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LASIK eye surgery questions

SpacemilkSpacemilk Registered User regular
edited July 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey all, I'm thinking about getting corrective eye surgery done. I understand the risks and the potential for wildly varying post-op experiences, and if I go through with this I will make sure I (a) have a good doctor and (b) pick a place with great pre- and post-op coverage and care.

A few questions:
1) Has anyone had it done in Houston and wants to recommend a doctor to go to? :winky:
2) My insurance doesn't cover corrective eye surgery. How much should I budget for this? I plan to take full advantage of my pre-tax spending plan, too. Are there any places/banks/institutions that offer reasonable financing plans?
3) I am a decently active person, though I don't intend to be a fighter pilot or anything like that. However I do enjoy recreational sports like football, mountain biking, etc. I understand that the PRK eye surgery is perhaps a better choice - is this true? Or should I not worry about it? If possible I'd like to avoid the extra pain and expense that PRK brings. D:
4) I understand that you can't wear contacts before the surgery. How long is this period of time? (I might need to get new glasses!) Is there anything else that I'd need to know about in advance? When my mom had it done, she said you couldn't wear eye makeup or anything for several weeks before and after - true/false?
5) Will I need a budget a lot of time off work? It seems like most people recover in a day or two, and I understand that I'll need a "caretaker" at least at first - but my work is not very flexible about giving time off at the last minute, so I want to make sure I ask for enough to cover me if I need extra recovery time.

Thanks in advance for your help, H/A!

Spacemilk on

Posts

  • sidhaethesidhaethe Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Spacemilk wrote: »
    Hey all, I'm thinking about getting corrective eye surgery done. I understand the risks and the potential for wildly varying post-op experiences, and if I go through with this I will make sure I (a) have a good doctor and (b) pick a place with great pre- and post-op coverage and care.

    A few questions:
    1) Has anyone had it done in Houston and wants to recommend a doctor to go to? :winky:
    2) My insurance doesn't cover corrective eye surgery. How much should I budget for this? I plan to take full advantage of my pre-tax spending plan, too. Are there any places/banks/institutions that offer reasonable financing plans?
    3) I am a decently active person, though I don't intend to be a fighter pilot or anything like that. However I do enjoy recreational sports like football, mountain biking, etc. I understand that the PRK eye surgery is perhaps a better choice - is this true? Or should I not worry about it? If possible I'd like to avoid the extra pain and expense that PRK brings. D:
    4) I understand that you can't wear contacts before the surgery. How long is this period of time? (I might need to get new glasses!) Is there anything else that I'd need to know about in advance? When my mom had it done, she said you couldn't wear eye makeup or anything for several weeks before and after - true/false?
    5) Will I need a budget a lot of time off work? It seems like most people recover in a day or two, and I understand that I'll need a "caretaker" at least at first - but my work is not very flexible about giving time off at the last minute, so I want to make sure I ask for enough to cover me if I need extra recovery time.

    Thanks in advance for your help, H/A!

    I had LASIK done 4 years ago, but I can only answer a couple of those:

    2) I can't speak for financing - I know my eye care place (The Laser Center, not sure if they're national) offered me a financing plan but my parents gifted me the full price. The total will probably depend on how severe your prescription is (mine was -10 diopters and the LASIK ran me $5200; a co-worker with a significantly lower prescription had it done for around $3k).

    3) I don't recall the duration they gave me for avoiding strenuous activity and sports, but after some time (I think it was my second post-op followup) I was told that since the eye had healed, there was about as little danger of knocking the corneal flap off as there would be if I hadn't had the surgery.

    5) You shouldn't need anything more than the afternoon/day you're getting the procedure done and the morning after for a follow-up. I had mine done on a Thursday afternoon, had someone drive me to the place and home again (where I was instructed to take the Xanax they provided and go to sleep); woke up the next morning, drove myself to the center for a quick follow-up, and then drove myself to work and worked the whole day just fine.

    sidhaethe on
  • witch_iewitch_ie Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    A friend of mine recently had LASIK in California and I've had other friends have it too. How much you pay will depend on your doctor. It can vary from $2000 to $5000. From what I understand, there may not be much of a difference in the quality of care you receive within that price range, it's more that everyone reacts to the surgery differently.

    Most surgeons should be willing to provide a free consult to determine if you're even eligible for the surgery and will be able to answer most of your questions about their technique at the consult. My friend who recently had it took only the one day off work, having his surgery in the morning. Afterwards, he said two days would have been better as it was still somewhat difficult to stare at his computer screen the second day. I was his caretaker and it pretty much consisted of driving him home, checking in while he napped to make sure nothing was wrong. and making sure he put in eye drops at the appropriate times in case he lost track of time.

    witch_ie on
  • GungHoGungHo Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Spacemilk wrote: »
    1) Has anyone had it done in Houston and wants to recommend a doctor to go to? :winky:
    A lot of folks here at work have had luck at Berkeley. They're franchised like Kelsey-Seybold, so they have several offices around. They're expensive, but... it's your damn eyes.

    I know a couple who went to Mann. One was fine, the other had to go for several visits and still has issues with their eyes.

    From everything I have heard... go with a Berkeley-affiliated doctor.
    Spacemilk wrote: »
    2) My insurance doesn't cover corrective eye surgery. How much should I budget for this? I plan to take full advantage of my pre-tax spending plan, too. Are there any places/banks/institutions that offer reasonable financing plans?
    It depends on how bad your eyes are, but it's about $5k per eye. I do not suggest you have budget eye surgery.
    Spacemilk wrote: »
    3) I am a decently active person, though I don't intend to be a fighter pilot or anything like that. However I do enjoy recreational sports like football, mountain biking, etc. I understand that the PRK eye surgery is perhaps a better choice - is this true? Or should I not worry about it? If possible I'd like to avoid the extra pain and expense that PRK brings. D:
    It really depends on how your eyes are. If you have an astigmatism, PRK's probably better.
    Spacemilk wrote: »
    4) I understand that you can't wear contacts before the surgery. How long is this period of time? (I might need to get new glasses!) Is there anything else that I'd need to know about in advance? When my mom had it done, she said you couldn't wear eye makeup or anything for several weeks before and after - true/false?
    Prep time is a week to two weeks. For PRK, you might have to stay away from eye makeup because it heals slowly and they adjust over time, as opposed to LASIK which is usually one and done. They may ask you to also wear glasses-only for a few days before your checkup.
    Spacemilk wrote: »
    5) Will I need a budget a lot of time off work? It seems like most people recover in a day or two, and I understand that I'll need a "caretaker" at least at first - but my work is not very flexible about giving time off at the last minute, so I want to make sure I ask for enough to cover me if I need extra recovery time.
    Most people seem to be able to do it over a long weekend around here. Because this is a "working city", a lot of places do appointments on Friday mornings with follow ups on Mondays to accomodate. Just ask for Friday off and let them know you may need Monday and you should be good. You're far from the first person that's ever asked for time to get their eyes done.

    GungHo on
  • SpacemilkSpacemilk Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    GungHo wrote: »
    It depends on how bad your eyes are, but it's about $5k per eye. I do not suggest you have budget eye surgery.
    Whaaaat?! D: Oh my that is a lot pricier than I thought - I thought it was closer to $5k total?! Is this just a Houston thing?

    *heart attack*

    edit: no astigmatism, my eyes are -5.00 in one eye and -4.50 in the other eye. Thanks for the help so far!

    Spacemilk on
  • SloSlo Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    5k per eye is incredibly pricey. I can't speak for houston but in vancouver the average is 2-3k for both eyes, with no complications.

    Slo on
  • SpacemilkSpacemilk Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I actually just called Berkeley and I've set up an appointment for August 10, hooray! They did say it runs at most about $5k total, GungHo, you gave me a heart attack. :P

    One thing they did mention: They do NOT do a lifetime guarantee. They do a 2 year guarantee for any fixes, and they said that most problems are generally encountered in less than 2 years so lifetime is unnecessary. (my response would then be: Why not just offer it if it doesn't cost you anything?) They also have 6 mos. post-op care. This made me a little leery, as I found another place in Houston that DOES offer a lifetime guarantee: this place.

    So, new question: How important is it that I have a lifetime guarantee? If it's SUPER IMPORTANT I should probably cancel this appointment and go to this other place. But if Berkeley truly is the best then I would rather have them and just deal with the 2 year guarantee... thoughts?

    Spacemilk on
  • XenoXeno Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Great topic, thinking of the same thing.

    The actual procedure doesnt worry me, its the after effects.

    Xeno on
  • GungHoGungHo Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Sorry! I mis-remembered.

    GungHo on
  • EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Spacemilk wrote: »
    I actually just called Berkeley and I've set up an appointment for August 10, hooray! They did say it runs at most about $5k total, GungHo, you gave me a heart attack. :P

    One thing they did mention: They do NOT do a lifetime guarantee. They do a 2 year guarantee for any fixes, and they said that most problems are generally encountered in less than 2 years so lifetime is unnecessary. (my response would then be: Why not just offer it if it doesn't cost you anything?) They also have 6 mos. post-op care. This made me a little leery, as I found another place in Houston that DOES offer a lifetime guarantee: this place.

    So, new question: How important is it that I have a lifetime guarantee? If it's SUPER IMPORTANT I should probably cancel this appointment and go to this other place. But if Berkeley truly is the best then I would rather have them and just deal with the 2 year guarantee... thoughts?

    It is not important. My wife had her lasik surgery done here by the guy who all the other eye surgeons send their complicated patients to (or those experiencing complications!). She asked about the lifetime stuff, and he said that the thing about LASIK is that while you can get perfect or near-perfect vision with it, as you age your vision will naturally deteriorate. He said that once you have lasik, going in again generally doesn't improve your vision significantly after the first two years (since your eyes are just naturally aging at that point) but it IS likely to result in increased pain or dryness. He said that he generally tells patients that if they need reading glasses when they're 70 it's not a big deal, and that most people that age aren't good candidates for the surgery anyway (especially if they've had it already).

    My mom had lasik done and about 6 months later had to go in for a touch-up, but her eyes have stayed the same since then. In her case, she went in for the touch-up because she didn't have her contacts out for long enough (which I blame the company for not giving her enough prep-time before doing the surgery).

    My wife and I asked around all of our friends and the only ones who said anything about having to go in twice were the ones who went to the "sketchy" places (the really cheap ones that seem to take anyone).

    EggyToast on
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  • CangoFettCangoFett Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Spacemilk wrote: »
    GungHo wrote: »
    It depends on how bad your eyes are, but it's about $5k per eye. I do not suggest you have budget eye surgery.
    Whaaaat?! D: Oh my that is a lot pricier than I thought - I thought it was closer to $5k total?! Is this just a Houston thing?

    *heart attack*

    edit: no astigmatism, my eyes are -5.00 in one eye and -4.50 in the other eye. Thanks for the help so far!

    Im about to go in for PRK. Im going to a place in Va Beach that has been doing this for over 10 years. its 3500 to do both eyes. Of course that is all the office does. No optometry/glasses sales.


    Just review the place, google it, etc first. But affordable doesnt mean bad. It probably just means that they have this down to, yknow, a science.

    CangoFett on
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