Laser eye surgery is becoming an increasingly popular procedure and with rapidly improving technology, is sure to become the preferred choice for glasses/contact wearers. After 10 years of being a glasses-wearer, I decided to have the procedure done. I found that there were a lot of Chinese whispers going around about what it would actually be like that turned out to be false so I decided to share my experience with you. If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I will get back to you ☺️
It’s quite a long drawn out process that requires multiple visits to the clinic so make sure you consider location when choosing a provider. The initial consultation involves a few eye tests similar to what you would have done at your regular opticians appointment. Afterwards you will be told whether you are eligible for the surgery or not. As of yet the procedure can only correct short-sightedness so if you cant see things that are far away you will most likely be suitable. You must be over the age of 22 and your prescription should be relatively stable for a period of 1 year. My eyesight was quite bad, I was a -5.00 and the technician informed me that once your prescription goes beyond -6.00 the chance of you obtaining a 20/20 vision result is significantly lowered.
What I didn’t know is that the baseline price you see on the ad’s on tv with the little * after it is the price for the tiniest prescription of -0.05 and for every level you go down after that, the price rises. It rises a lot. I was quoted €4950 for the two eyes and I nearly had a conniption. Heres a tip, never accept the first price they give you. When you say you’re unsure they will do the usual routine of leaving the room to “ask their boss” if they can get you a discount and they always come back with a lower figure the second time. In the end I paid €4100 for both eyes but again, my prescription was very high so if your eyes aren’t that bad you will pay much less.
There are two laser eye surgery procedures available, LASIK and LASEK. LASIK is done within the eye itself and I was told the recovery time was 24 hours. LASEK is done on top of the eye meaning it is much more painful and has a 5 day recovery time. The LASIK is slightly more expensive but I figured it would be worth it as I didn’t fancy the long drawn out recovery time involved with the other procedure. I was made watch an information video detailing all the risks of surgery and was given a big booklet to read at home. I chose my operation date for three weeks time and was delighted I would have it done before Christmas. A week before the surgery I had a call from the surgeon who again went through the risks with me, explained the two different procedures available and answered any questions I had.
I was told I would be in and out of the clinic within two hours on the day of my surgery but it was more like five. I sat in the waiting area with three other people who were having it done that day and every now and then a poor aul sod would stumble out of the swinging doors covering their eyes and grumbling which added to the anxiety that was already mounting in the room. I started thinking jaysus maybe I’m mad to go through with this, having my eye sliced open sure I could go blind, glasses aren’t that bad. I opened up the information booklet to glance at all the potential complications of the procedure and quickly snapped it shut again before I ended up doing a runner.
I was then called upstairs to another waiting room and given an aftercare kit which included four different eyedrops all to be taken at particular times in a particular order and a massive pair of goggles for sleeping in. Luckily the instructions were written out because I couldn’t hear a word she was saying, I was too focused on the buzzing noise coming from next door wondering was it the noise of the laser machine.
After another long wait I went in to have a chat with the surgeon who had just reviewed all my optical information. Apparently I have a thin cornea so he strongly suggested I opt for the LASEK instead of the LASIK procedure. He said it would be more painful and would require bandaged contacts to be fitted in my eyes for four days. It was quite stressful to have my surgery changed on the day, I hadn’t realised this was a possibility. I started panicking thinking of the lengthy recovery time, I had an exam in five days for the Bar which I couldn’t defer and it was cutting it very fine. The surgeon suggested I reschedule the procedure for another time but I had come this far and there wasn’t a chance I was going through this ordeal gain so I took his advice and agreed to the LASEK.
After more waiting I went in to the operating room and lay down. Numbing drops were put into my eyes which would stop me feeling the need to blink. One eye is done at a time and the procedure itself is four minutes per eye. A clamp was put under my eyelids to keep my eyes open and then he started making incisions in my eye before the laser was used. Finally the bandage contacts were put in. I was very aware of everything that was going on and while it didn’t hurt at all it was a very strange uncomfortable feeling. When I sat up I was sure I would be blinded but I could see things through a hazy glare.
That night I couldn’t sleep with the protective goggles I had to wear and my eyes were constantly streaming water. I had to go to the clinic again the next day to make sure everything was ok and I was in a lot of pain. My eyes were so sensitive I couldn’t stand any light so I stayed in my room for three days with the curtains drawn, lights off and sunglasses on. I couldn’t look at screens, I couldn’t read a book, I had to just rest my eyes as much as possible. I listened to Harry Potter audio books and took lots of Neurofen. The pain was a lot worse than I had expected and it took a full five days for that to subside. When the bandage contacts were removed it was a relief but it also made my eyes sore again. The more popular LASIK procedure probably has a lot less down time than the one I got but I cant say for sure.
Every day my eyesight improved a little bit more. All in all I’d say it was at least three weeks before I had perfect vision which was a lot longer than I had anticipated. In the days after the surgery I wasn’t sure whether it would be worth it or not considering the healing process but I cannot stress how amazing the results are. I don’t need glasses or contacts at all, for anything, ever! Driving, going to the gym, swimming on holiday, wearing sunglasses… So many things I had never been able to do without the hassle of specs and now I am hassle free. I don’t miss my glasses at all and I can see little details when I’m outside that I had never seen before. Recently I went to the clinic again for my final check up (my 5th visit) and I did an eye test which determined I have better than 20/20 vision! It’s definitely an investment worth the suffering, time and money.