Adventures in LASIK Surgery

corneal-surfaceI’ve been eying LASIK surgery to correct my nearsightedness for a few years now. Let me walk you through my LASIK adventure through the lens of the “stages of change” model.

Precontemplation stage (ignorance of the problem). I can’t read street signs when I’m driving, and that’s a problem. However, for the last two decades, I’ve worn contacts, and street signs and anything else that’s more than 10-feet away are crystal clear. After the initial bumbling of learning how to put contacts in, the daily routine of wearing contact lenses became a breeze. Insert, take out, clean, store – it all took me no more than five minutes per day. I heard about people going through eye corrective surgery, but I was puzzled. Why go through such a risk and expense when wearing contacts was so easy?!?

Contemplation stage (ambivalence). Except, over the last few years, wearing contacts hasn’t felt as easy. I fumble with them more, and am forced to search desperately for a fallen lens on the counter top, sink, floor or hanging out on the side of a stray container sitting on my counter. It can be challenging to tell up close whether the lens is poised “the right way” on my finger tip. At night, sans contacts, I have to now squint at the alarm clock to make sure I read the right time. My love affair with contacts is over. It’s time to consider a change.

Preparation stage (collecting information). “So, tell me more about your LASIK surgery,” I ask friends and family. I research the process (cringe!) and cost (ouch!). I ask people if they’d recommend their doctor. I narrow in on a busy practice and attend its information session. Meet the surgeon (as in I and the other 20 people at the session ask probing questions) and deem that he’s competent. It’s time to get off the fence …

Action stage (taking direct action toward the goal). I sign on many dotted lines acknowledging the risks associated with the surgery. I have my corneas scanned to determine whether I’m a good candidate. I’m told that my corneas are a little thin, but that’s probably due to my wearing contacts and the inevitable friction of taking them off (darn those contacts!). Wear your glasses, I am told, and return in three weeks. For 8 out of 10 people, that does the trick, and the corneas are fine.

“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE”

Maintenance stage. This is the last stage of the change process. The period when I maintain the change by being a good doobie and following the doctor’s orders to not rub my eyes and diligently use the post-surgery eye drops. However, there was no surgery. That “EEEE” sound above is the sound of a screeching halt. When I returned after three weeks of wearing old glasses (from two prescriptions ago), I was told that the thickness of  my corneas had not improved. In fact, one had worsened. I was not a candidate for the LASIK surgery, but I could have PRK surgery, the older technology which requires a longer recovery period.

Uh, I don’t think so.

It’s back to stage one of the change process for me. Ignorance is bliss (and a whole lot cheaper)!

Comments

  • Barb Says:
    1-26-2010 09:40:29

    Good for you for getting that far with the process! I got squeamish just reading your email. I’ve worn contacts for 30+ years, and now I just wear glasses a lot more — cause it’s easier. I sometimes even have the second pair of “reading glasses/magnifiers” on with my glasses because I just can’t take the bifocal step yet! I have lots of friends who’ve done the laser surgery and love it; I just know it’s not for me.


  • Sharon Says:
    1-29-2010 18:28:12

    I was sorry to hear this isn’t going to work out for you. The silver lining is that you had a doctor who had your best interests at heart. My mom had cataract surgery on one eye nine months ago and she is still healing. They won’t operate on the other eye until the one is 100%, thank goodness. Our eyes are too important to take chances. My eyes are wonky with astigmatism and I now need progressive lenses, so I’m not a good candidate for contacts or corrective surgery.


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