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A patients view of laser eye surgery - Christine's Story

Published on 8th April 2013

I have been thinking about having laser eye treatment for the last five years or so and have finally plucked up the courage to actually go and see if I'm suitable. I'm short sighted and have worn glasses and contact lenses for 25 years. Because of my age, I know that I will also need reading glasses soon too and hate the thought of bifocal or varifocal glasses or wearing reading glasses over the top of my contact lenses so I need to find out if laser eye surgery is an option for me. A friend had laser surgery and said the results were instant and the discomfort afterwards didn't last for more than six hours, which is much better than I thought. I did some research and rang Visualase Laser Eye Clinic in Bolton for an appointment having read the positive testimonials from previous patients.

My consultation is soon and I can't wear my contact lenses for three days prior to my appointment so I have to wear my glasses. I usually just wear my glasses in the evenings and on a Sunday so it feels strange wearing them all day. I'm really missing the convenience of my contact lenses. I went to the local shops where they have never seen me in my glasses to be told that they completely change my appearance. I'm just not comfortable wearing my glasses as they make me feel less confident.

19th April 
Consultation Day!! After these last three days without my contact lenses, I'm really hoping that I'm suitable for laser eye surgery as this has made me realise that I would hate to wear glasses permanently.

When I arrived I was greeted by the receptionist Elaine who offered me a coffee and asked me to complete a small questionnaire. A thorough test was then carried out by the optician and measurements taken to check that my eyes are suitable for laser eye surgery. Next I see Dr Stephen Doyle, who will go on to be my treating surgeon if I'm suitable, and he studies the results and examines my eyes and tells me that I am suitable for laser eye surgery - Thank Goodness!! He explains my options and the procedure thoroughly, even showing me the theatre so I could see where the treatment itself would take place. Dr Doyle answers all of my questions and gives me a card with his details so that I can contact him if I have any more questions which I find very reassuring. He suggests that I have monovision, which means that one of my eyes will be treated to fully correct my distance vision and to purposely leave my other eye ever so slightly short sighted for reading vision. He explained that this won't keep me out of reading glasses forever, as the need for requiring reading glasses is due to the aging process of the eyes themselves, but will certainly buy me some time and I will probably always be able to see certain things close to dependent on the light etc. The optician fits me with contact lenses to simulate this so that I can make sure I will be happy with the outcome.

It's a relief to finally put contact lenses back in and feel myself again! I have booked the date for the treatment - 20th May, so plenty of time to think about whether I'm brave enough!

14th May 
A month has passed since I first decided to make that initial call to Visualase and I've thought about my upcoming laser eye surgery every day. I can't imagine what it will be like not putting my contact lenses in and changing to my glasses every evening. I'm feeling a bit nervous now though - in just one week it will be over. I have to wear my glasses now for a week before the treatment, so I've booked a few days off work as some people have never seen me in my glasses. I'm so used to wearing contact lenses for work that the glasses are annoying me and I can see the frames all of the time and am pushing them back onto my nose all day.

This week I have told everyone I'm having laser eye surgery on Friday, it's becoming more of a reality now - I can't wait to see if it works for me! Everyone I tell knows someone who has had their eyes lasered and they all say it's the best thing they've ever done and it changed their life! I'm a bit apprehensive as I think there will be some pain after the surgery, but I can't imagine what it will feel like.

20th May 
Surgery day has arrived! Now I feel a bit nervous. I arrive at Visualase at 10.00am and Hilary the clinic manager and Elaine who I met at my consultation are in the reception area and I'm offered a drink. They really make me feel at ease and check through all my details before I'm taken through to the theatre by Zoe, one of the nurses. As I lie on the bed my having my first eye prepared, everything is explained to me by the nurses, Julie and Zoe, and Dr Doyle tells me how the laser will work and what I need to do. I have anaesthetic drops put into my eyes and one eye is covered. I can't feel anything at all, Dr Doyle is telling me what is happening and Zoe is next to me reassuring me. In less than 3 minutes one eye is finished and the team move onto the next eye with the same reassuring efficiency.

Clear protective covers are on my eyes as the equipment is moved away and I can't believe that I can see the ceiling - everything in the room is clear! It's so strange! I sit in the recovery room with my eyes closed listening to music for 20 minutes and have a warm drink. Dr Doyle then takes me to the assessment room for a quick chart test. I am amazed that I can read the chart clearly. I wear my sunglasses to go through to reception, where the bright daylight is too much for my eyes, so I sit with my eyes closed waiting for my lift home.

As I go outside I can't believe how clear the buildings across the road are. On the way home I keep my eyes closed as it's so bright even with my sunglasses on. When I arrive home I take an ibuprofen just in case there's any pain when the anaesthetic wears off and lie in a dark room as instructed. I sleep for an hour and as I wake up I feel a sharp pain in each eyeball and a feeling like an eyelash is in my eye. After the first sharp pain there are just a few twinges, then nothing. I lie in the dark room for another hour, opening my eyes occasionally to accustom myself. After a couple of hours I go downstairs and can't believe that it is all over and so simple a procedure! I wish I had been brave enough when I first thought about having this done years ago!

17th June 
It's now a month since I had my laser eye surgery and the results are unbelievable. I can see everything so clearly, even better than with my contact lenses! I'd recommend Visualase to anyone who is considering laser eye surgery, the care before, during and afterwards is so professional. I decided to write up my experience as I found it really helpful reading other people's stories when I was doing my research into having it done and I hope it helps you too.

 

All eye surgical procedures carry a level of risk including not obtaining the desired outcome, through to varying levels of visual loss. Your eye surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits, including ones specific to your circumstances, at the time of your pre-operative consultation.