I can see clearly now: How Laser Eye Surgery opened Mark Silver’s eyes (25/09/2009, Mirror, UK)
By Mark Silver 25/09/2009 (Mirror, UK)
I remember bursting into tears the moment I found out I needed glasses. Well, I was only nine at the time.
But when I first put them on a week later, I think I had the biggest grin in town.
Even 31 years later, I can clearly recall the feeling of elation I had as I stared at the cinema across the road, about 60 yards from the opticians.
I could actually see what films were on. Before I’d had to go right up to within a few feet to have a clue what films were showing.
That same feeling of finding a whole new world came back to me when I had laser eye surgery in July. It was amazing.
For the first time since I was about five years old, I could see pretty much perfectly without any help – no specs or contact lenses in sight!
Naturally such a massive change took a bit of getting used to.
For a few weeks after the treatment, people must have thought I was mad as I pushed my finger up the outside of my nose, trying to put my glasses back in place.
But since the op there is nothing odd looking about how I check if it’s time to get out of bed.
No more sticking the alarm clock right in front of my nose, stressing about whether I have to shift myself.
Now I can smugly turn my head slightly to the side every morning and I can see the time perfectly. It’s such a novelty – and less of a panic.
And no longer am I blind as a bat when I take my two young daughters to the local swimming baths. I can relax because I can see clearly where they are in the pool.
These are just a couple of the perks –and to think I was in two minds about having the surgery in the first place.
The whole procedure was safe, smoothly carried out and the follow-up treatment was great.
I was short-sighted and somewhere in the middle of the scale.
During the procedure some tissue was removed from the front part of my eye and the cornea, or the front surface, was reshaped.
Incredibly, the whole thing lasted a matter of minutes and within a few hours my vision was excellent.
The procedure itself was a bit uncomfortable at the start because of the pressure from a plastic suction ring over each eye to hold them open. But there was never any pain.
Opticians have carried out tens of thousands of these treatments and the safety aspect is well established.
On the day of the surgery they took me into a small operating theatre and gave me a local anaesthetic.
It means you’re fully awake and aware of everything when the laser is applied.
I suffer mildly from claustrophobia so I did have one or two moments of anxiety because the laser equipment and staff are right over you.
Jonathan Carr, the surgeon performing my correction at the Harley Street clinic, is not only brilliant with eyes, but also people.
He sensed I was feeling a bit anxious and was able to distract me as best he could by chatting non-stop about my favourite subject, travel.
He later told me that in his 13 years of refractive surgery he has treated many patients who were nervous because of claustrophobia, but they all got through it. Still, this would be my only word of caution about having it done, be aware of that.
The aftercare was also top notch.
After surgery, a nurse talked me through the next week and I was given three bottles of drops to take over that time. I also got goggles for sleeping to protect my eyes.
It’s important to get straight home after the surgery to lie down and let your eyes rest for a good few hours.
Taking the drops in those hours immediately after the surgery was difficult to say the least because my eyes were really swollen and heavy. But I persevered and things soon became easier.
Steve Schallhorn, the chairman of the Optical Express International Medical Advisory Board, is known as one of the best and most respected refractive surgeons out there.
He surprised me by saying that wearing contacts is a greater risk than this eye surgery because of the chance of eye infections, allergies and dry eye.
Steve assured me my vision correction for distance is permanent.
I knew before I went through with the surgery that I will probably need reading glasses in just a few years. The particular eye muscle involved deteriorates more rapidly when you hit 45.
To discuss how we can improve your Vision with Laser Eye Surgery, call us on 1800 DR EYES (1800 37 3937) to talk to one of our Patient Care Team now or Book Online for your FREE Laser Eye Surgery assessment today.