• Hayley ❀

Laser Eye Surgery: My Experience

I was 10 years old when I was first told I had bad eyesight and was paired with glasses. I remember the first day I took them to school, put them on and I could finally read the whiteboard, it was a revelation for me! Fast forward 13 years, countless pairs of glasses and I was fed up. I didn't really like wearing glasses so I relied mostly on contact lenses but they started to irritate and dry my eyes out. My prescription meant that I had to wear my contacts every minute of the day, my left eye was -2.75 with an astigmatism (where the eye is defected due to it being spherical which distorts the vision) and my right eye was -2.50. As I started to travel more the contacts became an ongoing issue and it became apparent that something needed to be done, this is why I decided to have Laser Eye surgery.

It was extremely tricky to find a place to do the surgery, especially one I fully trusted - I was sceptical as I had heard some horror stories like I'm sure you have too. When speaking with various people, hearing a mixture of opinions as to where to get the surgery done, I soon found myself on the London Vision Clinic website and after a little more research and reading reviews from thousands of people, I knew this was the place to get it done. The first step was to download their info guide which explained in detail about the clinic and the surgery itself. 

After reading the info guide and learning about their surgeons I decided that if I was suitable for the surgery I would request to have it done by Professor Dan Reinstein. He is a fantastic Ophthalmic surgeon, founder of London Vision Clinic, and also co-inventor of the Artemis scanner which scans the corneal to be able to safely treat higher prescriptions making laser eye surgery available to more people! Alongside all of his many achievements, he helped develop ReLEX SMILE which is the treatment I need to have. I would highly recommend checking out Professor Reinstein and all his qualifications - I was blown away! If you decide to go to a different clinic then make sure you do extensive research into the clinic and surgeon before committing to anything. 

There are a few  methods of laser eye surgery that The London Vision Clinic offer and two of these are LASIK (Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis) and ReLEX SMILE (Refractive Lenticule Extraction, Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. ) With the LASIK they use a laser to cut a flap in your eye to reach the cornea, this is 26mm long around the eye. Using another laser they reshape the cornea which is what changes your vision allowing you to see. Before putting the flap back down allowing the eye to heal itself. 

With the SMILE surgery, the main difference is that they do not create the flap but they make a small incision hole which is less invasive as its only 2mm long and the recovery is better due to this. With this method, it does take longer for the sight to come through but within 3/4 weeks the sight will stable. 

As with everything there are risks but these are explained at the initial consultation, there are a few side effects that you will definitely experience such as dry eye, glares and halos around lights especially at night but within a few days this will go. Many of the risks you hear about aren't actually true and the surgery is a lot safer and quicker than many people think. 

Heres a few myths that Professor Reinstein told me are often heard but completely untrue:

+ You can end up blind

+ It doesn't last very long and it may need redoing 

+ It can not re-correct an astigmatism 

+ The prescription has to be stable

+ If something was to go wrong there's nothing that can be done

+ Contact lenses are safer than laser eye surgery

It is crazy how many false myths there are around laser eye surgery so if you are considering surgery it’s best to book an appointment to discuss all your worries and hear about the risks, the method of the procedure and also to find out if you are suitable. I'm sure you will be surprised as to how small the risks are.

The Process:

The whole process with London Vision Clinic is very smooth and simple. Starting with your first consultation lasting around 3 hours, where they perform extensive tests, find out if you're suitable and also run through everything and answer your questions. The staff are extremely attentive and the whole environment in the clinic is relaxed and welcoming, helping to ease any nerves. 

Once you've gone home and taken in all the information that was given to you at the consultation and decide its time you want to go ahead with the surgery, another appointment is made with your chosen surgeon and this is a chance to meet them, have further tests and prepare for the day of surgery! 

The day of surgery was a lot better than I had expected and my experience of the day was fantastic. As soon as I arrived I was taken to see a nurse who ran through how the day was going to go and then explained what I needed to do to ensure I completed the correct steps during after-care. I was then taken into a relaxation room and given a small head a neck massage to help calm my nerves. 

Now it was time for the main event! After being fitted with a disposable hat and shoe covers I was guided into the operating room. I should have felt intimidated with all the machinery and the 4 operating nurses alongside Professor Reinstein, but I didn’t, I felt in very capable hands. Each step of the process was explained to me and they guided me onto the bed in the correct position and the surgery began. 

Firstly my eye was opened by a small clamping device, it didn't hurt at all and the fact of not being able to blink was soon a normal feeling, I quickly forgot the device was there. I could see a small green light and was advised to continue staring at it, the light slowly disappeared and eventually, all I could see was a yellow light (a bit like looking into the sun but not as bright.) Throughout the process, I was continuously told what was happening which was really comforting. The laser part was done but Professor Reinstein needed to finish the surgery by removing the part he lasered off and this was done simply by pulling it out of the keyhole that was made, I could not feel this at all and didn’t even know this was happening until it was over. Within a matter of minutes that was the first eye done! I still can't believe how simple, fast and pain-free it was. 

The same process was repeated for the second eye and before I knew it the surgery was completed! As I sat up I could instantly tell that my eyesight had improved, I could see all the numbers on the clock on the opposite wall which was insane! The SMILE surgery that suited my eyes better meant my vision was a bit misty and it would take a further 3/4 weeks until the vision was 100%.

Once the surgery and all the necessary checks have been done I was told I could leave so I headed back to the hotel. I was advised to wear sunglasses due to light sensitivity, and then as instructed I laid down with my eyes closed for three hours whilst applying drops every 30 minutes, being waited on hand and foot by Jacob. I'm very lucky!

As I mentioned the method of surgery that I had meant the healing process was slightly longer but the aftercare at LVC is amazing! They give you your own pack with eye drops (3 different types for different purposes), a timer, tissues and even these awful looking eye shields that are required to be worn for the first 7 nights! You also get the surgeons number for emergencies and I received many courtesy calls to check how my recovery was going.

(My eyes 24 hours after surgery- the yellow tinge on my eyelids is a dye used for doing necessary tests)

(This is a image of my eye 24 hours after the surgery, in the red circle is the small incision that is starting to heal)

My surgery was completed over a month and a half ago and things have been going incredibly well, I had one follow up appointment and due to have another in May 2018 but my eyes feel incredible!

I decided to write this blog as I know there are many people who are nervous about laser eye surgery and I really hope that this blog can help put some people at ease if they are considering laser eye surgery, whilst also giving insight as to what to expect. If you are considering it then I'd highly recommend booking a consultation as you're not obliged to go ahead with it, however it’s nice to have questions answered and be correctly informed about the surgery. It has without a doubt been life changing for me and id love for you to experience that too!

P.S - This was not at all sponsored post, I paid the full price for my surgery and am so happy with the results!

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