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When I was eleven years old, I found out that I needed glasses. I was so upset that I cried right there at the doctor’s office. The thought of coke bottle glasses devastated me, and the movie Revenge of the Nerds kept playing in my mind.
It was the early 90s, and geek chic had not come en vogue. On top of that, all the nerdy kids in my school wore glasses. I even remember one of the nerdy girls that tried to be stylish trying to rock the Sally Jesse Raphael glasses. If you don’t remember these glasses, google it!
I ended up getting a pair of glasses that were somewhat tolerable, but I still hated them. I only used them when I absolutely had to. This meant that I sat towards the front of the class and would stealthily put them on when I couldn’t read the board. I don’t know who I was trying to fool, but that’s what I did for far too long.
At the time, I was big-time into baseball and basketball and cringed at the thought of wearing sport rec specs. You know, those wrap around plastic glasses that were virtually unbreakable. My parents tried to convince me that they were cool because Horace Grant of the Chicago Bulls was wearing them, but I wasn’t feeling it. So I wore regular glasses playing baseball and basketball. I’m not sure this was any cooler, but it made me happier. As a kid running around, I was lucky the glasses only fell off once playing basketball and didn’t break into a million pieces.
By the time I reached 7th grade, my parents told me that I was responsible enough to wear contacts. This was a great moment for me. I still remember the first day of wearing contacts. In my head, I was thinking, wow I can actually see everything, and I don’t look like a loser. I wore contacts all throughout high school and college and really didn’t have any issues. I still dreaded the thought of wearing glasses if ever my contacts did bother me.
In the early 2000s, I started to hear more about LASIK surgery to correct vision problems. I was really excited about the possibility but still apprehensive about a blade touching my eye. I remember telling myself if someone else did it first, I might feel more comfortable.
At the time, I had two roommates that both shrugged their shoulders at the potential downside to LASIK and took the plunge to get it done.
Each of them had to wear glasses at the time for thirty days before the procedure, which they hated. It was actually kinda weird to see them wearing glasses because they both had the oversized glasses from the 90s that had never been updated since they were only minimally used. They figured, why spend money on new glasses when they would only be used for thirty days.
So, while they were a bit self-conscious over that thirty day period, after the procedure, both of them raved about it. They indicated that it was a super easy process, starting with the doctor giving them medicine to relax before the procedure and only lasting around 30 seconds per eye.
They had a friend drive them to and from the appointment and slept the procedure off the remainder of the day. The next day, they woke up and could see perfectly. The only negative aspect they shared with me involved showering in the days and weeks following. Since their eyes were still healing, the water from the shower head felt like tiny needles pricking their eyes. Ouch. In order to combat this, they each used swimming goggles to wear while showering. This was a quick solution to a fairly minor problem.
LASIK and Me
After that, I was determined to get LASIK, but then life got in the way. At one point, I had my heart set on it, but then over time I started to have apprehension once again. I started thinking about blindness as a real possibility of the procedure. I wanted to be able to see my future wife and my future children. Excuses flooded my mind as I reasoned with myself that contacts weren’t that bad. I really didn’t have any problems wearing them. I would periodically research to see if it the technology had improved to make it even safer.
Sometimes I would tell myself that after I paid off all my debt, that I would treat myself to LASIK. Quick side note to Parks and Rec fans: October 13th is “Treat Yo Self” Day. Did you Treat Yo Self this year?
Well, I have paid off all my debt, but I still haven’t taken the plunge to get LASIK. My wife looked into it for herself shortly before we got married, but a minor eye infection at the time blocked her from getting the procedure in that moment. She hasn’t expressed any interest to get it done since.
Money, Money, Money
From a financial standpoint, I spend about $80 each year on contacts, plus another $30 on contact solution. In turn, LASIK costs roughly $5,000 at local providers to get both eyes corrected. Therefore, the breakeven point would be roughly 50 years, and that’s not even including the Net Present Value of the cost of LASIK. So for me, from a financial standpoint, it doesn’t make much sense to do it. I could invest that money into the stock market and would be much further ahead compared to getting LASIK. But when do we ever make financial decisions based solely on finances?
I’d like to hear from you all. Have you gotten LASIK? Did you take into account the financial impact? Share your stories below.