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Lasik Screening - cellophane
the story of an invisible girl
renniekins
renniekins
Lasik Screening
I am wearing my contacts again today. Whew, what a relief! I've missed them; my face just feels so much better unencumbered. Although I like the way my glasses look, I just don't like the way they feel.

I had my Lasik screening today. I think I'm finally learning to spell 'lasik' without trying to put a 'z' or a 'c' somewhere. I wonder if that was one of the requirements? Whatever they were, I have passed them. My corneas are a little thinner than average, but still within a good range. My pupils are (surprisingly) a little larger than average, but once again okay. I am eligible for either regular lasik or the new Custom technology, where they program the laser with a blueprint of your precise cornea.

That was the easy part. Now comes the hard part: the decision-making. I think I'm going to do it. It's scary, yes, but I am so thrilled with the idea of better vision! I know lots of people with excellent results, some with vision even better than 20-20. I'd love love love to have excellent results, but even satisfactory results would be nice. So at least right now, I'm going to do it. (Unless I change my mind. Heh.) I also figure I might as well spring the extra few hundred dollars for Custom -- as long as I'm doing it, I might as well get the best available.

So... if I'm going to do it, when? I'm fighting between practicality and instant gratification here. Practically speaking, I should do it in January. If I wait until January, I can put money into my FSA and pay for the procedure tax-free. That would result in significant savings down the road.

But it would mean waiting 4 months. I suppose that's not really so long, is it? Not compared to how long I've been wearing glasses/contacts. But to paraphrase from When Harry Met Sally, once you've decided to spend the rest of your life with perfect vision, you want the rest of your life to start right away!

I've been looking at my schedule. They only do the procedure (I know they call it 'surgery', but I feel silly calling it that. I mean come on, it takes 20 minutes, and it only requires eye-drops for anesthetic. You're talking to a girl who's had two ACL reconstructions...that's not surgery!) on thursdays and fridays, and you're supposed to take it pretty easy the next couple of days. I can't do it in September, because I'm going to NYC. In fact, I'm traveling a ton in the next couple of months, and I will be out of town for every weekend in October except for the first one.

They have a slot open on friday, October 1st. The only thing I have on my calendar that weekend is October 2nd, the day of my 33.333333... birthday. Since I have a weird thing for repeating numbers (my favorite time of day is 11:11), I'd planned on doing something to recognize the day, like a party or something. I'm not sure having a party the day after Lasik would be much fun, but maybe it still would. Or I could keep it mellow, have more of a gathering than a party. And even if I didn't, wouldn't that be a great 33.33333...rd birthday present to myself? (And besides, I'm afraid of people, that's why I don't throw parties, so why start now?)

So suddenly I find myself imagining doing all of that October traveling without having to fuss with glasses. Or contacts. Just being able to see. And in my mind, it seems really wonderful. Soooo tempting.

Or, I could do it sometime in November. I can't do it the first weekend, but November 11th (11-11!), for example, is a possibility. But by then, January is only two months away. The further away I look, the more impractical it seems not to wait.

I could wait until January. I'd save money. But I'd have to buy new contacts, to tide me over! (Although they won't cost nearly the amount I'd save by avoiding taxes on a $3300 procedure.)

So I don't know. I want to do this now. Going there and talking to people just made me more excited to get it done. I have the money saved up, and isn't this why I save money, so that I can do good things like this for myself? But four months isn't really all that long. But it'd be great to be able to see NOW! Can't I be impractical, just this once? But this is a whole lot of impractical. I dunno! But I'll need to decide soon.

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Comments
lahabiel From: lahabiel Date: September 13th, 2004 12:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm ... this also happens to be election day, FYI.

Cool! I went to a big Summer bash when I turned 10*PI this year. Of course, that happened on July 4th, which made that a bit easier. :)

Sounds like fun. We'll have to think up 33-1/3 type gifts for the occasion. Do you have a record player?
renniekins From: renniekins Date: September 13th, 2004 12:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Isn't election day November 2? That's only my 33.416666... birthday, not quite as interesting.

No, alas, I gave away my record player. I still have records though!
lahabiel From: lahabiel Date: September 13th, 2004 12:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whoops, you're right. Five points off. I'm going to have a hell of a time making that "A" now. :P
kevinnickerson From: kevinnickerson Date: September 13th, 2004 01:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oct 2nd is SEMGS.
pkthunder From: pkthunder Date: September 13th, 2004 01:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm jealous. My corneas are too thin.

:(

But yay for you!
renniekins From: renniekins Date: September 13th, 2004 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

awww....that's a bummer.
anderale From: anderale Date: September 13th, 2004 08:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree that you should spend the extra and get the best. I think it will be worth it!

:)
retepsnave From: retepsnave Date: September 14th, 2004 05:46 am (UTC) (Link)
i recall my roommate getting it done a few months back... he may be a bit of a baby about things... (borderline hypocondrac... there I used c in even though it most certainly does not belong there...)
but anyway... party/gathering day after sounds a little risky... I recall that he basically took the weekend to lay on the couch and listen to the tv with his goggles on...
others I've heard of similarly did very little for the following day or so...

and tax savings really are almost as much fun as the 'instant gratification'
thinggtwoo From: thinggtwoo Date: September 14th, 2004 07:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
If/When I get this done, I'll DEFINATELY need to be zonked out on Valium...there's a difference between being knocked out for a procedure, and being awake to WATCH THEM MESSING WITH YOUR EYES!!!!

SHIVERS.......

But I'd wait till Jan, either way...just me!
:)
mindgames4one From: mindgames4one Date: September 14th, 2004 11:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
You'd be nuts not to wait for January. Four months is nothing-- I had to wait three YEARS, from the time I was going to do it, because I decided to have it one for my daughter, first. Since we are limited to $2000 a year FSA, I did her one eye in December of 2002, the other eye one month later (really, three weeks) in January of 2003; then I had one eye done in January of 2004 and the other eye was to be done in January of 2005, but I decided against it because of the dry eye problem I've had. I was originally going to wait to have my first eye done in December of this year instead of this past January, so it would be only a couple weeks difference between the two procedures, but since I was in the bifocal years of my life, decided to do it early and try different contact prescriptions for the other eye to see how I wanted it corrected. (They like to push you to have monovision correction if possible.) And here is no recuperation time. Just goggles for the first ~2 nights sleeping so you don't accidentally rub them in your sleep. The eye drop part is hardly what I'd call recuperation... especially given the fact that I've had to do more eyedrops in the months AFTER total recuperation than I ever did right after surgery!

The time will go quickly, becaue you have the whole holiday time to go through. January is kind of boring because it's always such a let-down. Now you'd have something to look FORWARD to!
renniekins From: renniekins Date: September 16th, 2004 12:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
So do you wear a contact in just one eye now?

So your eye is dry enough that you didn't consider it worth doing again, huh... Is it painful, or hurt your vision? How frequently do you need to put eyedrops in? Just trying to get a feel for what it'd be like, if I had a similar experience....

I'm probably going to wait until January. But boy, it'd be great to do it now. Especially given all the traveling I'll be doing soon, it'd be nice not to have to fuss with contacts and glasses.

Things are further complicated by the fact that I do not intend to stay with this job for all of next year...but I guess I'll figure that part out if/when it happens.
mindgames4one From: mindgames4one Date: September 16th, 2004 09:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I wear a contact in my recessive eye. If you are only doing one eye at a time (and I do recommend that, "just in case" and also because your flexible spending can't cover the cost of both of them at once, unless you're going somewhere I'd be afraid to go....) first they do the dominant eye. Mine was my right eye. This is corrected for distance. (You know the dominant eye by making a box with your hands in front of you and looking through it at something like a picture on a wall, or an outlet, in the center of the "box" you made with your hands. Now look with one eye closed, and then the other. When I am looking through my right eye, the outlet stays in the center. If I close my right eye, and look through my left, the outlet seems to bounce to a side. This is the recessive eye, and would have been corrected to see near. This is only if you are old enough to need bifocals (reading glasses, to be able to see near.) I was at the stage where the next pair of glasses I would have gotten would have had to be bifocals. I had no idea I would be seeing like this, and at first thought it was the laser surgery and HATED IT! But then I learned, after while, that this was how one sees when wearing bifocals... although I wasn't wearing them the "usual way." Laser places try to talk patients into getting monovision correction because they can inflate their percentages of patients that "no longer need glasses for anything." And for the average patient, it's fine. But not for me, or anyone else in the graphics world or any other job with definite, concentrated close-up work. I was getting headaches and sort of like motion sickness from the constant "make yourself see out of this eye for reading, and make yourself see out of the other eye when you look up across a room or when you drive."
mindgames4one From: mindgames4one Date: September 16th, 2004 10:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
This was my doctor (he used to have a clinic in Milwaukee, but now he stays in his hometown.)
http://80020happy.com/ssd.html
mindgames4one From: mindgames4one Date: September 16th, 2004 10:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
(I'm posting this in two parts because it limits the response.) I absolutely am happy that I did it in one eye... but I would have been devastated to have done it in both and had this dry eye proble, which isn't painful at all, just makes me see very poorly at times (The eye doesn't tear as it should.). Because when it is especially bad, I can't see at all. It isn't just *dry*, it's dry to the point that the cornea is wavy and "distorts" things. I amost piled up the car three times in one trip home when it was really bad one day, because they were working on the road and all these orange cones were out and I had no depth perception for them. And things were REALLY fuzzy. But I was almost legally blind before; in fact, I've sleep with my glasses on for years because I couldn't stand not being able to see when I would wake up. So even if my eye is dry, I see WAY better than I did with no correction, and this is what I wanted. So if I was ever in a position where my glasses were broken or lost, I wouldn't be so totally handicapped. So I do think it's worth it.

I was hoping after my hysterectomy this past spring, the dry eye bit would stop, because this problem occurs more for the lady going through menopause, but no such luck. If it had improved, I would have had the other eye done. Now I'm not going to, unless for some reason I can no longer wear the contact. Because the doctor told me that people who suffer dry eye problems have a 90% chance of it occuring in the other eye, also. Then I'd have NO eyes to see out of on days that they get especially dry. I have a prescription for Restasis which is supposed to help (http://www.restasis.com/default2.htm?Restasis) but so far it hasn't done anything, and it's super-expensive ( $150 per month? Thank heaven I have insurance!) When you first have your surgery, you put in drops every couple hours, day and night. AND DO THIS!!! I still, one and a half years later, put drops in about 6 times a day. I have little bottles all over the place!

I don't know about you, but we can spend our flexible spending money before it's ever even in there.... so I don't know how you'd pay it back of you left the job early? But I know you can spend all of what you're saving for 2005 on January 1st if you want to, and it gets reimbursed. I imagine you'd have to pay back whatever they "reimburse" that you haven't actually put in there, if you should leave early. Which means that it will be post-tax dollars, and you'd be no worse off than you would be if you went and did it now.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: September 20th, 2004 09:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for all the feedback, and for sharing your experiences with me! I think I'll do it in early January, as soon into the new year as they'll let me. My FSA is quite good, they will let me put more than enough money in, and yes I can use it right away.

The idea of doing one eye at a time makes sense, in case of complications like yours. I'll have to think seriously about that as January approaches. I'm only 33, so I don't need to consider monovision. That's one of the reasons I want to get it done as young as possible, so I'll have more time before I get the normal farsightedness that comes with age.

Anyway, thanks very much! (:
itsmika From: itsmika Date: September 16th, 2004 08:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I had the procedure last March and I am delighted! I've had glasses since age 4 and have never before been able to see the clock when I wake up or read the subtitles/closed captioning on tv.

You'll sleep for a few hours after the surgery and wake up with better vision! YMMV, but it was so for me. Meanwhile, the drops for a few weeks are no biggie. I think I wasn't supposed to waer make-up on my eyes for a bit as well.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask! I had it done at Michigan Eyecare Institute, but another friend went elsewhere after she saw my results and is delighted as well.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: September 16th, 2004 11:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Cool, thanks for your input! Every time I talk to somebody who has done it, it makes me want to do it more!! I'm currently leaning toward waiting until January and being practical, but I REALLY wish I could just go ahead and do it now.

Did you do the "custom" or the "traditional" version?
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