I was near sighted most of my life. I started wearing glasses when I was 8 years old. I started wearing contact lenses when I was 16 years old. I’m 32 years old now and so had been going between glasses and contacts to see anything for half my life. My near sightedness stabilized at around 20/650. In layman’s terms, that means I couldn’t focus on the big ‘E’ on the eye chart.
Basically, my vision limited the activities that I could do, because if I didn’t have glasses or contacts on, everything was very blurry. One goal that I was able to accomplish was to become a pilot. I was fortunate that my vision was correctable to the point of being able to fly.
However, without that correction, I couldn’t see to read the instruments in the airplane. I worried that if something ever happened to my glasses or contacts, I would be in trouble in the air. Then I started hearing about the LASIK surgery, that it could correct nearsightedness.
I knew I couldn’t have it done until it was approved by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). A little over a year ago, I read that LASIK had been approved by the FAA. I spent several months researching to make sure it really was approved and to find out if I qualified. Amazingly, I qualified in every category, and with the help of my Optometrist, was referred to Dr. Lance Ferguson.
Initially, I hoped to be corrected well enough, that in an emergency, I would be able to fly and safely land an airplane without corrective lenses. Once I made the decision to get the surgery done, I was able to get the initial consultation and surgery scheduled quite easily. I received good instruction on what to expect and how to prepare for the surgery and what to expect afterwards.
The surgery took very little time, and I was able to tell improvement almost immediately. Within 20-30 minutes, I could tell my vision had improved dramatically. By the next day, I was able to read 20/20, normal vision! Within a week, I was reading on the 20/15 line, better than normal vision and definitely better than I had expected! 5 weeks after surgery I was able to obtain a new medical certificate from an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) and could read the 20/13 line in his office! Incredible!
I have now flown without any problems and actually, I think I am able to fly better than before because my vision is so improved. I’ve had no side effects from the surgery, no problems at all! I recommend it to anyone who is near sighted and who wants to totally get rid of their glasses and/or contacts! I’m looking forward to this summer and being able to enjoy swimming and other water sports, because I can see what’s going on around me!
—Angela J. Bridges