New eyes

I eventually plucked up the courage to have my eyes corrected by laser surgery.

In my home town of East Grinstead we happen to have one of the best centres for this type of process in the UK.  It is called the Centre for Sight.  I had a thorough set of tests and measurements the day before, and yesterday I went in at lunchtime, and was prepped for the operation.  A couple of “happy pills”, antibiotic and anaesthetic drops and I was ready!

The actual operation was a bit weird.  I was lying down an a padded bench that rotated, swinging my cushioned head from one hi-tech instrument to the next.  I was given two squishy “stress-balls” to keep my hands occupied.

First the surgeon pushed some sort of small cup over the cornea with quite a lot of pressure (this was the only uncomfortable bit of the procedure).  A slit was cut at this point to allow a flap to be opened at the front of the eye.  This was completely painless and it was interesting to see (at very close range) the lifting of the thin flap by a small “probe” held by the surgeon.  I was then swung to the next instrument which was a high precision laser that burnt away a small amount of the eye exposed under the flap.  The eye lids were held back by a clamp but, with a constant stream of lubricating liquid, this was not even a little bit uncomfortable.   The removal of tissue was precisely mapped and unique to my eye using wavefront technology.  There were two strange sensations going on at the same time at this point – one was an amazing lightshow of dancing red lights…not a point of light but a wide circle of moving shapes, the second was a distinct burning smell.  Again completely painless.  The flaps were then put back in place and smoothed out with small “spatulas”.

With all the pushing, pulling, rotating, liquid splashing, and light dancing going on it was a surreal 10 minutes or so.  When it was over I felt more like I had been on a ride at Disneyland than had been operated on.  As I swung my legs of the bed and onto the floor the cheerful nurse said “look at the clock”.  I looked across the room and saw the individual numbers and the hands of the clock – not just the blur I was used to.  This is before I left the operating theater!  A big pair of ski-like-goggles were slipped over my head as I left the room.

Post operative goggles
Post operative goggles

Sarah was waiting outside the room having watched the procedure on a television set up for the purpose.

“I can see!” was all I could say with a stupid grin on my face.

After about 20 minutes sitting still in a dimly lit room, one of the consultants looked at my eyes.  I was also given a quick eye test.  I could read the line just above the “20 – 20” line already.  Before I walked into the surgery I was not able to read the first big letter without getting off my seat and walking half way towards the chart!

When I got home I sat down and listened to the FA cup final (I know, bad planning).  At this point, just over an hour after the surgery, my eyes began to stream as if I had cut up a large pile of onions.  This discomfort lasted throughout the match.  I was under strict instructions from the brilliant nurses not to open my eyes for the rest of the day anyway.

Sore eyes after op
Sore eyes after op

By the evening I had no discomfort and I was desperate to test out my new eyes.  Contrary to the instructions from Centre for Sight, I kept opening my eyes briefly to test out the clarity and was amazed by the improvement.  It is a technological miracle.

I have to take regular eye drops for the next few weeks but then my new eyes are set for life!


7 thoughts on “New eyes

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience..Today, individuals with greatly impaired vision have experienced the benefits of laser surgery; and, in some cases, put away their glasses.Definitely your experience will have great positive impact on the people who are planning for surgery..

  2. I’m glad you had a successful experience with your eye surgery. Here are some tips to avoid future eye strain due to technology.

    When looking at a screen, our eyes are focused, and we blink significantly less. This can lead to a strain on your eyes in more ways than one. Burning, stinging eyes, dry or watery eyes, blurred or double vision, increased sensitivity, difficulty changing focus, red eyes, headaches and fatigue are all signs your eyes need a break. Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is the most common cause for all of these symptoms.
    To lower the chances of these symptoms occurring, East West Eye Institute and other eye care specialists recommend the following eye care tips to reduce the strain on your eyes.
    1. Cleaning your screen more often will keep dirt, dust, and smudges from distorting the image quality.
    2. Enlarging your font will prevent you from squinting.
    3. Sitting at a proper distance from the screen. Not too close, yet not so far that you have to squint.
    4. Dim any competing light that makes it harder to see the screen.
    5. Switching to a higher resolution screen. The more pixilated the screen the more distortion, which can also strain your eyes.
    6. The 20-20-20 Rule: Every 20 minutes that you’re working or focused on a screen, look away for 20 seconds at something that is 20 feet away.
    If you have any other eye care questions or concerns, contact and one of the four East West Eye Institute locations.

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