Exactly one year ago I had eye correction surgery. Why did I wait so long to blog about it? Well, I'd rather give an account of the results once I'd fully healed and some time had past than when I was recovering. What better time, than on the one-year anniversary?
Let's back up a bit. I first got glasses in 3rd grade. By the time I was 35, I had a Rx of -7.50 for my contacts (which I wore most of the time) and a Rx of -8.50 for my glasses. My vision was so poor I needed to wear glasses to find the bathroom in the middle of the night. Not kidding.
For years I had no interest in really getting eye surgery. Of course I hated my poor eyesight, but the idea of someone operating (and potentially messing up) on my eyes freaked me out. I mean, what if I ended up blind afterwards? You always hear those horror stories of your Mom's friend's aunt's former neighbor who went in for eye surgery and now can't see at all.
So what changed? Well, I was in my mid-30's and quite frankly was sick of dealing with contacts and glasses. SICK. OF. IT. Also, I learned that a childhood friend (who I babysat a couple of times, but let's forget this because it makes me feel really old) had become one of the leading eye surgeons in the U.S. Also, this childhood friend was using all the latest technology and equipment to assist him with eye surgery. This friend? His name is Joel Hunter, M.D. and he and his older brother started Hunter Vision in Orlando, Florida. So I contacted Dr. Hunter (yeah it feels a little weird to call him that, but he earned that title) and asked him if he thought he could fix my eyes while my family and I took a vacation in Orlando. He thought he could, but of course would have to check my eyes first. If I was eligible for their 3D LASIK procedure, I could have the surgery and fly home just a couple of days later. So we made an appointment and booked our flight to Orlando.
Once we were in Orlando, I showed up for my consultation at Hunter Vision. They gave me a full eye exam which included 3D mapping of my eye. I'm sure it's much more sophisticated but if you want to read about it, you can CLICK HERE. Suffice it to say, it's probably the most comprehensive eye exam you can get. At the end of my exam Dr. Hunter informed me that I was not a candidate for the LASIK procedure. Apparently my corneas are not as thick as he would've liked and if he performed the procedure, it would possibly compromise my future vision. (this is probably where the strip mall doctor might choose to do the procedure on my mom's friend's aunt's former neighbor who would've eventually had vision problems)
Thankfully Dr. Hunter seriously cares about the health of your eyes. I did have one more option. If I could extend my visit for one more week (for recovery) he could do the ASA (Advanced Surface Ablation) procedure, previously known as the PRK procedure. We thankfully had a flexible schedule and were able to stay an additional week for my recovery.
The morning of my procedure they gave me some Valium to help calm me down. As personable as Dr. Hunter and the entire staff are, I was still quite nervous. When I walked in the exam room it looked like something out of Star Trek. Perhaps I would've been more comfortable if it looked more like the inside of the Millenium Falcon, but that's just me. I laid down on the bed and they got me ready. The entire procedure took approximately 6 minutes per eye. There was no cutting involved. I stared at this laser during the procedure and followed instructions while the machine and Dr. Hunter did their work. At one point he brushed away the epithelial layer of my eye (not as creepy as it sounds). There was no pain at all. Afterward I said, "That was it?" and I wondered why I had feared getting eye correction surgery for so many years. They popped in a protective, clear contact lens in each eye and within 15 minutes of the procedure I was on my way home. (Don't worry, I wasn't driving)
The recovery for the ASA is more painful than the Lasik which is why I had to stay an additional week. I'm not going to lie... for the first 3-4 days it felt like my eyes had jalapeño-covered sand in them, but they gave me good pain meds that made it fairly tolerable. My surgery was on a Friday. On Tuesday they removed the protective contact lenses (easy peasy) and examined my eyes. Saturday morning I returned to be re-examined and my vision was 20/15. That means I could read the tiny letters UNDER the 20/20 row on the eye chart. Later that night I flew home to Los Angeles.
I followed all the recovery instructions to a T. I kept up with my various eye drops, and wore my special glasses for a week (which I altered after a trip to Michael's to make them slightly less hideous). I'm going to petition for Hunter Vision to start offering them in "bedazzled" edition or at the very least, in purple.
I couldn't believe how well I could see. I was reading street signs I never could've read with contacts or glasses. I could even see better than my husband, who has never had to wear glasses. He thought that was a little annoying. I think he was just jealous he no longer had the best vision out of the pair of us.
Eight months later I had a quick trip to Orlando, so I decided to stop in and have my eyes checked by Dr. Hunter to see how well they had healed. My vision was STILL 20/15 and he said my eyes had healed so well, no eye doctor would be able to tell I had had eye surgery. Yay!
And now here I am, one year later. My eyes are still 20/15, and I can't believe what a gift this has been. To be able to wake up and see with perfect vision is not something I ever really believed I would have. I'm especially surprised that being a compulsive reader hasn't affected my vision.
Some might think it was crazy for us to fly from Los Angeles to Orlando for my eye surgery, but when you're dealing with something as important as your eyesight, you want to go with the best. You don't want to go somewhere that's having a sale on LASIK procedures in a strip mall, lest you end up like my mom's friend's aunt's former neighbor who lost her eyesight. Plus there might be one or two other attractions in Orlando you can do while you're there.
I can't say enough good things about my experience at Hunter Vision. From the receptionist to the nurse to Dr. Hunter, I felt like I was treated with kid gloves and felt so protected and taken care of. And one day when I'm old and have cataracts, I will return to Orlando and have Dr. Hunter and his team take care of those as well.
Thank you Hunter Vision for giving me the freedom to enjoy life without the hassle of contacts or glasses!