One of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life (so far), is to undergo LASIK.
For more than 10 years now, I’ve been fumbling for my spectacles (specs) and getting eye infections from contact lenses. I personally hate wearing specs because they just slide off my nose bridge on my oily face during midday. I always tell my friends and family that “specs hinder my vision” because I’m forced to focus my vision within those frames. Me being me – a vain pot – I was wearing contact lenses most of the time, and that led to multiple episodes of eye infections.
As a sportsperson (I was playing netball when I was in school), I had to wear contact lenses for long hours each day, approximately 10-12 hours or more. It sort of became a habit to rely on contact lenses and over the years, my eyes gradually became drier. I even had to switch out from my monthly contact lenses to dailies, but even then, that wasn’t good enough and I sometimes had to alternate between wearing contact lenses and specs in a week. After undergoing LASIK at Shinagawa Eye Centre, my life has changed entirely.
What is LASIK?
LASIK is a laser procedure, used to correct Myopia (Short-sightedness), Hyperopia (Long-sightedness) and Astigmatism. It is often performed to reduce or eliminate a person’s dependence on spectacles and contact lenses. There are different types of LASIK procedures around and the most common type, which is also the one I went for, is the IntraLase Method, a.k.a. the “Flap” Method. (More information here on the IntraLase Method process.)
Finding “The Right One”
Not everyone is suitable for any LASIK procedure. A pre-LASIK assessment is required in order to assess individual suitability. The decision to undergo LASIK wasn’t so much of whether I should do it or not, but which clinic should I entrust my eyes to. I knew that I wanted to get the procedure done by the end of 2018. That was one of my resolutions for the year.
There are many clinics in Singapore that offer LASIK procedures, but as the saying goes, “your eyes are the windows to your soul”, I did not want to just stumble upon a random clinic to get it done. For a couple of weeks, I did my research on the different types of procedures/clinics and talked to my relatives and friends about my desire to undergo LASIK. To my surprise, I have a couple of friends and some cousins who did their LASIK procedure at Shinagawa Eye Centre and are still enjoying clear vision after many years.
I did my fair share of research and decided to take the leap of faith at Shinagawa. I mean, after all, I have real-life examples around me who committed their eyes at Shinagawa, so why not?
My Pre-LASIK Treatment
Thinking I could get LASIK done as and when I wanted, I scheduled my Pre-LASIK Assessment and first consultation with Dr. Lee Sao Bing at Shinagawa Eye Centre in July 2018. To my utmost disappointment, my eyes were too dry to undergo LASIK. I still remember the readings on the machine testing for cornea shape were so off that LASIK was not an option then.
Due to prolonged contact lens wear, my dry eyes were so severe that I had to lay off the lenses to treat them with eye drops. I then embarked on a pre-LASIK treatment journey which consists of mainly eye drops and eye gels. I’ve never felt so diligent in my life – I had to apply eye drops every hour and eye gel 4 times a day.
(Getting my eyesight checked)
Even though I was very disappointed, Dr. Lee was very encouraging, yet realistic. One of the reasons why I felt that I could trust my eyes with him was the very fact that he values safety above everything else. Oh, I’ve heard many stories about friends doing LASIK when they were told that they weren’t suitable, just to get a regression after months. Hence, safety to me is the most important factor.
Boy, I’ve come a long way before actually doing LASIK. The treatment for my dry eyes lasted from July to the first week of September, with a total of 4 visits (each 2-3 weeks apart) during this period. I remember being disappointed every time I went back for a consultation because my eyes were simply not moisturised enough to undergo the procedure. It was only at the consultation on 6 September that Dr. Lee finally passed me for LASIK, but with a warning – your eyes will be dry for 3-6 months post-LASIK. I was smiling the entire day because I COULD FINALLY DO LASIK AFTER 2 MONTHS, haha! Thinking about waking up with clear vision just makes me happy.
On the day itself, I was both excited and scared. I was so looking forward to attaining perfect vision yet was afraid of the procedure at the same time. The friendly nurse noticed that I was jittery and assured me that it was going to be quick and painless. She even shared that her LASIK was done by Dr. Lee himself, which brought some form of comfort for me.
I was first given an anaesthetic eye drop and a muscle relaxant before the procedure.
The IntraLase Method consists of 2 parts:
1. Creation of Cornea Flap
2. Correction of Myopia (in my case)
- Creation of Cornea Flap
A machine was placed onto my eye with a suction to keep it open, followed by the IntraLase laser creating a flap. The flap creation was painless and quick. It only took about 10-15 seconds per eye, with Dr. Lee and the nurses constantly talking to me, telling me where to focus etc.
- Correction of Myopia
This was when Dr. Lee popped a device onto my eyes to keep them open, opened the flap, then asked me to trace the path of a ray of green light. He then used a tiny brush-like spatula to “whip” my flap back to its original position. The whole surgery completed before I could register them in my mind!
After the procedure, my vision was almost like there was a sheer white veil in front of me. I took a 4-day medical leave to recuperate and rest my eyes. By the third day, I could see clearly already! The recovery time varies for different people, and it was a bit longer for me. I have friends who already have 20/20 vision a couple of hours right after the surgery.
Post-surgery, I was also told by Dr. Lee to apply eye drops every hour on the first day, every 2-hourly on the second day, every 3-hourly then 4-hourly for the next few days. I continued to be super diligent because dry eyes is one of the factors/causes for regression. I was so scared that my eyes would regress because of my history of dry eyes.
(Post-LASIK review the next day to check my eyesight)
Fast-forward 5, almost 6, months now, I continue to enjoy PERFECT VISION. This has been the BEST decision I’ve made in 2018. Life has completely changed for me – there’s no need to count the number of dailies I need to bring when I travel. NO MORE SPECS TOO! Oh, the convenience! You know like how people say, “I would choose you over and over again” to their partners? This is what I say to LASIK!
Watch the video to find out more about my LASIK surgery: