Last week, I did something incredibly selfish for a whole chunk of money.
I spent $5700 on my eyes.
I never intended to write this post, but now, a week later, I feel like sharing. While this is (mostly) a food blog, the most commented post is one I wrote back in 2012 about wearing glasses. I’ve worn glasses since high school. That’s 18 years of glasses.
I never found glasses comfortable but a necessity. I have a flat nose and my glasses slide down my face but if I push my glasses up they sit too close to my eyes, bothering me because my lashes kiss the lens with each blink. I have to admit though, the hipster trend has been great for glasses wearers. Glasses look cool now. Just a shame that happened 10 years after high school.
I wore contacts a lot when I was younger. Though I prefer the feeling of glasses over the hassle of wearing contacts. I remember a moment between The Koala and I, the first time he saw me wearing glasses.
Him: “You’re wearing glasses! I didn’t know you wore glasses”.
Me: “Well…I do.”
Five years ago when I wrote my glasses post, LASIK wasn’t in my peripheral. I never looked into LASIK because I assumed it was prohibitively expensive and the idea was scary tome. I assumed that LASIK was for sporty, vain or the well off people. I am none of those things. Also, as someone who frequently watches horror movies, eye torture always struck a chord with me.
The names LASIK and iLASIK are often used and the main thing you need to know is that iLASIK is the newer technology and is uses 2 lasers, while LASIK may use a blade and a laser. iLASIK is more accurate than LASIK and for me, that’s really all I needed to know. About a month ago, just before my 34th birthday, I decided to see if I was a candidate for iLASIK. I booked in to see the team at Eye Institute in Remuera and a week later, they confirmed I was an ideal candidate. My surgery date was booked. The best birthday present ever. I spent the following month working hard to raise the funds.
For research, I read about iLASIK experiences online but I purposefully avoided watching videos or searching for images. Maybe that’s weird since I’m a visual person but honestly, I trust that my surgeon knows what they are doing. I didn’t need (or want) to see the surgery. I was more interested in the life improvement part, not the science.
So, last Friday, I walked 40 minutes to my appointment. I chose to walk because I planned confinement for a couple of days and it would be my last chance to get some steps in. The Koala would pick me up after surgery to escort and drive me home.
Dr Adam Watson and his team at Eye Institute are super nice and talked me through every stage of the process. Their calm demeanour put me at ease. As much as I could be. However, I’m not going to lie, getting iLASIK is a spectacularly weird experience.
After the meditative effects of relaxing for a while, leaning back in an easy chair, numbing drops put in and my eyes closed and gently wiped, I’m lead into the operating room. The room is white with a slightly raised platform in the centre. Machinery flanks the operating chair and it looks like a movie set for a space travel film. I shimmy into position.
I lie awake, left eye taped shut, the right eye taped and prised open as my surgeon makes adjustments to the surface of my eye. I can’t physically blink but my job is to keep my eye steady. It’s not easy, but I try to relax. Nausea tiptoes along my belly. But there’s no way I can throw up. I push the feeling away.
There is no pain but there is pressure. The peculiar sensation of my eye being firmly touched, tapped, brushed. As instructed, I concentrate on the green light above. This light is not the laser, it’s just a green light. Actually, you can’t see the laser. I should see a precise green dot of light, but partway through – after the flap has been created but before adjustments have been made – the green dot is fluffy green aura and can’t help but think, what if something happened right this moment and the surgery is abandoned and and I’m left with fluffy aura vision of the world? No. Relax. A few minutes later, my right eye is taped shut and the whole process is repeated on my left. I’m lead into a room to recover. It is over quickly and I’m home within an hour after surgery.
One thing I was anxious about in surgery was the smell. People always mention a peculiar smell. I imagined the smell of flesh burning. I was afraid it would smell like barbecue and I would be put off barbecue forever. Thank goodness it’s nothing like that. There’s a faint chemical smell for an instant and then it’s gone. No burning.
While uncomfortable, I didn’t experience pain during surgery. Numbing eye drops are used for surgery and I was given 2 x Paracetamol before surgery. I felt some stinging a 2-3 hours after surgery but this passed after my second (and last) dose of Paracetamol. That was all the pain relief I needed because the next morning I woke up with no pain and have been pain free since. I was surprised how little pain there was. I get my teeth cleaned at the dentist twice a year. That pain is worse.
I have vision immediately after surgery. There are sharp outlines, though the texture is hazy and bright light is diffused. If you Photoshop or Insta-filter, it reminded me of a soft focus lens effect. Dreamy. Glamour shots.
At home, I draw the curtains and I set myself up in bed with podcasts I loaded up days prior.
I am encouraged to keep my eyes closed while I heal for the first night. My eyes feel more comfortable closed but I naturally want to test them out. I peep at my phone but ghost my computer for a day.
I look goofy with plastic shields taped to my face. These will come off tomorrow.
I take a few Snapchats.
I peer into my eyes through the mirror. Examining. Looking for a sign that they have changed. Anything. They don’t look any different.
I nap, I eat dinner, I sleep.
The morning after is my first check up. My eyes are examined and are doing well. I rattle off the letters and my vision is 20/20. Actually, that’s a lie, I can see two lines smaller than 20/20. I’m elated.
For the record, I was short sighted with a tiny amount of astigmatism with prescription of -3.25 and -3.75. Those were all fixed with iLASIK. I’m given a bunch of eye drops: antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and lubricating. I add my old prescriptions to the pile of donated glasses in the waiting area, bound for Fiji.
Waking up each morning and even in the night, it’s a pleasure to be able to see. Suddenly, I can see when I’m in the shower. I don’t play sports so I don’t have to wait for that, but I’m looking forward to next week when I can go for my first swim. I used to wear contacts to the beach if I wanted to see. Otherwise, I’m blind as a mole rat in the water. The weather has been unusually warm for the start of December and hopefully this means a wonderful summer with plenty of beach time.
There are no glasses getting grubby while I cook.
There are no glasses sliding off my face when I’m styling and photographing.
There are no glasses.
There are no glasses.
There are no glasses.
I got iLASIK. It was weird. It was great.
This post isn’t to convince you to get iLASIK, everyone has their own reasons but now that I’ve done it, I would 100% recommend it to anyone who is a candidate. No hesitation.
This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my surgery in full and this is an account of my experience. YMMV. The information in this post should in no way be used in place of the advice of healthcare professionals.
I had the surgery about 10 years ago, cheaper here in Canada. And I didn’t have to wear any shields. I had to have PRK, which is extremely fuzzy vision for a week and many months of drops. Still, I wished I’d done it way sooner. Here’s to happy new eyes. 🙂
Cheers Colleen! To happy new eyes!
Congratulations! I got LASEK (another variation) & it was the best thing ever. I cried as soon as I got out of surgery & they tested my vision! It took me years to get used to waking up in the morning & being able to see, lol. I, too, recommend laser eye surgery to anyone who is
Aw, yes! So glad it was a success 🙂 I’ve worn glasses since I can remember, and have always wanted to get LASIK but have heard that it’s better to get once you’re 40 — hm.
That’s so interesting. I think it’s worth investigating again as the ideal age might have changed. Most people I know got theirs done before they turned 30. I probably should have too.
I really enjoyed your post, I too got LASIK last February and it changed my life 😄