Laura's journey to 20/20 vision: the laser eye surgery
After her initial consultation and caring for her dry eyes, Laura Dean-Osgood returns to London Vision Clinic to conclude her vision rectifying surgery.
Getting dry eyes ready for surgery
At my last visit to the London Vision Clinic, the optometrist, Vim, diagnosed an eye condition that makes my eyes dry and irritated. It’s not recommended that you have laser eye surgery when you have very dry eyes and the clinic won’t proceed until my eyes are nice and healthy
After six weeks of sticking religiously to Vim’s prescribed routine of drops and compresses, my eyes are feeling a lot better: they’re less pink, less irritated and, as evidenced in my ‘dry eye assessment’, they’re physically better too. I’m really pleased.
These images show the dryness before and after the treatment. In the left shot you can see the patches of dryness, where my eyes aren't producing enough moisture. On the right, you can see that this dryness is reduced.
There’s now a date in the diary for surgery, and I have to admit, that although I’m confident that I’m in good hands, I’m getting nervous—perhaps it would be unnatural not to be.
It’s the day before surgery, and I’m due in for my pre-surgery consultation with my surgeon, Professor Reinstein. It’s procedure at the LVC that all patients meet their surgeons before surgery, which, as normal as it sounds, doesn’t happen at many other clinics—something that really surprised me.
Meeting Prof Reinstein (or Dr Dan, as I’m now allowed to call him) was fantastic. After being totally calm for months, I’d managed to work myself up into a bit of an anxious mess about the procedure over the weekend, but Dan put me at ease within minutes, he answered all my queries perfectly, and I’m now even looking forward to tomorrow.
Seeing anxious patients is nothing new to Dan. He explained that aside from the very important role of surgeon, a large part of his job is reassuring nervous patients—and he did a great job with me. Dan Reinstien founded LVC in 2002 and has lovingly created arguably the best name in the business.
He is clearly passionate about delivering the highest possible care in an industry that often gets a bad press. He’s one of the UK’s few ophthalmic surgeons to have dedicated his professional life to the field. I truly am in good hands.
"I’ll probably never forget the morning after surgery: waking up and looking around and seeing everything very almost perfectly"
Day of surgery
Today was a great day! I woke up with a nervous excitement. I didn’t think I’d sleep, but I slept like a baby, meeting Prof Reinstein yesterday had completely put my mind at ease. My ReLEx SMILE procedure went perfectly.
Watch Laura's operation
The whole experience, from being greeted by the friendly, professional staff, to leaving with an LVC post-surgery survival kit, was perfectly coordinated by the team.
After arrival, and before the procedure, I was run through the post-surgery routine that I’ll need to follow for the next seven days (antibiotic drops four times a day, frequent lubricating drops, eye protection at night). I was also given the information in written form, so I wouldn’t forget.
Once I was in the surgery room, the whole thing went by in a flash. I laid back in the chair and a machine was brought over the top of me. Dan spoke to me throughout and worked on my left and then my right eye.
"Literally everything I did was accompanied by the thought: ‘this is amazing, I’m not wearing my glasses!’"
I was asked to look up at a green light and focus on that. My vision went hazy in that eye, but as Dan was talking to me throughout, I knew everything was going well. I did feel some pushing on my eye, but absolutely no pain at all. When he was done with the first eye, he told me it was 100% perfect. They were probably the most reassuring words I’ve ever heard. He moved over to the next eye and before I knew it, he was asking me to sit up.
With ReLEx SMILE, you don’t get that ‘wow factor’ straight away, it takes a little while for your vision to settle. Dan had said that when I opened my eyes it would be like there was smoke in the room at first, and it was, but, through that smoke, I could still read the clock on the wall.
I had to keep my eyes closed (except for getting about and going to the bathroom) for the next four hours, so I was sent home to recoup on the sofa. My partner drove me home, and in the car I kept opening my eyes to sneak a peek, and squealing that I could read the number plates of cars ahead.
After four hours of resting (with 15-minutes intervals to pop lubricating drops in), I was able to watch TV—without my glasses!
The next few days
I’ll probably never forget the morning after surgery: waking up and (after peeling off the protective goggles and putting in the eye drops), looking around the bedroom and seeing everything very almost perfectly without my glasses. For the rest of the day (and pretty much ever since) literally everything I did was accompanied by the thought: ‘this is amazing, I’m not wearing my glasses!’
I went back to LVC for my 24-hour check up, and among other things, Dan did an eye test. It’s such early days, and my vision will settle even more, but at the moment, the vision in my right eye is 20:20. My left eye is lagging behind a little.
Over the next few days I did have very dry eyes. On most days I was putting my drops in every 20-30 minutes, and there was one day I needed them even more regularly, but after a week I was going an hour or more without them, and it just got better and better after that.
It’s very difficult to talk about post-laser surgery—post-glasses—life, without getting emotional.
It’s been a month and I’m still counting the ways that it’s changed things for the better. I think wearing glasses and contact lenses had just become so normal. It had become so normal that I would worry about getting another contact lens infection.
I’d never realised what an inconvenience it all was. Now, when I wake up, I just get up—no more reaching for my glasses, hunting for them with blurry eyes. I take a shower, ride my bike, walk in the rain, watch a film, go swimming, read the departure board, all without even thinking about it. I cancelled my contact lens direct debit: no more £30 a month on lenses. And when I go on holiday, I’ll only need one pair of sunglasses.
I really could go on and on, but you probably get the picture.
I thought it would take a while for my body to catch up with my brain getting used to my new sight, but actually, I’ve only gone to push my glasses up my nose once—and only a couple of times have panicked late at night that I’ve had my lenses in for too long, only to remember, I don’t need them anymore.