Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Caleb's Corrective Eye Surgery

My poor husband started wearing glasses at the age of seven.  SEVEN!  He played sports from a young age so he says, "I was *that* kid.  The one who had to wear goggles just to play soccer."  But it didn't stop him from breaking multiple pairs of glasses.  Eventually he got contacts and those worked well for awhile.  But the last few years his eyes had been dry and it seemed there was nothing we could do about it.  He tried switching eyedrops and contacts, but it didn't help.

From the time I met him, Caleb talked about getting LASIK so when he came home from the Air Force optometrist with information on getting corrective eye surgery, we decided to go for it.  At this point, the Air Force will do corrective eye surgery for any active duty member for FREE as long as you meet their qualifications.

Caleb was accepted on his first try, although we later learned that others had to apply two or three times to be accepted.  Here are the general qualifications the Air Force looked at when Caleb applied (there might be more, so be sure to check with your base optometrist):

1. He had more than one year of "eye history" recorded by the Air Force
2. He had more than six months left in his service commitment
3. He was not scheduled to deploy within a certain time frame

When we filled out the paperwork, we learned that the Air Force offers two types of surgery: LASIK and PRK so we had to decide which of those Caleb would want.  Then we had to choose a medical facility at which to receive the treatment.  Less than 10 Air Force bases offer this surgery so we had to use personal money to travel to the base.  Thankfully we were able to stay at the Fisher House at no cost to us.

Once we submitted the paperwork, they were ready to schedule us for a surgery the next month!  The surgery itself only takes about 20 minutes, but we had to stay at the base for about 10 days total while Caleb had pre-op and post-op appointments.

Caleb's recovery was very smooth.  He was in minimal pain the days after the surgery and just needed a lot of rest.  He used ice packs (well, frozen vegetables) once or twice a day, wore his sunglasses religiously and kept up on his pain medicine.  One week after the surgery we were traveling back to Nebraska and Caleb could see well enough to drive!

Overall we had a great experience with Caleb's corrective eye surgery!  His eyes will continue to stabilize over the next five months or so, but they are much improved already.  He will continue to use eyedrops for awhile and will have to wear sunglasses whenever he's outside as well.  Those seem like small sacrifices in the long run.  Caleb is so glad that he had the surgery.  I've since asked him if he would do it again and his answer is always unequivocally yes!

What about you?  Would you get corrective eye surgery if you had the chance?

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