12 Dec 2015

My LASEK Laser Eye Surgery Experience

Ever since I was about 5 years old, I have been wearing glasses. I went through the horrible Harry Potter round frame phase, I had pink, blue and purple frames and then in my teens I stuck to the on-trend black plastic frames. When I was about 14, I decided I was fed up of wearing glasses and I got contact lenses. They made me feel so much more confident. It was only until about January of this year when I felt like my contacts were getting in my way quite a lot. In the evenings they would dry up and I would be sat rubbing my eyes because they felt so uncomfortable. Then, I would have to get my contact lens case out and pop my glasses on. It all just started to feel like a burden.

My dad and my sister have had laser eye surgery (poor eyesight sadly runs in the family) and they have never looked back since. I thought I'd start looking at my options and whether I could have the treatment done. So this summer I booked an appointment at Optimax, this is where my dad and sister had it done so it seemed right. It was all very quick and easy. I just had to get some forms from my optician, which confirmed my vision has been stable for the past few years. When I got to my consultation appointment, I was put through a series of scans and had weird drops put in my eyes - all very painless. I then had a meeting with the optometrist so he could go through the options with me and whether I was eligible.

It was a relief knowing that I could have the treatment but it wasn't the same type that I had heard about and familiar with. It was a different one. I knew a lot about LASIK surgery since this was the treatment my dad and sister had done. I was told that due to my high prescription and the fact that the corneal tissue on one of my eyes was too thin, I had to have LASEK treatment. The optometrist informed me that due to this being a more technical procedure, he is unable to do it at the Leicester clinic and I would have to travel to Birmingham for the treatment. He assured me the surgeon at that clinic is very good and I'll be looked after.

After being given quite a few papers regarding the procedure of the treatment, aftercare guides and past patients details incase I have a few questions for them, I agreed to have the treatment and got myself booked in.

The treatment day was starting to get closer and at first I wasn't nervous. The night before my treatment I decided I'd have a look on the Internet for any LASEK surgery information. I came across a video of how the procedure is done. I do not recommend doing this if you are nervous to start with because it is quite squeamish. However, although I did get a bit nervous after watching the video, I was glad I did because it gave me a better visual as to what was going to happen. 

So on the day of my surgery, my sister drove me to Birmingham. We signed in at the clinic and waited for my name to be called. I had to have a few tests again but it didn't take too long. Other people were having their surgery done too so you could see some patients walking out after their surgery with their sunglasses on. During this time a doctor went through the aftercare medications with me. I had been given 4 different eye drops, painkillers, sleeping tablets and some weird eye shields I had to tape to my eyes so I didn't rub them whilst I was asleep. And a few hours later, it was my turn.

I lay on the chair. The surgeon told me to relax and stay very still throughout the procedure. I started to feel very nervous at this stage. They do one eye at a time so one of my eyes was covered with a cotton pad whilst the other was clamped open and my eyelashes were taped to my face (very weird feeling, I think I lost a few eyelashes too). Since I had watched a video of the treatment I felt like I had an idea of what was going on as it happened. I was told to look up at the flashing light throughout the whole surgery.

The surgeon applied a solution into my eyes that numbed the surface and softened the corneal layer. He then used a small tool to create a flap on my actual eye. It was such a weird feeling. I couldn't feel anything apart from the cold drops dripping down my face. I felt like I was in a fishbowl - it's hard to describe. As the surgeon cut away the layer, my vision felt clearer. After that he applied cold water to my eyes and then that is when the laser was turned on. He started to count down from around 20 seconds. I could smell the gases burning from the laser. It was all so quick. After the 20 seconds was over and the surgeon had moved the layer of my cornea back into place, he applied a bandage lens (resembles a contact lens but slightly bigger and thicker) in my eye to protect the open area, which was manually cut.

And that was it. One eye already done at it had been about 5 minutes. He then repeated the procedure on the next eye. Around 10/15 minutes later I was out of the surgery room and wished good luck by the surgeon and nurses. That was it. I popped my sunglasses on and was guided to the car by my sister because my vision was quite blurry straight after the surgery (very normal). On the way home I just slept with a blanket over my face because my eyes were very light sensitive. 

I started to feel a bit of pain kicking in about an hour later. As soon as I got home I had some Ibuprofen and rested. That evening I didn't feel that much pain at all. The only thing that was bothering me was that I had blurry vision and light would sting my eyes, I couldn't really see my phone either. So that was how the first day went. 

The next morning I woke up and my vision was still blurry. The treatment I had done was meant to have a longer recovery process than LASIK surgery. So I didn't expect much result anyway. The next few days were the same. I had to put certain eye drops in at a specific time and I had sleeping tablets as well as painkillers at night so I wasn't uncomfortable.

It was until about a week after the surgery when I had an appointment to get my bandage lens taken out by the optometrist. This was done at the Leicester clinic. Everything was all good, things started to feel a bit more comfortable as soon they came out. He did a quick eye test from which it showed I was on the right track, even though my vision was still pretty terrible. He did inform me that one of my eyes hasn't recovered fully on the surface and it may sting when I put the eye drops in.

So, that evening, as I was trying to sleep a horrible pain started to kick in. It felt like I had a really sharp eyelash in my eye. I didn't rub my eyes because I knew that would make it worse. Honestly, it was the most agonizing pain I had ever felt and it continued for hours. I thought the first 48 hours would consist of the most pain but it wasn't the case for me. I had taken my sleeping tablets and painkillers but they didn't seem to start working until about 5 hours later. Eventually, I fell asleep. 

The next morning I was perfectly fine. No pain at all. The next few days were the same. In the morning my vision was very blurry. Throughout the day, it got a little better.

Two weeks after my surgery, my vision was still pretty bad. I had check ups with the optometrist and he said it was perfectly normal. I saw a drastic difference in my vision during the third week after my surgery. My eyes weren't as light sensitive anymore, I could watch TV now, and I left the house a little more. The 3 week mark also meant I could start wearing makeup again and I could go back to work.

It has been about 3 months now. It still feels weird getting up in the morning and not reaching for my glasses. It's something that isn't really a thought anymore to be honest. It's great. I have just recently had my final check up and I am officially discharged! The past few months have gone flying. Getting laser eye surgery was the best thing I have ever done. I definitely do not regret it and I'd honestly recommend it to anyone who is considering it. 

If you have any questions about the surgery or anything you are curious about... feel free to leave a comment and I'll get back to you! 


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