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Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Lasik Experience


It was late last year when I decided that I want/need to go for LASIK.

Over the years, I've constantly been changing my specs and contacts because my degree keep increasing Because my degree is high, at about 1000 each eye + astigmatism, making cutomized lenses do not come cheap.

I started wearing glasses when I was 7 years old, every year my degree would increase despite not watching television within close proximity, or lying down to read.  I always remind myself not to engage in habits that are bad for my sight.  But it didn't work anyway -___- so making specs is like an annual ritual for me. T.T

I always envy those who can spend hundreds on gorgeous frames, with their lens costing less than $100, whuttt.  My lens are expensive (got to be plastic and request for ultra thin) so my frame have to be as cheap as possible, so my specs all quite ugly! :(

In secondary 1 when I joined dance, it was a hassle for me to wear specs during practices.  All that sweat on my face caused my heavy specs (already plastic lens) keep slipping down my non-existent nose bridge.  At that time wearing contact lens was new to me, but I decided it would give me an easier time during my CCA.  And it did, for a year.  Eyesight still became worse every year, and soft lens can be really troublesome if you don't clean it properly.

The following year my optician recommended me to go for Rigid Gas Permeable lenses or just hard lens.  This is suitable for those who have high degrees as it is said to stabilize the myopia condition.  Hard lens are much smaller in size as compared to the usual soft lens, and is smaller than your iris.  In this case, your eyes will get more oxygen and less likely to feel dry.  It is still plastic, but no longer soft and bendable.  It is shaped according to the shape of your eyeball.  Since it is made of a harder and thicker material than the soft lens, the eyes need at least 1-2 weeks to get used to it at first. 

I've been wearing hard lens ever since, each pair lasting about 2 years.  The cheapest pair I can get is $300 so it's costly.  And this price does not include those solutions that are needed to maintain the cleanliness of the lenses!

If you think about it,  the one-time investment in a Lasik surgery means I don't have to spend hundreds every 3-6 months on the lenses and solutions.  My vision have gotten blurry last year even with a rather new specs and lens, so I say to myself: TIME FOR LASIK.

Called a couple of centers to compare the prices for:
1) Eye checkup, whether your cornea is thick enough to try Lasik and
2) The surgery itself + reviews + medicine

My dad encouraged me to go for a check up at Tan Tock Seng Hospital Lasik Center,  but the queue is UNBELIEVABLE, even for over-the-phone appointment booking.  You have to book at least 1-2 months in advance and cannot even be 5 mins late for the checkup appointment.  The fee is about $80 (if I didn't remember wrongly).

Note: Before your eye check up, you must not wear your contact soft contact lens for 3 days, soft toric lenses for 7 days, and hard lens for 2 weeks.  

I spent hours reading about Lasik online and browsing forums on people's experience at different medical centers and concluded that Jerry Tan Eye Surgery is probably my best bet. So I called them and the price they roughly quoted me was $8000+ (!).  Too expensive.  Had to look for an alternative. 

Then I recalled having a friend who did his surgery at Shinagawa Lasik Centre and gave me direct positive feedback.  Gave them a call and I could arrange for a appointment immediately!  Yay.  On top of that, the check-up was free.  Granted, during the eye checkup everything was very mechanical, me moving from stations to stations and answering questions whenever I was asked regarding my eye history, but the whole procedure didn't take long.  At the end of it, a 15-min clip will be shown to tell you what Lasik is all about.

I booked my Lasik surgery on the same day after the checkup after they told me my eyes are good to go. :D

Note: 
  • Before the surgery, same thing - you must not wear your contact soft contact lens for 3 days, soft toric lenses for 7 days, and hard lens for 2 weeks.  
  • Clean all eye make up  and no other eye makeup allowed 4 days before the surgery date
Daddy and I went down early in the morning to make payment first, then make an appointment for next day's review.

The operation suite is rather cold, so it's better to wear a jacket or long sleeves.

I kept all my belongings in a locker, took out my specs (say bye bye!), and wore gown+shower cap.  Nurses came to clean my eye area and anesthetic eyedrops were instilled into my eyes.  After a final check by the doctor, I was guided to the Intralase laser to create the flap.  The flap is created but not opened, so I could still blink.

Then I was brought back to the waiting area to let the bubbles under the flap to clear.  After 15-20 mins, I was guided to the operating room for the laser treatment to correct the power of the eye.

The actual refractive surgery was only around 15 secs I think. Most of the time was spent on preparation (the springy device to keep my eyes opened).  I was asked to fixate at a light during the laser treatment.

The procedure is not painful at all.  If anything, it's really just the stress you're giving yourself!  :)

After the surgery, both my eyes were closed but I was led to another waiting room to rest for about 1/2 hour.  Nurses do come back and check on me and instill some more eyedrops. I was very eager and slightly opened my eyes to see if really my vision become perfect. Haha.

By then I felt like my vision has already recovered by half coz' I can see my fingers on the arm rest (ah ya, normally is just beige blur shapes)!  So happy!

I was advised on how to put the other medications and went home straight after.  Bring your sunglasses along coz' everything will be too bright/glaring and impossible to look at.



Trust me, you would definitely WANT to go home!  Initially I didn't know why was sleeping pills needed until the same late afternoon.  I don't really know how to describe that feeling, it's not exactly pain, but it was just extremely uncomfortable, and my eyes tearing non-stop.  I couldn't sleep and those pills are lifesavers!  Sleep is seriously the MOST effective way to work off  the discomfort(I was okay again by night).

For one week:
  • I cannot put any make up or eye care products
  • I didn't wash my face (used wipes instead) coz' no water and soap should get into my eyes
  • I refrained from rubbing, touching or scratching my eyes
  • Wore eye shields to sleep (included)

The following morning was wonderful. Everything was just like how I'd imagine - waking up one day and I can see everything CLEARLY!!!  Super happy please. 

I headed back for a checkup and healing seems to proceed normally.  However, after a week my left eye still had a little blood staining:


My right eye don't have this at all so I was a bit concerned. Asked the doctor about it and he said it might take another week or so to subside (which it did, just slower).

 My face looks oily right? Hahaha no choice if I wanna protect my new eyes!

I wore my shades pretty much wherever I go (yes even shopping malls coz' the lights are bright!!), and diligently put eyedrops + sleep early.

Now that it's 5 months after the surgery, there is indeed some regression (my right vision has 'shadows' and not as sharp).  The doctor had already told me before hand that there is still a chance that the degree will be up again (~15%) and I was fine with that.  Having said that, I can still read, type, attend classes, do things at ease without any visual aids!

Just remember that you will still have to take care of your eyes - get sufficient rest (on nights I only slept a few hours, next day's vision is blurry) and always keep in hydrated!   

The surgery for both my eyes + follow up  + meds cost about $3200 after GST.  My doctor is Dr. Lee Sao Bing. Shinagawa is located at Wheelock Place so it's pretty convenient.

Oh by the way this is not an advertorial!  Somebody requested for an entry about my experience so here goes! ^^ Sorry it took so long!

If there are anything else that I can help you with, let me know in the comments. :)

4 comments:

Michelle Ang said...

You are so brave! Interesting post. Definitely worth the tears~

Thiang! said...

Thank you Michelle!

Lasik is a lifesaver! :D

alexis ng said...

hi!
chanced upon your blog when i was researching about the clinic.
i have similar degree as your eyes so i'm afraid of regression too.
would like to know since its already been 2 years, are u still getting regression?

pristymo said...

Hi! I have degree similar to yours. I am really scared and apprehensive about LASIK. Can you share some of your side effects that you are still currently facing? Also, which machine did you use? AMARIS/ Wavelight?

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