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 In HearSway

Just months ago, Leah Causey was basically blind. OK, not totally, but legally. Her eyesight was 20/200 in both eyes, meaning an object that someone with ~normal~ vision could see at 200 feet she could only see at 20. She spent every morning rummaging for her glasses in the most basic fashion.

Now, after LASIK surgery at Carolina Eye Associates, her vision is 20/15*. If we’re keeping track (which we are) that’s better than normal. We had questions about how all of that went down:  

Leah on the morning of the surgery

S: So How Blind Were You, Really?

LC: One time my boyfriend and I went to work out at FirstHealth Fitness, and split up to do our own thing. I had left my glasses in the car and didn’t recognize the blurry guy on the treadmill near me until my boyfriend texted and asked why I was ignoring him.

I was tired of wearing thick glasses, but without them, I couldn’t see the TV from the couch. I couldn’t read clocks. Over the years, contacts had become super uncomfortable. They dried out my already dry eyes, and driving at night became more and more difficult — especially after an already long day spent staring at a computer screen.

As I got older, I started considering corrective surgery but I thought LASIK meant they would take a blade to my eyeballs. Once I realized they could do the surgery with a laser at Carolina Eye Associates I felt 100 percent better about it. 

S: So How Did You Prepare for Having Lasers Aimed at Your Corneas?

LC: I had to go through two different appointments at Carolina Eye Associates to make sure I was a good candidate. They looked at the shape of my eyeballs, examined me for any issues that may have been missed in earlier visits, educated me on the risks and made sure I had realistic expectations. I have spent a lot of money each year on glasses and contacts so LASIK was actually more cost effective, especially if you get it done sooner rather than later. For me, who always paid extra to make sure my glasses weren’t the size of coke bottles, that was a huge deal. Note: Ideal candidates for LASIK are at least 18, have normal thickness of their corneas, have no history of eye disease or injuries, and are not nursing or pregnant. Learn more here.

Behold, the laser heroes that make it all happen, Dr. Lisa Sitterson and Dr. John French

S: OK, So What Was the Actual Procedure Like?

LC: First, they’ll give you half a Xanax to help you relax, because tensing up on the table can actually prolong the procedure. Then, they’ll lay you on said table, walk you through the process, give you numbing eyedrops and do their thing. You are awake the whole time but don’t feel anything but pressure, and they talk you through everything they’re doing. They even answered a question I had during the process.

I was only on the table for 15-20 minutes, then I went home and took a nap. As soon as I woke up, though my vision was hazy, I could already tell that things were in better focus. My vision got more and more clear over the next few days. 

S: How Bad Was it, Really?

LC: A lot of people who hear about my experience cringe at the thought of letting a surgeon near their eyes. I’ve worn glasses or contacts since I was in elementary school and I’m 25 now so I was more than ready to endure a day or so of discomfort. Even if the procedure didn’t give me exactly 20/20 eyesight, I was excited just to wear my glasses less. 

S: Tell Us About Your Recovery.

LC: LASIK specialists at Carolina Eye Associates recommend that you keep your eyes closed as much as possible for 24-48 hours after your surgery, and because of that and the Xanax you’ll obviously need a ride home. Your eyes will feel scratchy and will burn a little, almost like you have sand in your eye, but it is bearable if you keep your eyes closed. I laid in bed, listened to an audiobook and ordered food to be delivered. Everyone is different, but I was able to return to work the next day.

My eyes appeared bloodshot following the procedure but they healed on their own after a few weeks. I still suffer from some minor dry eye but I use lubricating eye drops throughout the day and that usually helps.

Leah in a classic car selfie. one-month post-op

S: What’s It Like to Be Better Than Perfect?

LC: You’d have to ask my eyes. But it’s still a little surreal to wake up, open my eyes, and immediately just be able to see everything. One nice thing about Carolina Eye Associates is that the LASIK specialists offer a free adjustment for a year, if an enhancement is needed. I’m told that LASIK has 99-percent success in delivering 20/40 vision and 90-percent success in 20/20 or better, so my surgery was really successful. I have no regrets! 

This piece was written in partnership with Carolina Eye Associates. Find out more about LASIK at Carolina Eye Associates here.

*LASIK Eye Surgery results may vary for each person. Statistics of success are results from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

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