Laser eye surgery – is it right for you?

I still remember being seven years old sitting in the classroom and crying over a math test because I couldn’t see the blackboard. After that, my life was dictated by clunky glasses and flimsy contacts so the idea of laser eye surgery was extremely appealing.

I thought about it for years before having it done in 2008. The expense and fear of the unknown always held me back. Finally I worked with a woman who had it done and she recommended it so strongly that I was convinced.

I had always been so vulnerable and dependent on glasses to the point that I would have nightmares about someone stealing them off my bedside table. Many times I’d wake up in the morning wearing my glasses.

For anyone considering laser eye surgery, I recommend it highly. Of course, not everyone can have the procedure but there is a free consultation where they determine if you are a good candidate or not.

The procedure was relatively painless and only took about half an hour.

There are two types of surgery available; one is the newer and more expensive PRK Procedure where the doctor reshapes the cornea without creating a corneal flap. It is recommended for patients with thin corneas and the results are supposed to be better than the standard procedure. I opted for the cheaper standard Lasik procedure where they lift up the cornea and reshape the lens. It was still two thousand dollars but I thought it was a small price to pay when I considered the money I’d spent on glasses and contacts over my life time.

They put numbing drops in my eyes and everyone wore surgical caps to keep hair under control. I was instructed not to wear makeup, perfume orĀ  clothes that would shed any lint to keep the operating area sterile.

There was something surreal about lying on the table and having a red light pulsating above me and the doctor aiming that laser down into my eye. He then lifted the cornea up and it looked like a transparent curtain. I never felt any pain and the worst part was the smell of the laser reshaping my lens as it was reminiscent of burning hair or getting a filling at the dentist.

After the procedure, I sat and stared out the window at the sunny winter day on Elgin Street in Ottawa. The Chateau Laurier stood out in sharp detail and I couldn’t believe how I could actually read the numbers on the buses rumbling by.

Things were still a bit blurry so I needed a ride home and I slept the rest of the day. The first week my eyes were dry and scratchy but they gave me drops to keep my eyes lubricated and prevent infection. At night there was a halo around lights but over time that went away. My night driving has never been great so I didn’t notice a huge change.

They recommended reading glasses from the drug store as my close up vision is not as good at it was. It was a small price to pay for the gift of perfect distance vision. Often I will stand and gaze out at the horizon, still in disbelief that I can see it all so clearly.

I have to wear sunglasses as my eyes are super sensitive to light. It’s a good habit to get into anyhow with the harsh UV rays.

The best thing is not having to deal with fogged glasses in winter and during rain. I don’t have to fumble around trying to clean scratchy contacts just to end up dropping them. Going swimming is actually enjoyable now that I can see where I’m going.

What a feeling of freedom! I tell everyone I know with glasses that it’s the best decision I ever made and how it will change their life for the better.


8 comments June 16, 2009






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