All my life, I’ve suffered from Error of Refraction. I have nearsightedness with terrible astigmatism and I finally decided to do something about it! I got LASIK surgery last month for my birthday!
Since I saved you all from the horrors of a visual step-by-step of the process, here are the steps in LASIK surgery:
- A corneal flap has to be cut and lifted to expose the inner layers of the cornea
- Laser energy will be applied to ablate or vaporize tissue to reshape the cornea
- The flap is then returned to its original position to cover the lasered area
Aren’t you glad I edited out the whole process?? You’re welcome!!
Asian Eye Institute has been using the Bausch and Lomb XP microkeratome in cutting corneal flaps for the past ten years. The microkeratome is a mechanical device where a stainless steel blade is attached to cut the flap. Although there’s less than 1% chance of any complication with the device, it’s still scary to think of a blade touching your eye, right? Well, thanks to advanced technology, Asian Eye Institute is now offering BLADELESS LASIK with the help of their new machine, the state-of-the-art Technolas VICTUS femtosecond bladeless laser. There’s an even lesser chance for complication with the new machine (less than 0.2% chance). Since there’s a difference in price, you can choose which machine you’d like to use.
My procedure went as smooth as I anticipated, thanks to my mom’s raves. The doctor who performed surgery on me was the same one who did mom’s surgery ten years ago! Dr. Ang put anesthesia drops on my eyes and I didn’t feel a thing! Although, there was a time when I felt a bit of pressure on my eyeballs at the beginning. You know when you don’t feel anything but you still kind of feel something? Does that make sense? No? GET OUTTA HERE.
Just kidding. Anyway, it was like something was pushing down on my eyeballs and my vision went dark for a millisecond. Pretty crazy because my eyes were stuck open the whole time. I’m guessing that was the suction to cut the flap open? I could barely see any of the tools used — all I did was to look at the blinking red light. It was there to help me focus and Dr. Ang was very gentle and he talked me through the process the whole time. He even let one of his staff hold my hand during the first part when I was obviously nervous. I have no idea who you are, but if you’re reading this: thank you, stranger.
The actual laser ablation sounded really scary — like a cop was using a taser gun on my eyeball. It smelled like burning hair, too. But I didn’t feel a thing so it was definitely a strange experience. Except, I actually like the smell of burning hair, so… I guess I enjoyed that part. Haha.
Since recovery time varies from patient to patient, unfortunately I’m not like my mom who told me she could see clearly the very next day. My eyes are unusually dry and this is causing blurriness of vision. It’s been a few weeks and I’ve been using 3 different types of eye drops and gels 3 times a day. It’s definitely not as blurry as my previous 400-375 grade and I’m hoping I will make a full recovery in about a month. Thankfully, Dr. Ang and the rest of the AEI staff are very accommodating. They take post-operation check ups very seriously because it’s a huge part of a patient’s recovery. I am scheduled for my 3rd post-op check up on the 22nd!
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions in case you’re curious:
Q: My eye doctor said that my left eye is nearsighted while my right eye is farsighted. I am considering LASIK to correct these disorders. What do I need to do to prepare myself for LASIK? Does it ensure perfect vision after the surgery?
A: Before the surgery, you will have to undergo a screening test to determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK. It should also reveal whether you have other eye conditions that need attention. Discontinue wearing contact lenses for a week prior to the scheduled screening to minimize the effect of the lenses on the results. There is no guarantee of perfect vision after LASIK; the American Association of Professional Eyecare Specialists (AAPECS) reported that 55.3 percent of LASIK patients obtained 20/20 or better vision after LASIK surgery. However, you can minimize risk by choosing your LASIK provider carefully. Check the thoroughness of the screening process, the doctor’s training and expertise, the eye center’s track record, the cleanliness and sterility of the laser environment and the type of technology used in the surgery. You can also ask your friends and relatives for their referrals, or visit several eye centers first to get a feel for what the available options are.
Q: My dad had Laser vision correction years ago, and it took him two weeks to recover. Is that how long it takes to heal for LASIK?
A: Visual recovery varies from patient to patient, but with today’s technology, it generally takes one to two days. A patient should be able to drive or go back to work two days after the procedure. For steady and faster recovery, make sure to follow post-operative instructions from the doctor. Although LASIK is a popular and quick procedure, it is still a surgery, and the risks are similar to those of other eye surgeries.
Q: How will I know if I qualify for LASIK? What if I don’t qualify? What are my options?
A: A refractive screening test will determine if you are qualified for LASIK surgery. If you are not qualified, the test will also indicate what alternative procedure might be more suitable for you. If your cornea is too thin for LASIK, you may undergo PRK surgery. PRK is similar to LASIK, but instead of creating a corneal flap, the surface layer of the cornea is just removed. If your cornea is too thin even for PRK, then implantation of a Phakic intraocular lens is an option. Phakic intraocular lenses are also used for patients who have very high grade beyond the acceptable range for laser treatment.
Q: I had my LASIK last year. Now I’m 33 years old and truly enjoying my improved vision. Is the laser correction permanent?
A: LASIK is permanent. However, your body will undergo changes as you age, and this includes the condition or grade of your eyes. If your eyes regressed after LASIK, you may opt to have a touch up laser procedure to improve your vision. You may also have presbyopia or loss of near vision. Presbyopia is an age-related condition that makes it difficult for people in their 40s, 50s or 60s to focus on near objects and necessitates the use reading glasses. Asian Eye offers various treatment options, such as intraocular implants, multifocal contact lenses and Supracor laser procedure, to reduce or eliminate dependence on reading glasses. Asian Eye Institute is the only eye center in the Philippines with the Supracor technology. Patients who have had cataract surgery and wear reading eyeglasses for near vision can also benefit from this technology.