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I want to start the post by saying I’m no way a medical professional. Please listen to what your doctor says. This is my experience and my experience only.
Getting Lasik all started when I had dinner with my parent’s friends a few months ago. She saw me wearing my glasses and asked me if I ever considered Lasik eye surgery. She did it herself at HK Sanatorium hospital more than 10+ years ago and would highly recommend it to others.
I’ve been wearing glasses half my life. I turned 26 years old back in September and started wearing glasses when I was 13. Lasik was always something that was on my mind but I never dared to take the step. Until now.
My Hesitation with Getting Lasik
My biggest worry was the pain. I have a very low tolerance for pain. I even flinch when I get needles. Also, they’re supposed to shoot this laser in your eye while you’re awake? Uhh…can’t they drug me so I’m completely out of it?
Then you read these awful stories about how people wish they never got it done because this and this happened.
I also have optic drusen. In high school, I was dragged to all these hospitals to get tested. Severe optic drusen mean that I could faint at random times or go blind. I had to go to so many different eye doctors to check that it’s going to be alright. I wasn’t sure how my optic drusen would affect me getting Lasik.
I went ahead and booked my LASIK consultation in early September at the HK sanatorium hospital. If I’m not suitable for this procedure, at least I would know. The entire consultation took 3 hours. It sounds like a long time but it’s my eyes we’re talking about. Of course, I would rather them do thorough testing. It’s also only a one-time thing.
They gave me an iPad to watch the surgery process so I know what they’ll do to me. The rest of the consultation was like doing your annual eye exam. Nothing out of the ordinary. You read the chart from your chair, they ask you if 1 or 2 is more clear, and your eyes get dilated. These tests confirmed that I was a suitable candidate.
There are two options: SMILE or LASIK. Here’s an article that will help explain the differences. Long story short, the doctor recommended Lasik for me so that’s what I went with.
Booking Lasik Surgery Day
I wanted to get Lasik at a time where the UV light rays weren’t as strong so I booked an appointment for November 4th.
The staff told me that…
- I had to be there for 9:30 am to prepare (my Lasik surgery would be at 11 am)
- Get a friend or family member to drive me home and for them to come at 12:30 pm
- Emphasized on not using contact lenses one wee before surgery
- No makeup or perfume the day of surgery
- The actual Lasik surgery is at a different location
- I can change my mind and choose SMILE instead up to a few days in advance
Lasik Surgery Day – Nov 4th
I came in half an hour earlier (the clinic told me to) and did one final eye examination.
After that, they brought me to a private access part of the clinic. For hygienic purposes,
I had to change my face mask, wear a hairnet/hospital gown over my clothes, and even use the clinic’s slippers.
I signed some consent forms. They also put some numbing drops in my eyes. Honestly, they put in so many eye drops I lost count. It was like Niagara Falls.
Before surgery, the doctor poked some needle in my eye and I freaked. I had no idea that he was using a needle until he made a sudden movement. I jumped a little and that’s when I saw it. To my surprise, I didn’t feel a thing. It could have been the numbing drops.
A lot of the time before surgery is waiting. My stomach was doing somersaults. I barely ate before going in (no appetite). Also, I knew that I would be lying down all day after. I didn’t want to eat too much and feel bloated. My eyes were going to be uncomfortable already.
I watched tons of Lasik-related videos and blog posts to mentally prepare. It seemed as though many had an option of taking a Valium. I was disappointed when I didn’t. Only got a painkiller.
More drops. More waiting. Then, it was showtime. Before I went in, the nurse asked me if there was anything she could do to make me more comfortable. I asked for a stuffed animal or pillow to hug. They didn’t have one but gave me a warm blanket. She could tell I was extremely nervous so she patted my shoulder a couple of times.
You walk into the operation room and you see these big machines. The doctor was sitting down, ready to go while there were like 7 other people around him. I was intimidated because I didn’t expect so many people in this one room. The picture below is the perfect example to show how I felt. I clung to that blanket for dear life.
They tell you to lie down and I wanted to put my legs up. It’s a comfortable position for me but they said I had to put my legs down or else I would be blocking the machine. They also told me to stay completely still. When someone tells you that, you become conscious of every movement you make.
The feeling was somewhat strange when they put this eye holder thing to keep your eyes open. It wasn’t painful but I could feel the pressure. The team also taped my eyelashes to my eyebrow. I asked my doctor if my eyelashes were going to fall out. He laughed and reassured me it wouldn’t or else he wouldn’t forgive himself. The lighthearted moment did help a bit.
There were two parts. They first create a flap and then reshape the eye and correct vision. The two machines were in different rooms so I needed someone’s help to guide me from one room to the next.
Seeing a huge machine coming down slowly at you made me feel like I was going to be squished to death. Random thought but I was also skittish.
I think the doctor could tell that I was absolutely terrified. He said a lot of encouraging words but I could barely hear. My heart was pounding so loud.
The whole process was so fast (10 – 15 minutes) that my memory is a bit blurry but all you need to do is to focus on the blinking green light. It’s a bit loud and you can smell something burning. This didn’t faze me as I’ve done previous laser treatments.
People said that there are a few moments where your vision goes completely black but it only went very blurry for me. It’s like opening your eyes underwater.
There was zero pain during this surgery.
Going Home Post Surgery
Right after surgery, you’re brought to your sitting area. There is some privacy as curtains were separating each area. We all had our own chair and a small table where you can put your stuff. The doctor checked up on me one last time before I was free to go. He told me to keep my eyes closed as much as possible for the next few hours.
The nurse had to remind me several times how to take care of my eyes post-surgery because I was too loopy to listen. I finished about half an hour later than I was supposed to.
My mom was there waiting for me when I walked out. I kind of wished she was there with me before surgery to have some emotional support but someone being there would have made me more nervous. My mom probably would have asked me questions and it would have spiked up my anxiety.
I thought I was going to need to bring sunglasses with me to protect my eyes but they put these eye shields on you. You’re supposed to keep them on until the next morning. It’s also when you need to start using the several bottles of eyedrops they’ve provided.
4 – 6 Hours Post Surgery
During the consultation, the doctor did warn me that after surgery, the next 4 – 6 hours would be the most uncomfortable. It might feel like there’s sand in your eyes or an eyelash you can’t get out. The best thing to do is to lie down in a dark room with your eyes closed.
The numbing eye drops wore off and I couldn’t stop tearing up. I was surprised not to feel any pain. If I had to rank how painful it was on a scale from 1 – 10, it would be a 1.5. The 0.5 is from the constant tears. There were brief moments where it felt like there was sand in my eye but it was the nonstop tears that bugged me. My eyes were also extremely sensitive to light.
It wasn’t fun when I had to get up to go to the bathroom. My mom was guiding me but she was terrible because I kept bumping into things.
I fell asleep soon afterwards. I guess cutting your eyes makes you tired. When I woke up after my nap, I could see!
Post Lasik Surgery Care
For the first couple of days, I had to put in eyedrops every two hours. Not ideal but I stayed home for the next 3 days so it wasn’t too bad.
Every night for a week, I also had to use plastic eye shields to protect my eyes. They gave me a roll of tape but it was tough to take off in the mornings. It also left some sticky residue on my face.
You’re not supposed to use tap water near my eyes for a week and any eye products for two weeks. The nurses suggested buying distilled water bottles so I can wipe my eyes with a cotton pad. She warned me that the eye drops can make my eyelashes crusty. It’s gross.
Tips on Taking Care of Your Eyes Post Surgery
- Make sure you close your eyes for 1 – 2 minutes and let your eyes soak in those eyedrops. I tried to hurry the process a couple of times just for me to taste those eyedrops in the back of my throat. It was NASTY. Do not recommend.
- I care about skincare a lot so not being able to wash my face properly was a bummer. It was hard to wash my forehead. What if my cleanser drips down? It’s important to be careful when wearing your face so I would wet some cotton pads to wipe my forehead.
- Plan things to do ahead so you’re not lying down the entire time you’re recovering. I was stretching my body, listened to some podcasts on Spotify, listened to music, and spoke to my friends and family on the phone. This helped the time go by faster.
- Wearing sunglasses when outdoors for one month (now’s the time to go on Vestiaire Collective again to shop for some sunglasses! If you’ve never heard of the platform before and don’t know how to use the website, you can check out my guide to Vestiaire blog post.
- No facials or swimming for one month, sauna for 3 months, contact sports and eye rubbing for at least 6 months
1 Day Later Checkup
We did another eye examination and they said that eyes were healing better than expected. I was supposed to go in for another checkup a week later but I could skip it and just see my doctor 3 weeks later.
Most people want to get Lasik because they want to achieve 20/20 vision. Some can even achieve a 20/15 vision. I was disappointed to learn that I was -0.5 in one eye and -0.75 in another eye. My original prescription is -3.75 and -4.50. Do my eyes need more time to heal? I already went under knife so is it surprising that I want the best result?
During the checkup, my doctor joked about how my eyelashes were still there. Honestly, I was surprised he remembered me.
I don’t have many complaints about my time at the clinic but one thing that did bother me was how many people were there. I can’t tell if they were understaffed but many nurses were quite abrupt and rushed me. It was hard to relax before Lasik when their attitudes weren’t great. I get that you almost always wait while seeing a doctor but it was anxiety-inducing. 95% of the time was waiting.
I saw somewhere that it was extremely common to get dry eyes after surgery but it’s not something I’ve experienced. The only thing I have are halos are glares but that’s supposed to go away soon.
The doctor said everyone has different symptoms and to not worry about it. I couldn’t help but think if wearing contacts a lot in the past has some sort of effect because I barely wear contacts in the past. I hated the feel of them and that I had to pinch my eyeball to get it out.
Final Thoughts on Getting Lasik Surgery
I would recommend people getting Lasik for those who can afford it or is suitable candidate.
I completely understand that it’s scary but I have no regrets. If I do in the future, I will let you guys know.
I’m ready for 2022. A lot has happened since New Year’s 2021 but I’m ready to move on. With my new eyes!
Now to You
Would you ever get Lasik? Why or why not? If you did get it, what was your experience like?