I've been putting off laser eye surgery year after year, mainly because I have a phobia of anything coming into contact with my eye, let alone having surgery on it. However I was so fed up with contact lenses due to the hassle of getting them in, sore dry eyes and having them float around, that I hardly wore them. And my glasses are no better - covered in scratches and dirt, frames bend easily, lenses fall out and having to carry around (and buy) prescription sunglasses as well. So after speaking with a friend who recently had this done I finally took steps to get my vision corrected. My current prescription is -6 and -6.25 so I need quite strong (thick) lenses.
I contacted Optical Express in Edinburgh and arranged a free consultation and eye test and after speaking with them I decided to just get it done. I went for the iDesign iLASIK procedure which was completed a few days ago.
During the consultation they did a number of tests on my eyes including some fancy computer modelling to get the most accurate and precise measurements, some of which are shown below.
Pentacam is a diagnostic tool that uses a sophisticated camera system to scan the anterior eye (cornea, anterior chamber, iris, and lens) and construct a 3D map of the eye from up to 25,000 measured data points and is used to calculate corrective treatments.
On arriving in the clinic on the day of the operation I was taken to the prep room where was given a quick health check before being taken to the operating room. Once settled into the chair they fitted a device to keep my eye open then administered a few eye drops and covered the other eye. They then placed the first machine over the uncovered eye. It was quite uncomfortable, but not as bad as I though it would be. The first machine uses a laser to make an incision, after which the surgeon pulls back a flap and lowers the second machine. Again, this was uncomfortable but not as bad as I thought it would be. They said to look at the red dot, but my vision was so bad I could only make out a glow, plus the machine puts some pressure on my eye (like pressing onto your eyelid and you see patterns) so after a few seconds I couldn't even see that. The machine makes a few clicks and I can start to see a black dot, then red, and with each click the red dot gets clearer and sharper, and after about 40 seconds its done. The process was repeated on the other eye and less than 5 minutes after I sat down it was all done.
I remember sitting down in the chair they took my glasses and I couldn't see anything around me. When I sat up I could see the operating room and even tell the time from the clock on the far wall! My vision was already much improved although quite milky. This was normal they said. After a few minutes to adjust (going from glasses to contact lenses makes me a little wobbly due to the changes in visual distortions, or lack off. Wearing glasses is like looking into a fish tank and getting used to that feeling. When my vision was corrected its the same feeling. It only lasted a few moments, then they took me to the eye examination room where they did some visual checks and an eye test. Even after just 10 minutes my vision was better than 20/20.
So that was the worst part over right? Nope.
I though the surgery would be the worst part, but the recovery was awful.
About 20 minutes after the procedure my eyes started getting a little itchy and sore, and a few minutes later starts to get quite uncomfortable. Riding home in the taxi my eyes are so light sensitive (due to the drops they put in) that I have to close my eyes and so much pain that my eyes are watering non-stop. Even getting home, closing all the curtains and blocking out all light I can see, a single candle my fiancee used to get around for herself was too bright. I took te advice given to me in the clinic and went to bed to sleep it off, however it was so uncomfortable I couldn't sleep, just lie down and keep my eyes closed. They give a set of eye cups and goggles to prevent any accidental rubbing and itching at night so with these on I tried to get some sleep.
The only way I can describe the feeling is like chopping 100 onions whilst rubbing sand into your eyes. Its non-stop and closing eyes doesn't help. This lasted for about 5 hours then gradually became bearable. By the next morning it was pretty much gone, just a feeling like some grit or sand in my eye but nothing compared to the day before. They give plenty of eye drops for the pain, lubrication and infection control.
A week later and everything is just perfect, no pain, discomfort or tiredness, back driving and still getting used to how much my vision is improved. Not only can I SEE the block of flats on the hill opposite, I can make out the individual windows and balconies - at a distance of nearly 2 miles!
Whilst laser eye surgery is not for everyone, if you are thinking of getting it done - stop procrastinating and get it done - the few days of discomfort are worth it in the long run.
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