Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review of Coal Harbour Lasik Eye Center in Vancouver, CA

Dry stuff, I know. But when I was looking online at this place there wasn't a ton of reviews out there. So here are the basics: They are a high-volume Lasik eye center open two days a week. That means they can keep their prices low because of the amount of people they are seeing on one day. Compared to the first place I went for an eye exam in the U.S., they were a lot busier. If you like special treatment, this probably isn't the right place for you. The assistants were all very friendly and chatty, but the surgeon, Steven Kirzner, is very to the point with a get-it-done attitude. No idle chit-chat here. I feel like people think that they should spend a lot of money on Lasik because IT'S YOUR EYES but statistically, your Lasik outcome gets better the more surgeries your surgeon has done, and Dr. Kirzner has done over 60,000. This is compared to the 20,000 the doctor I went to first had under her belt. So I felt pretty good.

I liked that they were more honest than the first place I went, which in retrospect skimmed over the actual procedure and just talked a lot about how cool it would be to just open my eyes and be able to see things after surgery. I also say that they were more honest because the first place I went said I needed Wavefront, which costs more, and that patients who used it had better night vision. They kind of made it sound like an upgrade to normal Lasik, which of course I should get since it's just a few hundred more. Since I'm a cynic, I wasn't convinced as to whether I should get it or not until I went to the Coal Harbour Eye Centre. According to their hand out:

"Some people can have irregularities within their optical system, i.e. cataracts. One abnormality or irregularity is 'aberrations' or irregularity in the way that light is focused onto the retina. These irregularities or aberrations can only be measured by sophisticated equipment called an Aberrometer....We analyze all our patients for the abberations and if they are present, we may recommend the Wavefront treatment. Wavefront treatment is only recommended in 5-10% of our patients and only for those who have High Order Aberrations."

So I totally was not a person who needed Wavefront, or who it was developed for. The Eye Center website is really great and has a lot of information about Lasik and PRK.

They did way more thorough testing than the first eye center I went to, then I came back the next day and got tested a few more times before the actual surgery. (We spent the night at the hotel next door).
The actual surgery was quick, but I felt like I was in a bad scene from a movie...just the surgeons, and the fuzzy red light and a laser burning off my eyeballs.... Austin was in the next room watching on TV, and he said it was really gross (he didn't realize they were going to cut the top of my eyeball off and peel it back to laser the inside of my eyeball). For some reason, I felt better hearing that he suffered mental anguish.

Then we tried to leave Vancouver, but due to horrible traffic gave up and just spent the night in the city, which we should have planned for in the first place. My eyes really burned putting my eye drops in that first night, but were much better the next day.

I was really confused, because I showed up early to my next-day check up appointment but no one was in the office. Then I noticed a group of people with dark glasses congregating in the lobby, and I joined tribe of fellow eye surgery survivors. The Dr. showed up and the herd of shade-wearers followed him into the elevator up to the top floor...I guess only he comes in to do the quick check on all the patients who had surgery the previous day. Must keep costs down...

Anyway, that's my review! I can see fine now, a week later, but my eyes are still a bit sensitive to light and fuzzy for a few seconds when I first wake up. Polling my fellow patients, some people were doing awesome and had perfect vision right after surgery, and some were horribly sensitive to light and in pain. I think I probably fall somewhere in the middle.

*UPDATE: Six months later and my vision is great. I was sensitive to light for 2-3 months but now I'm back to where I was with contacts, i.e. normal. I feel like Lasik is such a miracle of science, and I frequently stop and think how neat it is to be able to see unassisted. Also my overseas travel packing has gotten a lot more streamlined in the toiletries department. So yes, I'm loving my results.

The Eye of Sauron is Upon You!

This is my eyeball on TV in Canada! I wish you could see it better, because it's really gross.

Earlier this year, on a sunny Saturday morning, I was getting ready to schedule my yearly eye exam and buy more contacts. This costs me a lot of money. Since my eyes became allergic to extended-wear contacts, I have to use dailies, which added to the eye exam, runs me about 600 dollars a year. More if I want new glasses.

That's a lot of moolah, so my financially-minded spouse suggested I go to a Lasik center that afternoon and see if I was a candidate for eye surgery. It's around 3800 bucks to get it done here, so we would break even in about 5 years.  I'm not big on change, but the idea slowly sank in and I went in the next week. The place I went was really nice and they were very positive about me getting the surgery. (But not too pushy, so that was good). I scheduled a date for surgery and went home, where a few days later Austin came up with the brilliant idea of getting Lasik in another country.

I rejected Istanbul as an option, (we are stopping there for a day in September) and we settled on Canada.  I ended up going to the Coal Harbour Lasik Eye Centre in Vancouver, which was just over the border from Austin's parents' house, a 2 to 3 hour drive, so it worked out well.  It was half the price of getting Lasik done here. Awesome.

Just a few random notes:

I thought I couldn't get Lasik until I was done having kids, but it turns out your prescription just has to stay the same for a few years. Since mine has stayed the same through a couple pregnancies, I'm not worried about it drastically changing if I have another kid.

Going to Canada isn't for everyone. Crossing the border was a pain, (at least coming back we had our Global Entry cards which helped us reduce a 2 plus hour wait to 1 hour), traffic was a pain, and getting a hotel costs money. For us it was cost-effective since we were already going up there for a trip, and Austin's folks were nice enough to watch our girls. It probably wouldn't be cost-effective for everyone.

I didn't know it would hurt. Ouch! I felt like I was in a torture chamber. Granted it only lasted 30 seconds but I would rather have another child naturally than do it again. No re-touching for me!

The place I went, Coal Harbour Eye Centre, wasn't quite as glossy as the first place I went in the U.S., but I feel like they didn't skim over important information/risks like at the first place. It's kind of hard to find reviews online, so I'll probably post a review shortly.

I feel kind of like I have dry contacts in a lot of the time. You have to use a lot of eye drops and it can take a while for your vision to stabilize. I can see great, but when I first wake up it takes a minute for my eyes to adjust.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sunshine and Roses


Blogging on an iPad isn't so easy. I just want to capitalize my own sentences, okay? Stop doing it for me! Unfortunately I'm on vacation and don't have my full blogger capabilities. However, I decided I needed to put my neighborhood blog online so I could stop thinking about it and enjoy my vacation. (I also need to change the template for this blog, but don't worry, I'll get around to it! And I won't worry about it.) So I put it up last night and immediately ran into controversy. 

The point of the neighborhood blog is to showcase interesting and positive things about the neighborhood that would be useful for someone moving here or living here to know. Actually the real point of the new blog is that I like writing and I felt like writing about my neighborhood. Unfortunately, someone didn't like my report of the neighborhood meeting which mentioned a couple annoying people. I thought it provided a much more interesting account of the meeting, which in turn would get more people to come to the next one, since no one likes a boring meeting. But apparently people don't like it when you call other people out either. It's like that little kid who blurts out in the middle of the most insanely boring sharing time on earth, "This is boring!" and no one knows quite how to chastise him because he's right. 

I don't really want to be that awkward kid. On the other hand my neighborhood blog is not a sanitized advertisement for Shangri-la. What do I do? I have to be willing to accept a little criticism--after all, writing by committee is usually as good as art by committee. But I don't know if my intended audience wants to hear anything negative, and Writing 101 is "Know Thine Audience." On this blog my audience is really myself, so my life observations usually go over better. As far as the new blog goes, Austin pointed out that I don't want people to be afraid to comment at meetings. I personally wouldn't mind less idiotic comments at meetings, but I get his point and took down the offensive half of the post.

So my new and improved sanitized neighborhood blog is  

But it would make me feel better if I posted the second half of my meeting notes here. 

"Other not-so-important notes: 

The guy who digressed on parking as we were running out of meeting time until he was told politely that we needed to focus on the big picture. He exhibited no situational awareness, (a cardinal "meeting sin" in my book), repeated himself some more, and then was told not-so-politely that it was time to MOVE ON.
Then there was the lady who digressed about how there are a lot of UVU students living in the neighborhood, and maybe if Orem weren't such a lame city with no city center/personality that the students would stay there instead of invade our neighborhood. The real problem is Orem, people. Hmmm, not sure what we're supposed to do about that in our little Joaquin neighborhood meeting. 
And, of course, the issue of our absent neighborhood chair, which is a little hotbed of gossip that I'm not sure I care to get the full story on."