After wearing glasses for six years I decided to pay for LASIK eye surgery. Yeah I know, it sounds terrifying. I felt the same way! I mean someone is cutting into your eye with a laser! So much could go wrong.
Or at least those were my fears!
But as someone who works at a computer for a living, my eyes have taken a beating in the past few years. They’ve slowly been getting worse and I wanted to stop the damage from continuing.
I’m a big believer in investing in myself as a business owner and part of that means prioritizing time for self-care. What is more important than having healthy eyesight?
Plus, I was just tired of wearing glasses. For reals!
For most of my life I never had to wear prescription glasses up until I started working at the computer for 8-10 hours a day.
So in one way I’m blessed that I didn’t have bad eyes from when I was a young kid, but I also wasn’t used to wearing glasses. At times they were downright annoying.
Also, I hated having to buy prescription sunglasses instead of the cheapo ones you can get at a gas station.
Anyways, after my personal experience with getting LASIK many members of the community said they were thinking about the same thing and wanted to know more details!
On the business side of things, this surgery did affect my work as a business owner. It was not fun! So, here are the dirty details about the cost for LASIK eye surgery and whether it was worth it or not.
Choosing between LASIK and PRK
After having the initial consultation it was confirmed that I was indeed a candidate for LASIK (yay!). So I had two options. Traditional LASIK is where they cut a small incision and pull back a layer of your eye and perform the surgery.
Not only is this the cheaper option, but it makes recovering much faster since this “flap” never fully heals. You can basically get back to work within 3-4 days (as you recover over the weekend).
The downside is that since this flap never heals back over you could be susceptible to infections if you’re super active. Getting in a car accident could mean bumping your eyes and having a lot of complications.
The second choice is PRK where they essentially buff down the layers of your cornea and let the lasers do their work.
Since there’s no incision in your eye you have to REGROW the layers of the cornea which takes much longer to heal. This is also $400 more expensive than the traditional LASIK option.
The healing process takes much longer (duh!) due to regrowing layers of your eyeball. The good news is that you won’t have the complications of an open incision in your eye or worrying about infections if you get bumped or are super active.
After weighing the pros and cons, I opted for PRK. Mostly because I snowboard during the winter and am a clumsy person by nature, so I just didn’t want to deal with the possibility of infection, etc.
With PRK I don’t even have a scar or any evidence showing that my eyes were lasered other than my medical records. Ha! Technology is pretty cool.
The cost for LASIK eye surgery
So you probably want to know the exact cost of my LASIK eye surgery — am I right? As someone who’s very transparent about my business income and expenses, I’m happy to share these costs too.
- $250 upfront payment
- $3,276 (20% savings with vision discount card)
- $501.71 Prescription eye drops
Total cost for LASIK eye surgery = $4,027.71
Initially when I started saving money for LASIK I thought it would cost about $3,000 in total but it was quite a bit more. I forgot to include the cost of the prescription eye drops and that PRK is $400 more than regular LASIK.
I spent about 8 months saving up the money (I talked about this goal on the Honest Money podcast). Then I scheduled the surgery at the beginning of January of 2017!
That’s when the real fun began.
Recovery time for the PRK procedure
I didn’t expect my eye surgery recovery time to be so long. When I initially had my consultation the doctor mentioned that many candidates get the surgery done on a Thursday and are back to work on Monday morning.
But NOPE, that was not my story.
In an effort to “plan ahead” I took a full 10 days off from freelance and blogging work to make sure I had plenty of time to recover. But surprise, surprise, I still couldn’t even see the computer screen clearly at that time and it my eyes would get tired after only 2 or so hours.
BOOM. So much for my plans for being prepared.
For the first 72 hours I basically slept non-stop. When I was awake I had to keep my eyes closed at all times.
Then I was required to input prescription drops every 5 minutes (that’s not an exaggeration, it was literally every 5 minutes), in order to keep my eyes moisturized. This allows them to heal at a much faster rate.
Since I chose PRK eye surgery I had to wear a durable contact over my eyes for the first 5 days while my eyes regrew my eyeball layers. That was a bit uncomfortable.
It took 9 days to be able to see much of anything in front of my face. Obviously this was a much longer recovery time than I expected.
All in all, it took 3 weeks to fully recover enough to be able to drive again and two months to stop having any sort of blur in my vision.
Don’t I look sexy just moments after having my eyes lasered off?
Was it worth the cost?
After all that, would I say that getting PRK was worth it? Short answer: yes! Even with the cost of surgery and the added recovery time, I am VERY happy with my results now. It’s been 4 full months since I had the surgery and my vision is amaaaaaaaazing.
I can see super crisp and clear for miles! (And I live at the foothills of the mountains so testing my vision has been legit.) In fact, my eye doctor says I have 20/15 vision now which is slightly better than 20/20.
Essentially I have better vision than before, when I didn’t have to wear glasses!
If you’ve been thinking of getting LASIK eye surgery (or PRK) I highly recommend looking into it. At least schedule a consultation and see if it’s an option. Then you can get a true estimate of the cost of the eye procedure and take it from there.
It’s been a wonderful investment into my future and myself as a business owner. The only thing I would do differently is take a full month off work before scheduling my surgery.