Following my previous post on why I decided to laser my eyes, now I’m going to blog about my experience at Optimax Eye Specialist, TTDI.
I decided on going with Optimax due to three reasons, (1) friends who have had good experience there (2) good online opinions (3) 100% safety rate.
After making one phone call to find out more about the procedures that they provide, I found reason number (4) – incredibly professional and knowledgeable customer service.
Before going through with the surgery, one must undergo a full eye check-up to determine whether his or her eyes are suited for the procedure.
I scheduled my full eye check-up appointment on the day after coming back from Pulau Weh.
I arrived at Optimax in Bangunan AHP, Taman Tun Dr Ismail in the morning with a bundle of nerves in my belly. I was worried that I might not be a suitable candidate for Lasik as I neurotically suspected that I might have very thin corneas. Don’t ask.
# – Bangunan AHP.
Optimax occupies a large portion of the building’s ground floor.
There was an eye specialist clinic operated by Dr. Chuah Kay Leong for various eye treatments as well as a dedicated centre for eye examination and Lasik.
# – Optimax.
# – The reception area.
I was introduced to a friendly optometrist who conducted all my tests. First, he gave me eye drops which numbed my eyeballs & dilated my pupils.
As dramatic as that sounded, it was nothing of that sort…my eyeballs didn’t roll uncontrollably.
The eye drops will cause one’s vision to blur temporarily, so please do arrange someone to pick you up after the check-up as you won’t be able to drive.
# – Getting the eye drops.
Next, I was led to a room with several machines. Those 4 or 5 machines checked for things like eyeball size, pupil size, eye health, eye pressure & corneal thickness.
# – I believe this one was to see the size of my pupil. Apparently I have pupils that are above average in size…about 7mm in width each.
Next, my eyesight was checked. It is not much different from the kind of eye check you get at optical shops before buying prescription glasses.
# – Getting my eyesight checked. I have forgotten my eye power (sorry, bad with numbers) but I believe I was about 200 myopic with about 150 astig on both eyes.
All the check-ups took about 1.5 hours. Then it was time for counselling.
During the counselling session, the benefits and risks of every procedure were explained very carefully.
It was during this counselling session that I also I learned about customised Lasik procedures and standard Lasik procedures.
The best analogy to describe the difference between the two is this; custom Lasik is like buying a tailored, bespoke dress while standard Lasik procedure is like walking into a shop and choosing the dress from the shelve that fits you best. And yes, of course there’s price difference.
# – During the counselling session.
I also learned that everyone should take the Comprehensive Eye Examination annually. With the examination, apart from finding out one’s Lasik Suitability; it is also a thorough eye health examination to check on the healthiness of the eyes.
In fact, WHO recommends doing the Comprehensive Eye Examination regularly as a prevention measure against vision impairment and blindness. Nobody really knows if he or she is suffering from serious eye diseases like Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy and Cataract until it’s too late :(
Anyway, at the end of the counseling session, we narrowed down to 2 surgery options to correct my vision; the Custom All Laser Lasik & Custom Epi Lasik.
Since the Custom Epi Lasik has a longer recovery period due to removal of cornea epithelium (requiring time to grow back) and is suited for people who are extremely active in contact sports or have thinner corneas, I opted for the former – Custom All Laser Lasik, as it is the fastest, safest, and most accurate.
At this point, if you still need time to consider about the surgery after the full eye check-up, you could go home already.
However, I chose to get surgery done right away as Optimax is the only centre that can perform treatment on dilated eyes the same day.
Yes, I couldn’t wait to ditch my glasses!
No point going back another day. I want to get it done and over with on the same day.
# – A nurse helped me put my Smurf suit on.
Surprisingly, at that point I was no longer nervous. I think my excitement about having clear vision totally outweighed my fears.
The counselling session really helped a lot too in understanding what I was going to put myself through. My doctor was Dr. Stephen Chung.
A quick googling revealed that he has performed the highest number of Lasik procedures in South East Asia. I was in excellent hands.
# – Dr. Chung explaining to me what he’s going to do and what to expect in the surgery room. I looked freaked out but I wasn’t. That’s how my face is like whenever I’m concentrating.
A nurse gave me a couple more numbing eye drops. Then, I was led into the surgery room.
Sorry, I didn’t have any picture taken so I will try my best to describe my experience inside.
There were two laser machines in the room. They looked kind of like MRI machines, you know with a flat bed and a machine attached to the end.
The first machine is for creating a flap on the cornea. I lied down and positioned my head under the machine.
My one eye was closed and my other eye could see was a ring of light, illustrated as best as I could below:
# – The ring of light.
I was told by Dr. Chung to look straight into the middle of the ring and then he put something down onto my eye, I believe it was some kind of clamp to stop it from moving.
Then I was told to relax my eye. During the session, my vision in that eye became blur and sometimes colourful. I also felt some sensations in the eye but no pain at any point.
Within minutes, it was done. Next, to the other eye. Same experience, blurry colourful vision, some sensations but no pain.
After that, a nurse helped me to get up and walked several steps to the 2nd machine. This was the machine that would repair my eyesight.
I lied down and positioned my head under the machine. One eye was closed and what the other eye could see was this:
# – Green light.
Dr. Chung told me to look into the middle of the patch of green light, which I obediently did until he told me to relax my eyes. Like the previous machine, a sort of clamp was also put on to restrict my eye movement.
During this time, my vision turned quite colourful. Kind of like seeing someone vigorously using the Microsoft Paint spray-paint brush. Again, absolutely no pain, just feelings of having your eye touched, that’s about it.
I was also expecting to smell something like burning flesh but I am happy to inform you that I smelled no such thing. In fact, I didn’t smell anything at all!
It was all done within 15 minutes. Gareth who was waiting for me outside was also surprised at how quick it was.
I walked out of surgery room and already I could see further than before. Only it was like looking out of a speckled window or noisy filter.
I was given a bag filled with antibiotic eyedrop (every 4 hours for a week), eyedrops (every 2 hours for a week), eye shields (to be worn during sleep), painkillers (just in case but I didn’t need it) and after care instructions.
I thanked Dr. Chung, and that’s it. Done.
I got home by 5pm, ate a McDonald’s apple pie, put on the eye shields and then hit the sack.
I woke up at around 3am finding Gareth watching TV in our living room. My eyes felt a little sore but I could make out his features all the way from our kitchen.
Then, we both skipped out of the house and started reading out car number plates all the way down our street. Without my glasses.
I was in disbelief. It felt AMAZING!
Next post will be about my recovery process and how getting Lasik has changed my life :)
Optimax Eye Specialist,
Unit 2-2-1, Bangunan AHP,
Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 3,
Taman Tun Dr. Ismail,
60000 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel : 603-7722 3177 Fax : 603-7726 0207
GPS : N03° 08.466′ E 101° 37.710′