Catherine recalls why she decided to have LASIK eye surgery to correct her vision and the process leading up to surgery.
Hi, my name is Catherine and my whole life I have been very healthy with the exception of vision being an issue. I remember as a little girl noticing that my eyes had some difficulties seeing and so I started with glasses in first grade, and over the years that progressed. Every time I went in to see the eye doctor I noticed my eyes got worse and it meant a stronger prescription, which meant thicker glasses, which meant another two years of stronger prescription; thicker glasses.
Well, 20 or so years ago you heard about radial keratotomy and I thought, “Wow, this is going to be wonderful,” and I kind of had a ‘sit back and watch’ attitude to see what the results of that surgery were going to be like, and I investigated it around the country and the world and heard that there weren’t positive results in that respect.
So I waited a few years knowing the advancements in medicine because I am in medicine and had the fortune of sitting next to a neuro-ophthalmologist who was also a pediatrician on the airplane and so we had some time to talk about what the advances were in neurosurgery for pediatrics and I asked her a question. “You know, I have had these eyes my whole life, they have been bad and I really want to do one of the corrective surgeries. What would you recommend?”
So she asked me a few questions about astigmatism, nearsightedness, farsightedness, and after like an hour and half discussion with her, you know how the universe brings you things? The right place at the right time, and she dropped a name to me, and I followed up on it and that name was Dr. Wendy Wooten.
I asked her, “What would you do; have to operate on your eyes?” and when she told me that from a doctor I believed her, so I followed up when I got back to town. I asked a few friends of mine who were peers and colleagues about the surgery. I had heard that they had had some of it done and one friend of mine told me it was the best money he had ever spent in his life to go and have it done.
When I scuba dived in Hawaii I had to make sure that my contact lenses were in place so that in case your goggles get filled with water you close your eyes right away so you can see the sharks coming at you. And all through my life, even taking showers or driving or anything, I always had to be concerned about contact lenses. And then there were concerns about keeping them clean because of the diseases that can happen if you don’t change your contacts out on a regular basis. You can get corneal ulcers and abrasions.
So I was very careful my whole life, and for 30 years I probably wore contact lenses and after discovering the name Wendy Wooten, I had an appointment with her and found out I had to wear glasses for a year. So I brought them with me and I wanted to show you, I mean I was essentially legally blind. I don’t know if you can see that, but these are smaller glasses.
So after I wore glasses for a year, because you can’t wear contacts, they have to let your eyes adjust and you are being monitored. You are having regular eye exams and so forth before that and I was clearly explained to me what would happen, that I would be completely awake and I thought, “Wow, being awake while your eyes are being operated on.” Think about that for a second. Seeing somebody come at you with your eyes open and they are going to be working on your eyes.
What was really comforting was, I remember there were videos playing and you could watch other people having their eyes operated on, and it seemed painless and then you’d see them come out and they were fine. Knowing what my friend told me about it, being the best money he had ever spent in his life, I chose to have it done and couldn’t wait to have it done and went in for the surgery.
It took maybe all of ten minutes. I was just amazed. The prep, the valium, the relaxation, getting ready for it, took a year essentially. The surgery itself just felt like ten minutes.
I didn’t feel any pain. I was given a sleeping pill afterwards and some eye drops and I basically slept the day away and I knew immediately coming out of the surgery that my vision had been corrected, and it was amazing. I could see things that I had never seen before. My whole world was opened up.
If you go through life essentially legally blind and then having surgery like that, it was LASIK, and just having surgery that would completely change my life, in the shower, in water, under water, places that you never think, with a riding helmet on, that you never think about having to have to wear glasses or contacts and getting water in your eye and playing in the rain – all of those things that you kind of take for granted, it’s just, it’s a blessing and I am grateful that I was a recipient of the highest technology and of skilled hands and that I was blessed by a physician who knows her business.