experience under the laser, but PRK unfortunately has a much longer recovery time, with 5-ish days afterwards experiencing extreme light sensitivity, stinging feeling in the eyes, and blurry vision.
The surgery itself honestly takes very little time. The day of my appointment I took a prescribed painkiller in the morning. When I arrived, they gave me a valium to help soothe my anxiety and relax me, and tested my vision one final time. Then I met with my surgeon to go over what the surgery would be like and ask any questions I had. Once I felt "ready," he brought me into the operation room, where I was given a scrub cap for my hair and two stress balls to hold on to and squeeze during the surgery. They actually recorded the whole thing on my phone, but I haven't had the courage to watch it back yet!
The actual surgery involved laying flat on a table that was wheeled under the laser, and staring at a flashing light straight above me. They covered one eye, and the doctor prepped my other eye by cleaning its surface. Honestly I found that to be the most uncomfortable part – you feel a bit of pressure but your eyes are completely numbed. My issue was just the knowledge of what was happening to my eye sort of freaking me out. Once the eye was prepped the laser begins its work. The laser was invisible, so you don't see or feel anything, but you do hear a small zapping noise, and unfortunately you can smell a burning scent. It passes fairly quickly though, and the surgeon gives you a countdown to focus on. They coat your eye briefly in medicine, flush it with water, and add a "bandage" contact that you'll wear for the next week, Then they repeat the same thing on the other eye. Five minutes later you are wheeled out from under the machine and you can see your shoelaces, something, if you're me, you wouldn't have been able to see beforehand. That's it, I was back in the car with Ian a moment later and heading to home to my dark bedroom to rest.
The day after my surgery was definitely the most uncomfortable. Once the numbing wore off my eyes felt very swollen and swore, and extremely sensitive to light. I couldn't really open them more than a slit to eat some food and go to the bathroom. I spent most of that day and the next sleeping in the dark, watching Disney movies with the screen pointed at the wall to not shine on me. But on day 3 I could open my eyes much wider in the darkness, and could tolerate a little more light than previously. I am still taking 3 different types of eye drops four times a day, but only for a few more days.
Today marks five days post operation, and I'm feeling almost back to normal. I'm able to spend my day on my feet and in the daylight in my apartment, I can look at screens of my phone and computer again. My vision is not perfect but it is meant to improve gradually over time for the next few weeks. As is, I can read text on my computer and phone but everything is definitely blurred at the edges. My final follow up appointment is tomorrow morning, where they'll remove the bandage contacts and do an exam to make sure everything is healing properly.
I don't have a full review of the experience and probably won't until my vision has stabilized. It was definitely uncomfortable and would have been a lot harder to go through had I not had my husband to care for me during recovery. But I think five days of discomfort in exchange for such a life-altering procedure is probably definitely worth it if it's in your budget. I will say, it's a costly procedure but it depends on a lot of factors. Because my prescription was quite high, the cost was a lot higher per eye. My insurance covered about $1000 of the final fee, and the clinic I went to actually had a deal going on where we saved $1000, and it still cost $2999 USD. I feel very lucky to be in a position where this was an option for me, but think it is totally something worth saving and treating yourself with in the long run.