Author: Hannah K. Burns

I remember the first time I realized I needed glasses. I was 19 years old on a lunch date at a restaurant where you order up at the register. My date ordered his sandwich, turned to me and asked me what I wanted – I could not see the menu! It was completely blurry. After reading off the choices he said, “I think you might need glasses!” My parents never took me for yearly exams as a teenager and I had no idea that I was struggling to see. Ever since, contacts and glasses have been a key part of my daily routine.   

I have always been interested in LASIK but thought it might have risks and wasn’t something I could afford, so I never pursued it in my younger years. I now know it is a relatively simple and cost-effective procedure. Over the last decade, I spent thousands on glasses and contacts. I would have saved so much money if I had only gotten LASIK much sooner!  

When I started working at Twin Cities Eye Consultants, I saw how happy all of Dr. Stephens’ patients were after getting LASIK and how quick and easy their recovery was. Many patients were even seeing better than 20/20 after surgery: sometimes 20/15 and even 20/10. Friends and family members were telling me it was the best money they ever spent. How could I resist? 

I had spent far too many evenings searching the house because I couldn’t remember which coffee table I put my glasses on. I hated the way it felt to rest on my side to watch TV while the handle of my glasses dug into my upper ear. I had accidentally fallen asleep in contact lenses one too many times. I was ready for visual freedom. I wanted LASIK! 

Before the initial exam with Dr. Stephens, I had to switch out of contacts and wear my glasses for about a week. After a few tests, Dr. Stephens met with me and told me my eyes looked healthy and my corneas were thick enough for the procedure. I was an ideal candidate! He explained what to expect and I felt so confident about my decision that I scheduled my surgery for the very next week!  

My surgery was on a Friday. I brought someone to drive me home and a few minutes after I walked in the door, I was taken back for surgery prep. I sat comfortably in a chair, they put stickers on my shoulders that labeled them left and right and I received some eye drops and other post-op necessities in a cute little cosmetic bag. I was then offered Valium to help with any anxiety I had before surgery. Even though I am a nurse myself and have complete confidence in Dr. Stephens, I was still a little bit nervous. 

During the surgery, I laid on a big bed. Dr. Stephens and our surgery technician Cory explained everything they were doing and helped me feel cared for. Since my valium was starting to kick in, I was really relaxed and most of the details are hazy. They put a variety of different eye drops in my eyes and soft covers around my eyelids which prevented me from blinking.

There was a slight pressure around my eyes when they were creating the corneal flap. That was the worst part, but it only lasted a few quick seconds. Cory held my hand during and told me I was the most important patient in the room which was very comforting to hear (even though I was the only patient in the room). After the corneal flap was created it just felt like I was looking through a kaleidoscope. I saw a variety of colors, but it was all completely painless.  

Following surgery, I went home and took a very long nap. I went in for a post-op the next morning. The day after surgery my eyes were a little dry and scratchy and I was slightly light-sensitive, but my vision was excellent! Over the rest of the weekend, I used preservative-free artificial tears every hour when I was awake and used prescription drops three times per day.  I attended my friend’s baby shower that weekend and was back to work the following Monday. 

Today marks one week after my surgery. My eyes don’t feel dry at all and my vision is 20/20. The only sad part of this whole journey is that the cute designer glasses I bought last year are now abandoned on a coffee table somewhere in my house. I may just have to have a funeral…or turn them into sunglasses. 😊

If you’re even considering LASIK, I recommend going in for an evaluation to see if you’re a candidate. The consultation doesn’t cost anything and it’s a time to meet with your doctor and discuss the procedure. Taking this step could lead you to the visual freedom I now enjoy every day.