Last year I blogged about my brother’s experience undergoing the Advanced Surface Ablation surgery at KPJ Tawakal Centre for Sight. A couple of months after he did his surgery I decided to go for an eye checkup myself, to see if I was suitable for lasik as well. I was told I also had the same condition as my brother, THIN CORNEA, and the only viable solution for me was……ASA. I decided to forget about lasik altogether as I was on hormone medication and undergoing IVF.
Many months later, I decided that it was a good time to consider lasik again. I had been off hormone medications for a while and the husband was feeling extremely generous (cue!) so I concluded that it was now or NEVER.
I chose Optimax (instead of KPJ) for several reasons. First, I did my eye test at Optimax in Shah Alam. Secondly, the price offered at Optimax was slightly cheaper than KPJ. Thirdly, I felt that I would like to do a comparison of experience at a different eye centre so I could blog about it! Gigih tak?
As it had been a couple of months since I had my eye tested, I had to repeat some tests again at Optimax TTDI on the day of my scheduled surgery. To my surprise, Dr. Stephen Chung (I extremely recommend!) told me that I am eligible for Femto-lasik or Relex Smile! Could you imagine the relieve? ASA had a longer recovery and the two mentioned above were reportedly much, much faster!
To the husband’s dismay, it also meant additional costs HAHAHA. And we decided Femto (the mid range among the three) was good enough for me. Before I start on my experience, let me do a ‘simple non-eye specialist’ explanation of what I know.
What differs from these three methods is the way of cutting the corneal flap covering the corneas. No idea what the flaps are called exactly. The laser that corrects the vision cannot penetrate the top flap, as such, it has to be removed one way or another.
- ASA: flap is removed via alcohol and after surgery, a protective lense is worn while the flap grows back. Sometimes complications can happen during the regrowth. (Roughly 6K)
- Femto-lasik: A laser is used to create a U-shaped flap that doesn’t entirely remove the flap but just to create an opening. The flap if lifted up while another laser corrects the vision. No protective lense needed, lesser risks and complications during regrowth, faster healing. (Roughly 9K+)
- Relex Smile: A laser is used to create a small cut like a smile and God knows how it’s opened for the other laser to correct the vision. Hardly any complications from regrowth as the cut is too small, relatively faster recovery than Femto. (Roughly 12K+)
I was told that despite whichever method you choose, complications can arise anyways, only risks are different accordingly. Also, it may take up to 3 months for the eyesight to stabilise regardless of method.
Right after they had my tests done and I had a light discussion with Dr Stephen and the optometrist, we had to settle the payment and consent form etc. There is also the 0% instalment payment plan via credit card option, similar to KPJ.
I was brought to a small prep room with comfortable sofas where I was briefed again on the medication, dos and don’t during and after the procedure. After that I was brought to a changing room to change into those hospital baju, got some anaesthetic dropped and eyes marked by the doctor. Doctor briefed again on what we should do during surgery (concentrate on the bloody green light) and it was just waiting after that.
When it was my turn, I was told to lie down on what I assumed to be the FemtoSecond Laser that would create that U-shaped cut on my corneal flap. Despite the anaesthetic drops, I could feel some discomfort: especially when that laser thingy touched my eyeball and the U-shaped cut was done. Probably the anaesthetic was wearing off from all waiting………….. If you could ask for more, PLEASE DO.
It was already uncomfortable when they put a sticker around my eyes to keep the eyelashes out of the way and when that prong was used to keep your eyes open. Subhanallah. I could feel the laser I swear! It wasn’t painful like getting a cut with a knife, it was a pressure and slight feeling of having your eyelashes stuck in your eyes and dragged on your eyeballs or something. I won’t say it’s pain free, there is definitely pain but it’s not scream your lungs out kind of pain.
The thing is, guys, I have very high tolerance to pain. But this pain, I would rather deal with my wisdom tooth pulled out or braces pain ANYTIME. Please let this be my last lasik in life.
The nurse then papah me to the next machine – which I supposed is the Excimer Laser that corrects my power. I could still see rather clearly then but my eyes felt kinda irritated at this point. The next machine did not cause any pain at all. The only discomfort that I felt was, once again, when the doctor pried open my eyes with that thingy to keep it open and when he tried to lift open my flap. It was rather irritating and all you wanted to do is blink but sadly your lids are held open. Bearable, but irritating is all I can say. It took a couple of minutes for the machine to scan your eyes and laser it off (seconds for this part) and you’re done. It took perhaps about 20 mins or so (not including the waiting, testing and changing).
As soon as I left the table my eyes felt extremely irritated and swolen I could hardly open it. The akak (who earlier briefed me on medication) felt so sorry she dropped more anaesthetic drops in my eyes! I was literally crying a river already at this point – but you know what, I could already SEE! Only that my eyes were so damn irritated I hardly want to open it! Doctor did a final check to see if my flaps were in place and I was told I could leave.
Hubby pulak decided he wanted to grab a quick bite in case I decided to sleep in till morning – you are actually advised to go sleep because it would hurt like shit and you really do deserve that rest from all that eye opening (literally) you had to put up with.
At about 15 minutes after I left Optimax, the anaesthetic worn off cilakak betul. I was literally eating my beehoon with my eyes close and in tears. People must have thought someone died or something. With sunglasses on sumore!
I wanted to get home as soon as possible. And sleep. I swallowed two Ponstans given by the clinic and it hardly did anything. Still sakit. It feels like you are wearing torn lenses. For hours. Doctor pre-warned that you have a cut on your eye ball, and just like any cut, it would hurt like shit.
And so it did.
I left KPJ at approximately 4.30pm. It wasn’t until 9pm the same day that the pain vanished. VANISHED. Like no more pain at all. 4.30-8.00pm I was just dying on my bed. I could hardly sleep and probably only doze off an hour before I woke up – at 8pm hungry. I still felt a slight irritation but it had subsided a lot. There was still a slight sensitivity to light so I kept my sunglasses on and lights off in the living room. By then my vision had greatly improved. I could sit on the sofa and watch TV clearly but it was still a little hard to keep the eyes open from all the light. At around 9-ish I decided to go back in the room, play some music and try to relax. I had to drop more antibiotic and artificial tears at about 10pm so I didn’t want to sleep anyway. Just sat there dream and (of course) feeling extremely thankful God (and the husband) gave me this opportunity.
I went to my 1-day-after-surgery checkup this morning and it was all good. Flaps closed perfectly, my power has improved greatly and I was no longer in pain. Dr. Stephen was happy with my progress. I’ve been wearing glasses/lenses for 14 years. Before lasik I was at -3.50 myopia (short sightedness) and 1.50 astigmatism on both eyes and left today with only -0.25. I was told that it would gradually balance and improve in the coming months so I’m really looking forward for my 1 week checkup on the 17th!
That was how my Femto-Lasik went. Despite the horrible pain, it was all worth it when I could see the car numbers and signboards from afar. Waking up not having to look for your glasses half blind. Not having to put on my lenses in the morning. I’m so thankful and grateful Alhamdulillah. I would definitely recommend. KPJ is good, Optimax is good. Both have good track records.
Prior to surgery, you need to lay off lenses for at least a week. If I am not mistaken, KPJ was two weeks. On the day of surgery, have something to eat, wash your hair and don’t wear any makeup or skin product on your face. I got a reminder call the day before and the nice lady told me about the dos and don’t prior to surgery.
After surgery, you must use the antibiotic drops and artificial tears diligently as it could determine your recovery goes well or not. So be very serious about this. For Femto (1 week) and ASA, you would need to sleep with the eye shields as there is a larger cut/removal done and that needs to heal. For Relex Smile, it heals relatively faster and no eye shields are needed. You would also need to avoid the sauna, steam room, swimming and contact sports for a month. I was told for Femto & Relex Smile, running and other light sports are fine but try to avoid sweat from entering the eyes. I concluded that I should at least give myself a week – Why? Because that’s how long I have to use the antibiotic drops and eye shield to sleep. It could mean my flap would take a week to heal properly. Whatever it is, prevention is better than cure.
This is all that I can remember to share with you. After my 1-week and 1-month checkup, I will add more information to this posts so do come back and check it out again soon, kays!
UPDATES (22 Nov 2018)
Hi guys! I totally forgot about editing this blog post until a couple of people started leaving comments haha!
First of all, after my 1-week and 1-month checkup, my vision was at 0.00 and for the next couple of months till my 6th month checkup, the astigmatism reading on one eye played around 0.00 to 0.25 back and forth for a bit – which was relatively low and I was told, a normal occurrence for any human being. Unless it starts going up high like 0.50 and the next time it jumps to 1.00 then it’s something to check.
I cleared my 6th month (after that you are ‘discharged’) with perfect vision 0.00 and no astigmatism. I now only need to get my eye checked yearly and the ‘guarantee/warranty’ is valid for as long as my eyes are healthy. Please also take note that to be discharged and given the lifetime guarantee (where you can get another session for free if you are unhappy with your results) you have to past the 6th month checkup with flying colours. ie: No dry eyes, no infection etc as of that day, corneas are good to go etc.
The most common question I get is “Do I still have dry eyes?”. No I don’t any longer. I did at first but now I don’t. Rarely, I get dry eyes in the morning when I wake up, but otherwise no. I would say I had dry eyes the first three months and after that it was relatively rare. Then again, I did not have this issue prior to lasik. I had a stye infection a few months back and I went to another eye specialist as I was in Kuching. He told me it was because my eyes were quite dry. Hence, I made sure I used the artificial tears for some time. I also take high dose fish oil as that is superb for your eyes and it reduces dry eyes!! I highly recommend you keep taking fish oil and using the drops for as long as your eyes feel dry and slowly just maintain by using it before bed and first thing in the morning. It doesn’t hurt anyways to be carrying around a small tube of artificial tears!
UPDATES (16 July 2019)
Just went in today for my annual eye checkup! It cost RM100 and I went through the same eye tests you would if you’re going in for the first time to see if you are suitable for lasik – INCLUDING dilating your pupils but minus the machine that checks the cornea thickness.
Eyes were good, not dry, no visible injury etc and my vision remains 20/20 and slight 0.25 astigmatism on my right eye. Still the same eye too!
I had a stye sometime last year and I was told if you have any eye issues after lasik, go right away to an eye specialist! I was in Kuching at that time and had the whole eye checkup done just to be sure LOL I panicked quite a bit. The optometrist at Optimax will ask if you’ve had any issues since lasik so be sure to point it out!
Left the clinic half blind from being dilated and was told to keep using artificial tears when needed (opps) and sunnies whenever exposed to the sun (double opps).
Ok done! Till next year!
Hope all these info help!
There are several branches of Optimax eye specialist. I did my initial checkup at KPJ Shah Alam, where my (ex) sister in law and brother in law also did their check-ups and lasik. If I am not mistaken, all surgeries are done at TTDI. I know at least 3 other persons who did their lasik at KPJ. I trust these two places immensely.
If you need to ask me anymore questions, leave comments below or, or leave me a DM/comment on Instagram @leemishael. Till then, here’s to better vision!
Optimax TTDI (HQ)
- Unit 2-2-1, Bangunan AHP,
Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 3,
Taman Tun Dr. Ismail,
60000 Kuala Lumpur.
- Tel: +603-7722 3177
- 9.00am – 6.00pm – Tuesday to Saturday and alternate Sunday
Optimax Shah Alam
- 50G & 52G, Blok 3, Jalan Pahat G15/G,Dataran Otomobil, Seksyen 15,40200 Shah Alam, Selangor.
- Tel: +603-5510 2535
- 9.00am – 6.00pm – Tuesday to Saturday and alternate Sunday