So is LASIK safe and worth it?

About 6 months ago, I toyed with the idea of going for LASIK surgery. Of course it wasn’t any easy choice especially when I get a lot of objections especially from my mum, my optician (duh, of course she was going to object. I would have stopped buying glasses and contact lenses from her!) but I got plenty of encouragement from quite a few number of my colleagues who went and completed this procedure with no issues.

So after checking about and mucking about, one fine day after a training session, I decided to pop by over Vista at The Curve to have a check. Mind you that about 4 years prior to this, I also went to Vista to have a check and they gave me the go ahead to get the surgery. So why was it after 4 years that I only decided to go for the surgery. Well I can say that finances is definitely one of the main reason because it wasn’t cheap!

The procedure for LASIK surgery is very straight forward and easy! First, go for a round of tests. Lots of them. If you pass the test, the doctor will then recommend which surgery you should go for (this is all based on the conditions of your eye). Once you have decided which surgery you want, you can then proceed to either think about it or just schedule your surgery. Secondly, you go for the surgery and after the surgery, get 4 hours of sleep and voila! You can see clearly without your specs/contact lenses.

The first round of checks included a series of tests to determine the condition of my eye, to see if it is thick enough so that if LASIK was done, would there be enough space. There were so many tests that I completed, I couldn’t remember how long it took but the after effects of these tests was that since they dilated your pupils, driving back was not going to be possible at all! Yup, so remember to plan your transportation home after your test.

As mentioned earlier, after receiving the results of your initial tests, the doctor would then explain to you which of the procedures would be more suitable for you. Luckily for me, my test results were good and I could go for any of the surgery. Unluckily for me, that means also the most expensive ones! So I was deciding to go for either the best or 2nd best. The price difference was a few thousand so the decision was quite tough! I kept asking myself, is the extra few thousand all worth it or not?

Then my mum said the most brilliant thing (I tell myself that to convince myself :P). She said, “since you only have 1 pair of eyes, you better get the best”. Yup, that prompted me to unwillingly say to the doctor, I will take the best procedure out there.

So here I was sitting in the room informing them which surgery I opted for. I quickly set my appointment date and planned in my leave at work. The surgery would commence on Friday morning and they promised that after a good sleep (4 hours minimum) after the surgery, I would be able to see clearly. So me being extremely “kiasu”, I stayed up as late as I could on Thursday night in order to be able to easily sleep after my surgery.

That didn’t work too well because on my day of my surgery, there were a few other people who were there as well. Good thing was that a lot of people had faith in LASIK surgery but the bad thing was that I had to wait about 20 minutes for my turn and while waiting I fell asleep.

By the time it was my turn, I lied down on the chair/bed/surgery thingy and the doctor used a clamp to ensure that my eyes were open throughout the surgery. When the nurse was applying the clamp, I did feel a bit of pain an uneasiness. I was extremely nervous and I kept moving, so much so that the doctor gave me a pillow to hug in order to release some of the tension.

The first bit of the procedure after the prep would be to cut a flap on my eye using lasers. How this is done is that the lasers create a small air bubble in a circle and once that is done, the flap is removed (manually from my eye). It took the machine about half a minute to create this flap for each eye. So technically that took only a minute.

Now that the flap has been created, I moved to another chair/surgery bed and lied down there. This was when the doctor manually opened the flap to my eyes (one flap at a time). Once the flap was removed, another machine would then correct my eyes using a laser. This took about 45 seconds and it also depends on how still you can remain (it takes time for the machine to track your eye movements). So in total, the procedure for both eyes took about 2-3 minutes.

Once the machine has corrected your eyes, the doctor would then put the flap back into the correct position over your eye and voila, that is the end of the procedure. The doctor then proceeded to ask to me read the time which I could do immediately (although not 100 perfectly clear because it takes a while to get the “mist” out and also at that time my pupils were fully dilated hence not everything was perfectly clear.

After taking a quick photo with the doctor, I was checked out (took less than 5 minutes) and the nurse gave me a bag containing a pair of sunglasses, loads of eye drops (natural tears and antibiotics), surgical tape and eye protectors. I got my dad to send me home and once I was home, I put on my eye protectors and slept for about 4-5 hours.

The moment I woke up, I could see everything quite clearly except for the small side effects of halo or ring around lights. That cleared up after about a month. My eyes looked bloodshot but that was one of the side effects as well and that cleared up after 2 weeks. Every time I went to sleep I had to put on my eye protectors (this lasted 2 weeks) and every time I went out I had to use sun glasses.

Some things to note after procedures are:

  • You need to wear sunglasses outside especially during the day. This helps reduce the glare as well as dust from getting into your eyes
  • You need to refrain from rubbing your eyes!
  • You can’t play sports for a month (especially contact sports, poker games are fine :P)
  • You can’t swim for a month
  • You need to wear eye protectors when you sleep at night (quite uncomfortable initially but you will get used to it)
  • You need to apply eye drops on your eyes (side effect after the surgery is dry eyes). The eye drops come in the form of both antibiotics and natural tears

Frankly I am extremely satisfied with the whole procedure and how everything turned out very well. I now have good vision and I noticed that I see less glaring lights especially when I drive at night. To me, it was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. So much so that after I told two of my colleagues about it, they went and had LASIK surgery as well. Now one is very happy with her new vision and another colleague of mine is planning his surgery soon.

For more information, I would suggest you schedule an appointment with your nearest LASIK centre. I went to Vista at The Curve at Mutiara Damansara and the procedure I took was the NASA iLasik procedure.

Disclaimer: The opinions and story here only accounts for my own personal experience with LASIK at Vista. With every other type of surgeries, not all results and experiences are the same.

  • Great post! I've thought about LASIK before but I heard that if your initial power is too high, you'd be taking risks to proceed with LASIK. I once read in another blog that his LASIK was not quite successful where he experienced halo and all that ghostly effect EVER SINCE.

    Btw, if you don't mind, what was your initial power? You just shed some HOPE for me. Haha!

  • wow !!!! u make me want to do one too.. hmmm $$$$ ?

  • Wow… good thing I read this post! I've made an appointment for my surgery come Monday. My procedure will be epi-lasik, which will require a longer healing time, so am soooo no looking forward to the length of time I've to abstain from photography, computer & swimming! But I'm soooo looking forward to the days I'm free from my glasses again! 😀 Thanx for sharing!

  • Wah you also made me want to do LASIK but so expensive, rather buy 85mm f1.4 😛 or SB-900 or finally attend a workshop of some sort 😛 Right now, I'll just go get that eye cup and see if it helps 😛

  • Atreyu: My initial power was around 300+ but I had very high astig

    Edwin: Go for it bro, I sacrificed a 70-200mm lens for it hahahaha 😛

    Aster: Let me know how it goes 😀

    Nick: Just go for it 😉

  • I totally agree Lasik is a great method in correcting the vision. I am very thankful that I had my Lasik procedure not a year ago and very satisfied with the results.