One Year Post Surgery - LASIK MD
For those unfamiliar with my journey with LASIK, I wrote a blog post about my experience last year highlighting the exact process I went through for surgery on the consultation day and during the day of the surgery. If you are curious about that aspect of the surgery please click through here to be redirected. As for this post, I'll be going through some of my thoughts and notable points after one year of corrective surgery and answering questions like if my vision stayed 20/20, do I experience any discomfort and other similar questions i've been asked about post surgery.
Last year on Feb 13, 2016 I went to LASIK MD to correct my vision. I've always had terrible vision and needed glasses since the fifth grade. My vision progressively worsen until I was hitting about 4.5 / 4.25 per eye. This was further intensified by my astigmatism which is when your cornea is curved more so than the average eye, causing blurriness and distortion of objects both up close and far away. I hated wearing glasses because I just didn't like how it looked on me, and it was a hassle when I forgot where I placed them last (which happened a lot). With that being said, I constantly wore contacts which did me no favour because I would leave them on for +12 hours a day. Not only was it extremely expensive ($50 a box if you have astigmatism vs. the $30 if you don't - so that's $100 for both my eyes), but it eventually damaged my eyes leaving a scar from excessive dryness. Currently I have two permanent scratches on my eyes, but they are luckily located slightly below my field of view - meaning I can't see the line going across my vision. If it was any higher however, I would definitely see it. My advice from experience : do not wear contacts over the recommended time you should, and do not wear them if you don't have it. You do not want to have scarring on your eyes because that shit is permanent.
Moving on, I won't go into the details of the process of the consultation and surgery because I've went into great detail on my first post about it, so i'll move onto just the post recovery questions that a lot of people have wondered about when considering LASIK.
For the first three months of surgery, you are going to experience a lot of eye sensitivity. If you recall from me explaining the surgery process, the surgeon creates a flap on the top layer of your eyes and flips (its as gross as it sounds because you literally feel the eye flap flipping during surgery) it back onto place. Because there was an incision, your eyes need time to fully heal and have the flap merge back to the eyes. There is a lot of stinging in the first few weeks when using eye drops but within third week the stinging should completely stop. During this time you don't want to rub your eyes (as you shouldn't anyways because that can scratch your cornea and also thin out the top layer of tissue on your eyes which is essential for eye surgery), and any accidental bump to your eyes causes instant blurriness for a while. Sunglasses are a must for the first month but the sensitivity should be completely unnoticeable by the third month. Overall: The sensitivity is going to be most prominent in the first three months. It will be 100% fine in the long run if the surgery goes as planned.
VISION (In terms of maintaining 20/20)
This is what I get asked the most about. Is my vision the same as when I first had surgery done? The answer is both yes and no. Let me explain. Going into surgery I was told that the chance of my vision reverting back was 30%, which is quite high. I had both my brother and boyfriend do the surgery and I recall their percentage was 20%. So the chance of your vision not staying 20/20 depends on your eyes and the only way to find out is through consultation. I had my one year check up two days ago to see if everything was okay - they snap some shots of my eyes and had me do an eye test to test my vision. Now initially when I first got the surgery done my vision was tested to be 15/15, which is suppose to be extremely clear, it meant I could read the smallest line under what was suppose to be 20/20. Coming back this time, there were some changes in my result. My left eye was much worse from when I first got the surgery done (but honestly still extremely clear - I couldn't even tell that it worsen). My right eye also worsen a bit but not nearly as much. With that being said, if i tested with both my eyes together, I would still see 20/20.
I have the warrenty included when I paid for the surgery, which means if I do my check up every 2 years, they will go back and do the surgery again if my vision ever worsen. I was told that although my vision was not as great as when I first had the surgery done, it was still considered perfect vision. If anything happens in the future, they will always be able to go back and redo the surgery, provided my top tissue layer was thick enough.
Overall: Your vision's ability to maintain stable or not is entirely based on your own eyes. Some people will have a higher percentage of reverting, while others will not. Personally my vision did get slightly worse, but it was by no means noticeable and still 20/20 in regular standards.
VISION (In other aspects)
There may be other side affects mentioned during your consultation. I was told that because my pupils dilated to a much bigger length in the dark than the average person, this may cause halos in my vision at night. This was something I recall hearing but did not put much thought into. Little did i know this would be something that was very prominent post surgery. This means that by night, usually any light source I see would be expanded into fuzzy little orbs. Some nights are better than others, but ultimately it is very distracting. I can't drive at night for this reason - there's just too much light surrounding me that makes it very difficult to focus on the road (street light, traffic light, other driver's car lights, pedestrian walking sign light...). I will attach an image below from google that compares vision with halo and without. Overall: Something to really consider. Personally I was never a really good driver and disliked driving - I'm sure If i was a great driver to begin with this wouldn't be so bad to deal with but It's just two negatives here. Personally my halos are worse than anyone else I know that did the surgery. It's not unbearable (when other people drive at night, I don't even notice it), it's only when I have to focus that it becomes distracting.
Between me, my brother and my boyfriend who all did the surgery, I experienced dry eyes the most. During the first three months, I carried eye drops with me everywhere I went, and if i didn't have it with me I would panic because that's how uncomfortable it was to go without eye drops. Every morning when i wake up I needed to have 2 drops per eye before I could properly open it (I would close my eyes and pat around my bed until I could feel the eye drops because it was really heavy and uncomfortable to open my eyes). This progressively got better and I became less dependent on eyedrops, but it took several months (around 7-8 months) before I didn't have to carry it with me everywhere. In these last few months I've haven't used eye drops at all, but that doesn't mean I don't experience dryness - it has just become more bearable. When I wake up, I still need eye drops but It's also fine if I don't actually use it. I tried not to use it as often because I was scared it would make me dependent on it, but after talking to my eye doctor, she said that is false and lubricating my eyes with eye drops is the same as I could moisturizing my hands if they felt dry. Overall: After one year I still experience dry eyes. It's gotten better over time and I've become less dependent but it's still very noticeable in my day to day life. However this isn't to say everyone will experience this the way I do as both my brother and boyfriend had no attachment to using eye drops.
My overall thoughts on LASIK and is it worth it?
Yes it is so worth it. I made a lot of negative points here but in all honesty, it's not nearly as bad as it sounds as most of these points I don't even notice in my day to day life. I only have to emphasize these points so that you can be aware of some of the problems I've gone through. Having to wear glasses and contacts all the time was something I can't imagine going back to - it was a huge hassle to me. It was both a waste of time and a waste of money. Although surgery is expensive, the cost of using and buying contacts for the next few years would have outweigh the cost of the surgery (I calculated). There are plans available to help you pay for the surgery if it is a problem. It has made my life so much easier and convenient i can't imagine what it was like before surgery. The process sounds scary but it is over in only ten minutes (the surgery is only a few seconds per eye). The recovery time is as expected and once you get pass the first three months, everything is like magic.
I hope i was able to shed some light onto this subject for those considering LASIK. I would love to help answer any other questions you may have concerning the surgery, so please leave them down in the comments below.