Looking for me?

Still interested in keeping up with me and my life "after the aisle"?
Come visit me on my new blog, Heather Drive. I hope to see you all on the other side!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Road to... new eyes! (The Preparation)

I know I haven't posted much wedding-related stuff lately... sorry for those of you who come here looking for that. I'm sure I'll have something to post soon, as we are currently working on finding a baker for our cake, and I do need to get a start on our invitations soon. Anyhow... there are several people out there who expressed a lot of interest in knowing about my LASIK eye surgery, so I wanted to share more information and the story of that.

First off, I should probably explain how this all came about. I wrote a post a few months back about how I wanted the surgery really badly, but couldn't afford it. I really wanted to have it done at Strong Vision, because I felt comfortable there, and the doctor is world-renowned and all that. But world-renowned = really expensive, so at first, I thought it was totally out of the question for me... at least for now. Then, I found out about a fellowship program that they run at Strong Vision. Turns out that they have a fellow there right now, through June 2008. She is already an eye surgeon at Strong Memorial Hospital, but is doing a fellowship in order to become a corneal specialist. So in reality, she's basically a student doctor, but not a STUDENT student. She performs cornea transplants, people! She knows what she's doing with eyes.

Anyway, once I found out there was a fellowship program, I was also told that the fees are drastically reduced if you allow the fellow to perform your surgery. That made me a little nervous at first, but the woman at Strong Vision told me that Dr. MacRae, the world-renowned guy who runs the place, is present at all of the fellow's surgeries, assists as needed, etc. Plus the fellow, Dr. Hindman, is a graduate of Harvard, and like I said... she has experience with complicated eye surgeries, just not refractive surgery. That made me feel better. And the fees? Well, with Dr. MacRae, the fees are $1,900 an eye for conventional LASIK, and $2,400 for custom LASIK. With Dr. Hindman, I was told they were $1,000 (I think?) for conventional LASIK, and $1,400 for custom. So basically half price. Very nice indeed. As it turned out, I ended up being one of Dr. Hindman's very first surgeries, so it was even cheaper. I ended up paying $1,000 per eye for the custom LASIK. It still sounds like a lot of money to some people, but I qualified for financing, so I will end up paying something like $56 a month for three years. Sucks to have yet another thing to pay for each month (gotta love school loans, car payments, and bills) but in all honesty? Now that I've had it done, I'm pretty sure I'd be willing to pay $56 a month for the rest of my LIFE to not have to fuss with contacts or glasses anymore. Soooo worth it. And I'm not even totally healed yet.

Once I found out about this whole fellowship business, I called and made an appointment to have a consultation with Dr. Hindman... my appointment was on October 17. I had to stop wearing my contacts for 7 days before the consultation, because apparently contacts (even the soft ones) can change the shape of your eyes. They want your eyes to be their complete natural shape when they measure and test you to determine whether you're a candidate for the surgery. So yeah, wearing my glasses for a week was NOT fun. The last time I bought glasses was 2001, so my prescription was slightly different back then. As a result of the old prescription, I couldn't see as well in my glasses as I normally could, which caused headaches. Especially the first few days. But I actually got pretty used to them, and the week passed relatively quickly. The "no-contacts-for-a-week" thing was probably one of the worst parts of the entire LASIK surgery experience. I think that says a lot.

The consultation was 2 hours, during which Dr. Hindman ran a battery of tests and measurements on my eyes. I basically just had to stare into a few different machines and not blink for several seconds. All I saw were different lights and shapes and such. These are the tests to determine whether or not a patient has any higher-order aberrations. I'm not too sure what that means, even after it was explained to me, but the higher-order aberrations have to do with how your eye sees a pinpoint of light. Your higher-order aberrations might make you see halos around lights at night, or glares, or maybe see a tail on a moving light. It's very interesting. If you have enough higher-order aberrations, or if your aberrations are severe enough, they recommend the custom LASIK for you, because not only can they fix your nearsightedness, but they also attempt to fix your higher-order aberrations... just improves your sight all around! Here is a chart that shows the different higher-order aberrations you can have:

The doctor also did a regular eye exam on me, and then ran the pressure test for glaucoma, and also measured the thickness of my corneas by touching a little sensor right to my eyes (which were numbed with numbing drops). And that was it! At the end, Dr. Hindman told me that due to my large pupil size (they're huge!) and the results of my tests for my higher-order aberrations, she suggested that I have the custom LASIK. And I wasn't going to argue.

The scariest part of the consultation, which I mentioned in a previous post, was the eight-page consent form I had to sign. It had all of these horrible things on it that could happen to you, but all of the severe ones are very rare and I ultimately felt comfortable with these doctors. I did, however, take 24 hours to think about what I wanted to do.

Obviously, I decided to go ahead and do it.

To be continued...

No comments: