So… As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I recently went to get my vision corrected right after I sat for my last exam paper for my Bachelors Degree in December. Needless to say, I’ve been enjoying 3 months of perfect eyesight so far, and everything has been going well!
In this post I will share with you some insights on my Epi-LASIK surgery with Clearvision Eye Clinic & LASIK Centre, what to expect if you’re going for LASIK, and why you should consider going for Epi-LASIK! You’ll also read and see images about how much I enjoyed my first month post-surgery!
WHAT IS LASIK… AND EPI-LASIK?
For those who are new to the subject, LASIK stands for Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis, and a LASIK surgery is a vision corrective surgery for most cases of myopia. You must be wondering if the terms Epi-LASIK and LASIK are used interchangeably. Well, nope. Epi-LASIK and LASIK surgeries are two different methods used to correct your vision. The one that I went for is Epi-LASIK, which is the safer option.
LASIK is usually known as the flap-and-zap method, where a cut is made across the cornea before laser correction is done, and finally the flap closed back and left to heal naturally without any stitches.
Unlike LASIK, Epi-LASIK is a bladeless surgery that doesn’t require cutting your cornea. During the procedure, the top layer of epithelium cells are gently removed using a suction ring and an epithelium separator, and these cells will regenerate again after 3-4 days. They will require you to wear a bandage contact lens on your eyes afterwards to act as an artificial cornea flap (or more like a “shield”) while the cells regenerate. This is obviously the safer choice (although not risk-free) if you don’t want flap-related complications.
I know it sounds a little too much, but if you prefer visuals and would like to read a more detailed post about the difference of both procedures, other commonly asked questions and why it is the safer choice, my friend Andrea has written quite a comprehensive post on her blog. Alternatively, read the FAQ Section on Clearvision’s website!
Why correct my vision?
Well… who doesn’t want perfect eyesight, right?! Speaking as a photographer, having good eyesight is key. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing prescriptive glasses, contact lens or have 20/20 vision – they are the same. The question is, how comfortable do you want to feel?
I have been wearing contact lens for over a decade (12 years) and it has given me dry eyes due to prolonged use of contact lens. If you’re traveling to a colder country, it gets worse. I even had a severe case of oxygen deficiency in both my eyes 3 years back and almost went blind if not for the fact I saw a doctor immediately. Plus, wearing spectacles while shooting is just a little uncomfortable since it prevents you from putting your face against the eye cup/viewfinder. Point is, I know how it feels. Correcting my vision has got to be the best solution (and the cheaper one compared to contact lens) and indeed it has been the best decision in my life!
MY EXPERIENCE WITH CLEARER VISION
I remember being a bundle of feelings just before my surgery. I was nervous, excited, scared and elated at the same time. Despite that, I knew I was in safe hands. My Epi-LASIK surgeon was Dr. Tony Ho (read his profile and accreditations here), who’s the founder and main eye doctor for the clinic. Dr. Ho’s also the one who pioneered Epi-LASIK in Singapore and the region. I have so much respect for him! Well, he’s not only really capable, he’s also a really funny guy. Throughout my surgery, we had short chats in between the laser zaps, and he eased the atmosphere by saying my eyes were beautiful and reassured me I have nothing to worry about.
Surprisingly, the operation was over within 10 minutes and it was absolutely painless! You won’t immediately get a super clear vision but you’re definitely on your way there very soon, once the epithelium cells fully regenerate. For the next two weeks, I just stayed indoors and at home because taking in bright lights in the day would hurt my eyes and make them feel tired.
Slowly, I had crystal clear vision and I’ve never looked back since. I don’t even remember what it feels like to scramble for my glasses or contact lens in the morning. Now I just ease into a routine like I’ve always had perfect eyesight. It’s a dream come true – being able to see everything clearly the moment you wake up, and not missing a moment at all just because you don’t have visual aid.
Now, I’m able to travel freely without bringing visual aids, my eyes don’t get dry in colder countries, and I don’t have to worry about trying to look my best and falling asleep with contact lens on during long-haul flights. It’s a kind of freedom you could get used to. ;)
So in January (a month after surgery), I visited Western Australia with a couple of friends and got to do many outdoor activities such as sky diving, horseback riding, hiking up the Kalbarri canyons at the National Park, and experiencing fierce winds at the Busselton Jetty and the Lancelin sand dunes. With LASIK done, I didn’t have to worry about my contact lens falling off or getting too dry during these activities!
10 THINGS TO EXPECT BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER YOUR LASIK
1. Stop wearing your soft lenses for at least 2 days and hard lens for at least 10 days before your pre-LASIK evaluation & surgery.
Contact lens wear can often lead to alterations in cornea thickness, curvature etc. It is ideal for your cornea to be in a normal state to ensure the accuracy of your pre-LASIK evaluation eye checks. If having to stop wearing your contact lenses is disruptive for you, factor this into your schedule and plan ahead!
2. Expect to set aside 2-3 hours of time for your pre-LASIK evaluation.
The pre-LASIK evaluation comprises a comprehensive series of eye tests that includes cornea thickness measurement test, subjective refraction and many more. Prior to some of these tests, your eyes will be dilated with eye drops. Your eyes will also take some time to get dilated. Finally, when you see the eye doctor for your consultation, be sure to let him know your past and present medical conditions.
3. Avoid drinking alcohol & sleep early before surgery.
Drinking alcohol will cause your eyes to be dry and may affect your fixation, which could in turn affect the results of your LASIK. Also, sleep early to ensure your eyes retain all the moisture they can have!
4. Avoid wearing eye make-up and perfume.
Eye make-up can get in the way of cleansing your eyes – You’ll want your eyes to be absolutely clean for the procedure. It is also advisable not to apply lotions, perfumes or powders before surgery as this can interfere with the sterile machines and equipment.
5. Keep warm, cover up!
The surgery room is often cold as laser machines and other equipment are required to be kept in low temperatures. You don’t want to be shivering with cold even before the procedure begins!
6. Focus well on the blinking red light.
You will be required to focus on the blinking red light – which is the laser – for about 30 seconds. During this time, it is important to concentrate and fixate your gaze on the light to ensure best results.
7. Immediately after the procedure, you may experience some discomfort.
Your eyes may be uncomfortable and teary, so it is best to go home and get some sleep to rest your eyes. It is important that you get enough rest during the first 3 days to aid recovery. You do not need your spectacles anymore!
8. Stick to your eyedrop routine and follow-up reviews.
The eye drops prescribed are meant to help your eyes heal faster, and are also antibiotic in nature to prevent any infections from occurring. Your follow-up reviews will also help to ensure that recovery is smooth-sailing and that you have nothing to worry about!
9. Expect to wear sunglasses out in the sun for about 1-2 months.
Just after the procedure, be prepared that your eyes will be especially sensitive to light. The light sensitivity will gradually wear off; but be sure that you are wearing your sunglasses when you’re exposed to direct sunlight to prevent cornea scarring from harmful UV rays!
10. Avoid swimming, water activities and any other dusty places for 1 month.
As your eyes are still healing, it is not advisable to go for any swimming or water activities which will involve foreign objects being in direct contact with your eyes. This will prevent any sort of eye infection that can slow down the recovery of your eyes.
READER BENEFITS & DETAILS
So why not experience the wonders of having perfect vision? If you’d like to get your vision corrected at Clearvision, simply quote “Amanda Wong” or “Beautiful Adieu” at the counter and you will be entitled to $120 off your epi-LASIK package! The prices of the packages can be found here.
To find out if you’re suitable for epi-LASIK, you can book an appointment by calling their LASIK hotline at +65 6100 2020 or drop them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.