My experience with laser eye surgery
MADELEINE MITTAS, a 24-year-old PR Consultant from Melbourne, recently visited an optometrist for her worsening sight. A quick check in with the specialist detected something amiss, and laser eye surgery was suggested to correct her problem. Below, she recounts her experience with the surgery, from the consultation stage right through to post-operative care.
My eyesight was slowly deteriorating. I could see close distances accurately, but it was becoming harder and harder to see long distances. For example, I couldn’t read a menu board in a café on weekends. This triggered the decision to get my eyes checked by an optometrist to understand what was going on.
I’d never worn glasses or contacts. In fact, I’d never had my eyes properly tested before. I work on computers a lot for my job, and I thought I’d better get this done sooner rather than later so it didn’t become a bigger problem.
The results showed I had congenital cataracts. I didn’t have many options as the cataracts in my eyes were growing bigger. Eventually they would have impacted my eyesight to the point of blindness. I needed laser eye surgery. Getting glasses would have been a temporary option, but I would have still required the surgery at a later stage.
I was covered by my parents’ insurance. This is one reason why I chose to get it done sooner rather than later. I didn’t really hesitate – I knew I had to do it. I waited around a month just to wrap my head around the procedure and process before booking the operation at a day surgery centre near my house.
The consultation was very thorough. However, it felt very quick covering off the different parts of the surgery in the consultation time. The optometrist had a lot of patients to look after and it was a bit like a production line to get through all the people. That said, it gave me comfort knowing lots of others had success with the surgery. I knew I was in safe hands.
The procedure was confronting. I hated being awake. First they put a series of eye drops in my eyes to numb them, and then they performed surgery on one eye at a time. Each eye took about 15 to 20 minutes. I was pretty nervous when the lasers had to make the initial incisions. If I moved around too much, it could cause an error. I just tried to listen carefully to the instructions given and remain calm. I was surprised that I didn’t feel any pain, only a slight discomfort that was over very quickly. It went better than I anticipated – I was more nervous than I should have been.
The aftercare was pretty laborious. I had to put in so many different eye drops after the surgery. I certainly was unaware of how long it would take for my eyes to properly recover and had no idea it was going to be such a setback. People told me it would take two weeks to get back to normal and it definitely took me a while to get used to everything post-surgery.
At first I thought it made my eyesight worse. I was seeing light halos and had difficulty seeing at night for a while. Everyone’s eyes heal differently and people’s brains take different times to adjust, too. Now I can realise the benefits of the surgery. I have much better far distance vision and can see things a lot clearer. It was definitely a worthwhile investment seeing as it has made everything – especially working and looking at my computer screen – a lot easier.
All myOwn combined covers let you claim from 50% to 70% (depending on your level of cover) on optical treatments from any recognised provider up to your annual limit. myOwn health insurance also includes membership for up to two adults (the policy holder and their partner) to AIA Vitality, the personalised, scientifically-backed program that supports you every day and rewards you for making healthier lifestyle choices.