Advice Column

I Survived LASIK Surgery and You Can Too

LASIK surgery recovery

I finally did it. I had “thee” surgery I have been considering for years… LASIK.

“No no. You can’t move. The laser just started cutting.”

Well, there’s a line you don’t hear often.

I saw the light… and it opened up my eyes. Ok, I’m dating myself and changed a few lyrics but you get the point. If you don’t know what I am referring too, this song was a popular chart topper circa 1992.

Before the LASIK surgery, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like.

If you’re anything like me, you read other people’s personal experience and stay away from the science. I don’t need to see pictures or Youtube clips of the process where my cornea is sliced open and flipped up.


I did the research, I read all the blogs to prepare myself for what I believed was going to be my last hour of vision. One notable callout across all articles was the smell of burning flesh during the LASIK surgery.

What? Why.. why do we have to complicate this?

“You’re going to feel light pressure”, the doctor said. “You can handle that, right?” Phsssh, absolutely I can.

My eyes were dilated and I was ready to begin.

“We’ll have you out of here in no time”, they said. I made my way over to the chair and was fitted with what felt like two tiny biscuit cutters that rimmed my eyeballs to prevent me from blinking during the LASIK surgery.

I imagine I looked like I was about to hop in a tanning bed with those little eye protectors accept this time the middle was cut out and my eye was protruding through. Sexy right?

In preparation for what I had read, as soon as the doctor told me they were ready to begin the LASIK surgery, I held my breath to avoid inhaling my burning eyeball aroma and tried to lay as motionless as possible.

After all, my thoughts were moving fast enough as it was.

Suddenly, I began to feel “the light pressure” and then I realized, nope… I in fact cannot handle this and my legs inadvertently moved, or maybe jumped.

But for a moment, let’s talk airplane etiquette. As I write this I am sitting on a commercial flight to Chicago. The guy in front of me decides to reduce my claustrophobic surroundings by reclining his seat.

I am no petite women and my bony knees are essentially jammed into his lower back. This can’t be comfortable. Not for either of us. Friends.. don’t be that guy. Help each other out and just stay upright. I digress…

Instead of “light pressure” during my LASIK surgery, it felt as though the biscuit cutter was piercing the first layer of my eyeball and pressing the back of my eye socket.

This was not light pressure, this was aggressive.

“Hold still, we gonna do the right eye.”

And just like that, I was being asked if I could read the time on the clock across the room.

Women's knit leisure wear, lounge clothes

Top 10 PC LASIK Tips:

  1. Stay away from the pics
    • No one needs to review the step-by-step Youtube clips of the actual LASIK surgery. No, this will only encourage you to further delay scheduling.
  2. Go to someone reputable
    • For example; the alumni from the office I went to included several high profile area athletes. One was a former NFL Philadelphia quarterback. When I shared this fun fact with my son, he was quick to remind me that the surgery clearly didn’t work for him since he was traded. Awesome.
  3. Don’t think
    • Nope. Just take your finger and dial the number, make the appointment and go. Literally do anything you can not to think about that moment.
  4. Take the nap
    • They tell you to go home and sleep it off. Me? I didn’t listen. I made sure my husband stopped for bagels and coffee because I wanted to reward my 4 year old self for having LASIK surgery. You know… priorities. And because I waited, my numbing drops began to ware off and I had the tearing and slight burning they warned me about. I quickly popped an Advil PM, put my fly guy googles on and slept it off. I woke to slightly swollen under eye bags due to the googles, but I in fact could see. Not 100%, but I’d say 85%, which was certainly a massive improvement.
  5. Have someone who can make you dinner or possibly have something on hand for ease
    • I ate and went to bed close to 8:30 because I just felt groggy. Instead of more Advil PM, I opted for some au- natural melatonin because I had a follow-up appointment at 7am, that apparently I would be ok to drive myself too. I slept fine. I mean googles aren’t the most comfortable, but could be way worse. At 6 am my alarm rang and I wanted no part of it. I just needed what felt like another 4 hours. No big deal. Snooze button. Ok fine. I’m up I’m up. I took off the googles and there stood two puffy eyes as if I went a few rounds with Rocky Balboa. I got my jade roller and went to town carefully massaging my face. With no relief, I reached for the next best thing- a hat and sunglasses. My vision at this point was good. I knew it would continue getting progressively better so I just needed to leverage the little patience I can manifest. They did a brief scan, made me read an eye chart and alas my vision was 20/15 and my flap (ew) didn’t move. Whew.
  6. Do it on a Friday so you have time to adjust and heal
    • I’ve heard of people going back to work the next day but why not give yourself some grace to heal slowly.
  7. Use the drops
    • For the first 2 days post-op you will follow a strict regimen of drops every couple hours. For your 3rd your follow-up appointment I was told I no longer had to take the antibiotic but I should continue to use the drops so my eyes don’t feel irritated. My eyes felt fine until about 8pm and at that point, it seemed no amount of drops helped. Be sure to take the drops throughout the day and at night, you should feel just fine.
  8. Buy blue-light glasses
    • If you are like me, I am looking at a screen often and that will not help your eyes heel and rest as much as they need too. Amazon has some fantastic pairs that look just as great as high end prescription glasses.
    • Bonus tip: If you love your existing frames, take them to your local eye care store and have them switch the lenses.
  9. DO IT
    • This is one of those moments in life where you wished you did it sooner. No more glasses, no more contacts, no more randomly fishing things from your eyes and getting who knows what kind of bacteria in there. You can wear whatever sunglasses you want, no more switching back and forth. Think of the freedom! And most of these offices have a handy tool to calculate your lifetime savings compared to the cost of the LASIK surgery. It’s not cheap but totally worth it.
  10. Embrace the no makeup phase
    • What an opportunity to rest and reset your skin. Take the time to develop a new routine with some new products. You be surprised what your skin can do in two weeks while going “clean.”

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any specific questions. I did the same before my LASIK surgery connecting with someone who had just gone through the exact same thing to get an idea of what their experience was like and how I might be able to prepare myself.

If you remember anything from this post…remember this…. you can do hard things.

Ps. If you have gone through LASIK as well and want to share some tips, please comment below!

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Multi-passionate creative, creator of 2, cocktails-well any time and fashion I cant afford. 

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