Out of the 83% of myopic people in Singapore, according to Ministry of Health Singapore (MOH), many of us would have thought about getting LASIK eye surgery at some point.
Despite the prospect of spending thousands of dollars and the intimidating words 'eye surgery', it's nice to think about the convenience and being able to wear eye makeup freely without glasses getting in the way or having to wear contact lens.
As someone who has just undergone Epi-LASIK three months ago, there are a few things that I'm glad I knew or should have known before going ahead with it.
Keep reading to check out the five things you should know before getting LASIK!
#1 You need an eye assessment to determine the suitable type of eye surgery
The most popular and one of the least expensive option is the bladeless LASIK as patients usually have less discomfort and their sight stabilises quickly, even as fast as a few hours! It uses a laser to create a flap in your cornea which is raised up for the lasers to reshape the cornea, then lowered back down after. However, this may not be suitable for those with thin corneas!
While my corneas were thick enough and I was scheduled to go for bladeless LASIK, the surgeon couldn't fit the suction ring around my rather tiny eyes and I had to switch to PRK (aka Epi-LASIK) instead. If you have small eyes too, this is something to bear in mind! 👀
With PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), the top layer of the cornea is removed followed by lasers to reshape the cornea. This will likely be recommended to those with thin corneas or are involved in activities that may cause injuries near the eye like boxing. The downside is that vision improvement and recovery time is longer, plus, it was quite painful!
ICL (implantable contact lens) is one of the more costly options and is suitable for those with high myopia. A small incision is made in the cornea and a foldable lens is inserted between the iris and the natural crystalline lens. Recovery is fast with patients having good vision just a few minutes after surgery.
#2 There are risks and the results may not be perfect
Like any surgery, there may be risks, complications and side effects, some of them being under-correction and overcorrection. Try to find an eye clinic that offers an inclusive second surgery in the case of under-correction.
Other side effects that some experience are halos, glare, sensitivity to light and chronic dry eyes. These can be temporary and last a few months but in a few cases can be permanent!
You will go through two to three follow up visits after the surgery to measure your eyesight and check your cornea, optic-nerve, eye pressure etc. These visits may not be included in the bill for the LASIK surgery so remember to clarify on this and add up the costs!
#3 You can have the eye assessment and surgery on the same day
It's common to arrange the eye assessment and surgery on the same day to save time and for convenience sake. If you're going for this option, you should do your research thoroughly on all the options beforehand and prepare questions to ask the surgeon.
Note that you cannot wear contacts, eye creams or eye makeup for about two weeks before the surgery day.
#4 Arrange transportation home & entertainment after the surgery
Everyone has a different experience right after the surgery. While my eyes felt completely fine, not everyone will be so lucky! Some might have blurry vision or feel pain right after the surgery and have difficultly opening their eyes. Painkillers will be prescribed for PRK patients but it's still best to arrange to have someone help you get home. Note that you're not supposed to drive after the surgery!
About 12 hours after the surgery, the pain started to set in and I wasn't able to open my eyes for more than two seconds at a time! In times like this, watching movies and dramas isn't an option. Prepare entertainment that doesn't require sight like audiobooks, podcasts and a music playlist before the surgery.
#5 Aftercare can be a hassle
While the surgery itself sounds like the scariest part, it was the aftercare that caused the most grief in my Epi-LASIK experience.
After the surgery, you'll have to take medicated eye drops every three hours and preservative-free lubricating drops every hour or so. I needed to pry my eyes open with my fingers while my mother or sister applied the eye drops, so you might want to arrange for someone at home to help you with this too. P.S. The eye drops themselves cost me $100+! 💸
For the first one or two weeks after surgery, you will need to wear plastic eye shields while you sleep which can be quite uncomfortable but necessary to stop you from rubbing your eyes. Washing your face can be challenging as water shouldn't get anywhere near your eyes. For the first two or three months, you have to wear sunglasses when outdoors in the daytime. You also need to avoid any dusty or smoky environment and stop using makeup or lotions around your eye.
Despite all these drawbacks, I must admit that it feels amazing to have perfect eyesight right when I wake up in the morning without having to put on glasses or contact lens. 💁♀️ If you're thinking of going for LASIK, hopefully this list will help you make a decision and be better prepared for it!
Share this article with your friends who are interested in going for LASIK eye surgery too! ❤️
Text by: GirlStyle SG