Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Should I get laser eye surgery? (3 months on)

When I wrote my last blog post about laser surgery, I was one month into recovery, and on the fence about whether or not it was worth it. Now I'm over three months in, and have had a further follow-up appointment, plus a boozy Christmas, birthday, New Years, Stag Weekend, and trip to Vegas to see some very good friends get married!

First, the scientific details. I found out at my most recent follow-up (the 3 month one) that the -0.25 prescription in my left eye has now disappeared. This is great news for me, since it means that I don't have to worry about future treatments (at least right now), nor about whether I can see properly! I still have times where one eye is better than the other, but I think that maybe everyone does, and I'm just more aware of it at the moment. I think a lot of it comes down to rubbing eyes (either when awake or asleep), dry eyes, and eye strain. These are all things that are likely to happen more after surgery, and should happen less over time.

So at the stage I'm at now, I can see pretty well. In both eyes, I can see 2 lines lower than the 20-20 line on the optician charts, which is the lowest they had at the check-up. My night-vision doesn't involve haloes so much any more. Some lights seem too big, but I'm still not sure whether they would for non-laser-surgery-patients too. I've now driven at night-time (as well as during the day) and it seems pretty-much OK!

The redness on the whites of my eyes around my pupils is almost 100% gone now. If I look really hard, I can maybe see ever so slight colour variations where the flap was made, but I do have to look very carefully.

I still get dryness, which manifests itself as discomfort or blurry vision. For that, I use eye drops around 3 times a day when required. Ultralase are trying to wean me off them, partly using a night-time gel. This seems to be helping (although if you're going on long flights, or staying in Las Vegas, I'd recommend just using the drops as your eyes will get dry anyway!).

Extreme activities
About a month after the first surgery, I went to a funfair and went on a centrifuge-type ride. It was fun, but I was worried that something bad might happen to my eyes. The "flaps" might open up or something. I've no idea if that's true, and I've since been on roller-coasters and other rides, but it's still something I'm aware of.


I seem to be more confident now in my interactions with people. I'm pretty sure this is at least partly psychosomatic, but I think that it's also partly directly due to not wearing glasses. For people who wear contact lenses most of the time, they probably already get this.
I think that part of it is better peripheral vision; being able to see when people are trying to catch my eye, etc. Partly, it's good that my eyes are more visible, as they form an integral part of non-verbal communication. There's also the fact that maybe I have to deal more directly with the world; not through the "screen" that glasses provides.
I guess maybe it's also a two-way thing in that people who communicate with me are more confident about talking to someone without glasses.

It's really great not to have to wear or carry around glasses and contact lens paraphernalia the whole time. At the moment, I'm carrying around eye drops, but that's not too bad.

My vision is pretty good now! Key moments of wow-ness have generally been while looking at views while on holiday. I recently went to the Stratosphere tower in Las Vegas, and the views while Sky-Jumping and going on the other rides were fantastic, even at night time. I don't think I would have had the same views with glasses (maybe with contacts, I guess?).

What else should you think about?
I think I would rather have done more research into things like halo-ing and starbursts - see this (rather technical) page before the consultation/surgery.
I'd also like to have asked more questions about the recovery process and what I should expect in terms of consistency of vision over the first few months.

Am I glad I had it done?
On balance, yes!