I've been bespectacled for more than half of my life, and it has always been a hassle having to wear glasses or contact lenses everyday for the past 13 years. As I'm typing this right now, I'm just so thankful to have had the opportunity to correct my vision as I see my screen crystal clear – something I was unable to achieve without my glasses or contact lenses in the past. Safe to say, it's one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life.
While wearing my glasses or contact lenses helped in my vision, it came with a lot of cons that I experienced on a daily basis. I'm sure most of you who wear glasses or contact lenses would be able to relate to these situations:
1. Glasses change my entire look especially when I wear make up
2. Getting off a cold bus fogs up my glasses
3. Glasses can leave ugly dents and tan marks on my nose bridge
4. I can't wear glasses nor contact lenses if I go to the pool
5. Wearing contact lenses for long hours gives me dry, irritated eyes
6. Contact lenses may cause blurry eyesight (especially at night), leading to a migraine
7. I have to remove and re-wear my contact lenses if I take naps
8. I have to pay extra attention to my contact lenses when cooking or having BBQ
9. Contact lenses may break mid-day and leave you feeling like a one-eyed pirate
10. Glasses and contact lenses are really, really costly
Reiterating my last point – especially if you have high astigmatism like me, glasses can cost up to SGD $200 for an affordable option, while contact lenses (bi-weekly) can cost up to SGD $260 for 3 months' supply. That works out to be around SGD $1240 each year.
Vision Problems I Experienced:
- Myopia, aka shortsightedness: The most common refractive error in Singapore that affects around 80% of the population. In this case, distant objects are not seen clearly.
- Astigmatism: Astigmatism occurs when the cornea is curved more steeply in one direction. In this case, images are often distorted – resulting in the blurring of both distant and near objects. High astigmatism also led to me having bad migraines everyday.
I was thrilled to undergo a corrective eye surgery. The thought of being able to wake up everyday to clear vision was wonderful, but admittedly, I was really nervous as well - since I haven't been done any surgeries or any sort.
My First Consultation TRIP
Some time back, I popped by Paragon Level 13 for my consultation to determine if I was a suitable candidate for the eye tests.
Prior to my consultation, I was instructed to lay off my soft contact lenses for 3 days, since contact lenses can alter the shape of your cornea and affect the results of the eye tests. I didn't enjoy wearing my glasses out on the three days because I felt so, so insecure and geeky in it, but for the sake of my eye tests – I had to!
On the consultation day itself, I went through a series of eye tests to check for the thickness of my eye corneas etc, and one of it required me to have my eyes dilated with eye drops. After the series of eye tests, I watched some educational videos on the LASIK and ReLEx Smile procedures before heading for a consultation with the doctor.
I was told that due to my high astigmatism degree (350), I was better suited for LASIK. Because of my young age, the doctor also suggested doing LASIK Xtra, a procedure performed in conjunction with LASIK to strengthen my corneas. Hearing that I was able a suitable candidate for LASIK was probably the best news I've heard in a while! I tried to remain calm but actually deep down inside I was filled with glee!!!
What is LASIK?
LASIK, also known as laser in-situ keratomileusis is a procedure that involves the use of a laser to reshape the cornea of the eye to correct vision problems such as myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism. During the procedure, numbing drops are applied before creating a corneal flap using laser. After which, another laser is used to reshape your corneas accordingly. The procedure typically takes about 30 minutes to complete for both eyes.
BEFORE the SURGERY
I arrived at around 9:30am at Paragon Level 13 for my surgery after washing my hair and face in the morning (your eyes have to stay away from water for the next two days). I went to the toilet so often because I was so nervous, and I probably drank too much water due to nervousness.
I was awfully nervous and I guess the nurses could tell! It felt so surreal that I was ACTUALLY getting LASIK done in a few minutes' time and I remember telling myself "OMG I am just a few minutes away from perfect eyesight!"
During the Surgery
At the start, I was feeling pretty nervous because 1. it was a surgery and 2. it was my eyeballs! The thought of actually doing something to my eyeballs with tools made me extremely nervous but now that I've been through it, I can assure you that it was actually painless and my surgery was a breeze.
When the surgery just started, the effects of my relaxation pill kicked in and I felt less nervous. I also brought along my favourite stuffed cat with me and held onto it for most parts of my surgery, so that really helped me a lot in calming down. I felt really, really safe in the hands of my doctor who was friendly and approachable.
After LASIK was done, the doctor did LASIK Xtra which helps strengthen my corneas. The doctor then told me "Alright Brenda, we're done with your LASIK and everything is well!" YOU HAVE NO IDEA but I was SO, SO, SO ELATED! The whole surgery was actually painless and I am gonna have perfect eyesight from that very moment onwards!
The nurses helped me to get my belongings since I was pretty much half-blind with my eyes half-closed and everything seemed bright. I had to wear the protective goggles provided to prevent any dust or particles from getting into my eyes as that might potentially cause irritations or infections. One of the nurses accompanied me down to grab a cab, and I went home, took the prescribed sleeping pills then slept till the very next day.
Occasionally, I woke up to apply the prescribed eyedrops and used the cleansing wipes to clean my eyes since I was told to stay away from water on my hair or face for the next two days. Other items included in the after-care kit were: protective eye shields and tape, lubricating eyedrops, medicinal eyedrops, as well as a comprehensive medication advice list on how to use each product / when to use it / do's and don'ts.
Post Surgery Day 2: The Next Day
This was me the next day! I woke up and was able to see my surroundings (without glasses or contact lenses) for the first time in 13 years! It felt so amazing and at that moment, I was really extremely thankful for this life-changing LASIK experience.
I religiously applied the prescribed eyedrops 4 times a day and shielded my eyes away from the sun by wearing UV-blocking sunglasses.
I then headed to the clinic for my first post-surgery review where I was told that everything is going well and that my eyes were healing very quickly!
Honestly, I feel really liberated not having to rely on glasses or contact lenses to correct my vision anymore. The fact that I had high astigmatism also led to me having a torturous migraine on most days – something I had came across while researching for a cure for my migraine. I don't know if this is of relevance, but I don't suffer from daily migraines anymore and I think LASIK really helped.
Life has been a breeze not having to rely on glasses and contact lenses. It's been such an amazing yet surreal experience getting LASIK done that I sometimes forget I don't wear contact lenses anymore! I remember a particular night where I was about to remove my contact lenses when I realised I didn't even need them anymore. Everyday, I wake up to clear vision and the world has never looked better! Thank you LASIK for this life-changing opportunity!