I started wearing glasses in the second grade from extreme near-sightedness. I hated them. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I convinced my mom to let me get contact lenses. But if I wanted them, I had to pay for them myself. Since I had a bad astigmatism and needed special weighted hard contacts, those babies weren’t cheap! They were also extremely uncomfortable, but I didn’t care as long as I didn’t have to wear my coke-bottle glasses.
When I started my “hobby” of affiliate marketing in the late 90’s, I starting saving the extra “fun money” I was earning. My first purchase was a new dishwasher (we had never owned one), and my second purchase was LASIK eye surgery! My eyes were so bad that they said they probably couldn’t get me to 20/20, but I was okay with that as anything had to be better than what I had. Amazingly, I was 20/20 after surgery and all was well in the world. No more squinting to see the alarm clock!
Unfortunately LASIK results don’t last forever, and every year my eyes were slowly losing their ability to see distance. In 2008, I opted for a LASIK enhancement where the doctor convinced me to only enhance one eye for mono-vision. I couldn’t adjust to the mono-vision, so a few months later, I had the other eye enhanced. That third procedure left my eye scratched, and after that pain, I swore I’d never have another eye surgery. But just like childbirth, you forget the pain…
Enhancement LASIK results don’t last forever either, and again every year my eyes were getting worse. Thus all my posts about different glasses for distance every year. And then I heard about Crystalens Accommodating Intraocular Lens implants that do last forever, so I did my research and visited my eye doctor, Dr. Steve Miller, who has been extremely patient with me, to see if it was an option.
I was referred to Dr. Vance Thompson to do the eye surgery, and since I showed signs of early stages of cataracts, they said insurance should help pay for some of the surgery. Well, considering I had a high-deductible health insurance, and a lot of the extra costs weren’t covered, I basically had to come up with $20,000 before surgery. I cleaned out my HSA account, and used CareCredit for the balance as I wanted clear vision!
They perform each eye surgery on separate days. They did my left eye first. I couldn’t see a thing after surgery from that eye, mainly just floaters. I kept being told to be patient and that those floaters were there before surgery, and I couldn’t see them before because of my cataract. I wasn’t buying that and was flustered.
Two weeks later, I had the right eye done and could see immediately from that eye (not perfect, but could see). So I was still complaining of not being able to see out of my left eye. Turns out I was being patient (hard to believe, I know). Vance told me the doctor that ordered the lens for my left eye, Dr. Doug Wallin, ordered the wrong lens to be implanted, so my options were to have another surgery to replace that lens with the correct lens or simply have an enhancement to correct the vision. Dr. Thompson recommended the latter option as it was less invasive (my family doctor says it’s because that was less expensive for their mistake). When I asked Dr. Wallin about the wrong lens, he said it was the correct lens, and that Dr. Thompson put it in the wrong position. I will probably never know which doctor was right, and which doctor was wrong.
I had a YAG laser on my eyes a month later, and eventually another another LASIK enhancement procedure on my left eye. Could I see better afterwards? Not much. And my eye hurt. It was full of inflammation, and I did several rounds of steroids. And eye drops aren’t cheap either.
I also had epithelial ingrowth which led me to need yet another procedure which was basically like another LASIK minus the actual laser as I still had to have my “flap” reopened and cleaned. It took a long time to heal, and I was getting nervous as my year of “free enhancements” was almost up. Luckily, Dr. Wallin said they would extend that to two years.
Mind you, I have also went through at least a dozen different strengths of eyeglasses during this year long journey. I could get by with cheap “readers” for close-up, but needed prescription glasses for distance. Having being near-sighted my whole life, losing that ability has been the worst for me. I’ve upgraded to the iPhone Plus (which didn’t help) and now use a magnifying mirror to put on makeup.
I went back to the Vance Thompson Vision Center in December ready for my hopefully-last enhancement. Since my left eye could probably not handle another LASIK procedure, I was fully prepared to have PRK surgery. Dr. Wallin wrote up all the orders, and then Dr. Thompson told me he advised against it. Why? He said I see better than a lot of people so should be happy with the results I have. Basically he implied that I’m too high-maintenance and will never be happy with my eyesight even after PRK.
So he considers my case a success because my vision is clinically better than it was before. I don’t consider it a success because I only needed one pair of glasses for distance before, and I now need two pairs of glasses, one for distance and one for close up. I would rather only need one (I’ve even tried bifocals, that’s another story).
I should’ve listened to my old self when I said “never again” as I totally regret ever having these Crystalens Implants put in. The pain, the frustration, the end result, and especially all of the money invested was definitely not worth it for me.
I wish Dr. Vance Thompson offered a money-back guarantee!