Listen to Dr Triebold talk about her LASIK story.
Hi, I’m Angela Triebold, I’m a refractive optometrist at Aurora LASIK. I do all the pre- and post-operative care here for all of our surgery patients. Not only that, but I am also a LASIK patient myself.
What was your LASIK experience?
So I had LASIK over 20 years ago, and it was a tough decision, because I was actually in optometry at school at the time, and the LASIK procedure had just been recently FDA approved. It actually happened while I was in school. And even thought I had seen lots and lots of really excellent outcomes, it’s still my eyes so it’s scary! It’s scary to think about having surgery on your eyes and back then everybody used a blade to create that flap for LASIK. It was a blade called microkeratome. So the thought of a blade coming across my cornea was kind of a scary thought, but eventually it got to the point where I was no longer tolerant of contact lenses. Being in the Northwest, I’ve got a lot of allergies, and I just couldn’t tolerate them anymore. It got to the point where I just wanted to make sure that I did something where I could continue to see. I had very very nearsighted vision. I could only see maybe a few inches in front of my face without any type of glasses or contact lens correction. My whole life I had dreamed of waking up one day and actually being able to see without having to grab my glasses. This was my opportunity finally. I had an ophthalmologist, a refractive surgeon, that I knew and trusted. He was going to do a study and I had to opportunity to be a patient in his study. So I went ahead and I did it!
How are your results? Old technology vs. new?
My results have been fantastic. I was able to see well really immediately after having surgery. I am going to talk a little bit about my experience because I want to be able to compare what it was like back then to what it would be now if I was to have surgery. As I mentioned earlier, we used a blade back then and also the laser itself took a lot longer, and because of my high prescription, I was literally under that laser for 120 second treatment per eye. For that same prescription, if I were to have that done now, it would be under 12 seconds per eye. That is 1/10th of the time. 120 second of having to have your eye propped open while you’re staring at that bright fixation light, and having the surgeon and techs telling me, “stare at the light, keep looking at the light, you’re not looking at the light, look at that light,” it was terrifying! That is a really really long time and it felt like forever. Just trying to start at the light and thinking gosh I am staring at the light! I am looking at the light! But it is a long time and you don’t know what your eyes are doing during that time. Now it would be under 12 seconds per eye. The thing is, the technology back then was great. I am seeing well and my distance vision is awesome over 20 years later all I need is readers, but that was my age and was going to happen regardless of whether I had surgery or not. But as great as the technology’s then, its even better now. It’s faster. Now we use a laser instead of a blade to create that flap. It just makes it more predictable and more stable. We’ve come such long ways, but even then the technology was awesome.
How long does LASIK last?
A lot of patients ask me how long the procedure lasts, and I can tell you from personal experience that is has been over 20 years since I had surgery and my distance vision has not changed, There is not a day that goes by where I don’t drive down the road and just marvel at the fact that I can still see individual leaves up in the trees. I never thought that day would come. Every single day I am still excited about the fact that I don’t need any correction for distance. It’s just amazing to me. And I really want my patients to understand that this is something that, if it turns out you are a good candidate for surgery, it’s worth it. I mean, what other thing do we invest in that we use every waking moment of our life? There is nothing. There’s nothing like our eyes. So do your research, ask those questions, and if ti turns out that you are a good candidate for surgery, it is totally worth it.
Is LASIK worth it?
Absolutely, I would do it al over again without a question. Even though now I have to wear reading glasses, it’s a small price to pay. It was completely worth it. I don’t regret it at all.
Why choose Aurora?
I have worked at other refractive surgery locations and I will say that Aurora LASIK is very unique. We provide a very unique patient experience here. The technology is obviously great. It is state of the art and the best we can offer. But a lot of places can offer the same exact thing, so it can’t be just about the technology. It has to be about the patient experience, and one thing that I am very proud of with our clinic here is that patients come here and they feel ike they’re part of the family. Every single patient that comes in, we want them to feel like they belong here, we want them to feel like we’re their friends – and we are! We love our patients. We love making our patients happy. We love being able to give that gift of sight. More than anything, we just want to make sure that you have an experience that you are comfortable with. We want you to leave here knowing that you made the right decision. This isn’t an assembly line, it’s not some kind of mill we will be running you through doing patient after patient after patient. Each individual patient – each individual eye – is important to us. You do only get one set of eyes your whole life, and you want to make sure that you’re going to be getting that best experience in addition to obviously the best vision that we can offer you.