Monday, 7 October 2013

I Can See Clearly Now

Mostly unrelated photo but hey look, it’s me the day after my 30th birthday in Prague, wearing glasses.

It’s been just over a year now since I had my eyes fixed. At the time I thought I’d live with it for a bit and let you know my thoughts. A year on, much travel and some day to day life later, I’ve certainly lived with it and love it.

It was one of those things I always thought would be nice, you know, if I was rich. I’d never really looked into it on the basis it was probably beyond reach. Friends and colleagues around me had had it done and kept recommending it though. Then, on a sunny weekend in Dubrovnik last year, my travel buddy and colleague, P, mentioned she was getting it done that very next week.  I decided then to look into it.

After a few consultations, I had my treatment on Friday 21 September 2012 in central London. There are various treatment options and I went for the most expensive. My rationale being that if I’m going to play with my eyes, I’m damn well going to do the best for them.  As I mentioned a year ago now, I had LASIK (as opposed to LASEK) and opted for wavefront intralase.

The difference between LASIK and LASEK (from what I remember) is mainly to do with how the flap in the cornea for the laser work is made and the recovery time. With LASIK, it is done by lasers and reduces the post treatment recover period. The wavefront refers to how the sight corrections were done.  Wavefront is a pricier treatment where the corrections are mapped to the shape of my eyes, rather than a standard prescription across all of my eye.

I had my procedure on a Friday so I could recover on a Friday. After a several further tests and consultations, I was taken into the treatment room. The actual procedure really only took a few minutes but with all the checks and tests, I was at the clinic for around three hours. After the procedure and some recovery time (about half an hour), I caught a taxi home and went to sleep, wearing protective goggles to ward of any rubbing I might want to do. I was able to see clearly as soon as a few hours later although my eyes were watery for around 24 hours.

The consultations leading up to the treatment prepared me for what was coming but one thing that no opthamologist or friend mentioned was the smell of your eyes being lasered. Whilst passing, it was easily the worst part of the procedure.

Walking around London on Saturday before my 24 follow up appointment was incredible. I could see. Clearly. Further appointments followed at the 3 day, 7 day, 1 month and 3 month mark. There was a decently involved eye drop routine for a while (antibiotics, antiseptics, moistening ones) and some mild dryness in the eyes for the first week but it was incredible how quickly glasses became a thing of my past. It was at my 3 month checkup (held after 2.1 months as I was leaving the country) I donated all my old eyewear.

A year on and I couldn’t be happier. It’s made life on the road a lot easier. Whlist wearing glasses for work never really bothered me, I’d never really taken to contacts for extended periods (8 hours or more). Travelling would mean taking glasses (and a spare pair), prescription sunglasses (not very nice ones – I always struggled to find frames I liked that would take prescription and polarization), basic sunglasses (for wear with contacts) and contacts (for water sports or any sort of activity really). I find my eyes are more susceptible to glare and I’m quicker to put sunglasses on but I haven’t had any problems with night vision or anything.  All in all, I’m really glad I spent the money and did it.

Do you wear glasses? Have you ever considered laser correction or have you already had it? Any other questions?
It’s not a cheap treatment (it cost me £1,495 per eye) but when I looked into it, I found it to be a lot cheaper in London than Australia hence going for it when I did. At that time, I also needed a new prescription written for contacts, my glasses were two years old and my sunglasses five. ie. I was going to be spending a decent amount on eyewear within the coming months anyway. I used Optical Express as their locations were convenient and I was happy with them.

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