I have been wearing glasses or contacts since I was 11 years old. A few weeks ago, my glasses broke. I needed to navigate the streets of Saigon to track down some not-cheap glasses, but I had recently talked with a friend here who had done LASIK with a local eye doctor at the French-Vietnamese Hospital in District 7 for a fraction of the price it is in the States. I was curious because, let's face it, wearing glasses kind of stinks. And wearing contacts here is extra difficult because of the pollution and going back and forth from humidity to air-conditioning all day long.
I had an appointment last weekend and was given the go ahead for the procedure. Derek and I decided it would be worth it to do it now so that I can enjoy see clearly for more years before my eyesight starts to go due to age. And we figured, if I can even go five years without buying glasses or contacts, the surgery more than pays for itself.
So I had LASIK in Vietnam.
The procedure itself went exactly as I had read about in a number of other blogs. It was creepy to have all the different instruments being shoved into your eye socket, and I was nervous because you "can NOT look away from the green light." You know, it was kind of terrifying. Look away (which is your natural instinct), and you will mess everything up and have to do it again. I was told the smell would be the worst part, but I thought the metal, circular devise being pushed onto my eyeball was far worse than a faint smell of burning flesh.
Afterward, I wasn't necessarily in "pain," but I was incredibly uncomfortable. My eye balls were sore and I didn't want to open them. In retrospect, I should have had someone to ride home in the cab with me. When I made it home, after a 30 minute, excruciatingly bright cab ride, I went to bed for the rest of the day. By the time Derek got home from work, the immediate discomfort had gone, but I was still hesitant to open my eyes.
The tricky part of LASIK is the healing process. You CANNOT touch your eyes because you might dislodge the eye-flap from the incision. You also need to be very careful while showering. No swimming. No high impact sports. Basically, you need to be extra delicate with your eyes for about three weeks.
Now, 48 hours or so later, there is no pain, but it still feels like my contacts are dry. (There are no contacts, of course, but that's the closest feeling I can think of.) At my 1 Day appointment yesterday, I tested 20/20 in my right eye, and two lines better than 20/20 in my left eye. These results are likely to fluctuate over the next couple months as my eyes adjust, but the doctor was very pleased.
I'm so happy I did it. I'm still stunned that I can actually SEE without glasses or contacts. We live in a beautiful world, and now I won't miss a thing!
(Derek is planning to have it done in July when we return from the States...)
(17 April 2014)
It has been about two months since the procedure, and my vision has stabilized quite a bit. My eyes still get dry sometimes in the evenings, or if I've gone in and out of the air-conditioning too much. But, overall, they feel completely back to normal. The only difference is that now I can see!
I am immensely happy I had LASIK. I'm still fighting with the habit of removing my contacts before bed, but that desire has dissipated as the dryness has started to subside. I highly recommend the procedure. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me!