On April 8th 2021 I got my eyes operated, and it was an incredibly smooth and easy experience.
As the surgery sounded so scary before I even knew anything about it, hearing feedback directly from people who had experience it felt incredibly reassuring. So I thought I'd share my experience too :)
I actually very recently and suddenly considered the operation, after seeing a friend (same age and eye problems) getting it some months ago.
If she did it, then I could do it too?!
Somehow I had always believed you had to be older before considering it (and btw I am 31).
I had myopia (a little less than -3), and astigmatism (...I'm always confused with the astigmatism numbers, I think I had C -0.75 and AXE 110, but I may be reading something else on my papers :D).
I'd started needing glasses about 15 years ago, and started wearing them daily about 5 years ago.
I always struggled with them, on many levels. I had a huge feeling of not recognising myself in the mirror, of not feeling like myself visually. (
I did try contact lenses, but it never worked for me). I was bothered by the physical feeling on my nose. I was extremely frustrated with the feeling of not seeing well, of being dependent of that object to see. Rain drops and condensation on my glasses drove me completely crazy. I got anxious and so frustrated not to see in so many occasions in my daily life. You know, pouring the pasta water, opening the oven, wearing a mask, going for a run,... all those little moments creating condensation, an unavoidable misty view. And the rain drops!! I was so so sad to feel restrained from going out at any time, because I knew I would be so uncomfortable because of my glasses if it was raining even just a little.
I don't understand how anyone can stand these things on their noses! :D
So... when I saw that friend getting the operation, I got so excited and hopeful!
Another belgian friend had asked on facebook if anyone had gone through that operation, and had gotten a lot of feedback. Two doctors were mentioned the most, one in Brussels, and one in Wavre - which is close from where I am in Belgium. So I called Docteur Melard, and got an appointment a few weeks later.
Here was the appointment process :
1) pre-surgery appointment :
They check your sight very much in depth and recommend the best surgery option for you (from what I understood, if your sight problems are heavy, implants may be better).
2) getting the surgery appointment :
The waiting time where I did it was 1 - 1,5 months
3) Post surgery appointment
For me it was 24h after the surgery : they check the result and how it is healing
The laser type that was recommended for me was LASIK
From what I understood, Lasik (or Femtolasik) is the new method that followed the PRK laser (for which you needed muuuuuch more time to heal, and which is I think the reason why many of us got a scary feeling regarding eye surgery)
What it costs :
Price wise here in Belgium I believe depending on where you do it, it currently might cost between 2500-4000€ for both eyes.
I paid 3000€ for the surgery, + 120€ for the first appointment, and 60€ for the post-surgery appointment.
The mutuelle gives back 200€ for the surgery, and probably something for the appointments too.
So yes, it is clearly a big investment, but if you can afford it, what a life changing gift to yourself :)
The surgery itself :
Extremely quick and painless !
I think the total time was about 10-15min, and the laser part something like two times 15 seconds in each eye. So it happens extremely quickly.
You are awake during the surgery : you're lying on a table and during the laser seconds you need to look at a light without moving your eyes (though if you do, the laser is clever and follows, so you don't need to panic about it either). The very calming voice of my doctor was very helpful to stay relaxed and focused on the light.
I didn't feel anything (your eyes get an anesthesia with some eye drops). And I felt vey relaxed and safe.
When you get out of the surgery you see enough to be able to walk (but not to drive). I was seeing everything a little blurry and through a kind of mist.
I got home and rested with the curtains closed, putting 2 kinds of drops in my eyes regularly (one anti inflammatory/antibiotic, and another just to lubricate and help the eye heal).
After 1-2 hours it became a little uncomfortable, as I couldn't open my eyes at all. I had a strong burning sensation and flowing tears. That lasted about 2-3 hours.
Just as the doctor predicted, about 4-5 hours after the surgery, it all calmed down, I was able to open my eyes comfortably, and STARTED TO SEE PERFECTLY! What a feeling!!
Then all that was left to do is put these drops for a little while longer (the antibiotic just a few days, the lubricating ones for as long as it feels necessary, but probably a few months). And wear sun glasses everytime I go out for 3 months, (even if it's cloudy, I feel like a star), as the UV rays can affect the way the scar heals in your eye. Other than that, you can actually already live your normal life right away!
Where I did it & post surgery
As I said I did it in Wavre with doctor Melard. I very much recommend him :) he has a very kind and calming voice, perfectly reassuring during the surgery.
From what they told me, this surgery usually offers a 10-15 years time of perfect sight, though around the age of 45 years old it is likely your sight begins to worsen for close up view - but that is independently of having had surgery or not, most humans simply do.
At the time I am writing this, 1 month has passed since the surgery. I am completely amazed and so so so so so so incredibly happy and grateful to have gifted myself new eyes. I find it hard to believe it is possible. And if I had known how easy and smooth it would be, I would have done it a long time ago!
I feel like myself again :) The first days, when I saw myself in a mirror I felt like saying "hi!! <3 " with a very happy heart. I finally recognise this face again! :)
Though I am no doctor and won't be able to give you specific information, if you have questions about my experience, feel free to ask me! (here below or on social media). I truly understand how good it feels to get feedback from another simple human who's gone through it already :)