How a LASIK eye surgery changed my life

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LASIK eye surgery after
My LASIK eye surgery ended a 13 year relationship with glasses and contact lenses. I’m guiding you along my personal journey, the pre-examination and the surgery itself. Furthermore I’m sharing my biggest worries before the procedure and will give answers to them from today’s perspective.

Turning back time to my 12 year-old-self

When I was in sixth grade I started having troubles clearly seeing what was written on the blackboard. It got to the point where squinting my eyes in order to see better didn’t help anymore. A few days later I visited the eye specialist and was told that I need glasses. Back then this was the most uncomfortable and shocking message. Glasses are so helpful, but for my 12 year-old-self it was the most ugly thing to wear. I used to hide them from my classmates and only put them on for a few minutes. I felt so ashamed.

I can vividly remember sitting in front of the mirror for hours on a Saturday afternoon, practicing putting contacts in and out. Luckily, my mom had lots of experience with contact lenses which made things a lot easier. From then on, contacts had been my constant companion for more than 13 years. All in all, it always worked very well and I didn’t have any issues. There were only a couple of exceptions: In spring I couldn’t keep them in due to pollen, and in Thailand I had some eye infections because the sea was so warm and full of bacteria. I couldn’t dive for a few days as I wasn’t able to put my contacts back in.

Over the years I’ve heard of eye laser surgery but never really felt the urge to do it. I guess we all remember that horrible scene from Final Destination. Life with contacts is okay, why would I do that to myself? Also, what if my sight changes in a few years? What is the best method and what am I willing to pay? Many questions, no answers. So I didn’t put any more thought into it.

How my LASIK eye surgery journey began

When my brother had his eyes lasered, I started talking to more people who had done it and my view on the topic changed. I eventually made an appointment with CAREVISION in Wuerzburg. First, I wanted to hear which of the methods would make sense for me and whether my eyes are even suitable for the surgery. In June 2022, my journey to a new life without glasses and contact lenses began.

CAREVISION offers the LASIK and LASEK eye surgery methods. I will not give any information about the methods as I’m not a specialist. Keep in mind: You can’t choose the method anyway, it all depends on the results of step 1 of the journey, the pre-examination. But I’m sure it will be fine either way.

To give you an insight into the initial situation: My diopters before the operation were -2.75 and -4.5, no astigmatism. Age: 27 years. My eyesight hadn’t changed in more than 2 years before the surgery.

Pre-examination appointment

The first step was the preliminary examination. During this appointment, the team checked whether my eyes were suitable for the operation and which method should be used to correct the bad vision. All relevant eye parameters were recorded, such as corneal thickness, visual sharpness and corneal surface. I wasn’t allowed to wear contact lenses for five days before the appointment, as they can temporarily deform the cornea.

The appointment took place in Wuerzburg for 2.5 hours. For the measurements, I simply had to look through a device at a fixed point. After that, drops were put in my eye to dilate my pupils. Within 30 minutes, my eyes became more sensitive to light. It is best to take sunglasses with you. Further tests were then carried out with the dilated pupils. All in all, everything was quick and painless.

Finally, I had the consultation with the doctor. In this case, he wasn’t quite sure whether LASIK or LASEK was the better method, since my cornea was still a bit deformed from the lenses. He asked me to come back to the practice a few days later for a second examination. A week later it was clear: I can have my eyes lasered using the LASIK method. Immediately after the appointment, we set the date for the surgery. In theory, it would have been possible only a week later but since I was going to London for 2 months, we decided on a date in mid-September.

eyes
In between the examination and surgery

The two months between the preliminary examination and the LASIK were both a blessing and a curse. Blessing, because I had plenty of time to think about my decision – unfortunately, this was also the curse. The most important advice I can give for your eye laser surgery: Stop googling the side-effects! It’s much more unsettling than relaxing, and it is so incredibly unlikely that something would go wrong. To be honest, a few days before the surgery I was on the verge of cancelling the whole thing, but I pushed through.

A few days before the LASIK, I transferred the money. There were two specific preparations I had to make – I had to buy three different types of eye drops and I had to stop wearing the contact lenses for at least a week before the procedure.

Right before the surgery

THE day arrived. I was given a kindly welcome by the CAREVISION team in Nuremberg. The first step was to stow away my valuables and all radiation-triggering gadgets (like a smart watch). After that I was allowed to sit in the waiting room and was given a tranquilizer. This was very necessary, as I was pretty nervous. A short time later, I was fitted with a hood, shoe protection and a hygienic suit. The assistants gave me some anesthetic eye drops. With time, my brain slowly got quieter and I was much calmer… As a final step, iodine was applied around my eyes.

The surgery

After what felt like another 5 minutes, I was brought to the operating room. I don’t want to write too much about the surgery itself, as personally going in blind was very beneficial. It helped me a lot not knowing exactly what was happening to my eye. To sum it up for you: It’s definitely doable! Somewhat uncomfortable, but not painful. I was given a stress ball to squeeze, which was nice. The atmosphere in the room was calming, and there was relaxing background music to soothe my nerves. The doctor explained the process as he was going. First one eye was lasered, then the other, and finally, the doctor put a protective lens on my eyes.

There was a noticeable smell during laser process itself, but it wasn’t painful! The only weird thing was that my eyes were kept open all the time and I couldn’t really move them. For me, the most uncomfortable part was when my eyes were opened with the clamp.

Right after the surgery

In total, the LASIK took maybe 10 minutes. Immediately after, I could stand up and walk to the resting room. I was with three others who had just been through the same thing. I couldn’t really open my eyes at the time as they were very sensitive to light. They burned a bit, a similar feeling to when you cut an onion. I spent around 20-30 minutes in the relaxation room. Meanwhile, a CAREVISION employee told us more about the eyedrops. It was a funny situation, as I could only listen but not see anything.

After the resting period, the doctor took another look into my eyes. It looked all good and I could go home! I highly recommend having someone to pick you up after the LASIK. My eyes were so light-sensitive that I could hardly open them, despite sunglasses.

The rest of the day after the surgery

I sat in the car for about 2 hours with a blanket over my head and sunglasses. Everything was so bright! The burning feeling was also still present. When I got home, I put the three different drops in my eyes. From then on I had to do this every hour for the rest of the day.

A few hours later, the light sensitivity was gone… and I could see clearly. At that moment, seeing still felt very ordinary to me though, since I still had the protective lenses on and I was used to that feeling.

I went on a walk and took it easy. However, it didn’t feel like my eyes had just been lasered.

right after LASIK
Right after LASIK in the car
relaxing at home after LASIK
Day 1: Relax and cuddles

The first day after my LASIK surgery

A follow-up appointment (in Wuerzburg) took place the very next day. The doctor removed the protective lense and my eyesight was measured. There was no burning, no pain. I could just see! The doctor said the sharpness might vary for the next few days and will be reached within the next few weeks to months. But overall I could see so clearly that I didn’t feel restricted in any way.

For the following days, my everyday life was completely normal. The only difference: No glasses, no contact lenses. It was super weird to get up in the morning and see. Or waking up at night and… see. My contact lenses have always been a part of my daily routine and it was just really weird to go to bed without taking them off.

A few weeks after my LASIK surgery

The weeks after the LASIK I had to pay attention to the following:

  • No eye make-up for at least two weeks
  • No water and soap in the eyes for at least three days
  • No rubbing of eyes
  • Put in drops regularly
  • No intense workouts and sport

After the first week I had another followup appointment at CAREVISION where they determined that my vision was now 10 % better than it had been with contacts before! Absolutely unbelievable! During the first week my eyes were dry, especially at night and right after waking up. After around three weeks it got a lot better. Starting in the third week I didn’t need any drops anymore during the day, only before going to sleep and right after waking up.

before LASIK
Before LASIK, a rare photo with glasses
after LASIK
After LASIK, new quality of life

What life looks like today

More than two months post-op, I still sometimes feel like I’m wearing lenses. Not because I feel anything, but because it’s just so unusual to see without them. I guess my brain will need some time to realise that the daily routine from now on will happen without contact lenses.

I literally can’t believe my eyes. It’s just crazy that I can SEE. Without any tools. And the best part was when I packed my suitcase. No huge bottle of contact lens solution, no worries that I’ll forget my glasses. So far I’ve had no problems with wind, sunshine, diving, ocean water… I can see without any issues. As the dryness disappeared I also don’t have to use eyedrops anymore.

All in all, I am very happy that I went through with the LASIK. It really is a whole different life quality and worth the uncomfortable feeling of the surgery. If your glasses and contact lenses bother you, I can only recommend making the first appointment and understanding your options.

Update December 2022: My eyesight is 160 % and the doctor said everything healed really well. Amazing news.

Questions I had before the surgery

There were a few questions that came to my mind before the surgery & addressed to the doctor. I want to share them with you, in case you have the same. Especially the flap that comes with the LASIK caused some sleepless nights.

Will I have problems diving?

The doctors answer was: No. I can go into the water after four weeks without any problems. I will also be able to open my eyes and it will basically be the same as before. I went into the water after five weeks and everything was completely fine. Diving every day for a week and getting water in my eyes didn’t feel any different.

Will I feel or see the flap? Will I be able to remove my make-up without problems?

The LASIK surgery involves the creation of a flap on the surface layer of the cornea. I watched the procedure afterwards on Youtube and have to say that it literally is a flap that can opened like a window. Once the laser is completed, the flap will be folded back and put back into place. It will remain in place thanks to natural adhesion and a healing process, which begins immediately after the surgery. I read online that the biggest healing process happens between one and three days after the surgery.

I couldn’t feel or see the flap after the surgery. Nevertheless I was super careful with my eyes for more than three weeks after the surgery. Even now, I avoid rubbing them and am very gentle when removing my eye make-up. It does feel pretty normal though. Thanks to regular check-ups after the surgery and another one three months after, the doctor will also check if everything is fine. Update after two months: I almost forgot about the flap.

What will happen if my eyesight gets worse?

There are two answers to this question. The first one is: You can only do the surgery if your eyesight hasn’t changed for at least 2-3 years. If that’s the case it’s less likely for the eyesight to get worse anytime soon. If it does, depending on the clinic and situation, you can have another surgery done. Or else go back to contact lenses or glasses.

Will I have dry eyes?

You probably will. For me the first 1-3 weeks were the worst, but it got better every day. Thankfully I had drops with me, to help with dryness. Now, after two months, I’m not using any drops anymore.

What happens if the laser is set incorrectly? Or if my pre-examination was not correct?

It might be a stupid question to some, but a big one that went through my head before the surgery. It’s a bit scary that the laser process happens based on one examination.
To take your worries away: Your eyes will be checked right before the surgery, so that the measurements are 100 % correct. Also think about how many surgeries these clinics do every day. They are so experienced in the surgeries that it must be a safe procedure.

Isn’t it cheaper to just keep wearing glasses or contact lenses?

I guess that depends on the time span you’re looking at. After around 8-10 years, the cost of my laser surgery will break even compared to the cost of regularly buying contact lenses.
But that’s not the only factor that needs to be taken into account – Now I have less luggage when traveling, a higher quality of life, and I can see unaided for all hours of the day… Yes it can be cheaper to keep wearing glasses or contact lenses but it’s a different quality of life.

Read more about how I fell in love with diving.

batfish diving
And if you’ve read my other posts, you’ll know the most important thing for me – being able to dive with my newly lasered eyes.

LASIK costs

Last but not least I want to share the price I paid for the LASIK surgery with CAREVISION.

  • Pre-examination: 50 €
  • Surgery: 2.250 €
  • Eye Drops: 50 €
  • Total: Around 2.350 €

All in all, for me, it was a price worth paying. So far, I’m very happy with the my LASIK eye surgery and hope the benefits will stay for many years… If you have questions please share them in the comments below. I’d love to hear from your experiences!

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