There is no chance that I would have anyone shoot a laser beam into my eye, fry it, just to get rid of my reading glasses. I would rather resort back to my Federal agent days, carrying a machine gun through a door in Bogota, Columbia with forces of the Medellin Cartel being on the other side before I would risk that surgery.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2014, where my bride of almost 44 years thinks this procedure might help her vision, especially driving at night. Additionally, she played the “grandkids” card and suggested that this surgery would enhance the safety of our six grandchildren.
“Are you crazy? You want to risk your eyesight? Get the grandkids a driver!”
As usual, her persistence won out when she simply asked me to investigate the procedure (take note of the word she chose to use) and, more importantly, find the best doctors who perform this surgery. That seemed fair. I was sure my investigative skills would find something wrong that would dispel this ridiculous notion from her mind. It’s interesting how life works.
My staff was directed to prepare a full report on LASIK and the doctors who engage in this practice of medicine. We found that, like private investigators, LASIK doctors are on every corner. Similarly, both professions have 5% percent of the professionals garnering 80% of the business. We interviewed doctors, former employees, and patients. We conducted thorough background checks, including civil and criminal indexes. The list in Southern California started at about 150 doctors, with 60 that perform LASIK surgery in Orange County. That list was then reduced to five, with one medical office and doctor clearly at the top of his field.
My wife was told that if you absolutely must have this surgery, then please consult with Dr. Charles Manger at the Saddleback Eye Center in Laguna Hills, CA. Being curious as to their procedures, staff, and expertise, I also made an appointment to have a consultation.
We both arrived at noon on Monday, March 24, 2014. Being the tough one in the family, I advised my wife to go first. For the next three hours, we were both given the most extensive and comprehensive eye examination I have ever experienced – including the tests during my physicals as a Federal agent. The 14 diagnostic exam tests were so thorough and long that at one point I commented, “just stop already and do my eyes.”
At an appropriate point in the examination process, Dr. Manger himself showed up and conducted some of the tests, as he makes the final decision as to who qualifies for the LASIK procedure. (I learned this was about 80% of the patients tested.) The moment of truth came when we both qualified. My wife said she was ready to go. I, on the other hand, was still nervous about coming out of the surgery with dark glasses and a blind man’s cane. Eventually, the professionalism of the entire staff and especially the demeanor and confidence of Dr. Manger’s analysis made the decision very easy. Off to surgery we went.
Thirty minutes after the surgery, my wife and I met in the recovery area. We were both pleased to see each other. We both experienced no pain and minimal discomfort.
The next day I woke up and was absolutely startled. Before, with my reading glasses, I couldn’t always read the very small print on items. Now I can read even the finest print without glasses. My wife’s vision was greatly improved, not only at night but even watching television and observing sporting events. My reading glasses and her progressive glasses were donated to a local charity.