The day of laser eye surgery for myself and millions of others is one of the biggest days of our lives. Leading up to my treatment I was trying to read all the blogs and watch all the YouTube videos to find out what to expect on the day. It is a life-changing procedure after all. In preparation for this blog, I took my notepad and pen with me on the day of laser eye surgery. The surgeon even stated he could definitely tell I was an accountant! I wanted to be able to give you every single detail so you know exactly what to expect including timings as I would have loved to read a blog like this.
Table of Contents
- What you need to know/take with you on the day of Laser Eye Surgery
- 09:10 – 09:35 Check in and Forms
- 09:35 – 09:55 Eye Examinations and Scans
- 09:55 – 10:35 Waiting
- 10-35 – 10:40 Meeting the Surgeon
- 10:40 – 11:10 More Waiting
- 11:10 – 11:25 LASER EYE SURGERY
- 11:25 – 11:30 Aftercare
- 11:30 – 11:35 Book next appointment
Note: If you have read my previous laser posts you will know I had the LASEK iDesign treatment with Optical Express. I have shared details of why I wanted to get laser eye surgery, what you need to know beforehand including why I chose Optical Express. I have also written a blog about my laser eye surgery consultation so if you are early on in your laser eye journey, check it out.
My laser eye surgery was 19th December 2020 at 09:10am. I went to the Optical Express Nottingham Clinic as the Birmingham Corporation Street Clinic was not open at this point.
What you need to know/take with you on the day of Laser Eye Surgery
- You cannot wear any make up, face cream, perfume or deodorant.
- You are advised to wear loose clothing.
- Bring sunglasses and ones that are actually DARK (not Ray-Bans like I did).
- Ensure to take all forms with you from your laser eye surgery consultation – this might only be the case for Optical Express but may still be relevant elsewhere.
- It is best to arrange transport as you definitely will not be able to drive and I would avoid public transport.
- Usually, in non-COVID times you would be able to have someone with you on the day of laser eye surgery. However, I was not allowed so I was alone (violins please).
- Have painkillers to hand. You might not need these straight away as you will have had anaesthetic that lasts around 1 hour anyway but you do not want to be unprepared when they wear off! You are advised to nap straight away to minimise this.
09:10 – 09:35 Check in and Forms
My day of laser eye surgery started much earlier than 09:10 as I had to travel from Birmingham to Nottingham. However, I did arrive just about on time at 09:10 and had to check in. Given my treatment was during COVID-19 I had to have my temperature taken and answer standard questions. Following this, I was then pointed to the waiting area where I was to complete my forms from the laser eye surgery consultation and hand them in.
The forms include an informed consent firm, a terms and conditions document and writing out a confirmation of declaration. Please note a witness declaration is also required. There are pages to read and some of the statements are quite daunting such as “the exclusion of costs of glasses or contacts lenses which you may need after your surgery or any further surgery or other treatment if your vision is not fully corrected as a result of your primary surgery procedure”. Thankfully I did not need this.
09:35 – 09:55 Eye Examinations and Scans
As with the laser eye surgery consultation, there is the requirement to undertake a few scans/examinations. I had to redo the blue light test and hot air balloon but there was no need to redo the puff test – these are not the technical names and further details can be found in the laser eye surgery consultation blog.
An additional scan was needed for the iDesign. This is where one eye at a time you need to look at the middle of a target whilst the machine takes all the calculations it needs. For this scan to work you cannot have big pupils as these apparently get in the way. I did have to redo mine a few times as my pupils were too large. This could be due to lack of light or too much focus. Once complete, the data will be saved to a USB and this will be put into the iDesign technology for laser eye surgery.
09:55 – 10:35 Waiting
You may have noticed in the table of contents that there are a couple of waiting slots and they are not short either. If you are on your own this can definitely be quite boring so it is worth having something to keep you occupied. There was somebody ahead of me to have their surgery so I believe I had to wait for them to go through first. After this, I could then finally meet my surgeon.
10-35 – 10:40 Meeting the Surgeon
The surgeon called me in and he was very welcoming. This was a very quick meeting where the surgeon took a look at my eye scans and thankfully all was fine. It is actually possible for the surgeon to turn you down on the day so it is important to be prepared for this. When mentioning my eye scarring from childhood the surgeon quickly looked at my eyes himself.
Additionally, the surgeon is able to confirm which type of laser eye surgery you will be having (LASIK/LASEK). In all honesty, as someone who has been through LASEK also known as the slower healer, I do wish I asked if I could have had LASIK. Due to my eye scarring LASEK was said to be most appropriate but I do not think I even asked the question for LASIK. I instead had to go through what felt like torture during my laser eye surgery recovery. I will definitely be blogging about this so join the journey!
After talking me through the 10-15 minute procedure quickly, informing me of what happens to the eyes the day of laser eye surgery I was asked if I had any questions. By this stage I was all questioned out and I did not really have much more to ask. It was then back to the waiting room before my life-changing surgery. The day of laser eye surgery was finally here.
10:40 – 11:10 More Waiting
By this point I really was quite bored. I even went to the bathroom to kill time (too much information I know). After about half an hour I was finally called in!!!
11:10 – 11:25 LASER EYE SURGERY
The whole procedure was max 15 minutes. Upon entrance to the theatre room I put my belongings down and I was greeted by the team and the surgeon entered shortly after. I was asked for my full name, date of birth, for any allergies and if I had any back conditions. This is because for the surgery you need to lie down. I also had to tie my hair back in a low ponytail and a hairnet and bandages were put on to keep the area clear.
Following getting ready, I had to lie down and position myself so my eye was in the correct place. This involved few attempts to reposition myself and move up the chair. One eye is corrected at a time with a bandage over the other. For the eye under treatment it is literally clipped wide open. It honestly is quite uncomfortable especially because the natural instinct is to try to blink. It looks something like the image below.
The surgeon gets to work and the surgery genuinely happens so fast. To start, there are about 10 anaesthetic drops put into your eye. So much is put in that it will run into your hair. During the treatment I was told to look up and focus on this orange blinking light/dot the whole time.
Remember, I had the LASEK treatment so this involves gently moving the outer protective layer of the eye using a diluted alcohol solution. It felt like my eye was swimming in drops. I could see or somehow feel this metal looped type stick moving the layer over. However, this was quite painless.
The surgeon then informed me that the laser machine was about to come on. I was already told it would smell and be fairly noisy. The smell was similar to a laser hair removal burning type machine smell but was not bad. Then the noise I kid you not, you hear the big motor starting up and then during the procedure it sounded like a big machine gun being set off. The orange dot genuinely felt like it was shooting orange laser beams into your eyes in different places for roughly 30 seconds.
After the laser is complete, the surgeon then puts more drops into the eye. I can’t remember if the next bit happened before the laser too but it did happen after. You are still conscious and can see the surgeon moving parts of your eye. It’s honestly so weird because one minute your eyesight is blurry, the next it feels like you can see clearly and then at one point it was as if my eyesight went completely black and the horror story of going blind came to mind. This did not last long though and it did thankfully come back.
On a few occasions my eyes did roll back and the surgeon would tell me to snap back. I must have just zoned out. It did somehow happen subconsciously as I was trying to focus on the orange dot. The last part of the LASEK procedure is putting a contact lens bandage on the eye. This is due to the cornea layer being peeled off so the bandage helps it heal over.
After the right eye was complete the same process was repeated for the left eye. What was nice is that the surgeon talked me through the process throughout the whole treatment. I did feel at ease and the surgery was definitely painless.
Once complete, I was asked how I got on and how I found it. Immediately after surgery I already saw an improvement in my eyesight but it was not 20/20. I then put my sunglasses on and tried to minimise looking around too much as I did not want to strain my eyes.
11:25 – 11:30 Aftercare
Immediately after the surgery, I was taken into another room with the nurse to discuss aftercare. Like i said, it’s very important to go to a company which provides a good aftercare plan. Here I was handed all my drops, my eye mask and instructions of how to go about my recovery. Included in the drops were some emergency drops you are told to avoid and only use if the pain got extremely bad (scary).
I will provide all these details in my next laser eye surgery blog all around recovery. Additionally, I was told a few surprising dos and don’ts (recovery guidelines) that I was not previously aware of. I will again be writing another blog about this. Join the journey so you get all this information!
11:30 – 11:35 Book next appointment
The last part of the day of laser eye surgery was to book my next appointment for a few days later. This is necessary for LASEK to remove the contact lens bandages. I was then free to go!
Disclaimer: I did not actually get a confirmation for this appointment and I realised shortly after that this booking did not go through. I had to call up and arrange my appointment to ensure this went ahead. This is definitely the biggest downside I have experienced with Optical Express as this was not the last issue with appointment bookings.
Besides this, I am very pleased with how the treatment went and my overall experience with Optical Express. I hope you found this post helpful and it would be great to hear your thoughts!