March 2000

Laser eye correction...

    Well, as many of you are aware, there hasn't been any updates to the site for a while, and there's a reason - I've been gone for a couple weeks, and while I was away, I went and got Laser In Situ Keratomileusis (or Lasik) surgery. Why would I do this? Am I insane? What if something went wrong?? Here are my thoughts and experiences on the subject...
    About two months ago the CEO of the company I'm contracting for right now just got Lasik surgery done, and it sparked my interest - I've been wearing contact lens for about the last 14 or so years, so the idea of never having to wear them again as appealing to say the least. As it happens, in a meeting a few weeks later I had with an IP lawyer involved in the project, he had just gotten the procedure done up in Canada and was very pleased with the results - walk in with glasses, walk out without. The other guy there mentioned a friend of his who had very bad eyesight, and went travelled around to the best eye places in the country asking question like "What kind of laser to you use?", "What version of the software?", "How many procedures has the doctor performed?", and "What kind of uninterrupted power supply?", etc; at the end he decided that the center at Stanford University was the best. Of course, there was the option of doing it someplace locally as well; so it was either Canada, Stanford, or local.
    Here's are my thoughts on the matter; Canada was a very appealing option, they use a tracking laser which hasn't been approved for use in the US yet, plus they charge about $500 an eye - the absolute cheapest around, but in now way does this mean it was some sort of Lasik hack shop. Local seemed to be a good middle of the road option, cost is about $1500 an eye, but there wouldn't be the cost of traveling, hotels, etc - but the local places weren't exceptional, good none the less, but not exceptional. The highest cost option was Stanford, at about $2500 an eye, but they also are without a doubt the best around, plus on the remote chance that anything goes wrong, you're also right by Stanford Medical, one of the best hospitals around. Now, these are your eyes we're talking about, and as such I really am not interested in the best deal, I want the best job - period. It's not like I want to take *ANY* chances with my eyes, so I opted for Stanford.
     Stanford Eye Laser Center is in the Stanford Medial Center, on top of that Dr. Manche (the doctor who performed my operation) can do just about anything you can possibly imagine, from RK to Intraocular Contact Lens, and has been performing Lasik operations since the very beginning. Oh, and he was also recognized in 1998 as one of the top performing Lasik specialist in the US; now that's who I want to be working on my eyes! I scheduled to go in and get checked to see if I qualified, and to get my eyes measured on Friday, with the actually surgery getting performed early Tuesday morning.
    So I arrived on Friday, went through all the checks, and was verified as a good candidate who could probably get to 20/20 - I was excited! The weekend rolls around like lightning, and the next thing I know it's Tuesday and I'm sitting in the waiting room; to be perfectly honest with you, I'm pretty scared at this point, but at the same time I'm really excited, since this is about the closest thing to a 'dream come true' as I've ever come close to. I meet with Dr. Manche, he goes through some of the final checks and I'm in the chair, staring up into the laser assembly perhaps for the last time? The whole procedure takes about 5 minutes per eye, and is without a doubt the most painless procedure I've ever been involved in that included a doctor; one minute they're prepping you, the next minute it's done! After everything is completed, you are supposed to keep your eyes relaxed for as much of the day as possible; try to avoid things like driving, watching TV, reading, etc, so I opted for laying on the floor at my friends house. I worked hard to keep my eyes closed for pretty much the whole day, but towards the end I just couldn't do it - it was just too much like having to sit and stare at all the Christmas presents under the tree, yet not be able to open them... Just a little peek won't hurt, will it? So I cracked my eyes a bit, and peered through the plastic eye patches that I had to wear for the first 24 hours (and then while sleeping for the next week)... The difference was amazing! Even with these crazy plastic blinders, I could see better now than I could before without contacts - AWESOME! The next morning I went back for the checkup, the results: left eye 20/20, right eye 25/20, no more astigmatism, no more fuzzy! The variance in my right eye is to be expected, since your eyes have to adjust to the operation for the next 30 days, at which point they're pretty much good to go again, and I should be dialed in at 20/20; words cannot describe how great this is!
    So what's the bottom line on this? The only regret I have about this is that I didn't do it sooner, I normally spend money on all kinds of things that when added together cost far more than the whole procedure did, and their net value to me is not even a fraction of the satisfaction I've already received from my new eyes. My advice on getting the procedure done would be to go to the best possible person you can, and I recommend checking out Stanford Eye Laser Center without hesitation, I think they did a phenomenal job, and I think Dr. Manche is an awesome physician... Of course, I could be a little biased since I have 20/20 vision now and it's all thanks to him... :)