Last week I had Lasik surgery! I am so happy that I did — seeing with my own eyes is an amazing thing! I received a lot of questions regarding the surgery itself and the recovery process. Here’s the down low on my Lasik surgery and the first seven days of recovery.
First, let me say that Lasik is easily one of the best decisions I have ever made! (I feel like I say that a lot, but Lasik was definitely worth the investment and it’s just been over a week.) My post-op consultation was 15 hours after my Lasik surgery, and at that time my eyes were already seeing at 20/20 vision.
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I went to LasikPlus in Lincoln Park and Dr. Aymond performed my surgery.
How much did Lasik surgery cost?
There are varying levels of cost. It depends on your eyes + your prescription. You receive a cost estimate at your consultation (which is free of charge). There are three tiers of lasers used for Lasik. With my vision prescription and astigmatism, I needed the third-tier laser (AKA the strongest + most expensive one, of course). In total, my Lasik was $4,500. But, with the third-tier laser, there is also a lifetime warranty. So, in the case that my eyes ever regress (which is rare) I can go back to LasikPlus and have Lasik again for free — which I think is a stellar deal. I also have United Healthcare Vision Insurance. UHC Vision partners with LasikPlus, so I received an $800 discount on the surgery, bringing my discounted total to $3,700.
*LasikPlus also partners with Care Credit, a company with which you can receive financing for your surgery. 12 month financing is 0% interest, however, there are also longer term payment plans if that works better for you.*
How long did the surgery take?
I was at LasikPlus for about an hour and twenty minutes in total for my procedure, but most of that time was spent signing consent + liability forms, or waiting for the anti-anxiety medication + numbing eye drops to kick in. In total, the laser itself takes about 20 seconds per eye. I was in the procedure room for maybe two minutes in total.
Do they put you under?
No, they do not put you under. You are awake for the surgery, but they do offer anti-anxiety medication if you are freaked out (I opted for the meds). The pressure that is put on your eyes is enough to make you lose vision, so while you are awake, you don’t see much except for the lights on the machine. (I didn’t see anything when they did my right eye, it wasn’t until they did my left eye that I was able to vaguely see the lights).
Did it hurt?
The Lasik surgery itself did not hurt. I was uncomfortable, mainly due to my anxiety. The 6 hours after surgery were where I felt the most discomfort. I wouldn’t categorize it as pain, my eyes were just severely dry and it was uncomfortable to be awake (yes, it was uncomfortable to even have my eyes shut).
Now that I have answered the questions that I received, I want to dive into the recovery aspect of Lasik. I was unaware of how long the recovery process actually is and I want to make sure you are aware in case you are considering Lasik for yourself.
Recovery: The Night of the Surgery
After the surgery, you must spend the following 4-6 hours with your eyes closed. It is preferred that you sleep during this time, but if you are unable to sleep, you are asked to simply sit and keep your eyes closed. This is when I felt the most discomfort. At the surgery, you are provided with three varying eye drops. An antibiotic to take every 2 hours while awake on the day of surgery and artificial tear drops to take hourly while awake on the day of surgery. (The third drops start on the day after surgery along with Hydroeye capsules).
Recovery: The Days Following Surgery
The day after surgery, you start taking 4 Hydroeye capsules per day (for 30 days). You also use gel tear drops at wake and bedtime (for 30 days). Four times a day for 10 days you take the antibiotic eye drops and you use the artificial tear drops four to six times a day (for 30 days).
For seven days after treatment, you are not allowed to touch your eye socket. You also cannot get water in your eyes for 7 days — no swimming, saunas, or hot tubs either. You must wear goggles (provided) to sleep and in the shower for 7 days. Want to workout? You can, just be careful not to get sweat in your eyes. If you do, use artificial tear drops to flush out any sweat from the eye. They advise wearing a sweatband during activity (I didn’t even know sweatbands were still a thing?). Makeup lovers like me, be warned — you cannot wear eye makeup for 7 days (unless you purchase new makeup, in which you can use new makeup after 3 days).
You will have red spots on the white part of the eye (a lady at work told me I looked like I got in a fight). I am a week and a half post-Lasik and I still have red spots, but the redness has dramatically lessened. The doctors advise that the red spots can take 3-6 weeks to completely go away.
For me, the extreme dryness was really only on the day after surgery. I felt significant improvement on day 2 and on day 3. Now, I’m only using the eye drops as directed (whereas on day 2-3 I was overusing the artificial tears, which my doctor said was perfectly fine if I needed them).
I’ll do a follow up post once I hit 30 days post-Lasik, but this is a high level recap of how the the first seven days of recovery went.
P.s. If you have more questions about Lasik that I didn’t answer in my post, comment your question below + I will be sure to answer it on my next follow up post.