Tuesday, November 12, 2019

My Lasik journey with Shinagawa eye centre!

I still remember as I was growing up, my parents would always nag at me whenever i play my game boy in the dark or read my story books under dimmed lights on the bed and they would always say that if I continue to do this, “my eyes will spoil” At that age, it didn’t mean anything to me, all I wanted to do was to do things my way so I didn't listen to any of their advice. Fast forward to primary 5, I start to realise I couldn't really see clearly what was written on the whiteboard (i was already seated in the first few rows because of my height) and the next thing I know, my parents brought me to prescribe my very first pair of spectacles.
 Yea, that’s nerdy me in Primary 5 with my very first pair of spectacles (and 1 missing tooth, lol) 

I still thought it was quite cool to be wearing spectacles to school, especially when i changed my glasses to the frameless kind (which was in trend then!) and I wore them proudly the first day I got them. I still didn’t realise the seriousness at that point, my degree continued to rise and I was literally changing a new pair of glasses every year. But as I grew up, I started realising the inconvenience my myopia was bringing me.

For 19 years, i woke up every single morning with blurred vision and i had to reach out for my specs to start the day. Whenever I get off a cold bus, my glasses were fogged up and I wouldn't be able to see for a good 5 to 10 seconds. Whenever I eat something hot, the steam would just fogged up my glasses and it can get really irritating. Whenever I go for a haircut, I would pray that the haircut would turn out well because I couldn't see what the barber was doing to my hair and the moment of truth was when I put on my glasses at the end of the session (I'm sure some of you can relate to this) and the list of inconvenience can go on and on.

Oh, one more very important thing! When i see the cool people wearing their sunglasses on a sunny day, I wish I could be like them but I could only lament at my myopia and suffer in silence. LOL
In case you are wondering, the above photos were taken about 9 years ago, with contacts on.

As I grew older, I was introduced to contact lens and I still remember the first time I tried was at some shopping mall atrium when i was… I think 18? (or maybe even younger?) They were giving out trial lenses for customers to try on the spot and that night I tried and tried until my eyes turned red but the moment i fitted the lens in, I knew that I would want to correct my vision one day.

At that point of time, I was still young. No money for lasik (I was already doing braces and didn’t dare to demand lasik from my parents. What a problematic child, lol) and my myopia has yet to stabilise so I relied on dailies (one time use contact lens) As they were more expensive compared to the monthly ones, I would only wear it on special occasions when i know i will take a lot of photos and also whenever I go overseas for holidays.

Fast forward a few years later, I joined the aviation industry and even though I finally have the money to correct my vision, I couldn't due to the nature of my job. *facepalm* It was only until I moved to a new workplace and I decided to embark on this journey to correct my vision (finally after more than 10 years!!!)
3 months back, I went to Shinagawa Eye Centre to do a pre-lasik assessment to determine whether my eyes are suitable for laser surgery. So apparently, not everyone can undergo lasik procedure. There are instances whereby people go to a lasik clinic wanting to correct their vision only to be told that their eyes are not suitable. On top of that, there are several methods of lasik so a pre-assessment can also determine which method(s) are suitable for your eyes.

As a guide, you should:
  1. Your degree should have stabilised 
  2. No eye disease 
  3. Within the suitable range of myopia 
  4. Not pregnant 
Upon entering the clinic and registering my interest to undergo lasik, I was briefed by one of the staff on the different tests that i will be going through.
I went through a series of comprehensive tests which checked my myopia, cornea thickness and a few other components. Do also note that there is a need to dilate your pupils for some of the tests and you will experience blurred vision for a couple of hours. The entire assessment will take about 2 to 3 hours in total and after which you will meet the doctor who will recommend you the type of lasik method suitable of you to go for.

(I was actually quite nervous on whether I can get the green light to do the surgery. Imagine after so many years only to be told I can't do it. LOL)

So for my case, I was recommended by Dr Lee Sao Bing the Intralase Lasik method which is a blade-less method to create the cornea flap and due to my cornea thickness (which is slightly below average) I was also advised to do the cornea cross-linking which strengthens the bonds in the cornea. 

After the tests, you can then schedule an appointment date with the front desk for the procedure.
Fast forward a couple of weeks later, it was finally the day to get my vision corrected. You know how some people get really nervous when it’s time for them to do their surgery. I was like, LET’S DO IT! LOLOLOL You have no idea. I’ve been waiting for this day for the longest time.

We did one last eye check to determine whether I'm good to go before being assisted by the nurse to don the surgery gown and hair net. The nurse then proceeded to put some numbing eye drops and I was ready. Met Dr Lee who went through the procedures that will be happening inside the surgery room and i was then ushered to the surgical room.

What I was really thankful was that Dr Lee was being very assuring throughout the whole process. He was like “Ok andy, we are going to start on the left eye. Keep your head still, look straight.” in his most soothing voice and the next thing I know, “Done. Now moving on to the right eye.” There were some burning smell but I felt no pain at all (probably due to the numbing eye drops which I put earlier) Each eye took like maybe 5 mins? After each eye was done, he fitted a special contact lens which acted as a bandage for the eye.

The time spent inside the surgery suite took at most 30 mins but the actual lasering only took like a few seconds.

Chop chop.
After the procedure was done, I was ushered to the resting area where the nurse briefed me on a “care package”. Inside consists of a couple of eye drops (both antiseptic and vials of daily eye drops) , eye shield to protect your eyes (and prevent yourself from rubbing your eyes while you sleep), a roll of tape (to secure the eye shield) and some painkillers (in case I need it). I was also briefed on the do's and don’ts after surgery as well as some of the side effects of which I might experience during the recovery period.

It is recommended that you go home immediately after the surgery to rest (because your vision will still be blurred) so my good friend came to fetch me and i took a long nap that day. Woke up in the evening and I was quite surprised at how i could almost see clearly already. I actually did a 3-day vlog documenting my recovery process and it’s already up on my Instagram highlights (@andystorm) so do go watch if you are interested!

The following day I woke up with perfect vision (I felt like spiderman. If you remember this particular scene when he woke up with clear vision the following day after bitten by the radioactive spider, lol) There was no need to reach out for my spectacles anymore and i could see clearly. It took me awhile to gather all my thoughts and welcome this life changing moment. Not exaggerating! HAHAHA

Went back to Shinagawa eye centre for a review with Dr Lee the next day who then checked my eyes and removed the contact len “bandage”. After it was removed, my vision got even clearer. Dr Lee then gave me some advice on how to care for my eyes and gave me the green light to proceed with my usual routine. In my head I was like, “This is it. No more wearing of spectacles” I then proceeded to dump my current spectacles into this jar at the entrance of the clinic before I left.

Did i mention that i experienced zero pain? So apparently the Intralase Lasik method which i did promotes quick recovery, the time taken for the procedure is shorter and it’s painless!

Throughout my recovery phase, I did experience dry eyes every now and then, especially when I wake up every morning. There was one morning I woke up with really really itchy eyes (but I kept reminding myself that I can't rub my eyes) so what I did was to whatsapp the clinic (Yes, they have an official whatsapp number for all queries) and was told that it’s normal, i just have to put more eye drops because my eyes were too dry.

But all in all, i could function as per normal within 2 days of the surgery!
Thank you Dr. Lee Sao Bing and Shinagawa Eye Centre team! 

It’s been 3 months since I did my lasik surgery and I've got to say this has to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. No more wearing of spectacles, no more buying of contact lenses, and it’s so much more convenient doing physical activities like sports and gym. I still put eye drops whenever my eyes feels dry.

Now that you have read my experience, if you ever thought of doing Lasik, I would recommend that you go for the pre-Lasik assessment test to determine if your eyes are suitable first. Shinagawa eye centre offers pre-Lasik assessment test at just $22 and hold monthly Lasik forum at Hilton Hotel Singapore. Check out their website for their latest date for Lasik forum.

Shinagawa Eye Centre 
501 Orchard Road, Wheelock Place, 
#05-15 9am to 5.30pm 
Tel: 6738 8222 

That’s it for #andystormlasikjourney!

P.s: I still wear spectacles at work from time to time but those are non prescriptive PC lens which reduces stress on your eyes by cutting brightness and glares of displays. On top of that, it reduces the blue light emitted from our electronic devices (which causes eye strain)

Now with perfect vision,