I Can See Clearly Now!

Twenty four hours ago I achieved a lifetime ambition.

I had surgery which would mean I could throw away the glasses I had worn for 25 years. Since I had been a teenager and known about the procedure, I was determined I would have it.

Saying goodbye
When I was twenty one I received some money from my Nana and had planned on using it for the surgery. At that time however I needed the money for other more crucial costs (things like food, electricity, you know, the essentials) so my dream had to go on hold. When I was twenty five Mr H gave me a cheque for Christmas with 'laser eye surgery' written on the payee section. I remember I cried when he gave it to me, I was so overwhelmed at the thought of finally having the surgery. Yet once again for one reason or another the surgery never happened. Maybe I wasn't really ready for it. Two years ago I actually decided the time had come, had a consultation and went in for the surgery, only to be told as I had a cold it wasn't possible. Two weeks later I feel pregnant with Baby J.

So, as you can tell, yesterday has been a long time coming. And a long time of waiting and apprehension, so nervous didn't cut it. My in-laws looked after the children whilst my mum drove me to Optical Express in the Trafford Centre where my surgery was to take place. I didn't really say much that morning, I tend to go a bit into myself when I'm nervous, so had been quiet at home. In the waiting room, we sat for a short time and a very friendly member of staff made mum and I a hot drink whilst 'Homes Under the Hammer' played on the TV on the wall. After about ten minutes I was taken for my pre-consultation and I have to make a particular mention to the very lovely Stephen, who performed my tests and really helped put me at ease. He told me he'd had he surgery himself four years previously and recommended it so highly he'd referred several family members for the treatment. After another short wait I was then seen by an optometrist to tell me everything was fine to go ahead with the surgery and I returned to the waiting room for the final stage.

Another member of staff came for me and took me into a large room where there were several large machines and a bed in the middle. Again the staff were lovely and I was asked to lay on the bed, provided with a fetching hairnet and then a kindly nurse put the anaesthetic drops in my eyes whilst softly telling me what would happen during the surgery. I then met my surgeon, Mr Faqir Qazi, who although wasn't the chattiest of people, was friendly and straight to the point - let's do this!

Christmas mornings in glasses a thing of the past?
I laid on the bed and it all began. Once the numbing drops had taken effect, clamps were put in each eye to keep them open. The nurse told me that although I wasn't able to blink the brain tells you that you are doing, so you don't feel like you can't close your eyelids. This reassured me quite a lot that I wouldn't be staring, eyes wide, unable to shut them. Next the surgery began. The bed was moved under one machine that would cut the flap. It literally took less than twenty seconds per eye, and I counted down with them as the machine did its job. It put quite significant pressure on my eye and this was probably the worst part, but it didn't hurt. It just felt uncomfortable. After the cutting the bed was then moved to another side under the laser machine. The machine makes quite loud beeping sounds as the laser does its thing and you smell something similar to burning hair, but I was reassured this wasn't my eye burning, just gasses the machine produces! It took about thirty seconds per eye (I was counting down) and all you do is stare at a light in the centre of the machine. I was very conscious of not moving my eye so focused with all my might on this light. Once each eye was done the flap was put back down and more drops put into my eyes, and that was it. Done. In less than fifteen minutes 25 years of bad eyesight had been corrected.

After the surgery I was taken into another room where I was given all the aftercare advice, the drops I needed to put in regularly and a lovely pair of goggles which I had to wear in bed so as not to catch my eyes. It took about another fifteen minutes for the anaesthetic to wear off and then I could feel the scratching in my eyes quite a lot, so mum drove me straight home. They were very light sensitive and sunglasses were a must, I literally just shut my eyes in the car and only opened them to walk into the house, have a quick sandwich and then I went to bed. The best way I described the feeling afterwards was that it was like I had been staring at the sun too long. My eyes stung, were watery and it made my nose all peppery. They were very light sensitive and for the rest of the day we had to keep the lights off in the house.

Immediately after and four hours post-surgery
After I woke up I felt a lot better, although my eyes were dry. I had been advised not to watch TV or read but I was a little naughty and couldn't resist a quick tweet or two! We had the TV but I didn't really watch it, just tried to listen instead. By the end of the night my eyes felt achey so I went back to bed and donned my goggles for the night.

Looking good!
Twenty four hours later and it is just incredible. I don't think it's quite sunk in that I won't need to wear glasses again, or at least not for a few years. I still have what they call halo's - bit of a haze around bright things - but when they tested my vision at the post-operative appointment today they advised it was 'better than 20/20'. Say what?? After wearing milk-bottle lenses for so long it's pretty incredible to me. To wake up on a morning and be able to see without donning my specs is amazing and being able to see the shampoo in the shower will be one of those small things that you just don't think about, but that makes so much difference.

This morning - 24 hours post-surgery
I am over the moon with the result and I can't recommend it enough. And Optical Express were great, the staff were friendly and reassuring, the treatment incredible and so far the aftercare has been great. That's one off my bucket list!
If you would like to ask me anything about the surgery or if you are thinking about having it done do contact me! I am always tweeting @hollybobbs or you can comment here.

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