Demystifying LASIK (Part 1 of 2)

I just had a life-changing experience and I can’t wait to share it with you.

It all sparked from a casual conversation during my trip to Taiwan a few months ago, when I had forgotten to bring my contact lens solution with me. I asked my travel mates through our Viber chat if anyone brought solution and I didn’t get a single reply. When the group met up for lunch, I asked everyone again and Rovilson said no one brings solutions anymore because he, and most probably everyone, has had their eyes “LASIK-d” already! So while my friends enjoyed lunch and downed all the delicious xiao long bao, there I was searching for solution in the middle of Taipei.

Lasik demystified, Asian Eye
Being in Taiwan without contact lens solution turned out to be an eye-opener (pun intended)

I don’t know why I never even thought of it. To have Lasik surgery done, I mean. I’m thinking now that maybe I felt my grade was not high enough (my grade was 175+ per eye), or that wearing contact lenses every day and eyeglasses every night wasn’t THAT much of a hassle anyway. I’m even thinking perhaps I was a bit scared to go through what I felt was a relatively “radical procedure”, and I know I just thought that because I just didn’t know enough about it. So Rovilson’s comment got me really thinking, and woke me up to the possibilities of saying goodbye to the spectacles and lenses.

As soon as I returned to Manila, I did my research immediately and gave Asian Eye a call. After a thorough screening procedure and a month long wait (because the surgeon and myself had some overseas trips to complete), I’ve undergone LASIK Surgery on both my eyes, ditched the contact lenses and glasses, and traded it in for no less than 20-20 vision! I have not had 20-20 vision since the 1990’s back when my calligraphy work and cross-stitching hobby permanently destroyed my eyesight. Thanks to Lasik, this is not a permanent problem no more! Until now, 2 months after surgery, I am enjoying my clear vision, always feeling thankful that I can see clearly as soon as I wake up every morning without having to put on anything. It really is true that you don’t know what you’re missing till you lose it, and in my case, gain it back!

I also cannot believe, and I say this with some frustration, that I waited so long to do it! If I compute all the time spent cleaning, putting on my contacts, the money spent on these and glasses, the past 20 years, it would amount to a lot! Even just the time alone is a major issue for me because I really value my time, as most of us moms do.

So my post I hope to make the decision easier for more people. Through this, my two-part series, I hope to “demystify” the procedure, to give information I wish I had before, lessen the unfounded fears and worries, misconceptions,then maybe you won’t waste as many years as I did under those glasses. As a caveat, LASIK is not for everyone. There is a pre-screening process to see if one is an eligible candidate for the procedure. But knowing what i know now, that it is quick and in my experience, painless, I wish I had done it years ago, and would want everyone to have that awareness too.

So first of all, what is LASIK? From the info kit given by Asian Eye, it says that “LASIK Refractive Surgery is a sub-specialty of opthalmology that deals with refractive errors. An error in refraction means that you either have near-sightedness or far-sightedness, astigmatism or a combination.”

The first step in the consideration of undergoing LASIK is a consultation meeting with the doctor or the center, in my case, with Asian Eye. After the initial meeting, if you are decided to go for it, they will then schedule you for the screening tests. Allot 3-4 hours for this, and if you wear contacts, rest your eyes from them for a whole week prior to the test day. Best if you do not drive after the tests since your eyes/pupils will need to be dilated during the process so it’s safe to rest it from activity after the screening.

After a brief interview, the first step in the screening program is refraction.
Lasik demystified, Asian Eye

They do this several times to check and double check, they also do it to check the state of your eye’s lenses and the doctor also makes you read the optical charts.
Lasik demystified, Asian Eye

Then you go through a series of machines where you look through a scope and they say this is to measure your cornea. This is also done several times and I believe they are checking and measuring different components of your cornea- from thickness, to diameter, and the like.
Lasik demystified, Asian Eye

There is also such a thing as corneal mapping, and though as laymen, we would not understand it fully, the technician whose name is Henry was very patient in explaining everything.
Lasik demystified, Asian Eye
Henry also very diligently lifted my eyelid because my chinky eyes would not open wide enough for some of the tests. Even if I volunteered to do it myself, he was very willing to stretch out his arms to reach out to my tiny lids to keep them open through each test.

Lasik demystified, Asian Eye

Between each test, you are asked to wait a few minutes since there are other patients doing the same routine as you are. I didn’t mind waiting as the waiting area was quite comfortable and private.
Lasik demystified, Asian Eye

Next round of tests included measurement of the pupil.
Lasik demystified, Asian Eye
There were so many different kind of tests and though it took a while, I was impressed by how thorough the screening was and it showed how much care and precision Asian Eye put into the process just to ensure they had all the information they needed prior to my procedure.

I was taken to another area for the second to the last step, my date with the Pentacam machine which checks Corneal topography.
Lasik demystified, Asian Eye
The thicker the cornea, the easier for laser to cut through. So I was praying my cornea was thick!

Last round was a test to find out how much lubrication my eyes still had, so they applied drops to dilate my pupils then they put tear markers or strips of filter paper into my eyes to see how wet the strip would come out. This was a bit uncomfortable but since it went by quickly, it was bearable.
Lasik demystified, Asian Eye
This is an important step in the screening process because people with severe dry eyes usually cannot undergo LASIK. The same goes with patients with extremely high grade or very thin corneas. There are other options offered for these patients like a friend of mine whose corneas were not the usual shape, she underwent a similar but different procedure to LASIK but had the same outcome- now she has clear eyes too!

Before leaving, the doctors did one last scan of the cornea and another retina scan while pupils were still dilated from the drops. The tests would show not only corneal thickness, eye health, eye history and even the lifestyle of our patients. With these last two steps, I complete my screening process!

Once all these tests are completed, the doctor checks all results and tells you if your eyes pass eligibility for LASIK. Since the surgeon was out of the country at that time, and I was about to leave for our family vacation to Canada, I asked if I could set an appointment with him upon my return. At first, there was a concern raised that my tests would have an expiry in terms of validity- that after a month, there might be a chance that my eyes would have changed- but the doctors said it was not true and that the results would be the same after just one month so thankfully, I was given a go signal to proceed to set a date.

During the break, I read a handout and surgery consent form which was given to me by Asian Aye for review and signature. Here it specifies exactly what LASIK is and the steps done during the procedure. In my next post, I’ll give you a blow by blow account.

So one month passed, that’s right after my family vacation in Canada, I returned for my pre-surgery consult, and was finally able to meet my physician of choice, Dr. Robert Ang. Dr. Ang is one of the senior LASIK/Refractive surgeons in Asian Eye and here’s info online on his credentials:

“Dr. Robert Ang specializes in cornea and external eye diseases, refractive surgery, glaucoma, and cataract surgery at the Asian Eye Institute, Makati City, Philippines. Dr. Ang is a medical graduate of the University of the Philippines and completed his residency in ophthalmology at the Philippine General Hospital, where he also served as Assistant Chief Resident of the Department of Ophthalmology in his final year. He undertook fellowship training in glaucoma (1998-1999) and in cornea and refractive surgery (2000-2001) at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Ma., USA. Dr. Ang has published numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals and actively engages in ophthalmic research, with a particular focus on laser refractive procedures and premium IOLs. A much sought-after speaker, he has given numerous lectures on his fields of expertise, often sharing the findings of his own research, at various ophthalmology meetings around the world.”* Dr. Ang was also just recently awarded at the latest APACRS Annual Meeting for a recent study he did a paper on as well as an entry on glaucoma research.

*According to the Asia Pacific Association of Refractive and Cataract Surgeons website (http://www.apacrs2017.org/robert-ang/)

After he evaluated my results, Dr. Ang happily exclaimed that my screening tests showed that I was eligible for LASIK! He then took the time to explain every step of the process very well. First he mentioned that because of my age, I should know that my near vision might not be “fixed” 100%. This is because at 40 years old and older, people’s near vision deteriorate naturally. Age is apparently a key factor for this procedure. Besides what I mentioned, LASIK patients should also be ideally above 18 years old, so that the patient’s vision and eyes are already stable and no longer maturing or changing in shape.

Lasik demystified, Asian Eye

Not that it was a concern for me but Dr. Ang also said that expectant moms should not have the procedure done until months after delivery because pregnant women’s eyesight are also usually unstable and can still fluctuate due to hormonal and physical changes.

With all this information, I was ready to entrust my eyes are into Dr. Ang’s able hands.
Lasik demystified, Asian Eye

I proceeded to set the date for surgery the week after.
Lasik demystified, Asian Eye
The very warm and professional receptionists at Asian Eye will give you the best options and schedules for your appointments.

I’ll tell you about my actual LASIK procedure in my next post! Stay tuned!

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If you’re interested in having LASIK surgery or want to learn more before decided, give them a call:

Website: www.asianeyeinstitute.com
Telephone number: (02) 898 2020
Address: 8th to 10th floor, Phinma Bldg., Rockwell, Makati

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asianeyeinstitute/
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/asianeyeinstitute
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/asianeyeinstitute

ASIAN EYE is celebrating their 15th Anniversary and offering this special promo giving LASIK procedures at a 15% discount! Use my code when you inquire!

asian eye LASIK promo

Mechanics:
1. Patients just need to present printed or screenshot copy of this ad.
2. Patients can also call or email Asian Eye Institute (telephone number is above) and give the promo code (say: JaniceXAsianEye15off) to avail of the discount.
3. Patients must undergo LASIK screening prior to the surgery. LASIK Screening is available at Asian Eye Institute Rockwell, TriNoma and Mall of Asia clinics.
4. Patients must call to schedule their screening at their preferred clinic.
5. This offer cannot be combined with any other promotions or discounts.
6. This offer is valid from August 29, 2016 to November 28, 2016. Surgery must be scheduled within the promo period.
7. All LASIK Surgeries will be done at Asian Eye Institute Rockwell clinic only.

Go for it!

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