Before The iLASIK Experience

I finally went for my iLASIK 2 weeks ago. Did it at our client’s place.
I only found time recently to blog about this. Me being me, I don’t like half-hearted posts. I like to give as much detail and backstory so in case you are thinking of undergoing the same experience as I did, at least you can take heart that someone did it and someone told the actual story and someone was not paid to tell the story (that is why I don’t do paid reviews. If someone paid me to review something, I’ll only have good things to say about it. If I paid with my own money, I can say the good and the bad. I can say as much or as little as I want.)
Two Monday afternoons ago specifically. I should mark 21 June down as the day I could see everything clearly without glasses.
I wrote about 2 options for my vision sometime last year.
But at the back of my mind, I had always wanted to do iLASIK.
I’ve always wanted to wake up to clear vision and ditch the glasses/contact lenses. I’ve been shortsighted since I was 11 and was immediately made to wear glasses as I was squinting at the blackboard in class. My first pair of glasses were huge and powder pink.
I thought I was finally free of glasses when I discovered contact lenses when I was 19 (and could afford to buy them on my own).
But contact lenses were always a problem for me too.
Travelling meant packing extra pairs of lenses, you know, for those Just In Case scenarios. Also, travelling with bottles of lens solutions and contact casings. And of course, that pair of glasses just in case! It’s bloody hard being vain! (If you wear glasses and contact lenses, you will know what I am talking about.)
And don’t even talk about waking up early.
Because putting on lenses at 6am can be such a torture. The eyes are bleary and won’t cooperate. It also (sometimes) means red eyes because of a lack of oxygen. And if travelling by plane, the cabin air made it worse. More drying out.
Though I was fortunate NOT to get dry eyes while wearing contact lenses. My sisters do. So do many friends who wear contacts.
And I “trained” myself to wear the lenses for more than 12 hours per day without much issue. My lenses never did pop out accidentally, unlike my sister’s. (Once we were in Bukit Tinggi shopping mall and her left lens popped out of her eye. We headed direct for Guardian to buy a bottle of saline to rinse the lens before popping it right back in!)
Lenses were a big step from glasses. At least, I could swim while wearing contact lenses. I learnt to live with a life of contact lenses and multi-purpose solutions.
I had to.
I mean, what else was there for a shortsighted person?
Then last year, we were approached by Adventist Vision Centre to help them with their website. Actually they never had a website to begin with. They had a page within the Adventist Hospital website. Which really didn’t help to help them sell their vision correction services. Which until then I had no idea what it really was about.
As with all clients whom we write content for, we conduct research on our own as well as talk to them about what they offer. From our initial conversations, I discovered that not all laser eye surgery are the same. Yes, they all come under the laser surgery but you’d be quite surprised to know that some centres use microkeratome or blade to create the corneal flap. In Adventist, they use the Intralase which is a type of laser to create the corneal flap which is more accurate and with less lasik complications. You can read about it all if you want over at their iLASIK technology page.
So I was feeling quite convinced when I decided early this year to undergo the iLASIK surgery under the deft hands of Dr Raymond Tah and his team.
First Step: Getting Eyes Assessed
My eyes had to be assessed first because not everyone’s eyes are suitable for iLASIK. As I had been wearing contact lenses, I was requested to go without contacts for 7 days so that my eyes could normalize. So for 7 days, I was wearing my glasses. Initially it was odd as I find wearing glasses cumbersome. I would sweat and the glasses would slide off the bridge of my nose.
In the end, I wore my glasses for 10 days. When the day of my full assessment arrived, I was quite happy to go in that morning for a slew of testing which would last about 3 hours. Johan, their optometrist, checked my eyes, scanned them and all that and announced triumphantly that yes, my eyes were good for surgery!
Many people I spoke to had very high power – some 1,000, some 900, some 600 plus. Mine was “just” 450! Technically the higher your power, the more dramatic it would be as you’d go from being a totally blind bat (sans glasses) to absolute clarity (sans glasses).
It really is life-changing.
I’ve had friends who’d done the elective eye surgery years ago. Reason? Motherhood! Two of them grumbled that when they woke up to feed their babies at night, they had to find their glasses and put them on while they breastfed their babies. Another friend told me her husband gave it as a gift for her birthday so she didn’t have to squint all the time! And they wondered why they didn’t do it earlier.
Angine, one of the kind and patient nurses I spoke to, told me she was so amazed and inspired by her vision change (she did hers some few years ago when the centre first opened) that she decided to work at Adventist Vision Centre.
So I told Nazira that I wanted to schedule my surgery as soon as possible. Partly I was really sick of wearing my glasses! I was there on a Thursday for my eye assessment (which will set you back RM110) so they scheduled me for my iLASIK surgery on the following Monday afternoon.
Tomorrow – the part where I get my eyes zapped with laser!