And so I'm back for some updates (finally). Today marks exactly 3 months since my surgery and things have been going great for me. Before the surgery, I was told that my 'perfect eyesight' would be 6.75 - which is one line above 6/6, the supposedly perfect human eyesight. So today, I went for my 4th check up and my optometrist gave me good news that my eyes are almost to my personal ideal! Perhaps let's give it another while and it will be 6.75 :)
Here is an update of how much exactly I've spent so far.
Today's appointment was supposed to be the last one but Dr Lim wanted to be sure that my eyes will be okay so I'd see him again 3 months from now. Which I assume by then everything should have already stabilized!
Here's a little recap for myself what has happened since I did my surgery...
My 8-10 tubes of eyedrops 'syndrome' stopped on the 3rd week. Thereafter, I could safely go with 1-2 tubes a day and gradually on some days through the months I don't even need it anymore. For now, after 3 months, I'm barely using it unless I'm very tired (like I didn't rest my eyes enough or didn't sleep enough).
I was traveling between August and September for a few weeks overseas and it didn't bring any inconvenience. In between my trips I was diligently dropping my medication so it was just like normal for me.
Vision fluctuates once in awhile since August. Sometimes it will get blurry, most times it's alright.
Throughout the 3 months, it was just tough on the first day after the surgery, and the subsequent 2 weeks before everything stabilizes. By August, I could see at least 80% of everything (which means most signboards or words far away I can see just sometimes if too bright or too small then I can't) and also I had no problem with staring at laptops or my computer after my dry eyes recovered by 3rd week. Standing at October now, I'm at 90% and almost, almost to my ideal eyesight. Soon, I will be reducing all my medicated eyedrops from 3 to just 1 last one before I see Dr Lim in January 2016.
Can't wait to be entirely free from drops! :)
Disclaimer: I'm writing this based on my individual personal experience which may vary from you. So if your experience is different from mine, it's normal.
Seriously, I have been contemplating for the longest time before I decided to go ahead with the surgery. Mainly, I had a few issues.
- I used to have school, so I can't have that 'down time' because it takes months to recover.
- It was too costly for me to juggle between school, loans and etc.
- I heard scary stories of how the surgery is conducted, how much pain you'll suffer and the horrible side effects etc.
But okay, honestly it was mainly the cost that hindered me.
Finally I decided to do it because...
- I have really high myopia and astigmatism. (1,200 per eye and almost 400 for astigmatism per eye - so if you think 500 myopia is bad, tell me about it.)
- I've been on specs since I was 6 years old. So technically I have no memory of being able to wake up and 'see the world'.
- I have been wearing lenses for the past 10 years since Secondary 3. On average, my lenses are $260 for half a year, and a year would be $520 and if you take that amount multiply by 10 times, it's abut $5,200 - which you could technically have spent on an average LASIK surgery. Of course, all these estimations are without your solutions and etc.
- Also, contact lenses can't provide me the degree I need. So, my monthly lenses are at 1,000 myopia only.
- My specs are very heavy - really and not to mention thick.
And seriously the list goes on and on and on. For those who have similar degree like mine, thank you - for being able to understand how I feel. For those whom are blessed with perfect eyesight, please take care of them because I paid a price to get it back. Trust me, it's not the kind of pain and agony you want to go through.
Anyway, it's so common these days that while I was at the clinic, I've seen kids younger then me going for assessment too.
CHOOSING MY CLINIC
Seriously, so many clinics and doctors.. which to go? Well, I went for another pre-LASIK assessment before I came to Eagle Eye. I am not going to reveal which clinic I went but if you're interested you can drop me a note and I will reply you privately.
Nothing too bad about the place but the only disappointment I had with them was they told me I couldn't do EPI-LASIK though my cornea was thick enough but because my myopia and astigmatism was too high. They offered me ICL surgery and was charging me an estimated amount of $5,800 per eye for the surgery.
OF COURSE I SAID I'D CONSIDER ABOUT IT AND LEFT.
Okay to be fair to them, their pre-assessment only cost me $6 because I only used like, 4 machines? 1 to check my degree, another to check my eye pressure and 2 other machines to check the thickness of the cornea. All I met was the optometrist of the clinic and that was it.
I went back home feeling so depressed. Really. I really wanted to get rid of my specs and my high degree so that was really a devastating news for me. It's not like I earn so much to be able to afford LASIK without installments but almost $12,000 for a surgery is just too much.
Okay, cut short eventually I just decided to try again for another clinic to get second opinion and tadah! I ended up at Eagle Eye. Lucky me, I have got a friend friend working as a nurse in the clinic and lucky me got discount! *teehee*
Disclaimer: I don't know how different other clinics would be so this is solely based on my personal experience with Eagle Eye.
I emailed in to tell them I am interested so they could contact me later. So probably a day later, I got a super long email loaded with shitload of useful information. So after reading through the mail, despite they stated up-front the pre-assessment will cost me $270 I still decided to try. (previous clinic only quoted $80++ for the full assessment)
I asked a few questions before I finally agreed to fix a date through a phone call follow up by Eagle Eye.
I went on 14 July, Tuesday at 11am. Clinic was pretty empty but looked way better than the previous clinic I went.
So I waited and a cheery optometrist greeted me and I went through the test with her. So here's my route for the next 2-3 hours. I arrived at about 10:50am, and finished close to 2:30 or something.
- Degree checked by the machine together with eye pressure check.
- Old school degree checks with optometrist (while I asked her alot of questions and she was really patient in replying me) anyway, this old school check is like when you want to make new specs then you go to the room and start to tryout what power etc, so in the end, she found out that my myopia and astigmatism wasn't as high as the machine stated. It was SLIGHTLY lower than the estimation by machine. So you see, humans are better sometimes.
- Then I went to the cornea thickness checking machine (2 machines)
- Waited for my good news while the optometrist does her calculations and etc.
- Brought me to some more checks which I forgot what was it about. (oh and throughout the entire check I was feeding her with information like the previous drops I've used, the problems I had with my eyes, and my drug allergies etc - she noted down everything)
- Thereafter she sat me in a room and explained in details about the procedure of the surgery, what happens, what are her experiences with her past patients and etc. Preparing me for the surgery mentally even before I see the doctor.
- So I went for a lunch because it was their lunch time. There's Starbucks downstairs so I just camped there. Note that your eyes have been dilated so vision is affected. Best not to leave the building because once it's dilated, it's very sensitive to sunlight. It usually affects vision for about 3-4 hours averagely.
- Met the doctor at about 2:00pm. I chose Doctor Lim Wee Kiak by recommendation of my friend's friend. He is a really nice, caring and patient doctor who reassured me countless times before, during and after the surgery. A good 10 minutes or so chat with him and I made my mind to do my surgery with them 2 days from the date.
Just to share, prior to my LASIK surgery, I had 1 whole year of eye problem that ranges from red eyes, sore eyes, dry eyes, cornea staining etc. I haven been visiting Singapore National Eye Centre like a regular member. So, yeah I'm a very troublesome case with high eye power plus complications.
When I left the clinic, I couldn't believe that I made such a big decision within like 5 minutes of my life. I was due to fly for work in a month's time and Dr Lim was worried and told me to have at least a month in Singapore to make sure things are good before I go. So yes, I did my surgery on 16 July 2015, 2 days from the assessment.
SO WHAT DID I DO?
Depending on individual, doctor will recommend either EPI or Bladeless. I had EPI LASIK plus Cornea Strengthening because of my high myopia. I will not go into details on how, why, what and etc because this is best to be explained by the doctor to you. I'm not medically trained, so don't ask me. I got the below image from their brochure handed to me, so ask them directly if you have queries.
Credits: Eagle Eye Centre
And remember I said my optometrist was explaining to me the procedures and steps? There it is below. This is also given to you. Notice that I highlighted the boxes in light blue, it differs from surgeries so it's better when they explain to you, you take note which is applicable to you.
Credits: Eagle Eye Centre
On top of that, this is something that Eagle Eye provides.
Credits: Eagle Eye Centre
They are really open about their charges so you can see the ranges and possible damages here in the same booklet as well.
Credits: Eagle Eye Centre
I arrived at about 10:30am that morning. First, they went through with me the medication, the goggles, the sunglasses and everything else I need to know before the surgery. Paid the bills and then took a medication to make me drowsy and had some eye drops to numb my eyes. Soon, I was called in to prepare for the surgery. I can't tell who helped me because I cannot see (lol, don't mock at me but really I couldn't tell who except by differentiating them by their voices) but it should be Mei Dan, the nurse whom helped me clean and prepare my eyes for the surgery. The preparation was actually longer then the actual surgery. I was really scared and I guess everyone could tell so everyone from the nurse, to the optometrist and Dr Lim himself assured me everything's gonna be fine and... yup, I was led into the 'operating room' because I cannot see. Hahahhahahahhhahahahaha.
Dr Lim told me all I had to remember was "that green light". So that was what I had in mind only.
Well. In details this is what happened.
It's cold in the room, but they have a blanket to cover your body so it's okay actually. Rest your head in the designated spot and wait for Doctor to tape your upper, lower eye lids and then use a 'eye clipper' (I have no other words to use) to keep your eyes open.
First they numb your eyes and make it like a eye freeze kinda thing. Then scrap off some stuff on the surface of your eyeballs (okay for this you can see something on your eyeball but it DOES NOT HURT.) It's a little uncomfortable only.
Next, laser! Okay, the laser for me was like 66 seconds. Wah, it's the longest 66 seconds in my entire life. There are at least 2-3 nurse in the room assisting the doctor and every step they do they are very precise down to every second. Someone counts down and every step was so well organized and coordinated. Really assuring to know I'm in good hands. Anyway I really didn't have to do anything. Just look at the green light that's all. Stare and stare and the end. No pain, just ya the 'chao ta' burning smell. But I have Dr Lim there assuring me it's normal, it's okay it's nothing.
After that, because I have another 'surgery' to go through, they wash my eye then apply some vitamin or something then swung me over to another machine to look at another light and then...
I COULD SEE THE CEILING POSTER THAT READS:
"EAGLE EYE CENTRE"
Really, I cannot explain how I feel. I was so close to crying.
*sibei dramatic but really try wearing specs for 19 years and you see you cry or not*
Okay anyway that's about it. No pain, really. Just a little discomfort mainly my own anxiety but nothing else. Anyway the same for my left eye cause they did right eye first. Right after the surgery, I regained my eyesight way better than what it was before. I could vaguely see blurred words but before the surgery is cannot see even blur words also cannot hahahahhahahaha.
I came out of the surgery all groggy and tired partially because they gave me some drowsy medication to help me in my resting post surgery.
Because I have painkiller allergies... Dr Lim gave me some painkillers to try out and told me to not eat it unless I really have to just in case I am allergic to it. (of course this is not the doctor's fault but too bad on myself because of my unknown drug allergies.)
I went back home, had my duck rice and was happily sipping on my sugar cane while watching TV with my sunglasses on feeling nothing but just drowsy. Wah, I thought I very heng lei cause all the side effects la pain la all don't have.
But I thought wrong.
3-4 hours after the surgery, I tried to sleep, I couldn't. My eyes refuse to open, my eye lids felt so heavy and I kept tearing and the pain was starting to be a little unbearable. I tried really hard to bear with the pain but eventually I gave in to the painkillers. Thankfully, I wasn't allergic to it.
About evening, my optometrist, Cherry Choy (totally love her, she's so so nice) called to check on me and send some regards. I felt reassured again it was normal to experience such pains and I will be well tomorrow.
By night time, I was literally 'dining in the dark' with my eyes closed and tearing occasionally while eating my dinner. I swear, I barely had any appetite.
I wore my night goggles to sleep - not very uncomfortable for me while some can't stand it.
From second day onwards, it was just heavy eye lids and I slept most of the time and just rested. It was only until the 3rd day I went out for dinner and a walk.
I've heard of some people recovered without pains, without blurry vision. I have heard of people that was worst than me. Really, there are 101 stories people will tell you. Just take it with a pinch of salt and decide for yourself. Every individual is different. Our eyes are different and how we recover also varies. You can't just because everyone's got excellent recovery and you had a shitty one and think your eyes aren't recovering as well. We all just go through different recovery patterns.
For me, I would deem myself normal. Not lucky enough to have painless recovery, not too unlucky to have horrible excruciating pains. Everything that happened to me was explained to me by Cherry and Dr Lim. So nothing came as a surprise.
These is what you'd be given on the day of your surgery. You can wear the sunglasses immediately after the surgery while leaving the building. The night goggles you only have to wear for a week, you can wear 2 weeks if you want to. No issue I guess. I had 2 eye drops to drop every 3 hourly.
Oh, the thing about the medications.
You pay so much money and went through so much pain just to get your eyesight. Even if you are damn rich, think about the hassle and the pain. Just follow very diligently with the eye drops. One of my friend shared that he did LASIK 5 years ago, and now his myopia came back and he confessed to not following the drops as instructed. Even if you regret by then it's too late. So he gave me his word of advise, to follow through diligently even if it's damn troublesome. I even have like 4 alarms a day to remind myself. (super kiasu but I spend so much and went through so much pain.. this is nothing compared.)
FIRST VISIT AFTER SURGERY
On the 5th day after my surgery, I was due to go back to get my eye bandage removed - a contact lens. So the review went well, doctor told me I had a good recovery despite what I went through and it's still slowly recovering.
What surprised me was I was given a souvenir from Eagle Eye! A photo of me and Dr Lim - right after the surgery hahhhahahaha. I look like shit but I'm just going to post la. So memorable.
It's like the day I 重见光明. Hahahahhahahahaha.
A few days later, Cherry dropped me a mail and send me the soft copy too! Up till now I'm still very happy with my entire experience with them. The email from Cherry was really good because now I can touch base with her asking some minor queries if I do have them.
One of the problems I am facing right now as I am typing again is dry eyes. My eyes are so damn dry that it makes reading off the screen tough too. I have to drip eye drops every 5 minutes.
So I was paranoid and worried... I dropped Cherry an email and she replied pretty fast to tell me it's okay and etc.
Words coming from a optometrist - you can only believe her. So I have been diligently spamming my tears naturale free eye drops using close to 8-10 tubes a day. What to do, dry eyes is one of the side effects and before this my eyes are already very dry hahahahhahaha. But today the 8th day, much better then day 5 but still needing to drop quite a bit. So think this period best just sleep if you can. But if you like me, never do work will die then too bad la.
Since I had to go back to work and I am an administrative staff.. staring at the computer is my everything. So through many friends recommendation, I is have got my own OWNDAYS PC specs too!
Credits: Owndays website
I got the metallic brown one and totally loving it. The weight is super light - coming from a heavy specs wearer you have to believe me. Hahahhahaa.
TOTAL DAMAGES (IN DETAILS)
This was my main concern, so I'm sharing mine with you. It will differ due to different surgeries, different medication and different requirements by the doctor so just use this as a gauge. I don't guarantee anything - neither can I say you will definitely get what I got. It really, depends. No ifs, just ask the doctor yourself.
I have at least 3 more appointments with Dr Lim so this is just for now. I will update again when I'm back from my 2nd appointment with him.
This is everything I've spent on so far, but of course for the big amount I opted for 12 months interest free installment by Citibank.
Perhaps the Eagle Eye team will never read this but really thank you specially to Cherry, Mei Dan and Dr Lim so far and for those that I don't know your names, sorry I cannot remember your face if I have seen you before the surgery hahahahahhaha. But I remember your voices.
I can't wait for my perfect eyesight!