Do you find the above picture a little creepy? Yeah, me too. I took that picture the day after having LASIK eye surgery on January 14th. You can sort of see the bloody red ring around my left eye, which is the eye they had a little trouble getting set during the surgery. Yesterday morning I made my way over to the Laser Eye Center in downtown Los Angeles for what was my 4 month check-up following the surgery. Barring any major setbacks this was my last check-up. Overall, the results haven’t changed much since the first few days. Each eye is slightly less than 20-20, but combined I can easily see 20-20. My right eye is a bit stronger than the left according to the doctors, but I still think my left eye is a bit stronger when looking at objects beyond 5 feet. They weren’t able to give me a clear indication why this is the case and seemed to blow it off as something I was doing wrong (e.g., not using enough eye drops). Other than that little annoyance, I’m very happy with the results. It took a while to let the whole process settle in, but the positives (e.g., not wearing contacts) greatly outweigh the negatives (e.g., cost & lack of clarity in the right eye beyond 5 feet). I would definitely recommend the surgery. Hopefully there won’t be any follow-ups to this post as that would signify some not-so-good news.
During the past few of weeks I’ve said I can see letters both close and far pretty clear with my left eye, but am having trouble seeing letters with my right eye that are not so close (in the 12-15 feet range). I’ve been using a digital clock on a Bose Wavesystem that sits under the TV as a baseline. Well, yesterday I had my 4 week check-up since having the surgery and the results from this last check-up muddied the waters even more. I was able to read the eye chart at 20-20 with my right eye and 20-25 with my left. This goes against everything I’ve been saying. Even worse, when I got home, the digital clock was still blurred with my right eye and clear as day with my left. There seems to be a disconnect between what the doctor considers 20-20 and what my “at home” test results show. Anyway, my next appointment is scheduled for 2 months from now. During the next 2 months I’m hoping my sight will continue to get better and even out. In addition, I’m hoping I stop over analyzing the whole situation, especially considering how much better my eye sight is today versus before the surgery. Then again, anyone that knows me understands my inclination towards over analysis. It’s just part of who I am. Get over it!
It’s been a rough 4 days since suffering what I initially thought was a minor back spasm on Friday. Although the spasm itself wasn’t debilitating, the after effects were. My back was surprisingly nimble the next day, which allowed my to take care of most errands that needed to be completed. What I wasn’t expecting was the pain that I would deal with on Sunday. I’m not sure if I re aggravated my back on Saturday or if it was the second day soreness, but I could barely get myself out of bed. The pain was unbearable. I took a few pain killers and muscle relaxers throughout the day, but they didn’t help much.
My back was feeling a little better yesterday and a little better again today, but that’s not the end of it. This may be totally unrelated, but late Sunday afternoon, after waking up from what seemed to be an all day nap attempting to rid myself of the pain in my back, I noticed the view from my right eye was blurry. I was hoping it was just the usual fluctuation in eye sight following the surgery, but it hasn’t cleared up since. I’m able to see almost perfect within a few feet. It’s beyond those few feet where everything is blurry. Anyway, after attempting to be patient and let things play out, I just scheduled an appointment with the eye doctor for tomorrow morning to see what’s going on. I’m really hoping this isn’t anything major and my sight will heal on its own. I also hope this has nothing to do with the medication I took the other day. The pain in my back was so unbearable that I didn’t have much of a choice. And, to be honest, I wasn’t thinking there would be any side affects to the eyes as a result of taking the medication. It’s all very frustrating.
It’s been just about a week since I had LASIK surgery to correct my astigmatism. About every hour each day I’ve been using Refresh Plus lubricant eye drops. And about every 3-4 hours I’ve been using anti-inflammatory eye drops (Prednisolone Acetate Ophthalmic Suspension USP) and anti-bacterial drops (Zymaxid) drops to prevent infection. I’ve also been taking showers using swimming goggles to prevent water from getting in my eyes and wearing an eye shield at night to prevent myself from rubbing my eyes when sleeping. It sound like a lot, but it hasn’t been that much of a nuisance to deal with.
Overall, this past week has seen my eye sight fluctuate from good to ok to relatively blurry and back again. It’s been somewhat of a roller coaster that has had me wondering if the surgery was a success or not. Apparently, after talking to a few people, I’m not the first to have a feeling of disappointment during the first few days after the surgery. Even with that slight disappointment, there was no denying my eye sight was much better than before. I didn’t need glasses or contacts to just use the computer, watch TV, or drive. I should probably heed the advise I gave my mom last year prior to having knee surgery… Patience!
On Wednesday I even ventured out for a round of golf with some co-workers at Oak Creek in Irvine, CA. Apparently the surgery didn’t help my golf game, but I did manage to sink a long chip in on the final hole. I’m guessing it was in the 60+ foot range, but I’m not sure. A range finder wasn’t implanted as part of the eye surgery. Again, it seems the cost of the surgery should result in a few side benefits, but apparently not.
Anyway, earlier today I had a check-up with the doctor to see how things are progressing. My visual acuity in each eye is about 20/25 and combined I’m about 20/20. What that means is I’m able to see at 20 feet with each individual eye what a “normal” person can see at 25 feet. With both eyes open I’m now able to see what a normal person can see at 20 feet. I’ve spent all these years trying not to be normal and here I am having paid almost $4k to be able to see normal. What was I thinking?! The doctor said my eye sight will continue to get slightly better over the course of the next week or two, at which point I should be at about 20/20 with each individual eye. That’s consistent with what I’ve read online, which noted eye sight will reach about 75-80% of maximum during the first 3-4 days and will then improve modestly for up to 3-6 months.
The doctor still recommends I take the anti-inflammatory drops for a couple more days. Also, he noted I should continue to keep water out of my eyes, sleep with the eye shields, and refrain from strenuous exercise for another week. My next check up is in 3 weeks. I’ll post another update (hopefully) after the check-up.
Tonight will be, if all goes well, the last night I wear glasses or contacts for a very long time. I’m under the assumption that sometime in my 50′s and 60′s I’ll need to wear “cheater” glasses to read as my eyes get old and tired. I’m sure Joker knows how that feels.
All has gone well this week as I’ve prepared for the surgery. Last Friday night I removed my contacts for the last time. Since then I’ve been wearing very old glasses to get through the day and taking lubricant eye drops once or twice a day. I’ve been thinking about how long I’ve had these glasses. The answer: 15 years. It was the summer between my junior and senior year of college, when I was working as an intern for the Depository Trust Company (DTC) in downtown Manhattan. That’s a long time to have a pair of glasses. Since my eye sight hadn’t change much since then and I started wearing contacts not long after, buying a new pair of glasses didn’t seem warranted. Since I started wearing contacts I would only wear glasses while watching TV just before calling it a night.
I’ve had a few nervous moments this week thinking about the surgery. What if the there’s an earthquake during the surgery? Or, what if the power goes out for no apparent reason? Do they have a UPS to keep things working? I’m pretty those thoughts come from field of employment. But seriously, what happens if the surgery is a total failure leaving long lasting side effects? I realize the chances of that happening are few and far between, but it is possible. I’ll have to learn to blog using speech to text software. How else will everyone know what’s going on in my life?!
Luckily, I’m not willing to let “scary” thoughts prevent me from moving forward. Hopefully that will never happen… just don’t expect me to go jumping out of planes, that will never happen.
Earlier today I had a 2nd consult for laser eye surgery at the Laser Eye Center in Los Angeles. Last month I went to LA Sight, also in Los Angeles, for my first consult. During the 1st consult I was told my eyes are good candidates for the surgery. The only question was the type of surgery to be completed and, as a result of the type of surgery, the cost. Before I get into specifics, I wanted to note that I’m not a big fan of having my eyes dilated. I had it done once about 15 years ago when I lived in NY and again today. It’s hard to see when it’s bright out even with sunglasses on. At least I was warned this time, the last time I wasn’t even warned about that and had no sunglasses. I found myself walking through downtown Manhattan with my head down covering my eyes. It wasn’t pretty.
So there are two steps to each surgery, creating the flap and reshaping the cornea. The flap can be created using a tool called a microkeratome or a laser. The laser is a more advanced and, subsequently, a more expensive option, although studies have shown very little difference in the results from both. LA Sight uses the microkeratome while Laser Eye Center uses the laser. The reshaping of the cornea can also be completed using multiple tools/machines. The newest machine actually follows the eye, in the event it moves, to continuously get the best results. The earlier versions of the machine didn’t have this option. Both LA Sight and Laser Eye Center use the newer Wavelight Allegretto machines, so there’s no difference there.
The cost for going with the older method of creating the flap and the Wavelight machine, $2,000 from LA Sight. The cost for going with the “all laser” option, just under $4,000. That’s a little more than I was expecting. Most research I completed said the extra cost for the “all laser” option is about $300 – $500 per eye. But since I put plenty of money away in the health care reimbursement account to cover the expenses for the “all laser” option and the Laser Eye Center was referred to me from a co-worker, I went ahead and scheduled an appointment for January 14th, 2012 to have the surgery. In planning for the surgery, the doctor told me to forgo wearing contacts for at least a week before the surgery. I’m excited and nervous all at the same time. On top of that, I have to wrap my head around the fact that it’s a large chunk of change to shell out.
A little over 4 years ago I was thinking of having Lasik eye surgery… and then life happened. The company I worked for was sold to a private equity firm and subsequently laid off a good portion of the workforce, included me. It took a little while to get the sting of that time out of my head. But here I am, 4 years later, living in a different state and enjoying life once again. It’s always this time of year that I think about having the surgery because health care open enrollment offers me the opportunity to put money into a health care spending account, which is pre-tax. Expecting the surgery to cost $3,000 or more, I decided to put away $175 each pay check into the health care spending account, a total of $4,200 for the year. Why the extra cash? Well, I want to make sure I’m going to a reputable doctor with the newest technologies and am willing to pay a little more if I have to. I’m sure I can find a way to spend the remaining balance if it comes to that.
Of note, I did get a consult about a month ago to make sure I’m eligible for the surgery. The results were good. I almost decided to go through with the surgery before the end of the year due to a sale they were having, $2,000 for both eyes, but I didn’t want to rush a decision of this nature based on a sale. Seriously, I cringe when I hear advertising for eye surgery that state “buy one eye, get one free.” This is where the decision got a bit more difficult. Lasik is a laser surgery. However, the way the doctor opens a flap on the outer layer of the eye can be using a blade or laser. Both options are safe with limited side affects. Most research I’ve read notes neither option is better/worse than the other, other than the fact that the laser option is more expensive, about $300 more per eye. The doctor that provided the consult only offered the blade option, no laser. After consulting with friends and family, I decided the extra money was worth it to have the newer all laser surgery. So, assuming nothing changes with my current employment, I’m going to get this done during the first quarter of 2012. Now I just have to find a doctor.