Living with LASIK

I Wanted an Easier Life

That is the reason I had LASIK in October 2006. My children are almost grown. I have only one left at home and I thought this would be something I could do to celebrate my new freedom as a mother of adult children. Looking back, I was really experiencing “empty nest” and instead of getting a convertible or a tatoo I decided on LASIK to give me a change and something to feel happy about. What a mistake that was! I have felt anything but happy since my LASIK surgery.

I wore my contacts comfortably for 21 years. Never even knew what dry eye was. I was of course, as we all were, told I was an “excellent” candidate. The day I went in for my consultation the “LASIK coordinator” asked the doctor if I could be scheduled for the next day. I remember thinking, “Whoa, I just came in here for a consultation.” But she was so enthusiastic as was the doctor that I would LOVE this surgery that I bought into it. She arranged my financing that day and before I was out the door I had already paid $5,000 for someone to forever complicate my life.

The next day before I was to come in I was called and they told me due to some device or something they needed (to give me custom LASIK) being out of stock, I would have to wait two weeks for my surgery. I should have researched on the Internet in that time. I wanted to. But my husband and friends told me not to “freak” myself out and that except for a few patients out there with pre-existing eye issues, nobody has problems with their LASIK outcomes. How naive I now know that is!! I had no pre-existing eye issues but I sure have them now!

Two days after my surgery I felt something was wrong. I had so much dryness and pain that it didn't seem like it could be normal. I was assured by the doctor that it would go away and I should be happy with my new 20/20 vision. I mentioned that I saw halos over lights when I drove at night and car lights looked like star bursts. I was told that would go away once my inflamation settled down. Two years later I still have these issues, thankfully not as bad as in the beginning, but they are still there.

After about four to six months I began to accept that this is probably a condition I will have to cope with the rest of my life. The doctor had written me off by then as a complainer so I went to a corneal specialist for help and paid out of pocket for him. I was helped to some degree with punctal plugs and restasis but my eyes still did not feel normal. All the while living with this condition put a strain on my relationships at home and to some extent at work. I definitely did not make my life any easier.

I now cope with this new way of life by educating myself about dry eye and pushing on to try and control my symptoms. I have made great headway in this area due to the knowledge and support that I have found at the Dry Eye Zone.

Let me tell you about my new life and the rituals I MUST do in order to maintain a degree of eye comfort:

If I do not stick to this routine I will set myself up for days of discomfort so I follow it as religiously as I can.

I feel I was so misled by my doctor and the staff at his office. They had me sign the consent form of course, but did not talk to me about the risks or how they could impact my life should they occur. I feel duped and used and taken advantage of.

Everyday I know many more people are joining our ranks as LASIK induced dry eye sufferers. This craziness needs to stop. It is not worth the risk and people need to know it. I did not have a high RX nor did I have any pre-existing dry eye issues. It can happen to anyone who chooses this surgery.

Thank you for letting me tell my story.