If you read my 35 in year 35 post, you know getting LASIK eye surgery is one of this year’s goals. So I pumped up my Flexible Spending Account and made the LASIK work-up appointment. See you later, saline solution. Sayonara, toric lenses. Let’s DO this.
At the appointment, the receptionist gave me a thick packet of information, which was good to have, because the doctor was late. He proceeded to examine my eyes. It was pretty much a normal eye exam: a lot of chart reading, a lot of “Is this better? Or worse? Better? What about now?” Then he put in some drops and checked my eyeball pressure and pupil size. Last, he measured my corneas’ thickness.
“Hmm,” he said, looking concerned. “I’m going to call the surgeon.”
I have high-degree myopia and astigmatism. My right eye is -9 and lefty is -7.5. I started glasses when I was six, and switched to contacts at 11, because I have no peripheral vision with glasses. Also, my eyes appear very tiny and unpretty behind thick curving walls of prescription glass.
I don’t MIND contacts, but they can be a pain in the ass. If I ever decide to do cross-country ultralight bike touring or escape from a house burglar in the night, it would be nice to be able to see. My poor vision is almost a part of my identity, but recently I had the realization that it doesn’t have to be. It’s not even that expensive to change. A couple grand. Far less than the cost of 10 years of contacts. And how great would it be to be able to see when I wake up in the morning?
After being on hold for a few minutes, the doctor dropped the news. “You’re not a candidate for LASIK. Your corneas are too thin.”
However, he said, I might be a candidate for PRK, the brutal older brother to LASIK. Where LASIK makes a neat flap in the cornea, PRK removes it completely, using a “blunt instrument.” The surgery is more painful and has a longer recovery time (two weeks as opposed to a couple days). On the plus side, it’s the same price as LASIK ($799 per eye) and some people say its results are better.
I don’t know if I WANT to cut my corneas off with a blunt instrument. I want to be able to see without contacts. But AT WHAT PRICE?