Thinking about a career change that would require laser eye surgery...
January 10, 2017 11:41 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking about embarking upon a dramatic career change. I'm sure I have all of the other qualifications, but this particular role would be one that requires a certain Visual Acuity Standard and I'm seriously practically blind... so there's only one option I guess?

This is a position I've been thinking about and wanting to do for years. My terrible eye sight has always prevented me from applying, because I'm terrified of eye surgery and my poor vision would certainly rule me out immediately.

However, it's just turned 2017 and I'm committed to this career change for reals but I would absolutely need eye surgery to correct my vision to even qualify for the application stage.

I'm so torn. The cost is not a concern really, I know there would be financing options so that's not the worry. I'm just terrified of getting the surgery and having something go wrong.

There's also no guarantee that I would get the job, but at least I would have tried. I'm just petrified of having the surgery and ruining my eye-sight forever... even though I wear contact lenses all the time and I'm blind without them.

Has anyone been through this / had laser eye surgery / have any recommendations for any good laser eye places near the Vancouver area?
posted by JenThePro to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have -- in writing -- assurance that having had the exact kind of surgery you plan on having will not end up being a disqualifier in and of itself? Some organizations that have vision requirements don't trust all the various flavors of eye syrgery.
posted by Etrigan at 11:56 AM on January 10, 2017 [16 favorites]

This may be obvious, but just in case, make very sure that your exact laser eye surgery will actually qualify you for your intended career. For example, I know that some jobs consider you ineligible if you've had the flap-style laser eye surgery, as it's a potential liability. Laser eye surgery also does not always give you 20/20 vision, if that's the cutoff.
posted by randomnity at 11:59 AM on January 10, 2017

You could have the surgery done one eye at a time. Worst case scenario: something goes wrong on the first visit and you don't have the second visit. Second worst case: the first visit works great and something goes wrong on the second. Overwhelmingly likely scenario: it goes fine and there are no complications, because these surgeries are very very safe now.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:59 AM on January 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

The chances of you actually losing your eyesight through having laser eye surgery are so miniscule that it's the equivalent of any other kind of freak accident. Much more likely are things like dry eye or haloes or poor night vision--or not having the level of perfect vision correction you'll need for your job. But actually losing your vision is extremely, extremely unlikely if you go to a competent surgeon.
posted by armadillo1224 at 12:13 PM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: (ooh, you're gonna be a fighter pilot!)

I think the person best prepared to give you an idea of whether you're a 'normal blind' patient with a likely good outcome, or a 'super blind' patient for whom it might not work that well, is a LASIK surgeon. Go for a consultation!

It's super common to be worried about this surgery. It's also a phew-no-biggie for almost everyone who's had it, myself included, and it is so nice to just wake up and be able to see in the morning.
posted by Dashy at 1:10 PM on January 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

Call up the people who do the vision medicals and speak to somebody there. Partly - as suggested above - to verify that any surgery you plan would not disqualify you. But also verify that you really couldn't get to do the job with just glasses (perhaps toughened ones). I mention this because it is hard for employers to find people with perfect uncorrected vision and some have relaxed the criteria on this score.
posted by rongorongo at 1:14 PM on January 10, 2017

LASIK was the best purchase I ever made. I wish I'd done it 10 years earlier. My nightvision is notably worse, but not awful. Still, no regrets. It was super easy, just felt like I had sand in my eyes for a few hours afterwards. Was seeing 20/10 the next morning.

But yeah, echoing other people's concerns -- you should make sure that LASIK (or whatever surgery you choose) is an acceptable thing for your career. In some cases it is not an acceptable substitute for uncorrected eyesight, or it must be a specific type (i.e. PRK).
posted by so fucking future at 1:17 PM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I've been in touch with the recruiters and any laser eye surgery is acceptable for them, Lasik or PRK. They said there are no restrictions on what surgery you have.
posted by JenThePro at 1:20 PM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Get a consultation before you make any decisions. I found out that I can't have lasik for some oddball reason related to my eye anatomy.
posted by pintapicasso at 1:57 PM on January 10, 2017

I avoided it for years because it sounded scary, but it's made my life so much better. The surgery itself takes minutes; the uncomfortable part of recovery, a day. Most surgeons will give Valium for the surgery; maybe ask for a prescription for a longer or greater dose,from either them or your primary?
posted by metasarah at 2:19 PM on January 10, 2017

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