Would you rather be blind or deaf? You have to choose. It’s one or the other. Which would it be? This question is one of many out of one of my favorite time-killing books – The Book of Questions. The premise behind this book is that good questions don’t lead to answers; they lead to more questions. When I was in college and surrounded by a plethora of music majors, I was fascinated that most, if not all of them answered this question without hesitation. They would much rather be blind than deaf. I guess the idea of never hearing music again would be unfathomable in their minds since they were immersed in music on a daily basis. I, on the other hand, always answered the opposite. I would much rather be deaf than blind. To me, not being able to see a loved one’s face or flowers in bloom or even the food placed before me would be devastating. I pray that I never have to experience either situation. I have thought of this question quite often over the years, but even more so over the last week. This week, I was perusing some of the Living Social deals and came across one for LASIK surgery being offered at a 50% savings. Hmmmm….
Now I’m not normally squeamish when watching medical procedures. I have watched many surgeries on tv and find them extremely interesting. For me however, there is something about surgery on an eye that I have issues with. After all, if something goes wrong, then one of my worst nightmares will come true and I’ll forever have vision issues. I can’t stress to you what a big deal this is. I can even remember my first contact appointment the summer before I started my sophomore year in college (yes, I wore glasses from 7th grade until then). When I finally decided I wanted to ditch the glasses and upgrade to contacts I had trouble with the realization that something was going to have to GO IN MY EYE!! The nurse who was helping me tried for 30 minutes to put in just one contact. The closer she got to my eye the further away I would scoot. We finally decided that maybe I should try it myself. It took me an additional 30 minutes and almost throwing up, but I finally got that damn contact in and boy what a change it was! I had 20/20 peripheral vision. Everywhere I looked things were clear. I was so excited!!
Over the years I have had a few blunders with my contacts and glasses. I always hated my glasses fogging up, falling off, or getting in the way. I so wanted to be able to swim underwater and be able to see where I was going and what was in front of me. I mean come on, who is gonna watch out for sharks in a swimming pool otherwise?!? I’ve had torn contacts. I’ve had contacts somehow float behind my eye (That’s a day in the park I’ll tell ya!). I’ve put two contacts in the same eye before. Now that I have the daily disposable contacts, I’ve accidentally put two right contacts in each eye instead of a right and left. There’s no difference in the feel of the contact, but considering my eye sight is -4.00 in one eye and -5.00 in the other I was having trouble figuring out why my vision was off that day. I took a trip one time and realized I left my replacement daily contacts at home. Good thing I brought my glasses, but it was still a pain nonetheless.
So with this offer before me, my eye-opening homework began. The very first person I contacted about this offer is my local Optometrist whom I have been seeing yearly for approximately 8 years or so. He has told me probably every year that I would be a good candidate for LASIK as my eyesight has not changed much if any of the last several years. Regardless, I wanted him to see the offer himself. His only comments after viewing the offer and the doctor’s website had to do with two things: 1. Is it bladeless LASIK? and 2. Do they offer enhancements if necessary? My next call was to the doctor’s office to ask these questions. I read up on this doctor before I called as I wanted to see what his credentials were. He received his degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in 1975. He served in the United States Air Force as Chief of Ophthalmology at the rank of Major (YAY! A military man!!) In 1980, he was certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and certified in Refractive Surgery by the American Board of Eye Surgery in 1995 and LASIK in 2001. He has performed well over 23,000 laser vision corrective procedures. I asked quite a few questions about the procedure as well as this particular offer. I was told that the doctor does not do the bladeless LASIK as he has found that the eye heals faster by using the microkeratome tool to make the thin, hinged flap on the corneal surface of the eye. Cutting on my eye…hmmm…not my idea of a good time, but nonetheless, I know I wouldn’t feel anything. I’ve had my experience with numbing drops after having corneal ulcers on both eyes…at the same time. They. Are. Amazing!! (the drops, not the ulcers!) Additionally, this doctor does offer enhancements for six months should I need it.
It was now time for more research. These were the only two eyes I have after all, so I’m gonna do my homework! I know that my dad, sister, and brother have all had this surgery, but I wanted to get the opinion of more than three people, so I asked friends on Facebook. I wanted to know who has had the procedure done, how long ago, what type of LASIK they had (blade or bladeless), and how their results have been. What I received were mixed results. The good news was that everyone who had the procedure, regardless of the type, was still happy with their results. Some had their LASIK done before the bladeless was offered. Some highly suggested I go with the bladeless if I could. Comments like those were exactly what I was looking for believe it or not. I took to heart what each person said and decided what I needed was more research.
My next step was to find some information online about the pros and cons about the blade vs. the bladeless LASIK. What I found didn’t surprise me after reading the comments from my friends. The research was pretty split down the middle. There were benefits to both methods. There were also downsides as there would be with any procedure. Among many of the websites I checked out, I found one particularly helpful. It didn’t promote one or the other, but instead offered information on both. It really helped me to see things more clearly (pun intended) in regards to having this procedure.
My final steps were to view this doctor’s website to get a better idea of what their office was like and what I should expect. I fortunately hit the motherload! Not only was there some great information, but I found a page of testimonials from their patients who had gone through the procedure. Additionally, there were several videos of patients after their LASIK including one lady who they followed throughout the entire process.
After weighing all the information gathered, getting input from friends, family, and medical professionals, I have decided to go through with this life-changing procedure. I’d almost rather not know what I know now, but if I’m going to do something that could affect the rest of my life then I need to make sure I’m as informed as possible. After all, hindsight is always 20/20!