Last week I had LASIK eye surgery. Today, I’m finishing up this post, NOT WEARING GLASSES. My eyesight was corrected to better than 20/20 (it’s actually 20/15). And now I have couture eyeballs.
I documented my procedure on Instagram, and folks had questions. Below are my answers.
What is LASIK, exactly?
LASIK stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. It’s basically computer-assisted laser eye surgery that changes the shape of your cornea to allow light to focus properly on the retina, improving your vision.
Fun fact: This is why people squint when they can’t see something–to change the shape of their eye in order to see better.
Is it gross?
Kinda. The surgeon uses a laser to cut a circle around your cornea to create a flap. That flap gets folded back so that other lasers can penetrate your eye. Once done, the flap is replaced and that’s it. So even if you do think it’s gross it’s only that way for, like, 10 minutes tops.
Tip: Put your eye drops in the fridge for a cool blast to the eye holes, if you’re into that.
But does it hurt?
Not really. I’d rate the pain—on a scale of 1 (seasonally itchy eyes) to 10 (habanero juice in the eyes)—at about a 2. Your eyes are numbed with eye drops during the procedure. After the procedure, they sting a bit but they’re mostly just really, really itchy because they’re healing. After a few days you might have a slight headache, as if your prescription were updated and you had to adjust to new glasses.
And is it scary?
Everybody seems to think so, but I really don’t think so. Sure, something going into your eye is repulsive. Having your eyeballs cut open is even worse. But just know that it will not hurt and that there is very little risk of an adverse outcome.
I was pretty comfortable by the time I was in the pre-op waiting room, but my husband was not. The nurses and I joked around and told him that he needed to watch the surgery. He said, “NO EFFING WAY!” and called me a jerk.
Tip: Get your eyelashes dyed prior to the procedure.
Once your Xanax kicks in, you go into the surgery room. It’s not like an OR because there’s no IV or prep or scrubs or anything hospital-y like that. It’s basically a room with something that looks sort of like an MRI machine.
You lie down in the machine. Your head rests in a donut-shaped pillow so it won’t really move. This part is, admittedly, a little claustrophobic and freaky.
What’s the actual lasering like?
The actual lasering is trippy. Once your cornea is flipped back, you stare at a flashing green light while the computer uses lasers to reshape your eye for your particular treatment. It does not hurt, but it does smell like burned skin. You should probably be told that beforehand because it’s a little disconcerting in the moment. But having had two C-sections, I’m familiar with the smell. Not sure if that knowledge helped or not…
Tip: You might need more than the 1 Valium they give you to sleep for the rest of the day and night after surgery.
You don’t have to worry about blinking. You won’t. And you don’t have to worry about your eye moving out of the laser’s focus. It won’t. The new lasers actually track and follow your eye movement. The surgeon flips the corneal flap down, and you are done. It’s like a short little cosmic journey to better vision land.
How fast is your vision improved?
Right away. As soon as they help you sit up after the procedure, you can see better. Recovery is about a week, during which you cannot wear makeup and you will need to sleep in goggles. So don’t plan LASIK right before your honeymoon.
Tip: Download some good audio books and get your nightstand set up right—phone charger, headphones, water, eye drops, etc.
What’s the verdict?
It’s pricey but awesome, and you should do it if you can. Glasses are a pain in the ass. Contacts, for me, are a nightmare. The only downside to LASIK (other than the price) is that you may still need reading glasses after a certain age, like my age (40). But that’s a chance I was willing to take.
A bit of advice
Two things I wish I would have known prior to my procedure:
1. Audio books are your friend. You have to sleep in goggles for at least a week, so no reading at bedtime. And the day after surgery you need to close your eyes as much as possible. Listening to a book is the best way. I’m finishing up Michelle Obama’s Becoming. (I stumbled upon it but would still recommend it.)
2. You can’t wear eye makeup for about 2 weeks. If you look like an old sea hag without mascara like I do, you might have your eyelashes dyed (and possibly permed, but not extensions) prior to the procedure. I’m serious. This is some expert-level LASIK shit right here.