|Dr. Jaben's Personal LASIK Experience
I was eight years old and in the third grade. I remember the feeling as if it were yesterday. I put on my new eyeglasses and felt like I was stepping into a deep hole. As an adolescent, I remember walking around blind because I refused to wear my glasses. I'm sure my friends thought I was a snob or anti-social because I did not acknowledge them, but the truth was, I just couldn't see them. I struggled with tennis, soccer, baseball and running because of my glasses. My contact lenses were also frustrating. As a freshman in college, I once wore my contact lenses too long at a party and ended up with painful corneal abrasions. And I can't tell you how many times I fell asleep wearing my contact lenses only to wake up with dry, hurting eyes and blurred vision.
My professional career as a surgeon has allowed me to experience the miracle of laser vision correction with hundreds and hundreds of my own patients. I have had the distinct privilege of providing this treatment to my friends, colleagues, employees and even other eye doctors. I marvel at the miracle of laser vision correction each and every time I experience it. Therefore, deciding to have laser vision correction myself was easy. I am totally confident about the procedure, the technology, the dependability and the long-term results. That doesn't mean I wasn't nervous. I tell my patients that every person who walks into the laser center for surgery is nervous. We all say it and show it in different ways. It's completely natural to feel that way. My nervousness was displaced by my confidence in my surgeon and in his ability to offer me the best technology available, giving me the best possible chance for excellent results. I was also quite excited about having my chance at the miracle. The miracle for me was one small desire. I wanted to be able to wake up in the morning and see the clock without reaching for my glasses.
The procedure was not only easy, it was easier than easy. I never felt a thing - nothing. The experience was pleasant, efficient and precise. Twenty minutes after my surgery, my vision was a little blurry, but definitely already better. I walked myself back to my hotel room, and within twenty minutes I was asleep. I was awakened only twice in the next six hours by my family and my surgeon calling to check on me. Each time I awoke, I was amazed at how much better my vision was becoming. My eyes felt like I had an eyelash under my lid. The most soothing remedy for this was to simply close my eyelids for short periods of time and apply my artificial tears eye drops.
On the morning after my laser vision correction surgery, not only could I see the clock next to my bed, but I could also see the TV across the room and the buildings off in the distance from my hotel. It was simply amazing! For the first time in 40 years, I was seeing signs on buildings blocks away. Even more precious to me was being able to see my family without the aid of glasses or contact lenses. When I went to my follow-up appointment the next day, I was told that my distance vision was 20-20. I was thrilled! The remainder of my trip was spent sightseeing. I sat alongside Lake Ontario and took in the views of sailboats, birds, planes and people - without my contact lenses. It was incredible. My daughter and I visited the CN Tower, the highest freestanding structure in the world. From 1100 feet, I could see everything in Toronto and beyond. On day three, I had my first driving, working, and computer experience and all went well. I still need my glasses for near vision, but I expected that.
I returned to a full day of work just a few days after my procedure. And after performing a full schedule of surgeries, it began to sink in that I was no longer dependent on my glasses and contact lenses.
I had my miracle!
Dr. Scott Jaben is a board certified ophthalmologist at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose and Throat Associates, PA.