I Ask: Should I Get LASIK?

Inspired by a conversation that began with an @AngieKinghorn tweet.

Can I get an AMEN? Because I CAN’T SEE THE “E” AT THE TOP OF THE EYE CHART!  If my glasses aren’t exactly where I left them that morning, I begin to pat the counter and floor around me in a desperate attempt to drum them out until my husband takes pity on me and says: They’re on your nightstand.

I have worn glasses since I was caught squinting at the overhead projector spelling words in third grade.

Since then I’ve rocked powder blue glasses to red cat frames as my eyes got progressive worse and worse.

I loved my red cat glasses but I was told "they're not in" so when they died, I was cat-outta-luck finding a replacement pair.

I got contacts in sixth grade and constantly looked like I was crying. Okay, middle school sucked so I also WAS crying.

I finally gave up contacts and worse glasses until my end of eighth grade transformation where I cut of my perm, got my braces off and magically stopped stabbing myself in the eye with my contacts.

And I wore the crap out my contacts. Sometimes for days on end until I had to peel the contact off my pupil with two hands and a foot propped up against the sink. I had decided that I hated how I looked in glasses. Oh, and I was lazy.

By medical school, I had found glasses I liked and also the percentage of glasses-wearing people tics up quite a bit in medical school so perhaps I was just trying to blend in so they wouldn’t realized that they had accidentally let in a PHILOSOPHY MAJOR.

Today, I rock both except in the summer when my glasses make me have sweaty-nose-bridge.

But I can’t even fathom how cool it would be to wake up and see my alarm clock. To not have to call in my husband to help me find my glasses. To swim without worrying that my contact is going to float next to me at any moment.

I am sometimes struck with the fear that a contact will fall out while I’m driving/awayfromhome and I will have to one-eye-it back to the house — miserable with a slew of people thinking I’m hitting on them with my winky-ness.

Except LASIK surgery scares me (and not just because it’s always YELLING AT ME). I only have two eyes and I do not want to have to change careers and become a pirate if one side doesn’t go well.

So I ask: Should I get LASIK? Have you? Would you?

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

25 thoughts to “I Ask: Should I Get LASIK?”

  1. I am so with you, girl, on hating my lack of eyesight! I’m lazy/a little paranoid and don’t take out my contacts at night. I’m paranoid that if someone breaks in at night and I don’t have my contacts in and glasses can’t be grabbed quick enough I won’t be able to describe the person. God I hope I’m not adding to anyone’s paranoia with that comment…

    Anyways, I’d so totally go for LASIK, yelling or not, if I could afford it right now. The last time I looked into, though, they said you had to have not worn your contacts for at least a year. They explained that contacts warp your eyes from their natural shape, so the LASIK wouldn’t give you 20/20, since your eyes would change back over time. I’m rambling. It’s midnight.

    Maybe the technology has changed since then, but it’s something to keep in mind.

  2. Oh you so should!!

    I’m planning to get Lasik too! Well, been planning for over 2 years and still procrastinating. After I had the baby, I looked AWFUL in pictures with the glasses. Just awful.

    My husband, brothers, many friends – all had Lasik and all have no regrets. DO it!

  3. My husband is nearly blind as a bat and isn’t scared of anything, but when it comes to lasik, i’ m glad he doesn’t get passed just maybe considering it. It’s not just the fact I think his glasses look totally hot on him, what if he goes blind, right? I would understand if he eventually decides to do it, I guess the glasses, contacts and the patting down counters and floors of a hotelroom at 4 in the morning cause you have to pee is a bit of a fuss. I’ll support him either way, but if it were me? Not being able to see my kid ( soon to be kids)’s precious face, I would regret the decision every day for the rest of my life. And i do.not. rock wearing glasses.

    Base your decision on consequences YOU are willing to take.

  4. I never had LASIK. My vision is only bad enough to make me think that all sticks are snakes when I go for a walk outside. But everyone I know who has had LASIK is sooooo happy they did. But also, you would make a totally hot kick ass pirate.

  5. I absolutely would if I could afford it. Don’t get me wrong–I love the way I look in my glasses. But I’m constantly cleaning fingerprints, kitty nose smudges, and Brian’s nose prints off of my glasses. And it is 100% annoying. One of my close friends had it done a couple of years ago, and she was just like you–she couldn’t get out of bed without her glasses on. Now she is glasses and contact-free, and loving it! Make sure you have someone to help you with the kids for a few days (because it takes longer than they say it will to recover enough to be able to function.) But I say, if you have the means, and you really hate glasses/contacts, then go for it!

  6. My mom had it done about 10 years ago and hasn’t had any problems. It’s on my To-Do list for this year. I’m like you with the constantly worrying about losing them thing, but I have lost one while driving before. Scary!

    Besides, you can still get your hot cat glasses without a prescription when they come back in style. Who decides this crap anyway?

  7. YES!! For all the reasons you think you should and more. I was scared, but the results have led me to tout it as the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. (My vision was -5.75 and -6.50 in my respective eyes for contact lenses – could only see 1″ tall numbers clearly at about 8″ from my face! I guess I figured other than going blind, I couldn’t really do much harm by having the procedure done…)

    DO. IT.

    1. P.S. – I have issues with starbursts at night (so driving can be less-than-desirable) and occasionally have to “re-focus” if watching tv at night to clear up the vision, but I still find it to be totally worth it. Just wanted to disclose that it isn’t necessarily a perfect-fix, but the improvement – if you’re cursed with very bad vision like I was – is huge and worth the risk.

  8. I have eye sight like yours and went through the same progression, including the days straight peel contacts off your eyeballs phase. I would love to get LASIK. when I’m not poor. Or the sole caretaker of two girls under five.

  9. I actually had it over 10 years ago for free (insurance covered it that one year and everyone in our company got on it before they stopped the next year). I love mine and am very glad I got it — there are so many things that you don’t think about that you appreciate after. I was quite young and knew 5 or more people that had it done at a reputable place so I didn’t worry much about it at all but I think that even now I’d make the same decision, but the questions I’d be ask first would be – what is the risk of blindness and how do they define it? By many definitions, your current eyesight sounds like it already meets criteria???? And does the research mean blindness that is unable to be corrected as a side effect or a minor decline in eyesight that can be corrected? The term “blindness” just seems so arbitrary that I’d be certain I knew what they meant by that risk……
    Good luck………..

  10. one of my best friends from HS who wore glasses as thick as coke bottles got LASIK recently and LOVES it. She is the only person in her family who is not now legally blind without glasses/contacts.

  11. I would get LASIK if I could. I have been wearing glasses since Kindergarten, and you’re right, it would be the most amazing thing in the world to wake up and be able to see the alarm clock.

  12. Do the Lasik. It was the best money my dad ever spent! (He couldn’t get it for himself – not a good candidate – but really hated glasses so he had sympathy for me). They give you some good drugs so you don’t freak out while it’s happening. A few drops and some plastic shields for a week (at night) and you’re smooth sailing until old age (no guarantees against reading glasses). I’ve never regretted it.

  13. I have no personal experience with glasses/contacts – somehow i’ve made it to my late 20’s without ever needing either but for what it’s worth my father had lasik surgery about 5 years ago (he was 62-ish?) and it worked out great for him. No complaints, and the recovery was fine except for having to apply lots and lots (and lots) of eye drops on a schedule for the first few weeks (maybe a month?)

  14. I got it done four years ago and love that I did it. I had glasses since…oh, 2nd grade, I guess, contacts in high school & onward, and for me, once we had kids, I was seriously ready to be done with all of it. It’s true that you’ll have to do without contacts for a while beforehand, but big whoop. Anyway, my dad’s an optometrist who’s been doing pre- and post-op for LASIK and its predecessors for something like 15 years, and I think he’s only ever mentioned one case of someone having complications requiring additional work, and even that was fixed by sending his patient to a different (read: more reputable) doctor.

    Ask me anything about the patient experience, BTW. I can describe it all. Even the smell.

  15. I’m wondering the same thing. I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 7, and I need stronger glasses every few years. I’m just afraid that I’d get LASIK and then need glasses anyway a few years later.

  16. I got glasses in 5th grade. I didn’t start wearing contacts until I was a Freshman I think. I too was super lazy and would wear disposable contacts for 6 months to a year, not the 6 weeks they were recommended at that point.

    Enter LASIK at age 23. It was the best thing I’ve ever done. (prior to that point, I hadn’t been married, nor had children, though I still think LASIK ranks right up there with both of those). They give you VALIUM. And you see this machine coming at your eye and when you’d normally freak, you’re like “huh, well, I guess they know what they’re doing.” You’re supposed to keep your eyes shut the entire way home but it’s sooo nice to sneak a peek and be able to read the road signs! I slept all afternoon and when I woke up, I could read the time on the VCR (yes, this was 9+ years ago).

    They said when I get older I’ll still need to wear reading glasses – just the normal weakening of the eyes I guess. Sucks to get old.

  17. I did and I love it. Once I worked through the fear that someone was operating on my EYE while I was awake, I found it still made sense. Constant dry eye for about 8 months after and then wonderfulness.

  18. I am very lucky and have “perfect” vision (I have minor issues that my ophthalmologist says are caused by staring at a computer screen, and they will likely go away once I stop- HA!), and I might feel differently if I had to deal with not being able to see things, but I am totally freaked by the idea of eye surgery and don’t know if I could get over that. I have heard great things, though. Everyone who’s had it: you are so brave!

  19. Yes! LASIK is an amazing procedure and the technological advances inthe past several years have made it more safe and accurate than ever. BUT, please make sure you choose the right surgeon. Do not just go for one of the ‘deals’. The surgeon and version of the equipment matter. I market eye surgery for a living and cringe every time someone tells me they are going to a discount place just for the sake of price. Now, if the surgeon is good & you get a discount – go for it. Just investigate first.

    I have not had the procedure myself, but my husband & mother both have. It was life changing for both of them.

  20. I had LASIK in 2003. Like you, I could not read the big E on the top of the chart. My contact script was -8.50 in my right eye and -8.00 in my left. Legally blindish. I had to have a waiver to get into the Army.

    Put bluntly, it was the best $3000 I ever spent. Ever. I’m including a trip to Greece, my Jeep, and all of my favorite electronic goodies in that assessment. Better than ALL those…put together.

    I was scared to do it. I had a real deal, honest to goodness phobia to contend with. I was afraid of medical people (which is why I now am one). When I would have to get blood drawn, I’d have nightmares for weeks prior. I. Was. Scared!

    BUT…it is the easiest medical proceedure ever. It’s painless. They give you a couple of valium to ease the nerves. You’re blind, so you don’t see anything scary in there anyhow…just look at the red light when they say to and enjoy the prospect of being able to see the numbers on the alarm clock in the morning. And being able to read in bed without your glasses poking the sides of your head (or being an inch away from the book). And being able to fall asleep without thinking “shoot, I need to take out my eyes.”

    Just do it. Research, pick a great doc who uses a good laser (pick one who actually OWNS his/her equipment, not one who rents/leases it), and go for it. You’ll wonder, as you open your eyes that first morning, why the heck you waited so long.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.