My Lasik surgery was quick and pain-free. It is the best decision that I could ever make (“Dis vinnig en pynloos. Beste besluit wat ek ooit geneem het.”)
Mnr W Britz
“Ek het ‘n paar verkeerde besluite tydens 2009 gemaak, maar om na Dr Van Aswegen toe te kom vir die PRK operasie was die regte besluit. Baie Dankie !!!”
“I should have had my Lasik done by Dr Van Aswegen years ago.”
PRK PROCEDURE – PIERRE NEL
Before the operation I was briefed as to what I could expect during the procedure. I was assured that it was not a lengthy procedure. Before the operation began I could not read the time on the clock, but was told it was 1:45pm. Whilst lying on my back, Dr Van Aswegen’s assistant put eye drops in my eyes in order to numb any feeling of sensation (a type of local anaesthetic). My eyes were operated on separately with the right eye first and then the left eye. I was told to open them wide and a small metal plate was placed in to keep eyelids apart. The actual cut which gets made on your cornea induces a tingly feeling and a slight burning sensation, but only lasts about a minute for each eye – that is the worst part of the operation. You lose sight for a few seconds and that can be disconcerting, but after 15 seconds your sight returns. Once all was complete the Dr asked me to read the time on the wall and it read 1:57pm …I could read it clearly.
The first night is the most difficult, because you are very aware of the sensitivity of your eyes and you are paranoid not to touch them. Your eyes may burn this first night, but you get given drops to deal with it. It was part of the success of my recovery to take time off work and lie with my eyes closed in a dark room for 3 days – it is important for your recovery not to expose your eyes to sunlight. I applied the moisture eye drops quite regularly and this helps your eyes not to dry out. The first day after the operation you feel as thought the discomfort is relentless, but you sleep much better the 2nd night. By the time you go and see your doctor 2 days after operation you can feel a vast improvement with only the light sensitivity still being an issue.
My recovery was very positive and within 5 days I was back at work and seeing very well. I was amazed how well I could read road signs. Within 3 weeks I was back on the cricket field and also running and cycling. The key to the recovery was by means of always wearing sunglasses and applying eye drops when eyes felt dry. After 6 months my eyesight is amazing and I feel that it was a great decision to go for the operation.
LASIK EYE SURGERY – NADINE BUTLER
Before being accepted for the Lasik eye surgery, I had an initial consultation where the options and risks were discussed in detail. I left feeling comfortable with the procedure and what it entailed. I had to go to the eye hospital to have a few tests conducted – this is to see if my eyes were suitable for the surgery and to ensure that my corneas were thick enough. There were two tests – neither was painful or uncomfortable and it all took about half an hour. The one test involved sitting in the dark blindfolded for 10 minutes. The tests confirmed that I was a candidate for the procedure. I booked the date for my surgery. I felt no nerves and was excited – the procedure had been explained fully and many friends had told me that it was the best thing they had ever done and that they had also gone through this quick, but life-changing procedure successfully.
1 WEEK PRIOR SURGERY:
There were no special requirements prior to my surgery date. I was able to eat and drink as usual the night before the operation, as there would be no general anaesthetic – only a topical anaesthetic is required. On the day of the procedure, I went to work in the morning. I was required to be at the Cape Eye Hospital at 1pm. I was dropped off at the hospital and I filled out the necessary forms and paid for the procedure. For the next hour, I waited in a lounge area and read magazines – periodically a nurse would put some eye drops in my eyes that did not hurt or sting. Just before my scheduled surgery time of 2pm, I was moved to another area outside the operating rooms where I had to put a robe on over my clothing. I was not nervous, as I knew what was to happen and knew that it would be a very quick procedure.
DURING THE SURGERY:
Once inside the operating room, I was asked to lie down on a flat chair (similar to a dentist’s chair!). The procedure was very quick and took less than 20 minutes for both eyes. It was completely painless, although there was certainly a strong feeling of pressure on the eyes as different instruments are used to carry out the procedure. This pressure and ‘suction’ feeling can be quite uncomfortable at times, but I did not have any actual pain. The most intense part of the procedure is the preparation of the eye for the laser to burn the cornea – the actual lasering part of the eye is very quick and there is no feeling of discomfort at all. It is very important that the patient is quite aware as to what is happening and co-operates fully with the doctor – at times this can be a little stressful, as you need to ensure that you follow the doctors’s instructions at all times with regards to movement of your eye and focussing. Once the procedure was completed, clear plastic glasses are taped over your eyes to protect them, but I was able to walk out of the operating room myself. I was a bit dizzy, but felt fine and ready to go home. The Doctor came to talk to me and give me some pain medication and eye drops with instructions of how to use them. The nurses then take you to the lounge area again, where I had a chance to sit and relax for a bit and have refreshments before going home. I left the hospital for home less than 2 hours after I had arrived! It was a little difficult to ascertain at this point how ‘well’ I could see, as the plastic glasses impaired my vision slightly.
AFTER THE SURGERY:
Once at home, I was required to put the eye drops in every half an hour. This was completely painless and I felt no discomfort from these drops –they are merely antibiotics to ensure that I did not get an infection and so it was important to do this properly. When not administering medication to the eye, I wore either the plastic glasses given by the hospital or my own large sunshades, which I found more comfortable. I had taken some pain medication to avoid any possible pain, and did not experience any. My eyes felt a bit blurry and a little bit like I had sand granules or some cat hairs in my eyes! In other words, there was a bit of discomfort, but it was not painful, more of an irritation. I went to bed early that evening with the plastic glasses taped again over my eyes, to avoid the pillow pressing into my eyes. I was told not to touch my eyes at all and that this is particularly important for the first few days, so I made sure that I had my eyes protected and I did not rub or touch them at all.
I slept well and had no discomfort during the night. I went back to the doctor in the morning to check on the healing progress. The doctor informed me that my eyes had so far healed very well and that there were no signs of swelling, irritation or infection. The feeling of sand or cat hairs in the eyes, although slight now, was perfectly normal to be feeling at this stage.
I was now told that the eye drops could be administered 4 times a day, in addition to drops for dry eyes that I could also use to ease any discomfort. I did this for the next week while my eyes healed further and as before, I had no pain and any discomfort gradually faded away. The eye drops helped ease any irritation and other than wearing my sunshades most of the time, I carried on my life as normal.
Within a day of the procedure, I could start understanding how ‘well’ I could now see – it was dramatic! – My vision had gone from quite terrible to crystal clear and with every day I felt it improve. I was driving a car at night and without my glasses 3 days after the operation and felt very confident with my vision. I could not even remember where my old glasses were and had conveniently lost them! I still did not touch my eye area at all and refrained completely from any eye creams or eye make-up that may have caused irritation.
1 WEEK LATER:
The doctor tested my eyes and I now have a reading of above 20/20 vision! It is very exciting and I am ecstatic with the outcome. I should continue wearing sun shades when possible and use dry eye drops when I feel the need. I can swim, shower, wear make-up etc as normal. I feel no pain or discomfort, and my surgery was a complete success!
1 MONTH LATER:
The surgery feels like a distant memory already, as I carry on my life without the need for glasses! I have had no complications and would recommend this surgery for anyone from those with very poor vision to those with slight vision problems meaning they have to wear glasses even some of the time.