LASIK in the a.m., Movie by p.m.

In preparation for my LASIK that took place last Friday, earlier that week I started tossing out my contact solution, contacts, and cases in the trash.  It was almost like I was moving on after a breakup, which if you think about it, I was.  It was just like one of those prolonged relationships where you fear so much of the future so you’d rather just suffer in the now and tolerate it, and you think you can’t live without them but you realize there is a better solution or fit out there that will make your life easier.  Wait, what were we talking about, exes or contacts?  LASIK, right.

I started wearing contacts at 15, my sophomore year in high school when I realized I couldn’t see the whiteboard very well from my seat.  Growing up I was warned by my parents that I’d have to probably wear glasses since my dad did – but I thought that was just to get me from sitting so close to the TV.  And when that day came, I physically and mentally made myself prepared to shove a contact straight onto my eyeball despite how some at my age couldn’t do it.  Cause you know, in high school wearing glasses isn’t really that cool – at least, not in my world.  I finally got glasses before I left to college since my dad made me in fear that I’d still need a backup should something go wrong in college.  I started off with a -1.25 vision which then gradually increased to -5.0.

I could only see maybe 12 inches clearly away from my face and anything past that was blurry, but it’s not like I’d walk into walls, I just couldn’t see facial expressions.  For the 20/20 vision photographers out there, I can explain in lens terms – focus on a subject 12 inches away from you at maybe F2.8, no more than f4.

I waited so long, 15 years later to finally get LASIK cause I’m cheap, and sorta lazy, and apparently complaining was easier.  Remember, Mr. Wonderful urged me to do it and it was because of him I got this even though deep down I have always wanted it.  And for the many of you who have expressed fear I’m going to explain a few things to you so you can make the right decision for yourself.  I also should remind you that if you touch your eyeball all the time, it’s not a big deal.  And, if you hate the whole blowing puff of air on your eyeball during yearly check ups like I did (and like Rachel on Friends – best video ever if you haven’t see it!), but you still do it, you can do LASIK and there is no puff of air and you never have to do it again!  Also, I am pretty certain there’s no death rate associated with LASIK, so you’re in the clear.

Due to the response of curiosity, I figured I’d do a LASIK walk-thru and educate you on what happens and my experience.

  • Depending on where you go and their rules, you take out your contacts 72 hours prior to surgery and you can’t wear make up for a week post.  If eye makeup is in brand new packaging, you can wear it 48 hours after.
  • You will need a driver, it will only take 1 hour of them waiting.
  • LASIK packages typically include all post follow up appointments.
  • You do need to buy a few eye drops for prep and post, the cost will be less than $70.
  • You get Valium pill to make you chill out before the procedure.  I’m still not sure what it does cause I’m pretty chill to begin with.
  • The actual procedure itself back there takes about 5 minutes.
  • You don’t need to change into any hospital scrubs or weirdness like that, you show up in your clothes (minus makeup, hair gels, hairspray, etc.) and you even keep your shoes on! You are just laying on a comfy chair/table that leans you back.
  • You feel pressure on your eye (it keeps it open) which is just suction so you can’t move your eyeball while a laser is creating the flap on the eye (you don’t feel it since they put numbing eye drops on you). After both are done which is like 15 seconds or so,…
  • They slide you under a different laser with all these colors.  You feel like you’re in space and Aliens are examining you – and I even told the doctor this cause I’m miss chatty Patty.  Your eyes are kept open (a tool does that), and your flap that was previously created is pulled back which makes everything blurry, but then you stare at a green light as other lights go around and for 30-45 seconds.  Repeat on the other eye and you’re done.
  • You will have a post follow-up the next day, and most LASIK procedures are scheduled on Fridays so you have all weekend to recover.

Again, it’s absolutely painless.  There is nothing to be afraid about.

The doc talks you through everything and as soon as I sat up, I could see so much clearer, not 100% yet, perhaps 20/30 at first and a little cloudy like you have Vaseline on your eyes.  Over the next few days it became better and clearer.  You are asked to sleep and nap in these ridiculously sexy eye goggles and that’s just to prevent rubbing your eyes and possibly shifting that top eye flap.

Afterward I was also so tired and I could barely keep my eyes open from the sun (so bring sunglasses or the place will give some disposables for you), and I slept for hours after from the Valium and my eyes were tired and a little sore but after a few hours, totally fine.  In fact, Mr. Wonderful and I saw Snow White and the Huntsman movie that night.  Thank goodness because that will hold me over until the fifth installment of the Twilight series this fall.  Anyway…

Thank you to my friend Michelle, another photographer, who told me to check out Barnet Dulaney Perkins.  They were down the street from my house in Phoenix which was awesome and they have the procedure room right there.  Dr. Perkins was the one who conducted the LASIK on me.  I’d say shop around for good pricing. I had two quotes but BDP had a special that put them $1,000 under the other competitor and so that choice was made for me.  If you’re wondering about costs I believe normal is $3 to $4k total for both eyes.  Insurance doesn’t cover it, so it’s straight up cash.  And again, no tax write off even though I’d love to explain to the government that I need my peepers to see clear in order to take a clear photograph, but whatever.  I guess that’s what auto focus is for.

If you have any questions, leave a comment.  For some they don’t mind contacts or glasses but I believe that if it bothers you enough and there is corrective help out there that you can afford, why wouldn’t you do it?  It’s a life changer for sure.  I feel like Jesus touched my eyeballs and healed me of my blindness, ha. No more stumbling to the bathroom in the dark while being half blind.  I now tell Mr. Wonderful that I have “better eyes to see you with, my dear.”  I know, creepy.  I didn’t say LASIK would make me normal.

Diana Elizabeth says it’s time to turn those Burberry glasses into fashion glasses, but realistically, she’s not sure she even wants to go for the glasses look unless it’s for an audition part!

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive antique shopper. You can typically find her in her garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party.


  • Carmen

    Hi Diana,

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful story! I have a brother who got his done this past February, but his recovery was very painful! Ouch! He had horrible headaches and the eye pain was unbearable he wanted to die. But that was due to his eye flaps being thinner than most people, so they had to go in more deeply. I don’t know how that really works, but that’s how my sister explained it to me who also did lasik a month ago. Her experience and recovery was a breeze, just like yours!!!
    I wear glasses ALL the time! I’ve never been able to get used to contacts- not because I’m scared to mess with my eyeballs, but because I always experience some kind of discomfort wearing them. My last contacts which were acuvue “oasis” made my eyes so dry after wearing them longer than 4 hours that they pop out of my eyes even after soaking them with drops!!
    When I’m behind the camera my glasses get greasy almost all the time! And that is sooo annoying!! Hopefully one day I’ll be able to have the courage to do what you and my younger siblings did!! And of course, when I have the $$$ to splurge too lol!!

    • Diana Elizabeth

      carmen, ouch ;( don’t let that scare you. it’s probably 1 in a million chance. it’s pure freedom and it’s worth being brave (or drugged up) for 5 minutes. ;) xx

  • Jessica

    Thank you so much for sharing the details. When you had your consultation did you have to stop wearing your contacts 5 days prior? I have a consult next month and it is killing me to have to wear glasses for 5 days in the summer. At least it is a reprieve from the gym! :)

    • Diana Elizabeth

      hi jessica!

      yes!! the consult i had to stop wearing for 5 days prior. sucked but it was a thorough exam and what was great, is you don’t have to go back again once you agree to go with them. ;) i am loving not wearing makeup lately, nice excuse for me. haha.

      another place i knew didn’t require it (the place i didn’t go with) but their LASIK procedure would have required no contacts for 1 week prior to exam instead of the 72 hours, and post LASIK no makeup for 2 weeks!!! where for where i went, no makeup for a week after, or you can 48 hours after if it’s all new eye makeup.

      good luck!!!!

  • Renee

    Ah! Thank you for writing this. I’ve been dying to know how it went! I don’t know if I’m ready to take the jump yet or not. I can’t even get myself to wear contacts. Anything “eyeball” related doesn’t jive with me. Maybe I’ll work up the courage to be as brave as you one day!

  • krystal

    So glad you got that done! Maybe Brad and I will get LASIK in the future…

    • Diana Elizabeth

      um, krystal, i might not suggest you both do it at the same time, or at least make sure there’s a designated driver for the both of you! haha.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *