Hooray To No Glasses!

In case some people are still wondering whether I’m wearing glasses or not, the answer is No, I no longer wear glasses everyday. I mean, I used to wear everyday because I was near-sighted (I used to have myopia), but now it’s back to crystal clear~ HD resolution~ thanks to the great technology called LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis). These days I only get to wear glasses on sunny days, the kind of glasses that slightly darkens upon being exposed to sunlight.

The first time I wore glasses was when I was in the third grade; I had -2 for both of my eyes. Either I studied a lot or played games too much (computer games, PS, etc.), my eyes got worse rapidly that by the time I reached high school, I had -8 and -7 for my right eye and left eye, respectively. My parents were really worried about my eyes and bought me a lot of eye vitamins and encouraged me to eat more carrots, but I felt like those things didn’t really help. My mother is also wearing glasses until today, and it is true that myopia is genetic (children with parents having myopia most likely suffer from myopia as well). It got stable by the time I was in senior high. I remember having astigmatism as well, but as my myopia worsened, my astigmatism got healed eventually.

My parents and I had heard about LASIK surgery from a long time and had a plan to do it when I had reached the appropriate age, but we did have some hesitations. What if the surgery fails? Will the surgery correct my eyes back to normal or will I still have a little myopia after the surgery? How long does it take to recover? Does it hurt (the process)? Is it possible to have myopia again after the surgery? And on and on…

Until one day, we learned that one of my cousins-in-law had the surgery in a nearby hospital and the surgery went well. From that day, my dad was so determined to get me into one (bless his heart). So, last year I decided to have LASIK Surgery in that same hospital. I was 22, by the way. (More info about the hospital I went to and LASIK procedure, click here).

I did some examinations on my eyes to determine whether I was eligible to have the surgery. The doctor said that I was eligible, judging from the thickness of my cornea. See, LASIK is about re-shaping your cornea so that your eyes can reflect the lights right to the retina. If your cornea is too thin, the re-shaping process can’t be done perfectly. It is also important that you don’t wear contact lens 14 days prior to the surgery.

The surgery was done in a certain floor of the hospital and was broadcast live on a screen (after getting my permission). Fortunately there was no other patients on that day, so it was just my dad watching the show, haha. Was I nervous? Definitely. Whenever I am scared, I just close my eyes and pray that everything will pass soon. But having an eye surgery? The fear was on a whole different level.

Before having the surgery, I was told by the nurse to calm myself for a few minutes and she put some betadine around my eyes. After some minutes passed that I almost fell asleep, I was led to an operating room. Ever had a joke where you put clothespins on your eyes to keep your eyes wide open? That was what happened. Except, I wasn’t sure if they were genuine clothespins. The doctor gave me a task to focus my eyes on a red light above me all the time until the surgery was done. It was really simple but somehow hard for me to do since I couldn’t blink at all.

Because all of these things happened last year and I am not very good at remembering things, I’ll just explain the sensation I remember. First, I feel like they brushed my eyes, the kind you do when making a painting – it felt cool and refreshing. Then they opened something as if they opened a door. I didn’t exactly know how and when they re-shaped my cornea, but I noticed that every time my eyes didn’t focus on the red light, the machine would automatically stop doing whatever it was doing. I also smelled some smoke (dunno where it came from) though I couldn’t see the smoke (I still had myopia after all). The process itself only took around 10 minutes and I remember hearing the doctor chatting casually with the nurses as if the surgery was a very normal thing to do (I suppose it is).

By the time it ended, I was expecting that I could see everything very clear as if having a new pair of eyes. In reality, it was all still blurry, my eyes were somehow sticky and wet as if I accidentally put some glue in both of my eyes – I could hardly open them. The doctor suggested me to keep my eyes closed at least until tomorrow and not to rub my eyes nor wash my face for the next three days. I was not allowed to go swimming for the next 3 months. They also gave me a weird goggle with some holes which I had to wear all the time, preventing my hands to rub my eyes. I even wore it to sleep for a few days. I also got three kinds of eye drops to use for three days, one of which I still use up to this day (sometimes).

I have to say that the healing didn’t happen instantly, it took some time to get my eyes back to normal. There was even a point where I wondered to myself if the surgery was not very successful since my vision was still somewhat blurry, but the doctor convinced me both of my eyes were in a very good condition (no myopia left). I was so used to wearing glasses where the lenses help reflecting the lights, and after the surgery my eyes needed to do the reflecting by themselves without the help of the glasses, so it is normal if my vision was still somehow blurry at first. Even eyes need time to do some adaptations to the new condition. It was not painful at all during the surgery, and so far there are no major side effects. Sometimes if I stare too long at a screen, my vision will get blurry gradually and that’s normal – it is most likely that my eyes are getting dry, and that’s what eye drop is for.

I paid a visit to the doctor in the next three months and he said that my eyes were doing okay. I didn’t have to come back unless I experienced something unusual. There is an inevitable risk that I may have myopia again if I don’t take care of my eyes properly, but I am glad to know that the myopia won’t get worse rapidly since I am already in a stable age. Can we get another LASIK surgery after having one? Well, if you must, and if your cornea is still thick enough to be re-shaped.

So, some people are having low level of myopia (-1, -2, or even less than -1) and are considering to get LASIK surgery. According to my doctor, you can have the surgery but not necessarily. LASIK surgery is recommended for those who have -6 and up because… you know, there are just some things we cannot do properly due to our bad vision. If you are having low level of myopia, when you grow old, it is normal for you to experience hyperopia/far-sightedness which will be balanced by your myopia. Therefore, your vision will actually be better than those who only have hyperopia.