Da LASIK experience
Hey everyone! So I’m finally going ahead and getting laser vision correction surgery done! It’s something I wanted to do for years because I hated looking for glasses every morning, and my eyes were too dry for contacts, the yearly ones aggravated my eyes so much I’d constantly have red eyes, and even though the most suitable I found, were Acuvue’s TruEye daily contacts, they’d get so dry after couple hours wear that they fall out themselves or I’d have to scrape them off by the end of the day.
I’ve done a check up before back at an optical store at hillside mall, Victoria. I don’t remember what they exactly said, but they did comment my eyes were on the dry side and that post op I may need regular eye drops or get a further procedure done to narrow my tear duct, which allows my tears to stay on my eyes longer. Anyhow, it used to be like a huge deal, and they’d fly you off to some remote area where you get the surgery done and stay at their “hotel” under professional medical care. Obviously it was much more expensive, around CAD 20,000.
I had planned at getting it done at 養和 Sanitorium in HK simply since it’s the best private hospital in HK, and since it’s gonna be my eyes, I was willing to fork out extra. We’re talking HKD 22,000 with pre-op examination fees on top. But I never actually had the nerve to go ahead.
This time was because a group of my colleagues and friends, also decided they wanted Lasik. HK laser eye clinic also does a lot of corrective surgeries, and more importantly, we had a friend who’d done it before and had great results!
So on November 7th, we went to get the initial check up done, supposedly we were to listen to a small talk but we missed that. I was told my prescription had slightly worsened compared to the glasses I had on. I had been wearing contacts ~425,450. My glasses prescription was ????. Anyhow they said it was within normal ranges, and a short explanation was made regarding Lasiks versus smile relex surgery. Probably because no pushy sales pitch was made, I actually went ahead and booked the pre-op consultation and the preliminary operation date. I had to stop wearing contacts 7 days before the operation on November 12th. The surgery cost HKD18,000 with HKD500 discount if you pay by EPS, and HKD500 cheque back if you refer a friend within a year (or HKD 17,000 for HA staff).
On November 19th, I had the pre-op in depth consultation, an optometrist used various slit lamps, CT scanners, to generate various numbers representing your eyes, corneal thickness, the works. (Maybe someday I’ll do some research to find out what they mean, but in all honesty, they’re just figures to me too.) Then my eye prescription is checked, the same as getting prescription glasses. Then pupil dilating drops, Mydrin-P are instilled and I’m sent back to the waiting room. Although I’ve put this eye drops in many patients, I’ve never actually had it myself, the effects are soooo weird! I can’t see close up with my glasses on, and everything is blurry! (Oddly enough it feels better to take off the glasses, since then the blurriness is expected and I can at least see close up). Another drop is put in and after a bit more waiting, the ophthalmologist takes a look under my eyes.
Apparently I’m told I have lattice, which I think, is weak points in your eyes and poses a risk factor for retinal detachment. I cross checked with other ophthalmologists and was told it is actually quite common, one in 10 have it and doesn’t necessarily mean your have retinal detachment, but many people with retinal detachment have these lattice. Anyhow, I was told a simple laser procedure can rid of those, either before the Lasiks or three weeks after Lasiks to allow time for the Lasiks wound to heal.
The consultation cost $600. I’m given vigamox, an antibiotic to start 3 days, on November 21st, before the surgery, to be instilled 3 times a day 6hrs apart. Because I still had work, I actually didn’t start until 22nd, but I’m told it’s alright, I’m terrible at following prescriptions, haha.
Day of Surgery
November 24th is my operation date. I’m actually very very scared! My mom, always the worry wart is still reluctant to agree, but she did promise to pray for me. My dad is the logical one but he thinks the risk isn’t worth it.
I’m told to show up at 10:45, and after having my favourite English breakfast of eggs Benedict at The Classified (which incidentally is in the same building as the eye clinic). First, I’m given a consent form to sign, the risks are pretty much the same as the handout that was given on the day of the consultation. Once again, your prescription is checked, then I’m sent outside to wait some more. Then I’m led to a tv room, and a nurse gives a detailed run through of the procedure and post op care and eye drops.
You’re given either vigamox (moxifloxacin) or cravit (levofloxacin) and some tears naturale or Artelac advanced, single packs to be thrown out by the end of the day.
Next I’m called in to see the ophthalmologist, Dr Kwok, who sterilizes my eyes and I wait outside again. Right now my nerves are all frazzled, not enough to back out but I’m literally shaking in my boots, yikes!
Finally I’m called again, with another girl, told to leave our possessions with our friends or relatives even our glasses, and led by the hand through their clinic all the way to the back.
We’re gowned up in plastic surgical caps, shoe covers and a clear plastic gown, you don’t actually need to take off your street clothes, but do wear something warm and comfy. A gauze is taped to both sides of my eyes to absorb the runaway eye drops and at least three or four types are instilled, in liberal amounts too!! One helps control the red eyes, and another is an local anaesthetic. Then the surrounding is sterilized again and we’re told not to touch it! A label is stuck on my gown, with my name and the operation I doing, Intralase + Amaris, whatever that is.
The wait outside the operation theatre was probably worst of all, since I could hear the laser whirring away through the door!
I’m called into the theatre and told to lie down under the first machine, Dr Kwok is already there and gives ample reassurance. A device is put right onto my eye with some pressure, which doesn’t hurt per se but is discomforting. Although I’m told that vision blacks out while the laser makes the flap, it’s still damn scary!!! Trying so hard to stay still, but I’m just scared and shaking like crazy! I’m led off machine and seated on a sofa, where my vision regains somewhat, but it’s all very dim with 5 really bright surgical lights still in my vision. I barely sat down before I’m called into the next theatre, this is the laser that carves the lens into your right prescription. Halves of tegaderms are taped over my upper and lower eyelids, and an eye speculum is inserted to hold your eyes open, I try hard not to fight it or blink, and luckily Dr Kwok was very skilled and had it on in a jiffy. The corneal flap is scraped back with a needle thing, doesn’t hurt at all but watching it sure is scary!
With one eye covered I stare very intently at the green light, and soon there’s whirring and slightly burnt smell comes up. Doesn’t take long, but in that spot, it felt much longer than 2 minutes. Then the other eye is done. And I’m led off the table (surgical bed) and in front of a slit lamp where Dr Kwok takes a look and says “一流!”, i take it it went okay!
I’m led back into the small tv room and have clear plastic eye shields taped on. Back at the waiting room, I’m given eye drops, the vigamox from last time is to be instilled at 4pm, 8pm and before bedtime. The moisturising drops are to be put in 5 minutes after that. Follow up is tomorrow afternoon at 14:45.
I guess the anaesthesia hadn’t yet worn off, so besides the bright sunlight stinging a little, i wasn’t in any pain, initially. I had on a weird contraption with sunglasses over the eye shields, but besides looking like an idiot, it felt fine. My vision was blurry but I could randomly see far distances, which I’m pretty sure I couldn’t before. Obviously I couldn’t compare anymore, hehe. Anyhow I felt great enough we actually had a nice lunch at a dim Japanese restaurant. Man was I tricked!
By the time lunch was halfway through, my eyes felt strained, eyes was throbbing a little and my head hurt. Guess that’s why they need a friend or relative to accompany home, because my eyes just didn’t want to open, and I stumbled around. Rushed home for a quick shower and went to nap. When I awoke for the 4pm eye drops, my eyes were in agony, I could barely open them and slight squint was painful, everything was still blurry. Luckily I dozed off a little more. (The “pros” of shift work is we’re trained to sleep anytime anywhere). By 6pm when I woke up again, the eye pain was mostly gone, and I even got up to watch telly, have dinner, played with my phone. Other than it feeling a little strained and more easily tired, everything felt good.
There’s a followup 1 day post-op, 1 week, 1 month, 3 month, 6 month post op.
Post-op Day 1 followup
The first followup is the next day at 14:45. The optometrist covers one eye and tests your prescription and the red/green differentiation thing, then the ophthalmologist takes a look at my eyes, once again he says “一流!!”, haha. That’s it! My next followup is one week on December 1st, 10am.
After that I went for Korean bbq at a friend’s place till midnight and my eyes felt fine!