I had LASIK corrective surgery on both of my eyes this past May. It was suggested by my mom who had it done in december. I was 20 years old, had been wearing contacts since I started highschool, glasses since 4th grade. At the time of the surgery, my vision had been steady for over a year at a -3.25
I had the surgery done by a doctor that worked under the direction of <a href="http://www.tlcvision.com">TLC Laser Eye Centers . They're based out of somewhere in Canada, although the place where I got the surgery is just outside of baltimore.
I did a slightly unusual preop exam schedule, just cause of the way things worked out, but here's what happened. The day after I came home from school for the summer, I went in so they could look at my eyes. They said my eyes were perfectly healthy for the surgery, and it was scheduled for two days later. It's a bit unusual for them to do the surgery so soon after the initial checkup, but that's what we did. They also asked me if I'd mind doing the surgery at night, and letting prospective customers watch the procedure. I had no objections to that, so it all worked out nicely.
I had to get to the place like an hour and a half before the surgery took place. They put drops and stuff in my eyes and did some measurements. One of the measuring devices was the worst part of the whole procedure. It involved staring at this weird thing with all these patterns on it, and it flashed a bright light repeatedly. I'm a wuss when it comes to bright light, so I kept blinking and ruining it and it took forever but finally we got it. That machine apparently produces a three dimensional map of your cornea. The computer driving the machine ran Windows, which I found mildy discomforting, but the surgeon assured me that the actual operation would be controlled by him, and not by some MS software ;)
Anyways, now to the good part. The actual surgery. They put one of those silly hospital hair net type things, and took me into the little operating room. I laid back into the chair, the doc put numbing drops in my eyes, let them soak for about a minute, and set to work. Right eye first, he put a little thing that kept my eyelids open on, and threw a few more drops in there. A big machine arm swings over and sorta lowers down onto the eye. It lowers some sort of ring or something onto your eyeball, you can't feel it, but you can see it, it's kind of cool. Then it uses suction to hold your eyeball still. This was the only part of the actual surgery that was uncomfortable. I couldn't really feel the contact it was having against my eye, but the suction sorta felt like it was squeezing my eyeball. Not unbareable, but not fun either. Then you hear this scary sound that sounds like a circular saw. That startled me, but the doc told me to calm down, so I guess I did. While my eye was being held in place by the suction, everything goes dark so I couldn't see as that machine cut a thin layer of my cornea almost off, just like a little flap. The suction stopped, and the arm moved away. Then the doc lifted the flap up and over, and everything got really blurry. It was kind of neat. Then another arm moved over my eye, and it had a little red light on it that I was told to stare at. As I stared at it, the laser went to work, flashing on my eye for 24 seconds. It started to smell quite bad, apparently burned off eye particles aren't particularly pleasant scent-wise. I couldn't feel it at all though. After that, the doc flipped the cornea flap back over, and started pushing a little on it with a q-tip looking thing. It was really kind of neat being able to see this guy poking my eye with something, and not feeling it at all. I asked him to make sure "Are you poking my eye?" And he replied that he wouldn't exactly call it poking, but yeah, he was. I found that amusing. Anyways repeat all of that for the other eye, and it's done. Total time in the operating room: Just under 12 minutes.
Immediately after the surgery my eyes sorta felt like there was an eyelash in them or something. I could see, but everything looked like I was staring through some milky half translucent glass or something. They took me out to a dark room and had me lie there with my eyes closed for 15 minutes. Then I went home. It actually worked out really nice that I had the surgery done at night, cause it was dark out and easy on my eyes, and I went right to bed when I got home.
The post-op stuff isn't too complicated. The biggest concern is rubbing your eyes, because you don't want that cornea flap to come loose or rip off or anything. The basic rule is don't rub your eyes for about a month. They gave me little plastic eye shields that I had to tape to my face whenever I slept for the first 4 days after the surgery. Also for the first few days, you need to put eyedrops in, something that I absolutely hate. I did have an awesome friend taking care of me, and she was kind enough to administer the drops, and yell at me whenever it looked like I might be thinking about rubbing my eyes. The morning after the surgery, I woke up, jumped out of bed, and could see great. My eyes still felt a little irritated, but my vision was super improved. I had these super big goofy looking sunglasses that day just cause my eyes were extra sensitive to light, but no big deal. I had a check up the day after, and my left eye was already 20/25 and my right was 20/35. At my three week after check up, my vision had improved to a better than average 20/15. By my three month checkup, my corneas had completely healed, and I'm good to go.
While everything worked out super perfect for me, from what I was told by the doctor and the staff there, LASIK has an extremely low side effect rate, and noone's ever gone blind from it or anything. I'm extremely happy with my eyes, I'm so glad that I did do it. It's fairly expensive, but good sight is something worth paying for. (besides, my mom covered it ;). And while it's true that they're unsure of the long term effects, I figure if 20-30 years from now it does have some sort of complication, there will be technology to deal with that by then. Oh, and also, TLC has a system where if anywhere down the road, if you eyes change, and your vision becomes blurred again, they'll do the surgery again for you for free, as long as you've kept up with your normal eye exams and all that. Not a bad deal if you ask me.
I would definately suggest giving it a shot if your eyes are up to it. Apparently they can do eyes as bad as -12 or maybe even -13, and they do around -8 pretty routinely. I'd also strongly reccommend TLC, they've got offices all over the place, I've been extremely satisfied with how it all went, and if my eyes go bad again, they'll fix them for free. They cost a little more than some places, but you get what you pay for, and the eyes are a worthy cause.