LASIK & Other Major Life Changes: A Rice PhD Student Receives LASIK
May 2019 was a busy month for Curtiss Chapman. In the span of 31 days, he received LASIK from Eye Center of Texas, graduated with a doctorate in Cognitive Neuroscience from Rice University, got married, moved to Germany, and started a new job — all in that order.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Curtiss’s friends and family questioned his decision to receive eye surgery before so many major life changes. But he and his wife had already decided to move ahead: The benefits of the procedure far outweighed the risk.
“My wife and I, we had a lot going on,” says Curtiss, “but in the end, that wound up being another reason to get LASIK. We figured, LASIK is incredibly safe whether we’re busy or not, so why not go for it? Why not go through all these important events and start this new phase of my life without glasses?”
The couple had another reason to go ahead with the procedure: “We’d done our research, and we knew that the doctors at Eye Center of Texas are some of best LASIK doctors in Houston and the country. Waiting meant going elsewhere. It meant worrying more.”
Happily, Curtiss agreed to document and share his LASIK experience, both pre and post-surgery. Curious about what preparing for and living a glasses-less life entails? Follow Curtiss on his exciting journey to new eyesight and new beginnings!
Hello! Curtiss here, writing to you sans glasses on my face… meaning yes, my LASIK procedure went well. Better than ‘just’ well: I now have 20/20 vision in both eyes! I’m hoping that these videos/this post will help encourage individuals interest in LASIK to go ahead and take the plunge if they can. So much can change in just 10 minutes on the operating table.
Before the procedure
Before you can get LASIK, you have to verify whether you’re a good candidate for the surgery or not. I went in for a consultation and the doctor patiently and candidly answered all my questions (I ask a lot of them, so… that’s no small feat).
I was given the green light. The next day I called to arrange the date of my surgery as well as the acquisition of the medicated eye drops that I would need to use to help prepare my eyes for the surgery.
That was the easy part. The hard part was talking to everyone about the surgery. People meant well, but it felt like everyone had heard that their cousin’s best friend’s dad’s sister had something “go wrong.” What that something was they could never say… but considering less than 1% of LASIK patients have complications, and the vast majority of those are treatable, I took these stories with a grain of salt.
… until a couldn’t anymore, and then I called Eye Center of Texas in a bit of a panic. They were able to shine light on many of these stories and, essentially, talk me down, and get me back on track to looking forward to life after LASIK. Including…
During the procedure
The day of my procedure, I met with Dr. Roach for a consultation before and after the surgery. Dr. Mayo performed the actual LASIK procedure. This video should give you an idea of how the day went.
Here are some additional takeaways from the morning of the procedure:
You put your nametag on upside down because that’s the direction the surgeon sees it from.
Before the procedure, you will be given I was given the prescription for the eye drops you’ll need for after the surgery (and a very handy schedule for when to take them), an eye shield, and sunglasses.
You need someone to go with you to your surgery so that you can get a ride home.
I was very calm during the procedure because I was given a Valium. The valium also helped me sleep later when I got home (I don’t nap often, so that was a relief).
I didn’t feel any pain during the procedure, but I did feel a kind of “pressure.” The sensation isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, but it’s normal (and really not that bad).
The doctor warned me that my vision may go black at some point during the procedure. This doesn’t happen to everyone – it didn’t happen to me – but I was still glad that I knew about it.
If you are offered a stuffed animal, take it. I didn’t, and I regretted not having something to hold… not because I needed to be comforted, but because it gives you something to do with your arms.
Eye Center of Texas will help you donate the glasses you don’t need anymore to someone who can use them.
After the procedure
I was told that patients are to avoid opening their eyes as much as possible on the day of a LASIK procedure. Dr. Mayo and Dr. Roach also told me that the best thing to do would be to sleep (wearing the eye shield).
As I said, thanks to Valium, I was actually able to sleep. The rest of the day I listened to podcasts, put in my eye drops, and used Tylenol PM to make sure I slept at night.
All said, the day went really well because my wife and I had done a little bit of planning. If you’re about to get LASIK, Eye Center of Texas has a pretty comprehensive list of good things that you (or your spouse/friend/parent) can do to help you through your first day post-LASIK.
A day after the surgery, I could see clearly again. Isn’t that crazy?
I did have dry eyes, but the eye drops helped with that, and dry eyes post-LASIK are pretty par for the course. Writing to you from around a month out, I can tell you that my dry eyes have gotten (and are continuing to get) a lot better, although I do occasionally need eye drops throughout the day.
A few days after the surgery, a good number of my immediate family came into town for my graduation — 16 total, if you include the kids. That was the first time that any of them saw me without my glasses, including my nephews, who were quick to tell me, “you look different, Uncle Curtie!”
I was able to walk the stage without wearing the glasses that had seen me through 6 years of study — not something I ever imagined would happen. But the fact that I no longer needed glasses didn’t really hit home until I saw several of my colleagues get their glasses knocked off of their face as they were being hooded.
The move pt. 1
My wife and I moved in stages: first, from Houston to San Antonio, where we would stay a few weeks until we got married there, then we went on our honeymoon, and then we moved to Germany.
As we packed up our belongings for the first stage of the move (Houston to San Antonio) Houston, ever the cooperative city, decided to rain. The rain was not ideal, but it was a lot less frustrating than it normally would be because I was no longer wearing glasses. Where before I would have been either staring through raindrops or constantly taking my glasses off to wipe them, I could now simply focus on not dropping the sofa.
I didn’t take a video of me not wearing glasses on my wedding day proper, but when the pictures get developed, I won’t be wearing glasses in any of them.
I wasn’t wearing glasses when I looked out on the crowd of our friends and family who gathered to celebrate my wife and me, I wasn’t wearing glasses when I saw my beautiful wife walking down the aisle, and I wasn’t wearing glasses when I danced like crazy during the reception.
In fact, I didn’t even think about my glasses at all on my wedding day, and that was awesome.
But, for your viewing pleasure, here’s a video of me and my wife the day AFTER our wedding, right before we hung out at the lazy river (in sunglasses but not glasses… because UV rays and cataracts are definitely a thing).
The move pt. 2
My wife and I just finished our honeymoon, and while I’ve grown accustomed to living without glasses, I still occasionally forget that I no longer need them.
I have now reached for phantom glasses in the following cities (so far): Houston, San Antonio, Denver, New York, London, Vienna, Salzburg, and our new hometown in Germany. I have pushed phantom glasses up my nose on planes, in the mountains, and while drinking delicious German beer.
It’s strange to think that my colleagues here will never see me wearing glasses. Strange, but good.
My wife has also gotten used to seeing me without glasses. And with everything that has happened between my LASIK surgery and now, this huge change to my everyday life does sometimes seem like it happened a long time ago, in a different life.
But every once in a while my wife will look at me, smile, and say, “no glasses!” and both my joy at living without glasses and my gratitude for Dr. Mayo and the staff at Eye Center of Texas comes rushing back, all over again.
Life after LASIK at Eye Center of Texas
Patients like Curtiss (aka Dr. Chapman) are one of the main reasons the team at Eye Center of Texas loves coming to work every day. Even with 75,000 successful LASIK surgeries under our belts, we never get tired of hearing how LASIK has changed the daily lives of our patients.
Curious about what it’s like to work with some of the best LASIK eye surgeons in Houston? Wondering, “Am I a good candidate for LASIK?” or what the average LASIK recovery timeline looks like?Request your LASIK appointment online or call us today at 713-395-1515 for more information.