This was made by my mother some years ago. She assured me that she would save up for my laser eye surgery before my nose job (that she also wanted me to get)!
Until 2012 I was under the mistaken impression (from Mum's research) that I had to be over 21 to receive laser eye surgery. I began researching myself a year in advance to my 21st birthday to discover that I could actually be treated if I was over 18 and had a steady prescription for 2 years. Since mine hadn't changed since 2009, I was suddenly alert!
After browsing several providers, I was lured by the Optimax 1/2 price offer, which I verified to indeed be half the price that rival Ultralase charge. Other companies were not transparent with their prices plans. The "prices start from £395 per eye" lines looked tempting - the problem was that my prescription was so bad it quickly racked up to thousands of pounds. In the end I settled for a price of £2,275 for LASIK Intralase with Wavefront by Optimax.
Annoyingly, I had to spend about £10 each time I travelled to Birmingham, which somewhat dampened the delight of the "free" consultation. As I don't have a car, the clinic is around a 25 minute walk from Birmingham Moor Street/New Street Stations.
In the consultation I had my eyes scanned by a nurse with a light machine to get a personalised eye map (of unique faults etc.). Then there was a brief eye test with an optician, to check my eyes were indeed the same prescription. I was deemed suitable for both LASEK and LASIK.
I scheduled my next consultation a few days before my surgery date. I decided to have surgery on May 19th as it was the longest break I had before my next exam. I couldn't wait until after exams as a 3 month after-care appointment is required, which I wouldn't have made seeing as I'm moving to Spain in late August. Plus, I had an impending trip to Rhodes, Greece (see my banner photo) by which time I wanted to be able to finally swim in the sea with full vision!
When I turned up to the pre-surgery consultation I asked which of the two treatments I was getting done and was told that the surgeon would decide which was the best one. I vowed not to go ahead with it if he suggested LASEK because of the increase recovery period and severe pain...
To my horror, they asked me on the day which procedure I was having done - suddenly I was the person who was choosing! So I just said LASIK, to which they had to confirm "LASIK with an 'i' - the short recovery one?". Really, stupid stupid names.
I had to stay in the waiting room for an eternity, they had me go into surgery about 2 hours late! The consent form was disgusting: it detailed all possible complications, and I had to initial all 49 of them before signing. Things like if I rub my eye I could dislodge the flap and go blind etc.
When it was finally my turn to enter the surgery room, I can only describe the experience as "All customer service vanished".I laid down flat on a doctors bed and was literally shunted from station to station as it was on wheels.
First came the eye suction device to hold the eye in place. This hurt pretty bad - the "quick and painless" poster in the waiting room is a lie! Because the cornea is removed for most of the session and eyes doused in liquids, I couldn't see much at all.
When I vocalised my pain and confusion, the surgeon ignored me and carried on rattling off his memorized script of instructions for me rather than any reassurance! They (the surgeon and nurses in the room) had the radio on in the background which I thought was too blasé for an operation. At the hairdressers, yes. Perhaps even at a tattoo parlour, but not when my eyeballs are at stake! I'm still not sure whether it was carelessness on the staffs' part or a calculated bid to make us patients feel at home and relax...
Whilst I was too terrified to move, the nurses and surgeon bitched, or should I say joked, about some other person. To add to my alarm, I even heard the surgeon remind a nurse to "Press the button!" to which she replied "Oops!". I don't care if its a machine that's lasering my eyes, show some professionalism Optimax!
The operation was a success and once I was out of the room, everyone was perfectly nice to me again. My vision was blurry as expected. My eyes alternated between watering excessively to going very dry. The lids were so puffy I accidentally got them "stuck" shut but the guy who does the immediate after check-up helped me open them again. The next two hours were hellish burning but after that the pain subsided a lot.
The next day I was so thrilled to wake up to perfect vision. My second check-up revealed 20/20 vision which was better than what Optimax usually see after less than 24 hours! I was taken from -6.00 and -6.25 to something like 0.5, the long sightedness they assured me will correct itself in time as my eyes naturally "bounce back".
The unfortunate side effects for me was some ugly subconjunctival haemorrhaging, particularly on the left eye that thankfully cleared up in a month. Also I still randomly get very dry eyes so I use the eyedrops Optimax provided me with.
Who wouldn't want to be glasses and contact lens free until their 40-45s? I've saved money, time and effort on glasses/lenses and enriched my life. For example, now I can go swimming safely.
£2275 is a bargain compared to the other companies out there, and Optimax also had a higher success rate at the time when I compared companies.
However, my experience of the first part of surgery was undeniably horrible. A close friend says he's heard mixed reports from his various relatives regarding the pain and subsequent bruising. My take on it is: if you love life and hate glasses, just man up and do it!
Feel free to post your questions or experiences in the comments section below!
- REVIEW: Predatory Thinking by Dave Trott