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I had it done a few months ago. Bionic's account is pretty accurate.
Most places offer financing plans, but also consider using a flexible spending account if your employer has one. That's what I did, if you don't have the cash on hand you may need to save, but it's tax deferred so you can save quite a bit.
The process with the flap and all is kind of unnerving, but you don't really notice what they are doing. Now they've got Waveguide IntraLASE, which is what I did, where they create the flap with a laser. I've heard good things and bad about doing it that way, but I was a bit weirded out by a "blade" being used on my eye. Here's how mine went:
3 Months Prior: Free consult. Received quotes for PRK, Regular LASIK, and IntraLASE (in that order from cheapest to most expensive. IntraLASE came with lifetime adjustments and followups at no further cost. Scheduled appointment for 3 months out (February, when my new FSA rotation came through).
February, Night Before: Good Night's Sleep
Day Of:
8:00 AM - Arrived. Signed numerous papers, typical medial legalspeak.
8:30 AM - Verification Eye Exam - They re-measured and verified everything, comparing it to their results from the consult. Thumbs up.
8:55 AM - Consult with the actual Surgeon. He takes another look and triple-checks the numbers. Goes over potential complications, etc.
9:00 AM - Entered the operating room. Put on footies and hair net. Laid in bench.
9:01 AM - Administered numbing drops.
9:05 AM - Stuck the suction thingy on my eye, clamped eyelid open. Machine moves over me, comes down, I stare at the dot, they clamp onto the suction ring on my eye. Machine goes "Whirrrrrrrrr" softly. I was busy listening to the music they had on and thinking about how cute the surgical assitant was.
9:05 and 10 seconds - Machine beeps, they move onto other eye.
9:06 AM - Second eye done. Still haven't felt a thing at this point.
9:07 AM - They move me to the actual "LASIK" machine. This machine doesn't contact me in any way other than the bench I am laying on. They start plugging in data into the computer, then reading back the readings to each other to make sure they have it right.
9:09 AM - With a really cool "gearing up" sound, the machine starts going TICK-TICK-TICK-TICK-TICK really fast, I feel and see NOTHING... my ears are the only indication something is happening.
9:10 AM - The surgeon floods my eye with saline, puts the flap back down, and swishes it around until he is happy with it. It looks really weird, but doesn't hurt.
9:14 AM - By this time, my other eye has been done, same procedure. They stand me up, things are blurry, but I can see well enough to walk to a little recovery room.
9:30 AM - The numbing drops are starting to wear off. Eyes sting a bit, but not bad. Surgeon comes in and looks at my eyes through the bright-light-mirror-swingy-thingy and says I am done.
9:35 AM - Front desk schedules my follow up for the next day, commands me to put on my sunglasses, sends me home. Wifey drives. (don't tell her about the assistant) My eyes hurt, but keeping them closed makes them feel fine.
10 AM - Home. I eat a huge sandwitch full of carbs so I pass out.
10:30 AM - Passed out.
2:00 PM - Wake up, eyes feel great, I can see freakin' perfect.
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That's about all there is to it.
The whole thing is over so quick... then just take a nap, and when you wake up, bam, you can see. I went from 20/50 to 20/15 in one eye and 20/10 in the other.
Most places offer a PRK option as well, which is cheaper, and does not create a flap. However, recovery is longer, vision is impaired for a good portion of the recovery, and it's a more painful recovery. With LASIK, you recover pretty quick. I had a scratchy feeling in one eye for about 5 days, and the other eye I never had any problem with.
I couldn't be happier with it. I can see better than everyone I know who wears glasses or contacts.