Tuesday, October 13, 2015

All you need to know about Epi-Lasik | Journey to Reborn Eyes

// Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. 

Welcome to a whole new world, reborn eyes! Having been under the bondage of terrible eyesight, many years of spectacles and contact lenses, I took a leap of faith and went ahead with Epi-Lasik at Clear Vision Singapore. While researching on lasik, and specifically Epi-lasik before the surgery, I find it difficult to collate sufficient information and details on the procedures. Also, many have been asking me about the process and the results, so this post shall serve as a log to capture all the details, as well as a documentation to such a memorable and nerve-wrecking decision. 

Context and my eyes-history

My love-hate relationship with my (uncountable) pair(s) of glasses began way back in K2 when I was 6 years old. Not sure if it was heredity, but eye power for each eye shot up around 100+ at the end of every year. It was only in Secondary 3 when I started to wear contact lenses as spectacles was getting really heavy (and tiring) for me and also in a hope to stabilise the powers. Well, it did kind of worked, but contact lenses do bring about a huge pile of problems as well (dry eyes, eye contamination, hassle to wash the lenses, lenses tearing in the eye). Therefore, I had decided to plunge into lasik. 

Right Eye: 1050 // Left Eye: 1100

Pre-Evaluation tests and consultation

However, not everyone is suitable for lasik due to various reasons such as cornea thickness, high powers, and other eye conditions. An evaluation test and consultation before you make the decision is necessary and compulsory. 

Be prepared not to wear contact lenses at least 2 -3 days before the test for more accurate evaluation of your eye condition. The evaluation test consists of quite a number of exercises on different machines to test your eye power, eye strength, focus ability and many other things.  You are required to keep staring at spirals and focusing on them without blinking. 

My corneas' thickness are 557 (left) and 553 (right) and the average thickness is around 550 so I was considered lucky, considering my high eye power. Rumour has it that the higher your eye power, the thinner your cornea thickness. However, not to worry as epi-lasik is especially suited for people with higher powers or thinner corneas. 

After the tests at the Clear Vision Eye Clinic, my eyes were numbed by some eye drops to dilate my pupils and I had to make my way down to Mount Elizabeth Eye Care Clinic (Dr Ho's main clinic) for a consultation with him. Due to the numbness, your eyesight should be a little blur for a few hours. 

Did a last eye screen with Dr Ho and he assured me that my eyes are healthy and clean and despite the high power, he could correct them to 6/6 (perfect eyesight) ideally.

Right Eye: 975 // Left Eye: 1100, Astigmatism: 50 

Surgery Day

It was rather a nerve-wrecking experience as it started off with me reading and signing contracts that states all the possible consequences, risks and complications that could possibly happen, and that I am in full responsible if complications do happen. Even though I was confident in Dr Ho's experience, no surgery is risk-free and that fact is enough to shake your little faith. However, managed to get my composure back, made payment, and was taught on how to care for my eyes, the amount of eye-drops to apply and was briefed on the surgery procedures. Headed out for a quick lunch before coming back for the real deal. 

And the time came for me to enter the room. I was the third patient that day, out of the four who were doing epi-lasik that day too.

Surgery Outfit: Surgery gown, paper shoes, hair net, face mask, eye-patch and lots of numbing eye-drops. 

I was seated outside the room waiting for the previous patient to be done with her surgery and I could here the so-called "sawing" sound. Immediately, my mind went blank and I said in a trembling voice, "That's sounds pretty scary!" "Don't worry, it is just the noise, you won't feel a thing". The next minute or so, the girl came out and it was my turn. 

The nurse led me in and ushered me to lie on the bed, while they posed for a photo. 


1. "Okay, we need something to get your lashes out of the way" and a clamp apparatus was used to force open my eyelids so that I couldn't blink during the surgery. You will still feel like blinking, as the blinking motion will still be there, but you won't be actually blinking. But I would advise you to focus and just try not to blink as the blinking motions might delay the time needed for the lasering. 

2. Some machine lowered and the lights in the room was dimmed and all I could see is the green light. 

3. I was told to focus and stare at the green laser light. Since my power was higher, I couldn't really see a definite light but a green round ball, so I was told to just stare right into the centre of the ball of light and I will be fine. You would hear some "sawing" sound, just like those you hear coming out from the tattoo shops, but they were muffled as Dr Ho was holding on to my head tight and covering my ears. I didn't smell the burning smell that many mentioned though. Probably I was too nervous to smell that. 

4. It took around 15-20 seconds for each eye and during the lasering, the green ball would slowly become all fuzzy and spiky but just keep trying to focus in the centre. 

5. Finally, my right eye was done! My eyeball was literally "wiped" (but didn't felt a thing) and around 2-3 syringes of liquid was flushed down my eye to cool the eyeball.

6. A bandage lens was placed on top of the eyeball to protect the open wound. It is something like a contact lens. 

7. The same process goes for the left eye. 

8. OVER. They sat me up, told me that it was very successful and took a victory photo with me. 

9. At this point in time, I could see maybe 70-80% of the things around me but all were fuzzy. 

10. Was guided to a room where I rested my eyes and the nurses came in at different timings to apply eye drops for me. After four sets of eye-drops, I was good to head home, in my very-protected-sunglasses. 

Tip: Always bring someone along with you to calm you down, and to fetch you back after the surgery. Put your surgeries in the morning if possible, as it might take quite long to go through the briefings and administrative stuff. 

Recovery Log 

Day 1: Headed back to bed right after I got home from the surgery. 

Day 2-4: Woke up with about 80% eyesight and I couldn't see anything on my phone and could only sleep, listen to music and space out. 

Day 3: Went back to the clinic for a check-up and all was going fine, just needed to keep putting the eye-drops and rest. 

Day 5: Eyesight got a little better and was around 85-90%. Could watch a little TV and dramas on the laptop (with my sunglasses) as the screen is too bright for me.

Day 6: Headed back to the clinic for check-up and to remove the bandage lens. Eye power for each eye is around 100+. 

Day 7: Eyesight deteriorated a little, and went to around 80%. Couldn't figure out much words, even when they are close to me. 

Day 8-10: Eyesight got a little better, around 90% when seeing figures and things, but objects weren't sharp and words are still a huge problem. As of such, I had to extend my MC for another week. 

Day 11-14: Eyesight slowly got better and got to around 92% clear. Words are slowly clearer. 

Day 15-16: Back at work and had to enlarge all the fonts on my computer and had to enlarge all the screens so as not to squint and tire my eyes too much. 

Day 16 which is also today, as I'm typing this post, I could type normally with an arm's length away from the screen which is good, as previously, I have been inching forward to try to read the words. 

And this is the amount of eye-drops that I had to use religiously everyday, every 4 and 3 hourly. Your eyes will be rather dry after the surgery and that is normal, so the eye drops are actually heaven to your eyes as they lubricates and comforts them! 

If you are wondering, epi-lasik takes a little longer to "recover" the eyesight than lasik. The normal lasik procedures requires a flap-cutting, lasering and placing back the flap, so you could almost see normally on the second or third day. However, for epi-lasik, no cutting is required, the surface level is rubbed off and lasering happens. Thus, a longer time is needed for the "wound" to recover and for your eyesight to regain. The reason why I headed for epi-lasik over lasik is because the time needed for each eye is only around 20 seconds, whereas lasik would take around 15-30 minutes per eye. Epi-lasik would result in lesser complications too and less dryness in the eye. 

Full eyesight would take up to 3-6 months to recover fully and I had to avoid sunlight for at least 2 months, meaning to say the sunglasses have to be on whenever outdoor. 

The entire cost for the procedures is: $3625.20 and it consists of the evaluation tests fee ($91.60), the UV-protected sunglasses, first set of eye-drops and medicine, and the first month's checkup. You could get $120 off the bill if you quote some bloggers' names, like Jemimah and Andrea. If you have high powers like me, you could request to claim medisave, and claim up to $1000 per eye. 

And with that, I end my post on my journey to reborn eyes! Feel free to contact me if you want more details on my experience. Hoped that this post has prepared you more or less for the real deal. Definitely have to take a leap of faith to do this, but as many who have done it told you, "you will never regret doing it". 

Waiting for the day when I wake up to full HD before me, 

6 Nutmeg Road, Nutmeg Court (Behind Lucky Plaza)
Singapore (228337)

Love, Quans


Anonymous said...

Hi Quans

I prayed you would see this post. May I know how old are you when you did this laser? I have the same degree as you. Also, how are your eyes so far?

I am very excited when you said you can claim medisave. I thought we can only claim if the difference of both eyes are 300 degree and above.


Anonymous said...

By the way, do you have floaters before LASIK?


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