Eye Spy - A laser eye surgery diary

01 Apr 2011

Article published in Cork Independent, March 31, 2011.

Laser Eye Surgery Diary - Eye Spy

I’ve had glasses since I was four. Big, plastic, pink frames chosen with a squeal of excitement from a tray of similar Barbie-shaded monstrosities.
School photos show big plastic pink frames; an eyepatch; a squinty grin with glasses removed; and later a more serious navy wire pair with owlish round lenses.
Contact lenses were the subject of intense lobbying around the time of my first disco. College resulted in a funky purple pair, and it’s been black metal ‘designer’ (read expensive) frames ever since.
It’s time to get rid of the facial furniture, and I’m terrified. My specs have accompanied me on every adventure; they’ve been sat on, chewed by the dog, lost, steamed up, sprung apart, and glued back together.
But they’re a nuisance. I can’t open the dishwasher, or the oven, without getting all steamed up. I can’t go outside in the rain and expect to see for more than three steps. I can’t see in the swimming pool and my peripheral vision is blocked by the trendy thick black arms.
I’m seriously short-sighted, with a prescription of minus 6 in one eye, and I have astigmatism too.
So when Optilase asked if I wanted to review laser eye surgery, I said yes.
I’m not squeamish and after years of intermittent contact lens wearing (I only wear them going out – they are too uncomfortable for everyday use) I have no problem sticking my finger in my eye. But I am still very, very nervous.
My first assessment at Optilase was with their friendly, chatty Laser Optometrist Marie, here in the Cork surgery.
Using an array of machines, some of which were familiar from previous eye tests, Marie did a number of tests to assess whether I was a suitable candidate. She explained there are a number of important factors to take into consideration when assessing suitability for laser surgery, and that when these are taken into account, Optilase would recommend whether I was suitable for Lasik or Lasek, two different types of surgery.
During the course of the tests, (which take about 45 minutes) I’m told I have a “lovely, healthy” cornea (phew, I think), and that I would be more suitable for Lasik. Marie also tells me the surgeon – the well-known Cork ophthalmic surgeon Conall Hurley – will double check her test results and confirm whether she’s correct, at my second appointment.
So, if I am going to have Lasik, what is it?
The operation is performed by cutting a flap (using the laser) in the corneal tissue, which is folded back to expose the underlying layer, the corneal stroma. Laser treatment then alters the shape of the corneal stroma according to the measurements the surgeon has taken during tests, and this alters the focusing power and corrects the refractive error.
This will involve keeping my eyes open with a small spring, and using anaesthetic eye drops. The flap is then replaced.
This all sounds scientific enough to be comforting until I realise those are my eyes we’re talking about.
Post-operative care will include wearing an eye-shield at night for two weeks, regularly using artificial tears and other eye drops, and avoiding rubbing my eyes, swimming, and vigorous exercise (no trouble there) for a few weeks. The eye-rubbing is of most concern to me; I am always rubbing my eyes and don’t know how I will prevent this reflexive action that could really damage my outcome.

Marie schedules me in for an appointment with Mr Hurley the following week. Here goes!

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September 5, 2023

I had my PRK done on both eyes , and im happy with the result. The post operation pain was extreme but it settled down after 4 days. Now i feel great after 2 weeks post operation no complications what so ever , other than blurry vision now and then, but its improving every day

Rebekah Lowry
August 25, 2023

Got LASIK in Ely Place only yesterday and officially had 20/20 vision just 24 hours later! Cannot recommend Optilase enough from my initial consultation with Aisling in Athlone to my trips to Carrickmines and Ely Place. The staff really look after you from the moment you walk in the door and make you feel so at ease from start to finish - 10 out of 10 experience!

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August 21, 2023

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Lisa Simcox
August 21, 2023

LASIK was so easy and pain free. It’s one week post surgery and my eye sight is wonderful. I couldn’t recommend enough.

Declan Wynne
August 21, 2023

I no longer need glasses,absolutely life changing.Great aftercare,lovely staff.

Poliana Oliveira
August 9, 2023

I have been wearing glasses for over 20 years. I always hated wearing contact lenses and I got to a time in my life that I needed a change. A friend recommended optilase, I went for the free consultation and the person that did all the exams was really nice and I felt safe and confident enough to go ahead, I was recommended the PRK. I Put on a piece of paper how much I spent and would still spend on glasses for the next 10 years, and the surgery was for sure cheaper than that. My prescription was very high, both eyes, myopia and astigmatism Optilase provided all the information I needed, in clear manner. And they always made clear that there was nothing wrong with my eyes, it was my own choice to go for the surgery. The day of the surgery I was a bit nervous, who wouldn't? But then, from the reception to the surgeon, they were all so nice and welcoming. Hernandez performed the procedure, lovely surgeon, again all information was provided the way it should. I was instructed in what I should and should not do. The actual procedure took less than 15min, I felt nothing, no discomfort or anything. The whole process is very well done by the team, if I remember well around 3 people supporting the surgery plus one other girl providing pos surgery instructions. Right after the procedure I could already see much better than before without glasses! I couldn't believe it, I cried, thanked everyone and left the clinic knowing that I made the best choice. The recovery for PRK is a bit longer, I stayed for 2 full days no phones, or any screens. In the dark. If you have a little one, I would recommend to have someone minding them, as you are very limited in what you can do for the day of and day after surgery. It is hard to open the eyes, the second day after surgery was the toughest, I thought all went wrong as the vision got worst, but again I was advised it could happen. Note that this was my experience and could be different for other people. The 3rd day I felt nothing and could see much better already. Light sensitivity was very high, and still, 6 days after surgery, but nothing that a sun glasses would not help. My vision still blurred, but I need no glasses to see, my eyes feel dry sometimes, but the eye drops provided helps with it and and am very happy with the results already, even knowing it takes a bit longer to fully recover the vision. I'm back to work (screen at 200% to make sure I dont force my eyes too much) and I have had no headaches or anything, which I would have all the time looking at screens for most of my day. I cannot recommend Optilase enough, they are amazing! If you want to do something for your self and want a place you can trust, go for it, choose Optilase. Thanks to the whole team for one of the best things I did for my self!

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