My Lasik Experience: the good, the bad, and the burn

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The Truth About Lasik: the good, the bad, and the burn

So many of you emailed asking for all the details regarding my Lasik experience, I’m sharing the full scoop on my Lasik experience with you here today. I shared some of my initial thoughts on Instagram and Snapchat and promised that I’d write up the whole story after my eyes had healed completely.

If you do not want the details of my Lasik surgery, you’ll want to skip reading today’s post and head directly to this post on How To Eat A Salad Everyday {and Like It!} and then satisfy your sweet tooth with a couple of these Monster Cookie Bars.

Why Lasik?

For as long as I can remember, I was hesitant to consider Lasik. However, my eyes have always been super sensitive to light and I finally hit my limit with the constant swapping of my regular glasses to prescription sunglasses. I’ve been wearing contacts more frequently than ever over the past few years and I never was able to wear them for more than 6-8 hours max.

I let the unknown scare me away from Lasik for a lot of years. When I finally researched it seriously, I learned that the procedure is incredibly advanced and it’s also lightning fast. I finally decided to do it.

My initial consultation took about an hour and a half. Eye measurements, prescription checking, double checking, and triple checking. Lengthy conversations and consultations to make sure you know the procedure inside out. Once I knew I was a candidate for Lasik (most people are), I immediately booked my procedure for later that week.

The Truth About Lasik: the good, the bad, and the burn

The truth about Lasik: What to expect during Lasik surgery

On the day of my Lasik, the actual procedure itself took less than 5 minutes. Your eyes are completely numbed with drops and there is no pain to the Lasik procedure itself.

Literally 22 seconds on each eye (to detach the cornea). This is a strong suction feeling on your eye that while very uncomfortable is fast enough that it’s over before you know it. Your vision goes black for a few seconds and then it’s done.

I’m not going to sugar coat any of this story, okay? That part of the process was not fun. I don’t know if it was the crazy feeling of the unknown or the suction or what exactly, but I was literally telling myself “you can do ANYTHING for less than 1 minute.”

Immediately following that, there’s the laser procedure itself. You stare into a colored light and (in my case) the procedure lasted just 11 seconds on one eye and 7 seconds on the other one. While it was a little difficult to focus on the colored light, it wasn’t painful at all.

After that, more medicated eye drops and dark sunglasses for the ride home. (You definitely need a driver for Lasik day.) I couldn’t focus through the blur and my eyes were tearing constantly. Doctor’s orders were to go home and go straight to sleep. Ideally, for 3-4 hours at least. You’ll be given clear glasses/goggles to sleep in so that you won’t accidentally rub your eyes in your sleep.

First 24 hours after Lasik

The first afternoon was rough. I only slept about 2 hours and my eyes really hurt. Your eyes will burn when you wake up and you need to put drops in every 20 minutes, alternating a few doses of the medicated drops with the sterile tear drops.

There is relief with the drops, but in my case, I could barely see through the haze and light was painful that first night. So I wore light sunglasses in the dim house and listened to an audiobook. No tv, minimal texting, no reading or computer work.

As promised, things were so much better in the morning. It was amazing to look across the room and see the clock without my glasses, to walk through the house without my glasses, to make coffee and see the writing on the side of the package.

I had a follow-up appointment with the doctor the next morning. I had Sean drive me because my eyes were still a little tired and it was nice to be able to close them when the sun was super bright despite wearing sunglasses.

My follow-up appointment with the doctor was a fast one. My vision was officially better than hoped, 20/15 in both eyes less than 24 hours after my Lasik procedure. The doctor told me that my vision should continue to improve through the week and the slight haze should be gone completely in the next week or two.

I did have subconjunctival hemorrhages on both eyes following the surgery and for about two weeks afterward. This is simply a bruise which presents as red spots on the white of the eye. These red spots are temporary and usually disappear in about a week and two. They are completely cosmetic, cause no pain, and have no impact on a patient’s vision.

Post Lasik instructions from the doctor, for the first two weeks:
Most important – do not rub your eyes. Avoid touching them at all.
Clear glasses/goggles to sleep in for one week.
Medicated drops 4 times daily for one week.
No make-up, eye creams, or any other products near the eyes, at all for two weeks.
No swimming, hot tubs, smoke-filled areas (campfire or bbq grills), basically avoid any situations that might irritate your eyes normally.
Blink tear drops, anytime eyes are dry or burning or irritated, about an hour apart. You can’t use them too much. You want to keep your eyes as hydrated as possible.

Week one after Lasik

Two days after the surgery – a slight haze happens when my eyes are dry now, and frequent use of eye drops is encouraged and immediately clears it. I used the sterile tear drops about every 30 minutes to an hour. There’s no pain at all now. Just a little sore or tired, but the tear drops relieve that.

Four days later – this whole Lasik thing was pretty amazing. My eyes were still extremely dry in the mornings. The routine was sterile tear eyedrops as needed for the next month or two. The dr said the more eye drops I used, the faster they’ll heal, so I set an alarm on the hour for a couple weeks and made sure they never actually got dry during the day.

What to expect months after Lasik

Three weeks post Lasik – eyes were still dry, that can last up to six months and in very few cases is permanent. The teardrops help immensely. Second follow-up appointment, no more visits should be necessary.

Two months post Lasik – I can tell you now that I wish I’d done this years ago. If you’re even considering it and it is an option for you, I encourage you to do it. Having clear eyesight without the help of glasses or contacts is better than I ever imagined.

I notice that my eyes are dry a handful of times a day, and the teardrops immediately relieve that. I still use the drops first thing each morning, but it’s nothing like the severe dry eye that was the initial wake up post Lasik.

Other than still needing eye drops on occasion, this is better than perfect vision and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to finally have Lasik. I thought it would be kind of like just wearing contacts all of the time, but this is so much better.

The Truth About Lasik: the good, the bad, and the burn

Now that I no longer need them, anyone know the best place to donate all of these glasses?

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Linda Benson says

    Mary,
    I have astigmatism and always wondered if laser would be an option for me. A few questons…
    Did the Dr tell you how long the sight improvement would last? Did he say anything about wearing the makeup? I use powdered eye shadow and pencil eye liner only, no mascara. Also, is it an expensive procedure?
    Thanks for sharing and being so forth coming about your experience.

    • Mary says

      Hi Linda,


      I had astigmatism as well and the Lasik worked perfectly to clear that. You can’t wear any make-up, eye creams, or any other products near the eyes, at all for two weeks. (It was the first time probably since I was 16 that I’ve left my house without mascara. Still worth it!)


      At the office where I had my Lasik done, the pricing starts at $500 and can go as high as $4000 for both eyes. While it isn’t dirt cheap, it’s often less expensive than you might think. It’s definitely a lot less than it was 10+ years ago. I’m fairly certain that most places offer financing for the costs as well.


      The place where I had the procedure done guarantees the improvement for life. I will need readers for farsightedness eventually, almost everyone does. However, if my nearsighted vision worsens any time in the future, they will correct it. (However, it is uncommon to need any further treatment.)


      I hope that helps!


      Mary

    • Linda Benson says

      Hi Mary,

      Thank you for the information. I’ll have to look into it for myself now!

      Happy New Year!!!!

      Linda

  2. Molly Hoover says

    I had Lasik in April. Seriously the best decision I ever made! An expensive decision, but so totally worth it. I think I may have even started dancing when my eye doctor told me I had 20/20 vision. I don’t think I’ve EVER had 20/20 vision. For the first couple months it felt totally weird going out and driving around without putting my contacts in. Almost like I was forgetting something. So glad to be done with that stage in my life. There’s definitely something about it that’s a confidence booster, isn’t there? Congrats on being able to share those beautiful eyes with the world!

  3. EcoCatLady says

    Wow! I have to say that I am jealous. I have a pretty severe astigmatism in one eye that can’t be corrected with contacts. I was told many years ago that I wasn’t a good candidate for lasik because my pupils are too big. But your post makes me curious. The deal with the pupils was because they would cut a flap to lift up, and my pupils were bigger than the flap would be. But your description talked about sucking off the cornea rather than cutting a flap… So now I’m wondering if the procedure has changed. Hmmmm….. perhaps it’s time to do some new research. Anyhow, enjoy your new clear vision, and thanks so much for sharing your experience!

    • Mary says

      I believe they still cut the flap and then use the suction to pull it back. So, I’m not certain how that may or may not have changed. It might be worth checking in with a doctor to see if you are a candidate with the newer technology. Good luck!

  4. Angela McDarren says

    Mary, congratulations on your new eye sight. It’s a wonderful feeling.
    I had laser surgery for cataracts with implants almost 2 years ago. I honestly didn’t feel a thing, it was so quick and painless. My surgeon did one eye first then the other a few days later. I could see the difference in my eyesight immediately on the way home with just the one eye. I now have 20/20 vision
    and can drive at night, which I hadn’t been able to do for years. I also wish I’d had the courage to do it a long time ago. Keep enjoying your new vision.
    Angela

  5. Brenda Core says

    I’m so excited for you. Had mine done in July 2017 and have LOVED it. I got the “mono vision or raindrop” procedure done. So one eye is for distance and the other reading. A little bit of adjustment but I would definitely do it again. My eyes are in the 600’s and have worn glasses or contacts since second grade. I am doing great and love my husband so much for letting me get it done (it is costly when the person you want to use is not on your vision plan). Enjoy life without and pain on your nose. Happy New Year!

  6. NM Chey says

    You looked amazing and happy before. Now, you look amazing and even happier, – which I didn’t think was possible from your previous pictures! : ) Congrats!

  7. Ivy D. says

    Awesome! I am a senior citizen. Don’t think that I would be a good candidate for it. Worrying about tiny cataracts already. How do you keep your eyes from not jumping? I know that they are clamped open and numb but gee whiz, the thought. Can’t ever remember when I did not wear glasses. Enjoyed reading about your adventure with Lasik surgery. Wishing you the best. Now you can change out your designer sunglasses to coordinate your wardrobe! Awesome!

  8. Rebecca Roper says

    It is indeed a huge decision to have Lasik. I had mine several years ago after my daughter “strongly encouraged” me to take the jump. I was determined and brave right up to minutes before . . . The nurse gave me a mild tranquilizer and I was good to go. It was quite an experience. I had eye protection to wear the first 2 days that looked like mini metal strainers. A young boy shared the elevator with me on the way out of the doc office. He didn’t take his eyes off me and finally asked “lady, what happened to you?” I have been thrilled to be glasses-free!

  9. sandy_of_wv says

    such a beautiful lady [without or with surgery] who puts out awesome recipes & responds quick to questions – much appreciated

  10. Helen says

    I am so glad everything went well for you! How is your reading vision affected? Can you see up close? Thank you for sharing, Helen

  11. Linda H. says

    I had Lasik done many years ago and love not wearing glasses! My eyes have changed a little since that time, but even having 20/25 vision now is still loads better than what I originally had! Glad you like it.

  12. Dmarie says

    I waited until I was 60 years old before even giving Lasik a chance; another six months or so before I worked up the nerve. You are absolutely right! Fear was the vessel holding me back. Don’t let fear paralyze you. It’s a relatively simple procedure (for the patient); easy painless and fast. Best thing I’ve ever done. I could kick myself for not doing this years ago!

  13. Michael says

    Hi Mary, I’m so glad to hear you had a successful outcome! Some of us are not so lucky. I had LASIK in August 2017 and it has been terrible for me. Good visual outcome, but the dry eye symptoms you experienced a few weeks out have not abated for me. I still need to use drops every hour or more and the relief they provide is minimal. This has affected my social life and ability to work productively on the computer. I did my due diligence and selected a top surgeon who had performed 1000s of procedures, unfortunately every body is different and it’s a gamble whether your cornea heals normally. I wanted to share my story so your readers don’t think LASIK is all unicorns and rainbows, but I’m glad it worked out for you. Cheers.

    • Mary says

      Oh, it’s definitely not unicorns and rainbows. I’m so sorry that your dry eye symptoms have not been reduced with time. That’s awful! I thought I’d be on drops every hour or two forever (my dry eyes lasted much longer than the other people I spoke with) fortunately, I’m down to using the drops just once a day most of the time now. I’m hoping that yours improves soon! Did any of the alternate drops help? I’m assuming you’ve probably tried everything possible at this point.

  14. Millie Hue says

    It got me when you said that undergoing this treatment has given you a clear vision which enabled you to walk around your house without glasses. I think that is really amazing because sometimes it is a hassle to keep on wearing glasses which can also leave marks on the nose bridge. I started having low vision when I was in high school which I think might be due to my addiction to watching series near the TV.

    • Mary says

      Yes, they did. Whether or not I’ll need them again for nearsightedness can vary, but it’s almost a guarantee that everyone will eventually need to wear reading glasses.

    • Colleen says

      Thank you for sharing your story Mary. I had lasik surgery in the summer of 2004 and I still do not need glasses of any kind. It has been so wonderful waking up without dealing with contacts. A coworker of mine at the same time also had lasik, he went to a different place and I remember he had trouble afterwards. He would be walking around rubbing his eyes and I think he still needed glasses. It was worth the risk to me, I couldn’t see a thing a few inches beyond my face. There were many trips before the actual surgery to have my eyes measured, and I had to wear glasses for a while before hand so my eyes weren’t shaped by contacts. It cost about $2000 then and I have saved so much in all these years not having to wear glasses or contacts.

  15. Sherrill says

    I just found you. I’m looking to have intra occular surgery To remove cataracts after the coronavirus is gone. Also hoping for better vision..
    a tear drop procedure Has to be done before before the cataract removal .

    Anyway if you still have glasses as don’t know when this was posted, the Lions Club is a collector of glasses. Charitable

  16. Lisa Kelley says

    Thanks for sharing on Lasik. I have been considering it for awhile. It was nice to hear step by step. Gives me more determination to move forward and do it.