I’ve been wearing glasses since 9th grade. I was starting to squint to look at the numbers on the chalk board in my Algebra class and I was getting a headache, which was different from the normal migraine pain I was suffering from pretty regularly. It turned out that my eyes decided that they needed extra pair of lenses on top of them to function normally. It wasn’t too bad in the beginning, but of course with aging, staring at computer screen all day, and other bad habits, I’m pretty much useless without my glasses now.
Most of my friends wear contacts and glasses. Some are legally blind including my best friend. Quite a few number of them got LASIK procedures done after getting sick and tired of glasses and contacts. They’re happy with their results and I haven’t heard a single person I know that regretted or had unsatisfying outcome due to LASIK. I really haven’t put much thought into getting this procedure done to my own eyes until very recently. Although I have disposable contact lenses, I only use it a few times a month due to my chronic dryness. Since I wear my glasses every day for over 17-18 hours a day, I feel like my face is changing and I hate this permanent dent on the side of my nose where my glasses is resting.
So with a sudden eagerness, I got a couple of free consultations with top LASIK surgeons in my area the last couple of weeks. I had 3 main concerns regarding this process.
1. Cost – After all, this is a personal finance blog. If I don’t worry about the money that will be spent, then I didn’t learn anything at all this year. I thought I would get price quotes from a few different places and find out exactly what’s included. Then designate $2,500.00 for flexible spending account for 2014 and pay the rest with $1,700.00 in my Scottrade account that was sitting there because of my indecisiveness and get my surgery done in January. If I’m assuming that total cost wouldn’t be more than $4,200.00. If the price is more than $4,200.00, I still have a couple of months to save a little more. I felt pretty comfortable about the money situation going into this. If I didn’t feel comfortable, I probably wouldn’t have even made the appointments.
2. Surgeon – This is regarding my eyes, which I think is pretty valuable, so I needed a good quality and reputable surgeon with tons of successful LASIK experience. It’d be a bonus if the surgeon was friendly and had good bedside manner, but I’d rather have a rude one with great skills than a nice one with sloppy skills.
3. Staff – While researching about LASIK, surgeons, and reading peoples’ reviews, I realized that most of the interactions are with the staff members at the office. You also have to think about pre-op and post-op appointments. The surgeon only sees you for 10-15 minutes and the rest of the time, you have to deal with the staff. If they’re not accommodating, not understanding, not knowledgeable, not flexible, not friendly, you might waste time and have difficult experience.
I felt pretty good about the choices of the surgeons and the offices I made after the research. I didn’t know there would be a curve ball though. At my first consultation, the doctor said everything seemed fine except the cornea mapping result. The doctor wanted to prescribe an eye drop I can use to moisten my eyes and get another cornea test in 2 weeks. She said it can be due to my chronic dryness, so I didn’t think much of it.
I went for my second consultation. This was something I really didn’t expect. The doctor said that my eye sights aren’t stable enough and since it’s been getting bad every year in the range that’s outside of their comfort zone, they don’t recommend it. If that was the only problem, I could potentially come back after my eye sights get steady, but my stupid cornea’s the bigger problem. She said from the cornea mapping that the frontal picture looks good, but the back is not symmetrical enough. I told her about what the previous doctor said about my dryness that could’ve affected it. She didn’t think so. She said my dryness isn’t that severe and I’m probably just born with asymmetrical cornea. I was really disappointed. I asked her if there’s any other procedure in the future that I can get to improve my vision. She looked at my chart again and said that there is an implant procedure for people that can’t to traditional LASIK or PRK, but my cornea isn’t thick enough to even do that. The thought that I would not be a candidate for this procedure never entered my mind, so I was shocked. She said every office has different equipment and interpret the test results differently, but she said her office was very conservative in assessing the LASIK candidate and very firm with their decision.
I know the other place acted like this wasn’t a big problem and I am going to go to a couple of other surgeons and see what they say, but still. To have at least one surgeon say I should not get this procedure done at all is pretty unsettling. I’m not a risk taker and I’m certainly not going to gamble with my eye sights. I probably won’t be getting a LASIK even after going through with all my consultations and they give me the green light, which sucks totally!!!!! Even before going to the consultation, I was imagining my life without contacts and glasses in clear and crisp picture. Well, I guess I’ll still use my flex account to get a new pair of glasses and contacts.
How’s your eye sight? Did you get LASIK or thinking about getting it? How was your experience?