Laser Eye Surgery
I bet you are all thinking, why the hell am I talking about laser eye surgery?! This is a blog about eyewear after all. However,I do want to cover all things eye related and my experiences as a glasses wearer.
As a wearer from the age of twelve I can put my hands up and say I really miss waking up in the morning and just being able to see things clearly. That feeling became more prominent when I became a mum. I used to hate it when my daughter was crying but I couldn’t see her in the cot next to me, everything was just a blur and when she got a bit bigger, I could never see her happy smiley face straight away when I woke up.
So yes, laser eye surgery is something that has crossed my mind several times. However, I have always been too much of a wuss to take it any further. Recently, I met up with a few friends and the topic of laser eye surgery came up. For some reason, after all those conversations on laser eye surgery and probably after having one too many glasses of gin (ha!) I actually booked myself a consultation.
Am I Suitable for Laser Eye Surgery?
I wanted to see if 1) I can even get laser eye surgery 2) what it actually entails 3) it is affordable. I booked my consultation with Optical Express because that seems to be the obvious choice since I see their adverts everywhere.
How did it go and what was my experience? Before I start, I just wanted to clarify this is not sponsored content. I did this off my own back and for my own curiosity. Now, I am just sharing my experience with you all to give you a bit more first hand information if you are considering laser eye surgery.
Before the appointment, I decided to go with an open mind, I did a little research on the types of surgery available but on the whole I didn’t know what to expect. Before going I did ask myself, what if I can have it done and it is affordable, would I have it done? What do I class as affordable? Considering all the advert from Optical Express says it starts from £595 per eye, I thought they always draw you in with the cheapest price but if the surgery is around £3000 for both eyes then it feels acceptable for what I would gain.
What happened during the appointment? Well, first of all, I was taken to 5 different machines to check if my eyes were suitable for the surgery. They checked my vision, my eye health, my cornea, I had an iDesign scan which takes a 3D scan of my eyes and maps everything out and finally I had an OCT (Ocular Coherence Tomography) scan.
LASEK OR LASIK Laser Eye Surgery?
During my consultation, I was seen by an ophthalmologist who asked me some questions about my lifestyle and I mentioned that kick boxing is one of my hobbies which I would like to go back to in the future. As soon as I said that he said I am only suitable for the LASEK. That was before anything was explained to me about the two different types I can get. It was a good job I did some research before my appointment.
When I asked why can I not get LASIK, he explained that if I get hit, it may knock my correction out of place. Ok, fine but I also wanted to know if I could not get LASIK at all because that was not mentioned. Bearing in mind, at this point of the appointment, he had not even looked at my report yet from all the tests I had, so he cannot possibly know if my eyes were suitable or not. Plus I am not 100% sure if I will go back to kick boxing so I wanted to know all my options. After that, he did look at my report. It turns out I am only eligible for LASEK because of the thickness of my cornea.
Once that was established he explained what the LASEK procedure involved. Everything he said actually made me want to vomit. I think from that point, I thought to myself laser eye surgery REALLY isn’t for me. The procedure itself is much more invasive than LASIK. The recovery period is totally unappealing to me also, especially with my life as a mother to two young children. If I had LASEK, first of all my vision will not be perfect straight away. In fact, it will take me up to 12 weeks to get to the perfect 20/20 vision. That seems like a very long time. I would be in pain for at least the first 2 days so I may just want to close my eyes for 2 days and sleep. I would not be able to drive for at least 10 day, although that could be longer if my vision doesn’t reach the legal level to be able to drive. None of that sounds practical to me as a mum to small children. I really cannot imagine being out of action for that long as a mother.
We continued on with the consultation to check my eyes to ensure they are healthy. He added some drops to my eyes which opened my pupil up. I was informed about this before the appointment. I was told I will not be able to drive because my vision will be blurry after the drop and the effect may last for about 4 hours. I made sure my husband was able to pick me up like I was told. The drop itself and the checks involved were absolutely fine. However, what I have a problem with is they failed to tell me that bright light will really irritate me, I cannot wear contact lenses and the effect of the drops can last up to 24hrs for some people. You know what, I was “some people”. My vision was still not right after 20hrs.
After the drops were done, all examinations finished and consultation was over, I was given the price for the surgery. For my vision (at -4.50 on both eyes), the surgery will cost me an eye watering £4,800 for LASEK, which isn’t as good as LASIK. I must admit, I did not expect that figure considering how different it was from their adverts, it didn’t feel like it could get that expensive. I was fooled by the marketing of FROM £595 and didn’t read that the small print stating only about 2% of the population can get it done for that price. Shame on me for not reading the small print!
Read the Small Print!
Small print aside, what annoyed me the most was that after my consultation I was taken to the booking room to talk about finance plans and to possibly sign the contract if I wanted to go ahead, there and then. By this point my vision was so blurry that I could barely see my 10 fingers and they were giving me a load of paper work with finance plans. It didn’t make sense to me, I couldn’t read it! I let them know and the lady who saw me did say I can take the finance plans away to have a read and she will give me a call in about 4hrs time to discuss. However, after that, she did ask me if I am interested to sign the paperwork to say I am happy to go ahead with the surgery because there is a cooling off period. The answer was a simple no. Why on earth would I want to sign anything I could not even read!
It was also at that point and only this girl told me that the drops I had, could last up to 24 hours! I said “Oh, ok, I was not told that it could last this long”. My appointment was over by 12pm and when I came out, it was sunny-ish so I had my transitions on. However, the sunlight just felt too bright for me, it was giving me a bad headache. When I got home I just had to sit in a dark room and close my eyes. I was out of it. Four hours went by and my vision was still blurry, admittedly not as bad but it still made me feel odd. I couldn’t even watch the television because it felt too bright.
Well, laser eye surgery is really NOT for me. This experiment absolutely confirms it. The LASEK procedure freaks me out, the recovery time is absolutely unappealing and the cost involved just isn’t feasible for me right now. Living costs are rising and getting laser eye surgery isn’t a priority, but putting food on the table is. I know some people hate wearing glasses and that may be a deciding factor but I really don’t mind it. I am also lucky that my glasses and lenses are often gifted to me so they do not cost me anything (thank you to all the eyewear and lens brands out there that have done this).
The main thing that bothers me with my current use of glasses and contacts is the amount of little plastic waste I am producing each time I wear a pair of contact lenses. If I was offered LASIK, the far less invasive procedure (with basically zero recovery time). Would I be tempted? I don’t know just because at the end of the day, it is classed as surgery and with any surgery there is a risk involved. I am dead against the idea of going blind. The cost is a massive factor too.
Being a glasses wearer doesn’t bother me at all and I am getting on alright with contact lenses after my eye ulcer episode. Therefore I will conclude my laser eye surgery journey as “not for me”. All my friends who’ve had it done all raved about it and how life changing it is. I do not dispute that because I wish I could see clearly every morning as soon as I open my eyes. For me, there are more negative than positive points to having laser eye surgery. All my friends who have had it done (there are about 6 of them) all said the side effects of odd night vision is very real. Not to a point that it annoys them but they describe it as, it can feel odd but you will get used to it. Again, not something that was explained clearly to me during my consultation. Laser eye surgery… it’s a no from me.