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 them...my 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.

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