So I took the leap and got my vision corrected with laser eye surgery on 4 May (Star Wars day, how appropriate!) I thought I would share the experience in case anyone else had ever considered it and wanted the patient’s point of view as opposed to the salesman chat!
I guess it had always been something on my ‘to do’ list whenever I had a spare bit of cash, but honestly who has spare cash these days? So with a little push from my mum – whose opinion was that I’m only going to get older (thanks!) and might as well do it now and get my money’s worth – I decided to at least go along to the free consultation and see if I was a suitable candidate.
After some initial tests involving lots of eye drops which made my pupils HUGE I was described as the perfect candidate which meant that I was suitable for any of the procedures on offer. The amazing thing about laser surgery is that they can actually improve your vision beyond what can be achieved with glasses or contacts, however this comes at a much higher cost. I was quite content to be able to have the same level of vision that I achieved with glasses, only without having to wear them, and this is exactly what the LASIK procedure offered. It also happened to be the cheapest option which was a huge factor for me!
The consultation was very informative and the optician was very keen to answer any questions or concerns that I had. The only criticism I have is that I was then put under a lot of pressure by the sales assistant to book my procedure that day. I knew I was probably going to go ahead with the surgery, but it was a big decision and I wanted to go away and think about it for a day or two. I was adamant that I wasn’t going to agree to anything until the effects of the trippy eye drops had worn off! So we finally came to an understanding when I agreed that he could call me in a day or two. For me, this high pressure sales technique is really off-putting and I was ready to just walk away.
After thinking things over I decided I really wanted to go ahead with the surgery and booked the procedure for the following month, not realising at the time that I had picked a great day to have such a procedure (although [un]fortunately they didn’t use lightsabers :-))
The time really flew by and before I knew it it was only a few days to go and I had to stop wearing eye makeup (which is worse than it sounds!) and I was starting to get nervous. On the day of the surgery I wasn’t allowed to use deodorant, moisturiser or makeup so I wasn’t feeling myself and really hoped that I wouldn’t bump into anyone I knew on the way there!
I was taken downstairs to the waiting room where I mainly sat for an hour or so, received a couple of eye scans and got to read the paper with a cup of tea! When it was finally my turn I was taken through to the ‘theatre’ where I was given a very attractive hair net to wear whilst the surgeon talked through the procedure with me. At this point I was getting a bit anxious – I really just wanted to get the whole thing over with!
After some more waiting I was finally brought through to the ‘operating room’ which reminded me of a dentist’s surgery. I was asked to lie down on a fancy looking dentist style chair which had a machine leaning over the side of it (the laser!) and a nurse gave me numbing eye drops. This is when everything started to get a little strange…the eye drops meant that I no longer felt the need to blink and the surgeon placed a holder around my eye which would keep it in place and completely prevent me from blinking. My other eye was covered over and I was asked to stare into a red blinking light…
…at this point I really had to concentrate on breathing steadily as I was starting to get a little panicked by all the strange noises and smells around me.
The machine was passed over my eye with lots of beeping and crunching sounds and I had to lie very still for a few seconds whilst a ‘flap’ was created in my lens. This flap would then allow the laser access to my eye under the lens. I then had to stare at the laser whilst the surgeon worked his magic and this is when everything got a little psychedelic! I heard the nurse mutter something about a fibre getting into my eye and so the surgeon had to flush it out before the flap was put back in place.
I have no idea if it was the flap being moved or the strange drops in my eye but all of a sudden I could see a kaleidoscope of eyes and I could even see the tiny fibre in the centre as the surgeon flushed it away. The strangest sensation was being able to see all of this but not feel anything!
This isn’t quite what I experienced, but this image is just as freaky!
This whole process only actually took a few minutes and it was time to swap over to the other eye. The nurse was trying to reassure me by saying that I would at least know what to expect this time, which is true but I still wasn’t looking forward to it! Saying that, the second eye was quicker than the first, which is probably because they didn’t have any pesky fibres to deal with. I did almost panic at one moment because I could no longer see the flashing red light, but it turned out that they were finished and it was just the surgeon’s hand was in the way!
So it was over and I was asked to get up and walk into the next room, which felt strange because everything had a milky haze to it thanks to the drops I had been given. I sat in a dark room for about 20 minutes with my sunglasses on just to let my eyes adjust and to ensure there were no weird side effects from the anesthetic.
My eyes felt so sensitive and it was difficult to keep them open – they actually felt as if they were suddenly too big for my sockets! I made my way back upstairs where my partner met me with a big bag of sweets (as instructed!). The surgeon had told me that the anesthetic would soon wear off and my eyes would feel heavy, gritty and sore so I should go home to sleep for a few hours. Annoyingly we had to deal with Friday rush hour traffic but I was soon home and got into bed wearing some very attractive goggles which would stop me accidentally rubbing my eyes in my sleep.
A few hours later I was woken by lovely pizza smells and I hazily made my way towards it (I was being well looked after!). I could instantly see that my vision had improved but everything lacked a bit of definition and I still felt a little woozy.
The next morning was amazing. I awoke for the first time in about 6 years without reaching over to put my glasses on, and I could see! I actually giggled aloud (although there was nobody home!) and walked through the house in awe at how quickly my eyes had adjusted. It was a beautiful, sunny day and it was lovely being able to look out into the garden and see everything so clearly.
I had a checkup with the opticians so that they could ensure everything had gone as planned and it was a little strange walking around outside – I could see, but my vision lacked a bit of clarity, especially when looking into the distance. The optician confirmed that this was normal – my vision would fluctuate for the first few weeks as my eyes adjust and completely heal. I was given an eye test and it was confirmed that I actually had better than 20/20 vision (which I didn’t realise was possible)!
The healing process would take roughly a week and I had to take two types of drops four times a day. My eyes became quite dry and I was also given normal eye drops to use as often as I needed. I was glad to have had the surgery on the Friday which gave me a couple of days to recover before returning to work on the Monday. Staring at a computer screen all day certainly didn’t help the dryness of my eyes and I was using drops every 20 minutes!
The week was over before I knew it and although it had become really annoying using the drops it was certainly worth it. The redness of my eyes disappeared very quickly and I was soon able to wear my beloved eye liner again!
It has now been just over a month since I had the procedure and I have no regrets. The healing process is so quick and being able to see almost perfectly the following morning was one of the most amazing experiences. The only problem is that one evening after finishing my book, I reached up to take my glasses off and poked myself in the eye. Luckily this was a week or so after the surgery otherwise I could have done some serious damage!
I thoroughly recommend the procedure for anyone who is sick of wearing their glasses. I have been told that I shouldn’t need glasses again until I am in my 40s/50s and so I should have about 20 years of perfect vision ahead of me.
I’ve rambled on quite a bit but I really wanted to give an in-depth view of the whole experience. If you have any questions, please just get in touch. This is truly a life changing procedure, and the decision to go ahead with it shouldn’t be taken lightly. My experience will obviously differ from the next person’s so please don’t hold me accountable if you have any negative experiences. In saying that, if you have had laser eye surgery and had a different experience, either good or bad – please comment and share it below.