My LASIK Journey
BACKGROUND – My life before LASIK
I have worn glasses and contacts since I was 11 years old…that’s over half of my life being blind! Putting on my contacts in the morning had become a normal (if not the most important) part of my morning routine. I mean, I couldn’t even make it from my bed to the bathroom without running into something! (Thank you, dogs, for leaving toys everywhere).
My life literally depended on contacts.
To make things more inconvenient, I always procrastinated ordering new contacts – I literally would wait until I was on my last pair, but then it was too little too late. I can’t tell you the number of times I have had to “call in blind” to work because I had no contacts and I never wore glasses. My dream was to one day wake up and be able to see the other side of the room – and that is where my LASIK journey began.
PLANNING – My decision to get LASIK
I have been going to EYEWORKS & Chu Eye Institute since I was little, so when I found out Dr. Richard Chu opened their new LASIK center and started doing LASIK , I knew I would continue to trust Chu Eye Institute with my vision correction when the time came.
Every year when I would have my annual eye exam, I was praying to hear those 4 words “you’re a LASIK candidate!”
Fast forward to 2018 – Not only was I now a candidate, I was also working at EYEWORKS & Chu Eye Institute as Creative Director. I do think that being on the inside really gave me the knowledge I needed to make my decision. Keep in mind I am the person who never had to go to the ER when I was a kid, never had surgery or any major procedure. – I mean, I never even had a cavity…so you better believe I was scared as sh!t to get surgery done on my EYEBALLS of all things! But I knew the benefits would far outweigh the hassle of wearing contacts, so I was prepared to face my fears.
THE COST – #WorkingMillennials #Adulting
If you have ever thought about or seriously considered getting LASIK but haven’t made the plunge yet, I can tell you without hesitation:
Deciding to get LASIK done was the smartest financial decision I have made as an adult so far. (Seriously… my husband and I buying a house was nowhere near as life changing as it has been being able to see).
I did some research and calculations and found that wearing daily contacts at my age averages out to approximately $29,000 I will spend in my lifetime if I continued on the daily contact lens route.
THAT IS RIDICULOUS!
My handbag collection could literally be 3 times the size it is now if I didn’t have to spend my money on my vision. Now that I am officially #adulting, I hate having to spend our hard-earned #WorkingMillennial money on things I never had to budget for (you know, those “necessity things” like electricity….water….being able to see….those silly things).
Word of advice:
If you are in college and depend on glasses or contacts, consider asking for LASIK as a graduation gift, Christmas gift, birthday gift… do it while your still on mom & dad’s dime . They do, however, offer financing options as well as flex spending accounts (don’t forget to use your flex account $$ before the year is over!).
THE PROCEDURE – The day of my LASIK procedure, aka the day my life changed
The day before your surgery, they measure your eyes using the new State-of-the Art iDesign machine. This machine creates a high resolution custom maps your eye to ensure you get the absolute best results from LASIK.
The day of my procedure, I was ALL NERVES. I was wishing I could have had a glass of wine or five to take the edge off, but sadly you cannot consume alcohol before surgery (bummer!). On the plus side, you do get a Valium Once the Valium kicked in, the excitement kicked in – or maybe still just the Valium? – and I was ready! Dr. Richard had some oldies music playing in the background, I had “BOO, The Dog” stuffed animal in my hands and a nice cozy blanket to keep me warm.
Dr. Richard Chu put numbing drops in my eyes and proceeded to start prepping my first eye. To be 100% honest, this was the only uncomfortable part of the whole procedure! There was no pain at all, just some pressure and the overwhelming desire to blink, which is probably more of a mind thing to be quite honest. Nothing makes me want to do something more than being told I can’t, but I did NOT blink, yay me! For those that know me, know that’s a pretty big accomplishment for my A.D.D squirrely self!
I’ve watched Dr. Richard Chu do many LASIK surgeries in the past so I had a good idea which steps were coming up next, but I’m not sure if that made me more or less anxious? The actual procedure is super fast and nothing compared to the pressure from the ring. The only other “scary” part is that for a few seconds your vision goes black and your natural instinct is to freak out. But no worries! Your vision will be back and it will be better than ever! Even the actual laser part itself (you know, the thing that is literally changing your life at the moment) is no biggie! There is a clicking noise, but really , if it weren’t for the noise I probably wouldn’t think anything was happening. Hell, I’d probably believe you if you told me the noise was added for dramatic effects! Since my prescription was pretty high, each of my eyes took about 20 seconds to laser. Like… seriously?
Over 16 years, I barely mastered putting in and taking out my contacts in 20 seconds.Especially those times when I just got my nails done and couldn’t grip the contact without poking myself in the eyeball or one of the numerous times I lost a contact in my eye and would spend an hour in the mirror looking for it.
I am SO glad to say those day are over for me!
POST OP – “I once was blind but now I see!!!”
After my procedure, I was told to go home and nap for a few hours and when I wake up my eyes would be good as new. And let me tell you, I woke up the next day completely in awe of my vision! There is no healing time needed – I was able to go to work the next day! During my one-day post-op visit, I couldn’t believe it, my vision was 20/20! But I didn’t need to read the eye chart to tell you that…I knew the second I woke up and walked to the bathroom without bumping into anything that my vision was THAT much better.
I am beyond grateful for Dr. Richard Chu and LASIK. So long to the days of worrying about contacts and glasses! I will not miss the inconvenience of contacts that’s for sure (although, I know my husband will secretly miss finding dried up contacts in bed poking him, but he’ll just have to get over it ️ ).
For those of you who can relate to any of these third world struggles, I HIGHLY recommend getting LASIK. It has 100% changed my daily life, my travel life, my work life, and my social life.
Courtney Daniels is the Creative Director of Eyeworks/Chu Eye Institute.