Becky’s Laser Eye Surgery Experience in Mexico

When Paul and I found out how cheap it was to get laser eye surgery here, we decided to go for it!

It is roughly $4,000 for both eyes in the U.S., it was $2,000 in Thailand a couple years ago and here it was $900 out the door including follow-up visits and the doctor’s cell number in case of any concerns!

We chose Videre Eye Clinic.  The first visit included lots of eye exams and measurements.  We met Dr. Alejandro Claros.  We found out I had myopia and astigmatism.   At this point LASIK was still an option.

They dilated my eyes in order to ‘map out’ my retina and did another test to show the shape of my eye.  Unfortunately, because of the “2-tier snowman” shape of my eye I was out of the running for LASIK but still a candidate for PRK laser surgery.

PRK and LASIK are similar in that a laser is used to alter the retina but with LASIK the laser also cuts a flap prior to the alternation of the rent.  Pain and healing time are practically non existent.  A little sore after surgery and fine the next day.  Vision is clear immediately.

With PRK the unusual shape of the eye makes cutting the ‘flap’ out of the question.  So a small amount of alcohol is placed on the eye’s surface only over the retina.  The alcohol makes the epithelial cells on the eye’s surface separate and then the doctor wipes them out of the way prior to the laser treatment.  Pain and healing time last about a week and clear sight in 1-2 months.

We discussed pain, healing time and vision acquisition and them made an appointment for 4 days later.

The day of surgery, the nurse lead me back to a room to change into a hospital gown and gave me some anesthetic eye drops and an anti-anxiety pill.

I went in and laid on the table.  The nurse laid a blanket over me which was nice as the room was VERY air conditioned.  She also gave me a Cookie Monster stuffed animal, tucked in on my tummy under the blanket and motioned that I could squeeze it if I needed to. Really…seriously!?!?!?

Dr. A introduced me to the two interns who would be watching the surgery.  He explained to them that he would be speaking in English for the surgery so that as he explained things to them I would also be able to understand what was happening.   So nice!

Laying on my back, the laser machine was over my head and without my glasses I could see 3 bright red lights in a triangular shape.  The light at the top of the triangle was blinking.  Dr. A said to look at the blinking light unless he told me otherwise.

He taped a surgery paper over my face…you know the kind with the hole that only shows the area being operated on.  He taped one side to my forehead and gave me some more eyedrops.

He did one eye at a time. He placed the eye retractor in my right eye and taped back my eye lashes.

Next he placed a tiny funnel-like instrument on my eyeball so that the alcohol only touched my retina.  the nurse counted for 30 seconds and then they removed the funnel and rinsed my eye with water.  Dr. A used a hand instrument to ‘scrape’ the loose cells off the outer layer of my eye over my retina.  Another rinse and then the laser treatment.

The laser treatment was the easiest part of all.  Dr. a said he would be doing the laser treatment now so just keep looking at the blinking light.  I heard the machine buzz and my vision darkened and then brightened again but all without any feeling.

After the laser he put more drops in my eye and then a protective contact for the week of healing.  He then commenced to taking out the retractor and removed the tape from my eye lashes.  Then he moved to my other eye and did it all over again.

In my experience there was no pain with the surgery.  It was a little uncomfortable when the retractors went in but only for a few seconds.

Once finished, Dr. A removed the tape from my forehead and took the surgical paper off my face and the nurse lead me out to the room where I could get changed back into my clothes.  At this point there was no pain but my eyes just felt a little ‘funny’ almost like a bit swollen and just that I was aware of them.

Dr. A had told us that it would likely be VERY painful and that recovery lasts 3-5 days.  My research before surgery made me think that it may be longer (5-7).  I also found a blog post about a woman’s experience where she ‘went blind’ after surgery with a dark hood and covered windows and her husband doing everything for her to give her eyes complete rest while healing.   Her doctor was shocked that she was completely healed in 3 days.

We decided to give it a go as best we could.  So when we left the office I closed my eyes and basically kept them shut for 3 days.  We blackened out the windows with blankets and Paul was awesome at taking care of the kids and fixing meals for the kids and his blind wife.

Day 1 - Surgery day! No pain just the feeling of being ‘aware’ of my eyes.  Thought that maybe I was pain-free because of the anesthetic drops (we found out later at the 1 week appointment that anesthetic drops actually wear off about 1 hour after used). Antibiotic drops, steroid drops and pain drops throughout the day on a schedule.  Lubrication drops whenever I wanted them (about every hour).  Staying ‘blind’.

Day 2 - We went to the 2 day appointment and the doc said they were looking good and 20% closed.

I had no pain just slight irritation or a feeling of being aware of my eyes again.  Drops same as Day 1. Still ‘blind’.  Wondering why not feeling any pain.

Day 3 - Eyes feel slightly irritated and uncomfortable.  Using more lubricating drops than before (every 30-45 minutes).  Still staying ‘blind’ except for a few peeks to get to the bathroom on my own.  Audible is my new best friend!

Day 4 - Eyes more irritated and uncomfortable.  Using lube drops about every 20 minutes.

Day 5 - Increased irritation and moments of sharp pain that feels like dryness that won’t go away.  Beginning to feel that the irritation may be the contacts drying out and not related to the surgery.  I could never tolerate contacts well as my eyes were “too dry”.  Lube drops about every 10 minutes.

Day 6 - I believed that it was dry contacts that were now causing stabbing pain that would make my nose run and cause me to have to jump up and down.  Need lube drops constantly and lots of it!

Day 7 - 1 week appointment.  Pain is gone instantly when the contacts come out!  Sweet relief!!!  Dr. A took digital pics of my eyes and showed us how each still had small holes in the epithelium that wen’t closed yet (2% to go!).  So I had to wear the contacts for 2 more days.  If I didn’t wear more contacts my blinking may reopen the holes.  We thought it might be ok since they were new, wet contacts but my eyelids were so irritated at that point that they were just as bad for Days 7, 8 & 9 as it was on Day 6.  Dr. A said that if I just couldn’t stand it any more I could take the contacts out.

Day 8 - As bad as Day 6.  The pain was so bad and I wanted to take the contacts out but wanted more to have complete healing with no more setbacks. I held out until 10pm the night before the appointment for one eye!  Whew!  Did that feel better!

Day 9 - At 8am I had to take the other contact out.  Went to the appointment and the doc said eventing looked good.  My vision is still quite blurry (more than I thought it would be).  But Dr. A says that my natural blinking will slowly and gently wipe away the remainder of the loose epithelial cells that are causing the blurry vision and things will clear up in about 5-6 weeks.   We’ll see!  Guess I’ll have to do a update on this post at a later time!

So, overall total healing time for me was 9 days and if it wasn’t for my eyes not being able to handle the contacts, I don’t think I would have had any pain as a result of the surgery.

For now, things are going fine.  Traveling isn’t as fun when you can’t see the landscape going by outside the window or the thing that kids are exclaiming about on the other side of the road!  But I am concentrating on the big picture and looking forward to seeing clearly without glasses/contacts in about 6 weeks.

Have any of you had PRK done?  How much pain did you experience?  How long was it before your visit cleared up?  Please take a few minutes to tell me…I am super curious!

Becky Kortman

I'm a homeschooling, world traveling, Jesus follower who is a wife and mom of 4 kids, In all my travels, I am looking for places that fit with my soul and feel as much like 'home' as they can this side of heaven.

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  1. Sarah

    You are one brave lady, Becky! I want lasik done but I’m too chicken. Also my eyes keep changing script and that worries me (near sightedness with astigmatism in both eyes and also in need of bifocal lenses now). Good for you for going through with it! I hope you keep healing!

    • Becky Kortman

      Thanks Sarah! You should do it!!!! LASIK can correct all of that as far as I know! I still have “double vision” sort of like looking at something 3D but without the glasses. It is almost clear for everything but words.

  2. Polina

    Becky, awesome news! I hope your eyes will recover fast! Next time we meet you will not have glasses (or just sunglasses maybe).

    PS. You say retina but you probably mean cornea (as retina is inside the eye and cornea is that clear “cup” on the outside) ;)

    • Becky Kortman

      Thanks, Polina! You are right! I made the appropriate “fixes”.

  3. Rachel

    Only $900 per eye?! That’s a steal compared to the US! My mom and brother have both had LASIK and raved about it. I’m happy to hear you had a great experience. I’m sure your vision will clear up soon.

    So many people think you can’t have anything medical or dental done in Mexico but in my experience the care has been better and the price is less than half! Thanks for this informative post :)

    • Paul Kortman

      Oh it’s even better than that, it was $900 for BOTH eyes!! Get that, $450 an eye…. was a no-brainer when we found that out!!!

      If she had been a candidate for Lasik it would have been better by now, but because she had PRK it will take awhile, some days are better than others, but in general her eyesight is better than it was pre-surgery. We had a friend go to the same doc and have the Lasik procedure… his eyesight is perfect already. Nope, Not jealous… well okay maybe a lot ;)

  4. Emma

    What an amazing feeling it will be to see the world without your glasses! And such a bargain price!

  5. Zoe

    You are a brave lady Becky, I can barely let someone else put eyeliner on me. Hope your view of the world is looking better and better each day.

  6. Katherine Ley

    Becky, I really admire your willingness to put your faith in medical care professionals in a different country. Good for you! Thank you for sharing your experience. Wishing you well with the rest of your recovery process!

  7. Crystal

    Oh my goodness, I just realized that I may be able to do this! so affordable. Becky, please update us as this progresses!

  8. Terese

    Hope you are seeing clearly soon! It is amazing how much the cost of Lasiks has come down recently. There is a place in GR that starts at $399 per eye.
    Not having to deal with glasses would be amazing!

    • Lucien

      I am looking into getting Lasik in Mexico. You mentioned in a comment that there was a place in GR that did it for 399 an eye. is that Guadalajara? I’d love more information about that place or any others and any experience you’ve had. It’s been suprisingly difficult to gather info online. Thanks

      • Paul Kortman

        Terese is referring to Grand Rapids Michigan ;)

        The few places that have information online would be better options than those without information. However, you will not be able to find pricing online especially in Mexico. The best thing would be to call them and ask, as it will help you to get to know if they have staff for English (unless you speak fluent Healthcare Spanish…)

        • Donna

          Do you know which company was used in Grand Rapids?

    • Donna

      Do you know which company in Grand Rapids> I am interested

  9. Katie

    Thanks for all the useful tips! I’m going to be looking into Lasik in the near future so it’s good to know about the more affordable medical options!

  10. Sandy

    This is probably the best breakdown of eye surgery I’ve ever seen. I was super worried when I read Mexico and eye surgery, but now I can’t wait for the update!

    • Paul Kortman

      Thanks for the compliment and yeah her eyes aren’t perfect yet, due to it being PRK it will take 3-6 months to have her full potential vision. I can tell you it is amazing to not have to wait for her to put her glasses on in the morning before I show her something! — she can see well, but not yet at 20:20… and there are still good days and bad days as far as how well her vision is. For the most part the “bad days” are just that words on road signs are blurry until we’re close.

  11. Terry Bytheway

    I had PRK as well. I had major irritation from the contacts day 1. I had to have them swapped out. It was super painful, but after a couple of months, I could see great. I haven’t looked back.

  12. Barbarita Lee

    We had lasik when we first moved to Mexico and that was ten years ago and we still see great! Plus, we deal with a lot of dust and are grateful to not have glasses or contacts to deal with or buy anymore. In the long run, we have saved way more than we spent. What city were you in for the surgery? I’ve also had two other surgeries, cholestectomy and a cyst removal, both were the best experience possible in the situation. I feel I get much better health care here than I ever did in the United States.

    • Paul Kortman

      Totally, we generally love our healthcare in Mexico, we’ve had a couple of unique experiences, but that has more to do with us than it does with the “system”.

      We were in Merida when we had Becky’s PRK done, it went well but the outcome isn’t as clear as we wanted it to be, only when reading, and reading glasses don’t help like they should :(

  13. Patrick Fitzsimons

    It’s been a while now. How are Becky’s eyes now? Curious as I’m scheduled to have this done at Videre.


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