Monday, March 26, 2012

Sight for Sore Eyes

At some point in the second grade, I started periodically coming home from school with blinding headaches.  I can remember writhing and crying in agony on my parents’ bed praying for the pain to stop.  I can be a bit of a drama queen, so I’m sure I overdid it significantly, but still, it hurt like hell.

Over the course of the school year, these episodes became more and more frequent.  It didn’t take Dr. Oxley, the family optometrist, too long to realize that a combination of a desk in the back of the classroom and rapidly degenerating vision were causing the grief.  On the second to last day of school, I put on my first pair of glasses.  Oversized with bulky, brown plastic frames – they were NOT a model of high fashion.

For the next 28 years, my life became a never-ending cycle of increasing prescriptions and thicker lenses, then bifocals, then soft contacts, then disposables and, finally, in my early thirties, when my eyes could no longer handle the strain of the slick ribbery discs anymore, it was back to glasses nearly full-time.  While my latest pair of specs are a bit more stylish than those of 1984, they still provided all the same dilemmas smudges, grimy noseguards and poor grip in any sweat-inducing environment.

But that all started coming to an end on Tuesday, March 13, 2012, when I placed a call to the folks at Clear Choice Custom LASIK Center (along with a few other clinics) to inquire about corrective surgery.  You can imagine my surprise when they were able to get me in for a pre-op consultation two days later and then scheduled my surgery for March 23 (three days ago as of this entry).

On the day of my surgery, I woke up with 20/475 vision and by 2:30 p.m., was 20/15.  Walking out of the clinic that afternoon and being able to read the street signs was one of the most euphoric experiences of my life.

So here comes my sales pitch, directed primarily at any of my 18 loyal readers who are considering LASIK surgery:

Do it.

Here are a few of the things I did this weekend that I have literally NEVER been able to do without the aid of corrective lenses:
  • Drive a car
  • Mow the lawn
  • Watch my kid and dogs romp around at the park
I spent the better part of Friday night lying in bed staring at a door frame outside our bedroom, admiring the sharp, crisp edges and angles.  Dorky?  Yes.  But don’t knock it until you try it.

Nevertheless, I don’t want to totally oversell it, so I’ll lay out some of the pros and cons I’ve experienced to help provide a more balanced viewpoint:

  • When the anesthetic wore off after the surgery, the burning sensation in my eyes was almost unbearable until I was able to get into bed and keep them shut for a few hours
  • I’ll have sensitivity to bright lights and some dimming of vision in the dark for the next week.
  • I’m experiencing a lot of dryness and abrasiveness and, along with a week of prescription medication, will need to apply artificial tears for the next few weeks.
  • I’ll have periodic blurred vision during the healing process.
  • I have to tape these dopey protective shields over my eyes when I sleep to ward off the impulse to scratch, rub and squeeze.
  • I have to wear sunglasses outdoors at all times for the next seven days, which looks pretty stupid when it’s gray and rainy outside.
  • I have to be very cautious to keep foreign substances out of my eyes.  This includes showering (and drying off) with my eyes shut for the next week, which is not easy when you have my level of (un)coordination.
  • I. CAN. SEE.
You’d be surprised at how drastically that one Pro outweighs all the Cons.

So, as I said, do it.  But don't be afraid to shop around.  There are clinics everywhere that provide the service.  I only have three pieces of advice:
  1. Don’t make a decision based on price.  Cheaper probably isn’t better, but that doesn’t mean the most expensive is your best option either.
  2. When you make your initial calls, ask a lot of questions.  This will help you set a comfort level.  Do the same if/when you go in for a consultation.
  3. Ask around.  You’ll be amazed at how many people you know have had a LASIK procedure.  Two of my neighbors had theirs done at Clear Choice and gave rave reviews.  This did wonders to ease my nerves before my surgery.
I’ll close by recommending that you at least consider the folks at Clear Choice – at least if you’re in Northeast Ohio.  They’re friendly, they’re experienced and their clinic includes a little “cafĂ©” that is always stocked with complimentary fresh drinks and cookies.  Here’s how you can find them:

Clear Choice Customer LASIK Center
7001 S Edgerton Rd, Suite D
Brecksville, OH 44141
(440) 740-0400

Trust me, once you make the decision, you’ll “see” why I’ve made such a fuss. (nyuck nyuck)