In our busy modern world, caregivers have never been more time poor. Elective treatments requiring long recovery periods are often avoided in the early years of parenthood, even if they can significantly improve quality of life. Parents, particularly of younger children, struggle to fit in time to deal with their own health needs.
This is particularly true when it comes to the treatment of eye disorders. Parents often delay dealing with these conditions because of the expected costs and the potential disruption to family life. However, in the case of one of the most common laser eye surgery procedures, these concerns are unfounded.
LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) eye surgery is a painless and safe treatment option routinely recommended for short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism. LASIK is a procedure used to permanently change the shape of the cornea and patients who have this surgery are able to eliminate their use of glasses or contact lenses. Many experience 20/20 vision within hours of the procedure.
Life changing surgery
One such patient is Liz Young, a mother of four, who first needed glasses for shortsightedness at the age of 12.
“I always hated how I looked in them no matter which frames I chose,” she says.
She later switched to contact lenses but reverted back to glasses once she’d had kids, finding she no longer had the time required for contact lens care and maintenance.
“My glasses were constantly dirty from grubby little fingers smudging them and grabbing at them,” she explains. “They were always one more thing I was looking for.”
Liz elected to have LASIK eye surgery and found it to be life changing. An important factor for her was the short recovery time required.
“At the time of the surgery I had an eight-year-old, and six-year-old triplets. There was no way I could have had the procedure if the downtime was too long,” she says.
As for the impact of the surgery on the family budget, Liz considers it well worth the cost: “If I added up all the money I have saved on contacts, solutions and glasses, I have more than made up for it.”
Better yet, it has directly—and positively—affected her parenting.
“Having good eyesight meant it was one less thing I had to worry about so I had more time and energy to devote to my children,” she says. “I was happier to have my photo taken with the kids as I no longer felt self-conscious about how I looked in my glasses.”
The effect on parenting
The impact of better vision on parenting is far-reaching. It includes being able to monitor your children in playgrounds, cheer them on from the sidelines during sports matches and swim with them without glasses or prescription goggles.
Kate Toon had LASIK eye surgery before her son was born and agrees that it can have a profound effect on early parenthood.
“When you’re a mum there are so many things you are worried about, and so many things you have to do and remember,” she says . “Remembering to buy fluid, and clean and store your lenses correctly, is just one extra thing that makes it all a little bit harder.”
Kate often reflects on the difference the surgery made during her son’s first years of life. She is grateful that her clearer vision meant that she was better able to spot potential dangers, like choking hazards, particularly when her baby started to crawl.
“Being able to leap out of bed in the middle of the night and not having to put in contact lenses or search for glasses was so important,” she says.
Not uncommonly, Kate was surprised that the surgery was completely painless.
“It was unnerving and fascinating but, more importantly, it was over before I could even register the strangeness of what was happening,” she says.
For Kate, the results were transformational. She remembers being amazed at what the treatment enabled her to see.
“Everything has beautiful detail. That is incredible—to see the world in detail and not just as a blur of colour.”
Are you eligible?
LASIK eye surgery is not, however, suitable for everyone. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, hormonal changes can affect the cornea and cause prescriptions to fluctuate. Surgery is always best scheduled after weaning, when your vision has returned to its normal state.
If you are considering LASIK eye surgery and would like to have your suitability determined, please contact New Vision Clinics on 1800 20 20 20 to book in for your no-obligation and no cost to you assessment.
Melinda Rollinson is a Melbourne-based freelance journalist and content writer with a background in health and law. Twitter: @mingbean