Yesterday I popped over to my parents for lunch whilst Millie was at school and had some post waiting for me from Optimax, despite having moved out three years beforehand! Usually it goes straight in the bin and I don’t even open it as around five years beforehand I had filled out an enquiry form online to get a quote and the £395.00 advertisement had been advised to be more likely in the thousands for treatment, so I brushed it off and thought nothing more of it.
But I’ve been thinking about my eyesight recently and finally decided that I wanted to do something about it. In the past I wore contact lenses but they left my eyes dry and irritable despite trying the daily disposables and continual wear. I have glasses that I wear to watch TV or see at a distance, but my close up vision is fine. Generally I squint my way through the day like a twisted evil villain much to the dismay of the wrinkles forming on my brow and crows feet. Something must be done!
I first noticed in my late teens that my eyesight was changing after passing my driving test at seventeen and not having a problem reading car number plates and signs, and now in my mid twenties I can’t even see the teletext on the TV. Everything seems blurry and hazy, a bit like being over tired or drunk constantly or walking through mist on a cold morning. People wave at me from across the street and I can’t tell who they are because I have no definition of facial features from a distance, so I squint like an old squirrel or just carry on walking totally oblivious. When I’m driving somewhere that I don’t know too well I can’t read road signs until I’m basically on top of them which isn’t very helpful, but I can see signs and cars and road markings because I know what they look like and can recognise them blurred. If there was a board on a roundabout advertising something though I wouldn’t be able to read anything smaller than the title if it were even big enough.
But don’t get me wrong, my eyesight is by no means dangerous or a disability, I don’t walk into things or have accidents and I would never put myself or children in danger by driving without vision; if anything I get Luca to drive, but it would just be nicer to have perfect vision without the need for glasses. It would be nice to see the world with my eyes fully open for once rather than squinting and frowning. And it would be amazing to not have to wear glasses to see at a distance because I have such a peanut head I just look odd having them on my face and avoid wearing them in public or around friends and family. Contact lenses don’t work with my eyes and glasses feel so awkward and slip down and get pulled off by baby Gabriele so I’m basically hitting my head against a brick wall.
So I called Optimax from the letter they’d sent promoting three years 0% interest, and I booked a consultation at Milton Keynes. The salesperson was very cheerful and polite and answered my call immediately. She asked which date would be most suitable for me and settled on my third choice as the days I requested were all fully booked which is surely a good sign, right?
I was told over the phone that I wouldn’t be able to drive after the consultation so would need to bring someone with me, which mean’t I could only make it on a Monday and now have to wait until February for my appointment. I’m guessing they’ll be putting that weird yellow dye into my eyes and poking me about, I’m so squeamish I hate the thought of having surgery on my eyes but apparently it’s very quick and doesn’t hurt so we’ll see. If I can have two babies then I can definitely survive having my eyes zapped!
When I returned from the school run this afternoon I was greeted by my Optimax pack with a patient information guide and DVD. A letter also confirmed my consultation time and provided a map. It highlights that I should not wear contact lenses before my appointment, should bring my glasses or eye prescriptions, be prepared to leave a deposit for the treatment on the day if I am suitable, and also a recent bank statement, photo ID and utility bill if I wanted to take up an easy payment plan.
The letter says it should take an hour to carry out the various tests necessary, although the salesperson on the phone yesterday said it was an hour and a half to two.
So I guess all I can do now is wait until my consultation on 11th February and see what they have to say! I will keep this post updated with my progress so watch/squint at this space!
UPDATE: 11/02/13 My Consultation
So today I had my consultation at Optimax Milton Keynes to determine if my eyes are suitable for laser eye surgery and I am pleased to announce that I have been given the go ahead! Hoorah! Despite the snow and not having a baby sitter for our nine-month-old Gabriele, my fiance Luca and I made it to the appointment on time and found the store surprisingly easily. I was asked to bring somebody with me as I would be unsuitable to drive after having drops administered to dilate my pupils, so Luca became my chauffeur for the morning.
We feared we might be driving around in circles trying to pick a needle from a haystack of shops, but Opimax MK is fortunately located on a main stretch of road within The Hub in MK city centre, right next to a huge car park which meant we only had a minutes walk to get there. The building is tall, glass fronted and very clean and modern, and the staff greeted us with a warm welcome. As we entered there was a shelf lined with Thank You cards next to a pot of disused reading glasses which instantly made me smile and my fingers twitch to join the no-glasses gang at the thought of submitting my own Thank You card soon.
I was given a questionnaire to fill out on a computer and asked if I’d like a drink, and took a seat in a booth just to the side of the reception. Following completion I was called into an examination room where a variety of different machines measured different aspects of my eyes and sight. The first machine involved each eye being focused on an image whilst readings were taken, and the hot air balloon on the slide zoomed in and out of focus as I looked into the eye piece. The second machine blew a puff of air into each eye which measured the pressure of the eye and left me blinking in suspense of the air coming, although it wasn’t unpleasant at all. And finally the third machine shone a vertical blue bar of light into each eye which I think measured the curvature.
I was then taken to a second examination room with a different member of staff to test my vision. A dye was dropped into my eyes as well as a dilation solution which took effect after several minutes. I was asked to look through a machine and read a series of letters in descending size from a screen in front of me. I had brought along my contact lenses and glasses which were prescribed around seven years ago, for which I was made aware that my eyesight had since deteriorated following the results of my test. After having a series of lights shone into each eye as I looked up, down and from side to side I was then called into a third room to discuss the treatments available.
I was advised that my eyes are suitable for the LASIK Intralase Wavefront Bilateral treatment and then shown a series of facts and percentages about other patients in my age and sight range who had had the same treatment and how their vision has realistically improved. Reassuringly I was also given the contact telephone numbers of five of these patients who had recently had the same surgery as I hope to, so that I could contact them and ask them about their individual experience.
I was asked throughout the consultation whether I had any questions or concerns and felt that the staff were not only professional, but very friendly and welcoming and they put me at ease throughout. I now know the facts and figures over my surgery details and am aware of the benefits and risks and have to say that I am still really looking forward to having the procedure shortly. In all, the consultation took just over an hour and I left a £100.00 deposit in order to book my surgery date which I was advised would be refunded back to me on the day of treatment. So now I am literally counting down the minutes to perfect vision and can’t wait to return with my Thank You card in hand!
This afternoon when I collected my daughter from school my pupils were still dilated from the drops and I received a few odd looks from the other parents as I queued at the school gates! My eyes were a little sensitive to the light at first but after around three hours the pupils returned to normal and I am able to drive once again; but I won’t be informing my chauffeur just yet as it’s rather nice being driven around by somebody.
I was also given an information pack to take home to read at my leisure which was very helpful as it outlined key points that the consultants had covered with me during the day that I may have otherwise forgotten when I returned home, as it was a lot of information to take in considering I knew very little about the process of laser eye surgery beforehand. But I sat on the sofa when the children went to bed and read through each page to go over the details and understand what I’d have to do before and after treatment.
It also includes a write-up about the surgeon who will be preforming my laser surgery including details of his training, qualifications and education. And it is incredibly reassuring to see that his training began in 1992 and refined with distinction across the years before joining Optimax and working with them for some time now.
Short of typing the entire folder out, the key notes that I have taken away in preparation for my procedure are as follows.
Prior to the treatment I am advised:
-To no wear contact lenses for a maximum of three weeks before treatment.
-To avoid wearing makeup, aftershave, perfume or deodorant on the day of treatment.
-To have somebody accompany me to get me home safely afterwards as I won’t be able to drive.
-To bring a pair of sunglasses to wear after treatment as my eyes will be sensitive to light directly after.
-To wear a warm top to the treatment as the room temperature has to be kept cool.
-To eat a meal beforehand so that I am content and able to remain still and relaxed.
-To return home, rest and sleep after the treatment.
So it’s very much a standard surgery procedure and something that I have been through before when entering operating theatres. It’s helpful to be reminded of these points prior to treatment so that I can tick them off as I pack my bag and make sure that I’m as comfortable as possible on the day.
Following treatment I am reminded to:
-Not wear makeup near to the eye for two weeks after the surgery. At first this made me raise an eyebrow and swallow hard as I look like a piglet without eyeliner and I have dark circles under my eyes from being up all night with a teething baby; but then I remembered my good friend the sunglasses, and realised as my eyes will need to be protected from the light anyway, nobody will be able to see that I’m not wearing makeup with my shades on and it will save me a good fifteen minutes in the morning getting ready! What a bonus and no doubt my skin will thank me for the break from eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara, foundation and concealer as well.
-Not watch TV, read, or use computers for as long as possible following treatment. Now I absolutely love my Macbook, Blackberry, PDA, 50″ plasma screen and Fifty Shades of Grey, but I am forever saying to Luca that we need some time to put everything down and do something with the children away from mobile phones and computer games because all we seem to do is sit in silence and look at screens when we could be spending quality time together. And a few Christmas’ ago when our television died on us we actually did things together and it was fantastic! So I’m thinking some nice walks, clearing out the house ready for the summer and maybe a few days out with the children. It’s the push I’ve needed for a long time and now I have the perfect opportunity to implement it!
UPDATE: 15/02/13 The Day Of My Surgery
My surgery is booked for 4pm today which in hindsight wasn’t the best time that I could have chosen. On one hand it gives me the day to take the children to school, finish housework, prepare some meals for the fridge and tie up any lose ends with work; but on the other, it leaves me clock-watching and imagining all sorts of scenarios that could go wrong as my imagination has teamed up with my nerves and together they’re running riot! Perhaps a morning appointment would have been better because it’s the waiting that gets to me.
But I know that I have nothing to worry about, hundreds of thousands of people have gone through the exact same thing before me and hundreds of thousands will continue to go after me, I just need to distract myself for the day and keep myself busy and I’ll be in surgery before I know it. I’ve put a few pieces to one side in preparation for later; a warm jacket for theatre as it will be very cold, a satnav for my delightful driver so that I can travel home safely afterwards as I won’t be able to give directions with light-sensitive eyes, sunglasses to protect my eyes from the light, and a few nibbles and treats for after because chocolate makes everything better!
I have removed all of my makeup and avoided moisturisers, deodorant and perfume today in preparation for the surgery. It was a given that I would have my period and have an outbreak of spots this week so that I look even more dreadful without makeup; and the fact that my son is teething and keeping me awake all night means that my eyes have such dark circles around them right now and my February skin is pale and pasty. So when I show you some pictures of me having just had the surgery please don’t panic and think that I’ve been punched in the face or beaten up from the surgery, alas that’s just me without makeup today! Attractive or what!
So I was booked in for 15:50 at Optimax Milton Keynes and as I arrived in the waiting room I was pleasantly surprised to see a room filled with patients also having surgery. I was given a booklet to fill out, which involved reading 42 statements and initialling next to each one before signing and dating it at the end; this confirmed that I was happy to have my surgery today after acknowledging all of the risks and outcomes. I was then asked to complete an on-screen questionnaire which was a true or false multiple choice for statements such as “I have chosen to have Lasik surgery” and “I have not been pressurised into making my decision”. Finally I was called into another room and shown the medication pack that I would be issued after my surgery.
The consultant explained what each of the four sets of drops did; one was a pain relief that was issued singularly upon my return home and would not be taken again, another was an anti-inflamitory, one for lubrication and one antibacterial agent. They came with an instruction sheet and are dosed between every three to six hours across the day, as well as a pair of night-time eye shields, surgical tape and a handy bag for life to store them in. I then returned to the waiting room and each time a persons name was called we all sat to attention like eager meerkats in the hope and fear that it would be our turn next. When each patient walked out after surgery wearing their glasses we all scanned them up and down with our eyes, hungry for an indication of what it was like and desperate to see their eyes which were shielded by glasses. But each patient seemed very calm and controlled almost like a Stepford Wife, they smiled and said “thank you” to the staff on reception and then walked out onto the street whilst we sat bemused at how human they were. The waiting had left me nervous and fidgety and I went to the toilet four times in just two and a half hours before I had my surgery at 18:30.
I was taken to a room and introduced to my surgeon Mr Sajjad Mughal who was very professional, he talked me step by step through the procedure and answered my questions honestly which were mostly about activities I could do after surgery and for how long. When he mentioned eye suction and pressure levels to keep the eye in place for the laser, I was silly enough to ask what it would feel like and he demonstrated by squeezing his hands on either side of my face. I shrieked at the pressure because it felt like he was trying to pop my head like a football and I thought there was no way my eye could sustain such a force; but he assured me that during the process I would be medicated and it would simply feel like a movement and not a pain.
With sweating palms and a dry throat I headed to the examination room to have my eye prescription checked for a second time as Mr Mughal wanted to ensure my eyes were still stable as my last results were many years ago as I had avoided wearing my contact lenses and glasses since. After reading various sized letters on the white board it was confirmed that my prescription was stable and I was given the go ahead for surgery.
I returned to the waiting room for a further few minutes and a glass of water before being called through for surgery and I carried my heart in my stomach every step of the way. I was nervous that it would hurt, that I might move and it would go wrong and I’d lose my eyesight forever. In times when I’ve been scared during needles or pain I’ve always closed my eyes and tried to distract myself from what was happening; but with laser eye surgery you are awake and watching the whole way through. I entered into a hallway to the surgery room which contained a single chair, a sticky floor mat and storage rack. I was asked to tread my feet on the disinfectant mat a couple of times before covering my shoes with sterile blue bags and putting on a white hair net from the rack beside me. I then took a seat on the chair and the door was closed whilst I waited in the hallway, and I could literally hear my heartbeat in my ears.
The surgery door opened moments later and I was led into theatre and asked to confirm my name, date of birth and home postcode. I was shown onto a reclined bed much like a dentists chair and asked to position my head under a machine and uncross my legs with my chin facing upwards. I went from being chatty and excited to petrified and unable to speak more than a word at a time in response to the surgeon’s questions in all of two seconds flat, and I couldn’t help but wonder if this was how my Chihuahua Joey felt when he goes to the vet for checkups and whimpers and whines in distress.
There were three members of staff wearing scrubs in the operating theatre, one being the surgeon and two who stood at various machines and read out percentages and times throughout. It was like something out of a science fiction film, but they talked to me throughout and assured me I was doing well and it wouldn’t take more than fifteen minutes. So I held that number in my mind and likened it to the first half of watching Coronation Street or waiting for a taxi to arrive to go out, and in reality, fifteen minutes is really an extremely short space of time.
I had pain relief drops put into my eyes and one bandaged at a time before each procedure was carried out and then moved over to the next eye. After a few minutes of the drops being applied I was asked to look down and then up as a clamp was inserted into my eye; I could hear and vaguely see the surgeon turning the clamp to the side of me which held my eye wide open so that I could not blink. I didn’t feel any pain or discomfort as the numbing drops were amazing and if anything I was curious to have seen what it looked like. Although my eyes were open throughout, because my vision had blurred I didn’t see entirely what went on, which was brilliant because it helped to detach me from the reality of it and in turn calmed my nerves. I have to confess the whole time I was waiting and expecting something to really hurt, I believed I was constantly about to be told “Just one hard scratch and it will be over” but no pain ever came and the whole experience was like being on a fairground ride after having a few alcopop’s as a teenager, blurred focus and moving lights.
I was asked to look straight up into a ring of lights in a machine that was pulled into place above my head and within seconds everything went blurry. Some more eye drops were inserted and it felt like cold fresh water which was very pleasant. At this point I stayed as stiff as a rock and slowed my breathing right down in order to keep myself calm and relaxed and if somebody had have asked me to stand up I would have looked like a solid wooden doll without joints. It felt a little like I was dreaming or dozing in bed on a Sunday morning with blurry sunlight coming through the window feeling relaxed and calm, which may have been down to the first set of pain drops before the surgery.
I was then advised that the suction was about to be applied and I clenched my fists in preparation for the force that the surgeon had demonstrated on my head in the consultation room. I felt a slight pushing on my eye, and then one of the ladies in the room started reading out percentages to the surgeon until the correct pressure of the suction was reached. There were various clicks and sounds and noises from the computers and machines around me and I braced myself for an incredible squeeze and tightness, which thankfully never came. Just as the surgeon had said, I didn’t feel any pain or discomfort and my vision was unfocused and disorientated, so instead I remained calm and peaceful as I looked on into the blurry light ahead of me.
They bandaged my left eye and then preformed the same procedure on the right before changing the machine for the laser. I was informed that the lens of my eyes had been cut into a flap and peeled back and now the laser would be used to correct my sight. I was asked to look up into a ring of red lights, which although they were blurry I could still see. As the laser began there were a series of mechanical sounds to the side of me and the pinging metallic noise of the laser firing. Again I felt nothing, I just concentrated on looking straight ahead and keeping still, and there was a faint smell of burning hair which the surgeon advised was perfectly normal as the cornea was being lasered. After a matter of seconds the process was complete and the surgeon put something into my eye which I think was a tool to push the flap back over and then it was covered and other eye treated in the same way.
I was then asked to walk into a small side room away from the light and sit in a chair with my eyes closed for several minutes with my dark glasses on. I sat back into the soft leather chair in awe of what had just happened and more shocked that it was over with so quickly and entirely pain free. Before the surgery I was so nervous about it hurting or going wrong, that despite it being so relaxed and simple the whole way through, I’d convinced myself something terrible would happen at any moment when it never did. I guess I’ve been conditioned to think that advertising made it look effortless and I believed that laser eye surgery was something that was too good to be true, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. My fear had kept me from having my eyes lasered sooner, but I don’t think anything or anyone could have convinced me it would have been so easy because I wouldn’t have believed them until I went through it myself. And it is honestly the best thing I have ever done and I now feel so incredibly silly for being afraid when I was always reassured not to. But I guess until you’ve done it you never realise how amazing it is, it’s just taking that leap in the first place and accepting that you are ready to have the best vision of your life.
After several minutes of sitting with my eyes closed in the dark, collecting my thoughts and finding my orientation, I was led into a consultation room to see my surgeon again. I was apprehensive about opening my eyes for the first time as I feared that they might fall out or fill with blood and hurt; but when I was asked to remove my dark glasses and look around, the most amazingly cheesy grin spread right across my whole face and I think I said thank you no less than fifteen times to everyone and everything in the room with me. I was absolutely dumbfounded that I could see, just minutes after my surgery I was looking around and overwhelmed with emotion. If I knew how to do a double back flip then I would have considered attempting it right there and then for how amazing it felt. The surgeon said that I had done really well and the procedure was a success. My eyes were checked over and then I was allowed to return home. I put my dark glasses back on and then walked through reception, into the car and was driven home.
I closed my eyes on the forty minute journey home and had a sleep in the car, as it felt as though I’d had mild shampoo in my eyes and closing them was so soothing. It wasn’t painful at all, my eyes just felt tired and it had been a long day. Walking into my house my eyes became sensitive to the indoor brightness and I sat on the sofa with the lights off and my eyes closed for around another half an hour. And now I will show you some pictures of my eyes directly after surgery; I had to turn the lights down low in order to not damage my eyes so the pictures are a little dark but I hope that you can see how amazing my eyes look, even though I look terrible without makeup, but let’s not focus on that!
It was the best time for me to have had my surgery in the late afternoon because it meant that I could rest in the dark when I came out, and even though I became nervous from waiting all day, I was glad of the darkness when I was home. My eyes began to water for the next couple of hours as if I’d been peeling onions but without the stinging sensation that it brings, just tears running down my cheeks which made my nose run a little and I sounded as though I’d had a cold. Already my eyesight felt so much better than ever before, I was noticing edges and straight lines everywhere around me, my blurred edgeless vision of before had been sharpened and cleared and I couldn’t help but look around at the lines of the ceiling meeting the coving or the corners of the walls and straightness of the definition between the edge of the television and the screen.
Two hours after my surgery I started my first course of eye drops. There were four kinds to administer; a pain relief that would be used only once upon my return home, some anti-imflamitory drops, anti-bacterial drops and lubricating drops which were all written on a sheet and their labels advised of stated dosage. Even though I wore contact lenses in the past I never got to grips with doing my own drops so my lovely mother volunteered to do it for me. It was a funny sensation trying not to blink when somebody else squeezes a bottle over your eye, and it made me laugh to try not to flinch when I thought the drops were coming. My eyes didn’t sting or burn or irritate at all, but the drops were cool and soothing and felt refreshing in my tired and slightly puffy eyes. It took around half an hour to administer eight drops into my eyes as you have to wait ten minutes between each set, and after a few minutes I could taste the drops running down the back of my throat. There was no bleeding, no soreness, just a few tiny red dots around the white of my eye, and a little puffiness of my top lids and then I applied my eye shields for bed.
The eye shields are clear plastic ovals with ventilation holes that you wear for one week and are held in place over the eye with surgical tape. Due to their shape and curvature, even if you were to sleep face down the shields don’t get in the way at all and they prevent the corner of the pillow from poking into your eye or you from absentmindedly rubbing your fists into your eyes in the morning. After I had prepared for bed the children went to stay with their grandparents and I had the best nights sleep of my life!
UPDATE: 16/02/13 My Checkup Fifteen Hours After Surgery
I woke up at 7am this morning which is almost thirteen hours after my surgery. I removed my eye shields and my left lower eyelid had dried and stuck to the surface of my eye, which after I blinked a few times freed itself and didn’t affect my vision. I dressed myself and had the lights on in the kitchen without any light sensitivity as I made toast and got ready to set off for my checkup. I have absolutely no pain or discomfort, I no longer squint when I’m looking around and my vision is already a million times better than I can ever remember. Considering I have to avoid wearing any makeup for two weeks following my surgery, it took me all of five minutes to get out of bed, apply my drops and be ready to leave, which normally would have taken me an hour! What a bonus.
The actual checkup took all of five minutes, I was asked to remove my glasses and place my chin on a rest whilst a dye was dropped into my eyes and lights shone across them. I then read the sight chart on the wall, every letter on every line for the first time ever and you have no idea how good that felt! It was confirmed that I now have 20/20 vision which will continue to improve over the coming months. My left eyelid was a little swollen from it having stuck in the night and I was advised to increase my left anti-imflamitory drops from once every four hours to once an hour in just my left eye until my next checkup up two days time.
I feel great, my eyes look normal even though my left lid is swollen, I can now drive and daylight doesn’t hurt me but I will continue to wear my sunglasses for two weeks as advised. After I’ve had my drops my eyelashes are wet and clump together which makes me look like a puffy pig, but after a few minutes they dry out and I look normal again. I suspect if somebody I didn’t know was to see me without my dark glasses they would never guess in a million years that I had laser eye surgery not even a day ago. It’s incredible!
And I’ve started keeping a chart of when to take my drops and in which eye to make sure that I don’t miss out any of my medication. I’ve been advised that if I miss a drop then I should not double them up, but wait until the next hour to do it instead; but with my handy little chart I needn’t worry about missing anything, as I use the alarm on my mobile to tell me when the next set of drops are due and it literally takes seconds to pop them in every few hours. And it may seem like a massive commitment to keep on top of the medicating drops, but it really is less involving than making yourself a cup of tea every few hours, and considering I never became a devoted contact lens user, I find managing my drops extremely straight forward over fiddling with inserting lenses and having my glasses slip and slide down my face or fall off into my dinner.
UPDATE: 17/02/13 2 Days After Surgery
This morning I woke up and my eyes are looking more normal by the minute. My left eyelid has reduced in puffiness since upping the FML anti-imflamatory drops to once an hour and I was lost for words when after going to bed at 8pm last night, I woke up at 10am having had FOURTEEN hours sleep! And I feel as though I’ve been reborn. My skin is feeling so fresh from not wearing makeup and my hair is so much softer and shinier as I’ve not been washing it everyday after a workout as I have to take a week off, so the dryness of my hair has been replaced with healthy locks and even the dark circles under my eyes from sleepless nights with a teething baby are gradually retreating as the children are at my parents. It’s not only had an amazing effect on my vision having laser eye surgery, but it’s also improving my skin and hair.
I have my third checkup at Optimax Milton Keynes at 9am tomorrow morning to see how my eyes are getting on and hope that they will reduce my left eye drops to match those of my right. Fingers crossed!
UPDATE: 18/02/13 3 Days After Surgery
I had my third checkup at 9am at Optimax Milton Keynes this morning. After having various eye tests including focusing on the hot air balloon, having air puffed into my eyes and reading letters from the white board, I had yellow dye drops inserted and white and blue lights shone into my eyes before being given the all clear for my vision. My left eye still has a very slight inflammation so I have to continue with the FML drops once every hour for another two days when it can then be reduced to once every two hours, and in three days time it can go down again to once every three hours at my next checkup.
Even though my eyes are still slightly red from the laser, the puffiness has reduced and my vision is perfect. When I wake up in the morning, where I would normally have yellowish hard sleep in the corners of my eyes that I would rub out, I now have bright yellow/green goo which sits in my eyelashes; I know it must sound horrible but it’s easily wiped away and a good sign that my eyes have remained moist from the drops. I drove home at night last night which was a chore in itself, wearing my dark glasses made it very difficult to see the road, but taking them off meant the car lights were so bright coming towards me, so I won’t be attempting it again for the next couple of weeks!
UPDATE: 19/02/13 4 Days After Surgery
My eyes look and feel normal today. I’ve fallen into a nice routine of putting in my drops, wearing my dark glasses and avoiding steam and aerosols. If it wasn’t for the fading red dots around my eye then even I would have doubted I’d had surgery four days ago. I really cannot praise laser eye surgery enough, I watched a DVD last night and didn’t have a headache at the end from squinting and it felt so good!
UPDATE: 20/02/13 5 Days After Surgery
I’ve found that my eyes are perfectly light stable around the house now, but walking to the car this morning I was blinded by the bright sunlight as soon as I opened the front door and dashed inside for the safety of my dark glasses. Cooking and cleaning is no longer a danger and I had my second hair wash today with the help of my mum and a shower head as I crouched over the bath with a flannel over my face.
I have my next checkup at Optimax Milton Keynes tomorrow at 11am and have almost used up all of my medication so fingers crossed they’ll say that my course is over and I might even be able to stop my drops!
UPDATE 21/02/13 6 Days After Surgery
My checkup went great today and I was told that I can reduce the FML drops in my left eye from once every two hours to once every three and then tomorrow it will be once every four hours which is the same as my right eye. I have to see the medication through to the end, so for as long as the bottles last. I received another whole box of Refresh disposable droppers today as well, which help to keep the eyes lubricated as the optician advised it would be good for my eyes to continue them and they make me feel so fresh and alert so I don’t mind using them.
I’m getting used to not wearing makeup now, and it’s strange how before my eye surgery I wouldn’t have dreamed of even answering the door to the postman without a full face of makeup on, but now I’m out and about in public with a completely naked face and I don’t mind. I am counting down the next seven days until I can wear makeup again because unfortunately I’m not immune to the signs of sleep deprivation and spots, but it’s definitely been a goal of mine to have existed as my natural self for a period of time and I’m proud that I’ve done it. But that eye-shield picture of me will haunt me forever, it’s too hilarious to not share it with the world! Cringe!
As tomorrow will be one week since my surgery I am officially allowed to workout again and get some exercise and I am so excited you wouldn’t believe. In the past I’ve had a breast augmentation, adenoid extraction, cyst removal from my head and mole removal from my foot and had most definitely not been anywhere near fit enough to workout just seven days after surgery, it was more like three to six weeks later if then; so having my fitness regime back after just one week is a fantastic bonus, although if my eyes ache or become uncomfortable at any point I will stop straight away. So I’ll let you know how I get on with exercising tomorrow and leave you with today’s shot of my 20/20 vision! 🙂
UPDATE: 22/02/13 7 Days After Surgery
Hello day 7! This past week has flown by and I am half way through my makeup ban already. Tonight is the last night of wearing my eye-shields and I’ve decided to wait until tomorrow to workout as even though it is a week today since my laser surgery, I want it to be a complete week to be sure that I don’t cause any damage to my eyes, so I will start my exercise routine back up on day 8.
I was putting in my drops earlier and noticed my right eye seemed to have more blood on the side of it than my left eye and it made me panic for a second as I thought I may have strained it or caused a pressure surge and affected a blood vessel; but then I realised I hadn’t damaged my right eye, my left eye has just healed so much quicker from having the increased FML drops for the past week, but as I am now applying drops to both eyes every four hours things should even out. Roll on tomorrow when I can see how I get on with doing exercise again!
UPDATE: 23/02/13 8 Days After Surgery
I have just completed an hour of cardio intervals and I am shattered to say the least! I was a bit nervous about getting sweat in my eyes or putting pressure on my head when I bent down to stretch which obviously put my head lower to the ground than my heart and raised my blood pressure; but thankfully my crazy exercise session had absolutely no effect on my eyes at all. I’m not sure what I was expecting to happen really, maybe for blood vessels to explode if I didn’t breathe deep enough or my eyes to ache from jogging and jumping around, but they were totally normal, which is great! Tonight is my first night without my eye-shields and life is already feeling normal. Only six more days until I can wear makeup again and I’ve just written on my shopping list ‘get thank-you card for next Optimax appointment’ 🙂
UPDATE: 24/02/13 9 Days After Surgery
I was apprehensive of my first night without eye shields as before bed I feared I might catch my eye on the pillow or rub my lids in the morning without thinking but taking my shields off made no difference to my sleep at all. If anything my eyes just feel normal now, obviously my eyesight is absolutely fantastic and I don’t feel delicate or ‘post-surgery nervous’ anymore; which sadly also means that I no longer get special treatment at home from my other half! So chores and children’s routines return to normal and I lugged my shopping bags up the steps to the house this morning and changed the beds, cooked a soup and took a shower after my hour’s workout. I’m still taking care not to get water or steam directly in my eyes and I wear my dark glasses outdoors; not particularly because my eyes are light sensitive at all anymore, but more so because my dark circles look awful without makeup on and this way nobody can tell!
UPDATE: 25/02/13 10 Days After Surgery
Last night I worked on my laptop without getting eye strain, watched a film in bed without squinting and slept like a baby all night. The smallest things that we all take for granted have already had the greatest impact on my life!
UPDATE: 26/02/13 11 Days After Surgery
I read the advertisement off of the back of a bus driving through town today and I could even see the phone number at the very bottom despite being four or five good car lengths away from it. What a difference, from not even being able to see my teletext to reading fine print on a bus! 🙂
UPDATE: 27/02/13 12 Days After Surgery
It’s only two days until I can wear makeup again and I’m laughing right now at the thought of having to get up fifteen minutes earlier again each morning to paint on my face as I’ve enjoyed my little bit of extra time in bed in the early hours; being ‘au naturale’ is a far quicker and easier way to start the day! Please excuse the crazy expression that I’m pulling today but I was aiming to capture the white above my eyes to show that the red haze is almost all gone now aside from the single dot at either outside edge of my eyes. I have used up all of my Refresh lubricating drops now and I only have a little FML drops left which I put into my eyes four times a day still until it runs out. I’m looking forward to my next checkup at Optimax Milton Keynes next week and hearing how my eyes are doing statistically.
UPDATE: 28/02/13 13 Days After Surgery
It’s makeup day tomorrow and I’m so excited, it’s the final step to being back to normal and officially feeling fixed as I’ll no longer look like a sun-glassed/non-makeup recovering patient. It’s ten days until my next Optimax check up and I don’t even notice my eyes at all anymore; they feel normal and my eyesight is perfect, I can hardly remember my previous life of squinting and headaches that was merely two-weeks ago pre-op. This is true freedom and I’m grinning from ear to ear, welcome back to the world Tracy.
UPDATE: 01/03/13 14 Days After Surgery
Happy makeup day! Two weeks on and normality is restored. Bliss!
UPDATE: 02/03/13 15 Days After Surgery
I drove without sunglasses to collect my car from the garage today and the sun didn’t bother me at all. Isn’t the Spring such a bright and beautiful time, the world is fresh and everything is in sharp focus!
UPDATE: 03/03/13 16 Days After Surgery
It was so beautiful and sunny this morning when we went shopping and I realised what a freedom it was from not having to wear sunglasses. I feel like singing from the rooftops now that I need no lenses or glasses at all!
UPDATE: 04/03/13 17 Days After Surgery
I have very nearly almost finished my FML drops and I think both bottles will be empty by tomorrow. I have two pods of Refresh capsules which I kept back incase I get something in my eye and need to wash it out, but touch wood, I’ve never had any accidents yet. My eyes are so low maintenance now I’m still pinching myself at how simple and quick this whole process has been.
UPDATE: 05/03/13 18 Days After Surgery
So my FML drops finished today which means that I am completely unmedicated until my next check up at Optimax Milton Keynes in six days time. It’s a welcome check-point to reach knowing that my eyes are healed enough to finish my medication, they look and feel fantastic and I’ve almost totally forgotten that they were ever lasered now because my daily life is so normal and clear in comparison to how my sight was before. I’m still pinching myself when I realise I can see everything so clearly, but it’s like waking up and seeing the world as it really is now that I have perfect vision, and before it was as if I was in a misty dream.
UPDATE: 06/03/13 19 Days After Surgery
Despite not having my drops anymore my eyes have remained stable; they don’t feel any different to when I was putting drops in as I guess I was expecting them to ache or feel dry perhaps, but there is no change at all. They’re just as eyes should be, I don’t notice them at all!
UPDATE: 07/03/13 20 Days After Surgery
I was doing some housework earlier when I came across my old glasses tucked behind a picture frame and instantly I smiled when I realised it has now been two-thirds of a month since I’ve worn them! They were the bain of my life before having laser surgery, something I couldn’t live without but hated wearing. Now I look back and laugh at how I avoided wearing them at all costs in public, until the late evening when nobody would see me in the comfort of my home as I watched a DVD with the children in bed so they wouldn’t pull my glasses from my face. Now I can hold my baby son in my arms whilst I watch my daughter singing and dancing on stage and I can see every step and detail without having to dodge away from little hands snatching at my frames. Utterly priceless!
UPDATE: 08/03/13 21 Days After Surgery
Hello three weeks mark, how lovely it is to see you. It is three days until my checkup and I can’t wait to take my Thank You card to give to the staff at Milton Keynes. My eyes still have a fleck of red on either outside edge and I’m going to ask the consultant how long it will take for it to go.
UPDATE: 09/03/13 22 Days After Surgery
Another wonderful day of perfect vision has passed and it’s now two days until my next check up.
UPDATE: 10/03/13 23 Days After Surgery
My Optimax check up is tomorrow and as I couldn’t find a thank you card that I liked enough, I decided to make one instead; so here is my wonderful creation to sum up how much having laser eye surgery has changed my life already. I put a picture of me and the children inside a huge eye to symbolise how clear my life has become and wrote a little message inside for the staff. I can’t wait to put it in the store window tomorrow and join the other’s who have handed in their cards too. It feels like the finish line of a marathon and it’s incredible just how fast the whole process has been!
UPDATE: 11/03/13 Day 24
It was absolutely freezing cold at -6 degrees when I went for my check-up at Optimax today, and such a relief to step inside the lovely warm, dry building to be instantly greeted kindly from the staff. I feel as if I know the team like old friends now, it’s so pleasant how they remember me from previous visits and call me by my name and ask how I’ve been. I guess in this day and age we’re so used to being treated as an anonymous digit within the web of customer relations; I’ve become accustomed to the usual robotic “Good afternoon Sir/Madam, how may I help you today?” but to be greeted with “Hello Tracy, how have you been?” is a breath of fresh air and the retail industry could learn a lot from the Optimax staff.
My eyes are still feeling wonderful and I was given another box of Refresh drops to use as and when I need to. I find if I’ve been awake for a long period of time or worked on the computer all day my eyes tend to feel a bit tired, which was the case before I had my laser eye surgery even, but after a Refresh drop it’s like giving them a shot of espresso and I feel so awake and alive again, I can keep on going and going.
I asked how long it should take for the red dot on the outside edge of each eye to disappear and I was advised it should take another week or so which is far quicker than I expected. I was asked to fill out an on-screen questionnaire today in the reception area which focused on how I feel my treatment went, if I’m happy with the results and if I had enough support throughout and I didn’t hesitate to answer ‘excellent’ for them all. Throughout the entire process from start to finish; booking my consultation, the treatment and aftercare, each stage the communication and feedback has been absolutely astounding and it’s very rare that I’ve experienced such a high level of professionalism. Every question I could possibly think of has been answered, the staff have always been patient and polite, and despite my nerves on the day of the surgery they kept me calm and focused and as a direct result I was, and still am, amazed at how easy and pain free it all was.
After then having my eyes checked over with each machine once more, focusing on an object, having a puff of air blown into each eye and finally the white and blue lights shone across, I was able to read every line of the sight chart still and I felt on top of the world to be told that my sight is better than 20/20 vision. It really is the most amazing feeling, it’s completely changed my life.
I was delighted to hand my Thank-You card to the staff to join the many other happy customers on the window ledge. It felt like the final step of my journey and transformation from squinting squirrel to eyes-wide-open wonder-woman. The confidence it has given me is utterly immeasurable; I actually drove one hundred miles to the coast yesterday to visit relatives and could read every single road sign from the end of the road at least, which before I would have been squinting at it and panicking to change lanes once I was on top of the sign realising it was too late and Luca would have taken over the driving instead. When I asked a member of the public for directions to the toilet with the children at the amusement arcade a lady pointed to the end of the room and indicated I should turn right past the green sign and I could actually see where she meant, and the realisation for the first time of far off items being in focus made me literally grin from ear to ear. She must have thought I really loved toilets! It’s so amazing to notice the little changes and things that I am more capable of now due to my new better than 20/20 vision, it’s a reality check and a half to acknowledge the benefits it has brought already and it puts the biggest most cheesiest smile on my face.
I hope that if you’re thinking of having laser eye surgery that you’ll choose Optimax and make the best ever change to your life just as I have done. There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of and everything to gain. I feel so silly for having been so nervous and apprehensive about the treatment beforehand, but I guess you never know what to expect until you actually know of somebody who has gone through it, or in fact have it done yourself. And so for this reason I hope that you can now say “I saw Tracy go through it and it’s not that bad at all.”
I hope that this blog has helped you to understand everything that is involved and to know that when you’re thinking of having your eyesight corrected you should never cut corners or go to companies who lure you in with a cheap price but can’t deliver on the procedure like a well established and leading specialist can. I can personally vouch for Optimax Milton Keynes being a clean, professional and informative clinic that I would recommend to all of my friends and family as well as the readers of the world who find their way to my blog.
And if you have any questions that you’d like an honest real-life lasik eye surgery customer to answer then drop me a message and ask away! I’m happy to share my experience with others to help you to make an informed decision. I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading my blog and hope that you will have better than 20/20 vision just like me!
It is almost a year now since my laser eye surgery and I have never been happier. My vision is astounding and it is testament to Optimax and the staff at Milton Keynes that I no longer notice my eyes, I’ve almost completely forgotten that I had them lasered as they are no fuss at all.
I guess it’s like having an elbow, so long as you haven’t banged or bumped it to make it sore, then you quite easily forget that you have it, you don’t acknowledge it on a daily basis and rarely concern yourself with its well-being; just like my eyes now. I can see perfectly, I don’t fiddle with contact lenses and I have no annoyances with glasses steaming up or falling into my dinner and causing tender ridges on my nose anymore. My perfect eyes have blended into my daily routine seamlessly and I’ve almost forgotten that they were ever a nuisance to me. To think of all the time and money I spent on my eyes in the past, renewing contact lens subscriptions, washing my eyes with eyedrops, having my prescription checked for my glasses and new frames fitted; now I don’t even use drops. I wake up with beautiful vision, lead a normal busy day as a mother of two and go to bed with a tired body not tired eyes.
My eyes never became dry from surgery, I am free to do whatever I like for sports, swimming, running, weight-training, sunbathing, cooking steamy food, my life has such beautiful freedom. No more headaches, no more crows feet from squinting and no more deep lines on my forehead from frowning to focus. And as my eyesight is so clear now it has changed how I see myself, and I make more of an effort on my appearance because I feel good and want to look good too. I’m no longer a squinting-squirrel, frowning with another headache from poor vision. I love wearing nice makeup and defining my new eyes. It has given me the confidence to try new things that I would never have done with bad eyesight or whilst wearing glasses. I learned to ride a motorbike, went clay pigeon shooting with a shotgun and have been on holiday twice in the lovely sun with just a bikini and a book instead of bags of lenses and changing my glasses for sunglasses between reading and walking. How beautiful life has become.
And I was over the moon to receive this lovely email from the staff at Optimax Milton Keynes, which makes me a little sad to realise that I won’t be seeing them again as I have no reason to return. But next time I go shopping up at the centre I will pop in to say hello and see how they are getting on. It’s so rare that you meet such thoughtful and welcoming people, who not only do their job because they have to, but go above and beyond.
If you’ll be having or have already had laser eye surgery at Optimax I’d love to hear from you and how you got on. It’s amazing to think of how such a quick procedure can change the rest of your life so much, and laser eye surgery is by far the most worthwhile use of 15minutes of my time. Thank you for reading my blog and I wish you all the best with your journey to perfect vision.
UPDATE: 19/08/14 – 18 Months On
It is now a year and a half since my laser eye surgery and my life has changed in so many ways. With it currently being the summer holidays the children and I have been doing so many physical activities. As it’s been raining this week we went to the indoor play and had the most hilarious time. Millisent (almost 7yrs) and Gabriele (2.5yrs) squeezed through the tiny gaps, and up and under ramps and stairs and I got straight in there with them, jumping through sponge rollers and going face first down gigantic slides laughing and squealing with excitement. Before my surgery I would never have been able to do this, any glasses would have certainly fallen off and got broken or I’d have gone in squinting and losing sight of the children amongst the crowds of hundreds of colourfully dressed summer families. It has given me the freedom and bond to enjoy spending active time with my children again.
At a recent dental appointment I was given a bib and goggles to wear during treatment, and I could still see whilst wearing them, no trying to slot eye protection over existing glasses, or feeling like a fish under water and being distanced from the world with bad eyesight, just a simple procedure with vision that gave me clarity and confidence to know and see exactly what was going on around me every step of the way. I’ve continued to do home workouts, having now completed Insanity, P90X, P90X3 and T25. I go clay pigeon shooting and when I wear eye protection I can see perfectly, which means I beat my competitors who can’t see the tiny clays shoot so quickly across the sky. I guess it’s the perks of having perfect vision and not an unfair advantage at all!
I would like to share with you my friends and family code, which I received by post from Optimax. My friend recently used it to have her eye surgery at Optimax and was delighted to save £500.00 on her treatment and is thrilled with her results. I’ve been told that anybody that I share it with can use it to save on their treatment, so long as they mention ‘Tracy Kiss ID20198959’ to the staff then your discount can be applied. So this is my gift to you all, to help you along the road to perfect vision and I hope that it changes your life as beautifully as it has changed mine.
I have also kept a video diary throughout the consultation, treatment and aftercare which you can see here:
UPDATE: 16/07/15 Meeting Optimax
I was very kindly invited to the London offices at Optimax recently to speak about my experience of laser eye surgery two years on. Although I kept my blog at the time of my treatment and healing I never expected to be sitting in their wonderful offices sharing the joys of my new vision with the rest of the world. The staff were absolutely lovely and asked me to simply sit in front of a camera and say whatever I felt like saying about my experience. And as you may have already gathered, I love talking, so much so that I literally babbled on for several minutes and forgot the camera was even there.
It just goes to show that real people can make a difference in this giant world of advertising and sales. I’m not an employee of Optimax, I receive no payment for my time or thoughts, I’m just an average girl who decided to keep a blog about my experience to inform and advise others. In sharing my story I have heard from so many fantastic people across the world and I love answering questions, it feels like we are all one big family connected by our vision!
Optimax also then invited me to speak about their refer a friend scheme which is a unique code that every patient is issued following laser eye surgery. I suppose when somebody you know tells you about a treatment they’ve had and how much they’ve enjoyed it it gives you the confidence and reassurance to try the same yourself. When I had my laser eye surgery I didn’t know of anyone that had already had it done before me, so unfortunately I didn’t have a refer a friend code, but the £500.00 discount would have certainly come in very handy if I had!
I asked Optimax if anybody can use my code, not just the people that I know and they are more than happy for my blog readers to use this too, you don’t have to know me in person to receive a discount on your surgery. And in return, each time somebody uses my referral code Optimax send a £50.00 thank you voucher to acknowledge your referral, so I guess it helps everyone out wether you’re thinking about having laser eye surgery or telling people about your experience of it.
As always, with any surgical procedure you may be considering having please always do your research first. Book a consultation and find out if you are a suitable candidate. Never be rushed or pressurised into having surgery because it’s something that you should take time and thought to consider. I couldn’t find an all encompassing honest persons blog review of laser eye surgery before my treatment so I spent a great deal of time and effort in putting together my own thoughts and findings here which I’m pleased has helped so many others. Your eyesight is important and the window to life, never put it in the hands of anybody but the best.
UPDATE: 07/12/15 Optimax Milton Keynes Check Up
It’s been almost three years since I had laser eye surgery and it still is by far one of the best things I’ve ever done. Despite becoming a single parent my life is now so active, adventurous and non-stop and having perfect vision gave me the freedom I’d always dreamed of. Yet as with every treatment there are pro’s and con’s. For some it works wonderfully, for others it doesn’t work at all and for very few there is the need for retreatment. I didn’t notice my eyesight changing after laser eye surgery until one day I found it difficult to read a road sign, and then text on the television and finally I couldn’t spot my children’s faces at their school play again and knew that I needed to check my prescription.
I telephoned Optimax for advice and a very kind member of staff booked me in quickly for a sight test. She explained that with age our eyesight continuously changes and is sometimes accelerated by pregnancy, lifestyle or injury along with just the strain of technology. After all I know that I have a hormone imbalance, never wear sunglasses and use my mobile phone and laptop 24/7 so my poor eyes don’t have the easiest life! Also when I had my first laser eye surgery I hadn’t been to an opticians in years so I didn’t have a history of sight tests to go on and there was the question of doubt that my eyesight may not have settled prior to surgery, but I was happy to proceed knowing that my results may change. In 2011 before I fell pregnant with my son my midwife informed me that I was having a miscarriage and I blamed myself thinking it was something I had eaten or done had caused me to lose my baby, but she reassured me that it was just natures way and I could still go on to have another healthy child as each pregnancy is individual. I now have a 9yr old daughter Millisent and soon-to-be five year old son Gabriele and have no idea where the time has gone. As sad as it was losing my baby I know that I have to accept what will be will be. With everything I approach in life I always do my research and consider the pro’s and con’s, especially the what-if’s. What if this goes wrong? What if that stops working? What if I don’t get better? In reality we’re faced with complications, risks and rewards on a daily basis, it’s just the law of average that one day we might be that anomaly.
My previous Lasik treatment at Optimax was a great success and gave me everything I’d hoped and dreamed for and more as I had better than 20/20 vision. I’ve done nothing but sing the praises of laser eye surgery since having my procedure but with time my eyes have naturally regressed so I’m now considering the option of retreatment in order to correct it. My eye surgery didn’t fail but my body did. As a single parent I can never be too careful with my health because I need to be fit and healthy to tend to my children so I won’t undertake retreatment lightly. If it isn’t the right time for me now then I’ll happily wait and I’m very conscious of the fact that my eyes need to settle into a prescription which they will maintain for several years rather than being in a state of flux.
Today I had my sight test and the optician confirmed that my sight has changed since my surgery taking my prescription to R-0.75/0.25×155 L-1.25/-0.25×25 which is disheartening to hear but confirms what I’ve been seeing in the softening of my vision. It’s not as clear as it was and I’m starting to squint again but after much discussion I’m aware that it’s a waiting game now to monitor my vision until my sight test results stabilise and I have two matching readings which can be taken every six months.
My first concerns when hearing my eyes have regressed were can this be fixed? Could I go blind? And how common is this? The industry average for eye surgery patients needing retreatment is less than 5% of cases with Optimax’s stats coming in even lower than this so I’m aware that I’m in very good hands and have already had a successful surgery. It shows how unlucky I am to have had my vision regress and also how rare it is, but I’ve been reassured I’m at no additional risk of going blind or losing my vision at a young age. My eyesight may never get any worse than it is now, or it could become twice as bad within a year, there’s really no way of telling other than monitoring my eyes which is why a consistent optical record is absolutely essential and something that I knowingly lacked before my first surgery. It’s not a bad thing that my sight has changed now as it can certainly be fixed, so I’ll remain patient and listen to the experts advise.
UPDATE: 04/06/16 Sight Test 2
Six months have absolutely flown by and I’ve been really looking forward to hearing some good news today. Although my eyesight isn’t drastic at the moment I’m using my old glasses again for clarity when watching television and driving and it’s reminded me how much of an inconvenience it was for me before having my eye surgery. My son keeps moving my glasses when I put them down after wearing them, they’ve been knocked down the back of the sofa a fair few times and I forgot to bring them with me when taking the children to a birthday party which made it stressful finding a new location in the dark. So I’ve been holding out for the hope of my sight test giving me two matching results today so that we can discuss my retreatment.
Annoyingly my results came in at R-1.25/-0.25×25 L-1.50/-.025×140 which has declined meaning that I have to now wait another six months for my next sight test. It wasn’t the result I was hoping for but it shows me that my eyes are still in a state of change and in waiting now I will have the best results possible, I just have to practise patience because it will be worth every minute when I had 20/20 vision again. Roll on six more months!
UPDATE: 18/11/16 Sight Test 3
Today I had my next sight test and I’m absolutely over the moon to have my prescription reading R-1.25/-0.25×25 L-1.50/-.025×140 which is the same as six months ago and means that I can now consider retreatment. I have my first bodybuilding contest coming up in 5 months time when I’ll need to be on stage with cameras and flashing lights and won’t have to squint anymore which is amazing. My work on camera as a blogger and social influencer relies on me being confident and natural and so squinting and straining really isn’t desirable, especially when bright lights and flashbulbs are involved. I would never go back to contact lenses again because they dry out my eyes and I can’t wear glasses when working out or running around after my children so laser eye surgery is certainly the best option for me and now thankfully it’s the right time to do it. It’s also incredibly hard to experience the freedom that perfect vision brings and then go back to an inconvenient lifestyle with lenses so I’m thankful that I’ll have my perfect vision back soon.
Now that I have two matching readings I’ve booked in to see my eye surgeon Dr Mughal to discuss the treatments available, the results and as always the pro’s and con’s. Although I have my hopes up of having another eye surgery if it’s not the right thing for me to do now then I’ll take heed of advice and wait as long as it takes.
UPDATE: 02/2/16 Surgeon Assessment With Dr Mughal Milton Keynes
It’s a great relief to have the very same staff and surgeon dealing with me from almost 4yrs ago as we caught up in reception before my appointment today and they pleasantly asked about my children and Christmas. It’s rare that you find the same helpful people working in the same place years down the line but it’s certainly a testament to the quality of service provided as there’s a warm family atmosphere that always puts me at ease. Dr Mughal did such a wonderful job with my eye surgery 4yrs ago and knows everything about my treatment so I know that I’m in good hands. After having some more eye tests today he confirmed that there’s no damage caused by my previous laser surgery to my eyes, no scarring or complications but my eyes have naturally deteriorated and I’m one of the rare few who’s sight changes. I know at the time of my first surgery my lack of history with sight tests meant that my prescription could continue to change following treatment but I was happy to continue knowing this. Now that I’m 29 my sight has finally stabilised and I’ve been approved for retreatment and couldn’t be happier.
Seeing as I had LASIK previously my only option now is to have LASEK as the same procedure cannot be repeated twice so this means that it’s a slightly different method for treatment and my recovery will also be longer than the first time around but he’s confident that the results will be just as good. This will however be the final time that I can have eye surgery so I have to be sure that I want to do this now and not ten years down the line. My reasons behind wanting perfect vision now haven’t altered since I first had my surgery, I still lead an active lifestyle with a young family and have just qualified as a personal trainer starting my journey into bodybuilding, I still don’t get on with contact lenses and I still want to be able to enjoy my vision whilst I’m young enough to make the most of life. I accept that in years to come I may need reading glasses again and I’m assured that having a retreatment now will not endanger my vision nor make it any quicker to deteriorate. I’ve been assured that gradual deterioration of sight happens to everybody so I’m at no greater risk of ever going blind and blindness doesn’t run in my family.
With all of my questions patiently and professionally answered I now feel safe in the knowledge that this is the right time and option for retreatment for my needs and I’m pleased and enthusiastic about having my second eye surgery with such a skilled surgeon. Due to a cooling off period I must now wait until the 15th December for my surgery which is in two weeks time and I’m thrilled to have booked in before Christmas so that I can welcome the New Year in with my family and perfect vision once again. Prior to my retreatment I have been advised to:
– avoid wearing soft or daily contact lenses the day before
– avoid wearing soft topic lenses or sleep in lenses for one week
– avoid wearing hard or gas permeable lenses for three weeks
– avoid wearing makeup, perfume or deodorant on the day of treatment
– bring somebody with me to drive me home as my eyes will be dilated and my vision blurred for 4-6hrs
– be prepared to spend the morning at the clinic for tests, treatment and recovery
– if paying by an easy payment plan to bring a recent bank statement, photo ID and proof of address
– allow 5 working days notice to cancel or reschedule an appointment with a refund of deposit
– wear warm clothing because the treatment room is kept cool
– bring sunglasses to protect the eyes from light after treatment
Seeing as I don’t use contact lenses and I’m not using a payment plan I’ve only had to set a hoodie and jeans aside with a pair of sunglasses in preparation. My children are being taken to school by my friends as my mother is driving me to my appointment at 08:45am so I’m hoping to be home in time for the school run. I’ve got a few meals stored in the freezer so that I don’t have to worry about cooking and as my surgery is on a Thursday I’m having my parents come to stay for the weekend so that I can get some rest as it’s advised I take a week off of work to recover. Roll on two weeks time!
UPDATE: 15/12/16 My LASEK Retreatment LTCG Bilateral Wavefront Milton Keynes
I’ve been so excited to have my surgery today that I felt like a kid at Christmas last night and shot up out of bed this morning to jump in the shower and get ready before the school run. I remember back to my first eye surgery in my early twenties and how worried I was about the fear of the unknown, if it would hurt, if I would panic and if something might go wrong but the second time round it seems so much easier because I know exactly what to expect and I’m looking forward to it. I’m not worried at all about the procedure, I already know just how quick and easy it is and that’s why I’m incredibly enthusiastic. I think it’s hard to assure somebody that there’s no need to panic because it’s only natural to be cautious of something you’ve never experienced before. Yet much like a giant slide at a play park you never realise how much fun it can be until you gather the courage to ride it for the first time and then nothing and nobody can stop you. I know how convenient laser eye surgery was when I had it before and I’m looking forward to having perfect vision once again.
Arriving at Optimax Milton Keynes at 08:45am I was greeted in reception by the branch manager and my mother and I offered a coffee, chocolates and magazines whilst I waited to be seen. I was expecting to fill out the consent forms, on screen questionnaire and final eye check directly before having my surgery but as the clinic was so busy each patient was seen in stages. As a part of the morning surgeries I waited with several other patients as each of us were tested and shown in order how to take the medication and aftercare and then call in with Dr Mughal to have a pre-op check and discussion. I was informed during my final eye test that the afternoon patients would start arriving as of 12 which shows just how popular eye surgery has become.
I was called through for my surgery at 11:10am, just over three hours after my arrival and as we only had three hours on the car parking my mother left to extend it whilst I went into the treatment room. I visited the toilet beforehand to ensure I was still and rested and took a seat in the same chair I sat years ago just inside the treatment room door where I was given a hair net and surgical shoes for hygiene. A few moments later the door to the laser room opened and I was greeted by my surgeon and his team of nurses in blue scrubs who were busy operating screens and clipboards confirming my date of birth and details of my treatment. As I was having both eyes treated on the same day I first had my face and eyelids wiped clean and then my right eye covered with a bandage so that the left could be treated.
The room appeared very much the same as before, pristinely clean, bright white walls with sparkling top of the range machinery and a comfortable dentist style chair to lay upon. As my surgeon lowered me into a laying down position and moved the equipment above my head he reaffirmed that this procedure would be different to my experience of LASIK and would talk me through it step by step. A nurse administered anaesthetic drops to my right eye to ensure that I wouldn’t feel a thing and I felt entirely relaxed and calm throughout as we talked about my day. I was informed that there would be no suction on my eye this time so I would have to stay very still because nothing would be holding my eye in place but the laser would track the positioning and I just had to look straight up at the light as before. A clamp was inserted into my eye to hold it open as before and my upper and lower eyelashes were taped to my face out of the way so that I couldn’t blink. Although I was conscious and aware of what was happening I couldn’t see anything because it was all out of my field of vision and I was numb, I simply looked up at the ceiling and spoke with my surgeon throughout.
The treatment then began with me looking into the laser which was a ring of green and red lights for which I focused on the red dot in the middle and the sound of the machine above me started to whirr. A nurse began counting down from 30 seconds and a quick firing snapping sound was followed shortly by the smell of burning as the lens of my eye was opened. This was followed swiftly by my surgeon wiping tools across my eye much like a spatula smoothing the icing across a cake and he told me this was to remove the cells in preparation for the laser treatment. Another 18seconds of staying still and looking into the laser light as it pinged and my treatment was complete. A clear contact lens was then slipped into my eye followed by a refreshing wash of cold water to reduce the temperature and within minutes my eye was bandaged and the left eye uncovered for its treatment. The process was exactly the same just with the individual prescription for the difference in my eyes. I felt calm, safe and relaxed throughout and appreciated having already had my eyes layered before because I know exactly what to expect. In many respects it was as brief and convenient as popping into my dentist for a checkup.
The only thing I felt at all was the cold water washing my eyes at the very end which was cool and refreshing, even taking off the lash tape was painless because I was numb. Around fifteen minutes after I entered the laser room my surgery was a success and I was asked to sit up in my own time. I could see immediately in the well lit room and my long distance vision which had been blurry was absolutely perfect as I couldn’t stop grinning at the numbers on the clock. A nurse handed me my sunglasses and I was taken into the recovery room next door to sit for a moment in the dark where I was given my bag of medication and aftercare along with contact telephone numbers and my next appointment to have my bandage lenses removed in four days time which were essentially non-prescription contact lenses to protect the front of my eyes.
A few minutes later my mum came in to collect me and just as before we left smiling and chatting away feverishly as we walked through reception with all of the makeup-free patients looking on tentatively to see how my surgery had gone. Somehow the words “Honestly it’s fine, there’s nothing to worry about!” are lost on those who are anxious about eye surgery but it’s the most wonderful thing to see people leaving after with the biggest smiles on their faces, free of any pain and a great sense of relief for how quick and convenient it all is. Although it wasn’t my first eye surgery it was a simple maintenance to restore my perfect vision and allow me to enjoy the active lifestyle I’ve become accustomed to.
As I was given pain relief, eye shields, drops and sleeping tablets within my medical pack I decided to take them when I got home even though I’ve never used sleeping tablets before but was informed that the LASEK treatment may be more painful then LASIK and also has a longer recovery time. One thing that I really appreciate about having a retreatment is that I can now compare the two methods because I’ve experience both when not many others can. I felt the the LASEK treatment this time was far easier in the sense that there’s no suction or pressure involved and as such my eyes didn’t turn red after or have any blood at the surface like last time. I don’t look or feel as though I’ve had anything done at all as for all intents and purposes my second eye surgery is completely undetectable.
As I’d had anaesthetic drops I didn’t feel any pain at all so I wouldn’t class one treatment as more preferable than the other, the only difference really being that I now have lenses in my eyes that have to be removed in a follow up appointment which I didn’t have before. Seeing as contact lenses dry my eyes I’m expecting my eyes to perhaps irritate, go dry, rub or stick to my eyelids so I’ll be extra cautious to use my Refresh drops to prevent an eye infection this time. All in all my second surgery was very quick and easy and I’m looking forward to returning to normal life in a week and getting back to the gym in two weeks time.
UPDATE: 16/12/16 Recovery Day 1
Despite having sleeping tablets I don’t feel as though I slept any better than I normally would. I’m a light sleeper as it is and post-pregnancy I have the bladder of an infant hamster and am always back and forth to the bathroom all night. I’ve never taken sleeping tablets before and half expected to knock-out for an amazing sleep and wake up feeling reborn but if anything it was a rather average nights sleep. But then if I hadn’t taken them would I have had any sleep at all? It’s impossible to know really but I don’t see them as essential post-surgery more personal preference.
I woke up without rubbing my eyes and they don’t feel dry or sticky at all which I put down to the fact that my eyes are watering whenever I open them, not in a stingy shampoo way but like more peeling onions. If I keep my eyes closed my surgery is almost unnoticeable aside from the odd mild aching around the pupils if I’ve had them open for too long or looked at something bright. Because my eyes water it’s making my nose run also and as such I have a pile of tissues beside my bed, not because I have a cold but because my eyes are keeping themselves extremely clean for me which fingers crossed will prevent any infection because last time my eyes were much drier. I was expecting my eyes to feel hot, dry and sore by now but I’m pleasantly surprised that I’m ok because they’ve remained cool and I don’t have any central heating on. Although my eyes have always disagreed with contact lenses the recovery bandage lenses seem to be ok, they don’t reposition themselves everytime I blink, they haven’t moved or tried to stick to my eyelids yet and aside from being a little blurry to focus close up I wouldn’t have known they were in as they’re clear and I leave them alone. I don’t have to do anything differently because of my lenses, I apply my own eye drops every 4hrs and have additional numbing drops should I need them but thankfully they haven’t been necessary.
Because my eyes are still dilated I’m slightly sensitive to light, can’t drive and my close up vision is blurry because of the lenses but t’s much better than yesterday. Directly after having surgery my long distance vision was amazing but I couldn’t read anything close up which shocked me slightly as after my LASIK treatment I could see both close up and long distance perfectly right away. Compared to yesterday when even my hands appeared blurry today just one day after treatment I am back to using my laptop and phone again taking breaks between working to rest my eyes if it gets too much. I know when my eyes need a rest because it makes me feel sleepy and so I’ve taken plenty of naps and I feel so much better for it. After calling Optimax Milton Keynes this morning about my blurred close-up vision I was reassured that once my lenses are removed at my follow up appointment my vision would be much better, but as the day has gone on I’m ready seeing an improvement.
I’m administering my drops myself, sleeping fine, eating fine and taking plenty of naps as my mother has come to my rescue to do the school run because I can’t drive yet. If I were to compare the two procedures LASIK and LASEK for discomfort I wouldn’t say there was much between them at all for healing but last time my eyes felt dry and this time they’re moist which is much better. I know the recovery is longer with LASEK and I can’t drive yet but in the grand scheme of things it’s only an extra week and then I’ll be back to normal.
UPDATE: 16/12/16 Recovery Day 2
Sleep, sleep and more sleep. I’m so thankful for my mum doing the school run because she’s allowed me to stay in bed with my blackout blinds sleeping and blowing my nose. If anything it feels as though I have a winter cold or hay fever rather than eye surgery because every time I look at the light my eyes water and my nose runs which has left my nostrils red. I’m not in any pain, I just feel tired when I have my eyes open for too long but I’m getting into a good routine of inserting my drops every four hours which will reduce next week. It may look like I’m wearing eyeliner here but it’s tattoo’d on and I haven’t applied any makeup, perfume or deodorant as advised.
I’m ecstatic that the close vision blurring has now cleared completely and I can freely use my phone and laptop to catch up on work as I’ve had plenty of messages and well wishes from friends and family asking how I am. My cycle is nap, eat, eyedrops, social media, nap again! I can see why I was advised to take a week off of work because there’s very little you can do with your eyes closed, but what a great excuse to take a break and have a bit of pampering! My skin is loving being makeup free and it’s given me a wonderful complexion and fresh face, four more days until I can go back to wearing foundation.
UPDATE: 17/12/16 Recovery Day 3
My dilated pupils are slowly beginning to shrink back to normal and so my eyes aren’t streaming with water every time that I see the light which means that my nose is no longer running and I’m soothing my sore nostrils with Savlon. How funny it seems that my eyes have been lasered yet it’s my nose that bothers me and feels sore. I still have no pain, just a mild aching feeling if I overuse my eyes. I’m continuing to my normal work routine with my phone and laptop but I’ve yet to lift anything or do housework as it’s important that I rest and recover without getting any dust or moisture in my eyes and my mum has oddly found it enjoyable doing my laundry, cooking and tending to my children day and night so I’m not complaining!
UPDATE: 18/12/16 Recovery Day 4
Today I took my first bath and feel so much more human! I’m not allowed to have a shower for the first week because of the steam and risk of getting water in my eyes but it was lovely to lay in a tub of bubbles and freshen up as I’ve not worn makeup nor deodorant since the day before my surgery. My mum helped to wash my hair over the sink as I wore my sunglasses with a dry flannel over my eyes to keep them clear of water and I’m loving being out of my dark den in the bedroom. Today is the first day that I’m clean, fresh, dressed and in daylight out and about with the rest of the family as I’m no longer light sensitive. It shows that four days of rest and recovery have worked wonders and my nose isn’t sore anymore because it isn’t running or being wiped. The only sign of having surgery is directly after taking my eye drops I have a metallic taste down the back of my throat but aside from that second time around it’s been pretty spectacular actually and I’m thrilled to have had it done.
My follow up appointment is at 1pm tomorrow and I’m slightly anxious of having my lenses removed because I’ve never touched my eyes so soon after surgery before so I’m expecting it to scratch or feel a little sore directly after. I can’t imagine it being pleasant but my mum’s driving me to my appointment because I haven’t been cleared for driving again yet. I’ll keep you posted with my progress!
UPDATE: 09/12/16 My Bandage Lens Removal
I arrived for my appointment just after lunchtime today at Optimax Milton Keynes and was welcomed into the sight test room to discuss my healing. Having my lenses still in mean’t that my vision is slightly blurry off and on as sometimes I can see clearly but if I’ve used my eyes too much I lose definition and need to rest again. Although my eyes hate contact lenses they’ve been surprisingly ok with the bandage lenses and I can watch TV again without having to squint which is amazing.
I was reassured that after my lenses are removed my sight will continue to improve and with healing complete my blurring will subside. To have my lenses removed I had anaesthetic drops put into each eye first to make me as comfortable as possible. I was relieved that I didn’t have to remove them myself incase they pulled, pinched or something went wrong. The optician asked me to look down as she raised my eyelid with her thumb and then slipped the lenses down and out of my eyes within a second just as I would have done with a normal contact lens at home – I didn’t feel a thing. I was advised that my eyes may now start to feel a little dry as the lenses aren’t there to make them water or remain moist anymore so I was given a tube of eye gel which I can use before going to bed to hydrate my eyes whilst sleeping. The gel is clear and goes in just like my eye drops which I’m still taking four times a day until Thursday when it’s a week into my healing and then I can lower it to three times a day. I’m also allowed to drive in three days time which is a week after my surgery and as such I no longer need my mum’s help with ferrying the children around.
UPDATE: 12/12/16 Recovery Day 7
This week has absolutely flown by and Christmas is creeping closer by the second. The term ‘blink and you miss it’ has never been more poignant than it is now. As it’s a week since my surgery not only do I have my perfect eyesight back but I can also drive again, wear makeup and take a shower. I now have another week to wait until I can go back to weight training at the gym which just so happens to be the perfect excuse to relax with my family, eat a load of Christmas treats and snuggle up on the sofa listening to the rain as we watch Christmas movies – without glasses!
I could continue to give you daily updates about my eyes but you can’t really get better than perfect vision can you? So I’d like to leave you with my thoughts on being a returning customer to Optimax. I never expected to have poor vision growing up, I certainly didn’t feel comfortable as a glasses-wearer and so I became accustomed to taking a back seat in life because of my poor vision. If I could put into words the sheer impact perfect vision has made to my life as a woman and a mother then I’d use the adjective ASTRONOMICAL. Not only do I have a new (and very active) career in fitness that I would never have dreamed of attempting before but my appearance has changed incredibly as you can see from these. I’m no longer a quiet, mumsy blender-inner but a confident, enthusiastic and energetic go-getter inspiring others to get active and live well and my life continues to progress in leaps and bounds because of it. And if you don’t mind waiting until April 2017 then my next update photo will be of me grinning from ear to ear on stage at my first bodybuilding bikini contest as I achieve my dreams – without squinting!
Please feel free to ask me any questions about my LASIK and LASEK eye surgeries, especially if you’re considering it for yourself. As always I look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback about vision in the comments box below and hope that in being open and honest about my eye surgeries that you can make an informed decision as to how you proceed with your own. As I couldn’t find a blog about a laser eye retreatment I think it’s vitally important to show my outcome as one of the very rare <5% who go on to have further care and how positive and convenient is has been for me as a busy single mum. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and happy new year and I’ll see you again when I step off of the stage!