After wanting to do for more than 10 years, but contemplating it more after reading online reviews of Lasik I just couldn’t make up mind for doing Lasik. My sister had done 10 years before and she herself was not comfortable with me doing it because of things one goes through after the surgery. My optometrist in India always told me I was a candidate for Lasik eye surgery, but I was never quite sold on the idea. It is MY EYES. Someone who is into the digital world, her life revolves around computer, photography, high screen time and various other things. What if I was that 1% statistic that loses their vision instead of having my eyes corrected? Why take a risk to change something which was naturally given?
After moving my base to Dubai, my life has changed. I have picked up travel blogging, lifestyle blogging more which requires me to do a fashion shoot, makeup, and experience more activities as well. I really wanted to move out of the glasses and lenses life purely because the expense for the lens every week and the solution I was tired. I needed a permanent solution. So finally started looking for Lasik centers in Dubai since there would be follow-up involved.
How did I choose my Lasik Centre?
Long story short, I went for one consultation in India but then I had to travel to Dubai and was not thinking of going for regular checkup there so decided to do in Dubai. After searching for many clinics in India, I wanted to go to a clinic who doesn’t speak about themselves but their patients would have left a review somewhere. I found Expat Woman community discussion where many of them had mentioned about Atlanta Vision Clinic and how they had a beautiful experience. Choosing the Lasik center is the most important decision in your eye surgery purely because from the first look of the hospital till the follow-ups of the Lasik you need to be absolutely sure, who are giving the rights to handle the most important part of your body.
THESE ARE YOUR EYES! Can’t take hasty decisions.
Preparing for the procedure
The team at Atlanta Vision got on touch with me over email while I sent an email to them that I would like to do Lasik surgery. I was given a free consultation appointment after few days since they were busy to consult my eyes before the surgery. Now I was going to be traveling within 20 days of the surgery and I was again contemplating should I be doing now or later. However, I took the decision of going and seeing the doctors at the clinic. Hanadi, the marketing manager welcomed me to the clinic and made me feel extremely comfortable or rather at home. I was taken to the doctor’s room for consultation and met Dr. Shashikant Shinde. A very well-spoken, simple and warm doctor. The consultation procedure took more than 45 minutes where they check the quality of your eye, tear glands, dryness, etc. After the consultation, I was told I can do Lasik whenever I like. I resumed back to my office that day and started planning when will I do.
But I was so tempted to do before my holiday purely because this trip was coming purely after six years I was planning this trip. So-called Hanadi said can I do this week? She said, ‘Rutavi Dr. Ashraf is in Dubai and then he will be back only in August. Doctor and she both mentioned that you can do the surgery the same day when Dr. Ashraf checks me again.
The Day of Surgery
I had not informed in my office I was going to do this same day, my boss was very cooperative he said ‘If you think you have consulted home and you feel confident, go ahead. We will manage the office’. I called Hanadi and said let’s do the surgery today.
So the prep is easy. I was not wearing contacts for one month so my eyes were ready for surgery. The contacts can change the shape of your cornea, so it mandatory not to wear before the surgery.
The afternoon of the surgery, I was quite nervous because I was going for my life’s first surgery alone as a family is back home. My office team were supportive and dropped me to the hospital since I can’t drive my car. I told them that to pick me after 1 hour as the surgery is only for minutes. When I heard this I was like ‘ WHAT? Are we sure of this?’. Dr. Ashraf was like ‘ Yes. The surgery does not take much time’. However, when I first met Dr. Ashraf I had a sigh of relief. He is the surgeon of my surgery.
My first look at the clinic who I would be trusting blindly to take care of my eyes!
Meet the Hero of my Surgery
Dr. Ashraf is a doctor who not only made comfortable but also told me the reality of the surgery. One of the most experienced Lasik surgeons in Dubai he hails from the United States. He has a record of personally performing more than 40,000 LASIK surgeries in the United States and Dubai. Dr. Ashraf has more than 50 nationalities who he has treated successfully. His surgical experience not only includes the correction of natural refractive errors but also restoring damaged eyesight caused by trauma or previous surgery. After relocating to the Atlanta area, Dr. Ashraf founded the Atlanta Vision Institute and later the Atlanta Vision Clinic in Dubai to offer world-class eye care. His credentials would not fit my story here, but you might want to read about his success story who he treated a patient who lost the eyesight and how he fixed it.
He had a session with me which gave me confidence before the surgery that took more time than the actual surgery. He is a doctor who makes you laugh just like Mr. Bean at the same times tells you that after the surgery you would hate him the most. I was wondering why is he saying this? I was now more scared but then he immediately said after two weeks you will have a big smile on your face and you would rejoice in your decision.
What happens during the procedure?
I think this is the what most of us are curious about- as I was! With so much research on google, it clearly scared me.
So the operation theatre was filled with lights and Dr. Ashraf and Dr. Shashikant and Dr. Avril were already ready with the machine and me. Even after talking to my sisters and friends the most nerve-wracking thing for me was not knowing what to expect so hopefully my experience will help ease your nervousness and curiosity.
They asked to me lay down on the best and gave me a stress ball whose eye pop out. I was like ‘ Right, exactly what I didn’t want to see now’. But that toy really helped to be honest because I almost squeezed him to death if he was real. I was sort of expecting to get some sort of sedative to help me relax and they haven’t given it to me yet. But they didn’t give as it is hard to predict how it is going to affect the patient. One good thing I did is that I did not google the video procedure purely because if I saw it I would have never done it. That looks scarier but the procedure is really not that way. The surgeon placed a device on my eye which helps to keep my eye open during the entire and less movement of my eyeballs. Now, this device left me in the pain than the procedure for more weeks. Best suggestion be cooperative don’t be scared and OPEN YOUR GOD DAMN EYES WIDE ENOUGH.
Well, my surgeon didn’t say that I was telling myself after one week when my eye was hurting purely because of that device. The doctor swivels a machine on top of my right eye, and I stare up at a red dot. I have both eyes open, and the doctor says, “Your right eye is going to go dark,” and suddenly, it does. I did an all-laser LASIK which means the flap would be cut with a laser. This was honestly the most uncomfortable and scary part. I could see a transparent flap being sliced off, where my vision became blurry totally. The whole team started to count down from 10 and then at the end of 10 seconds, the machine is pulled away.
The funniest thing is, during the flap cutting process you are supposed to be staring at the red light. I freaked out when I said ‘ I CAN’T SEE THE RED LIGHT ANYMORE’ and Dr. Ashraf was like ‘ that’s okay. Then they say they’re going to start with my second eye and I was still staring at the red and green light but I also heard this popping sound (the laser) and then I started smelling something that smelled like burning hair. If that bothers you, I’d go in there with this knowledge and just breathe with your mouth.
Now, most of the procedure I don’t remember purely because I was concentrating on relaxing but I assume that they did a similar process for my second eye. I remember screaming purely because my eyes were under pressure of that device and I couldn’t be free. As they are lasering your eye, they count down so you have an idea of how much longer to stare at the red and green light. Both eyes took 20 seconds each. It depends how strong your prescription is so it’ll vary for everyone.
Wollla! Dr. Ashraf says both your eyes are done! They put some drops in the eyes and I am already exiting the room with the help of other doctors.
What happens after the procedure?
I was happy to say that in a few days I would be glasses-free. I love how they have a map of how many nationalities have taken they eye surgery in Atlanta Vision Clinic. Every time they treat a patient they add a flag to the board and now I am a proud member of this board. Dr. Ashraf waved me goodbye and said see you tomorrow. He said once again you would hate me the most the first one week and would love me the most after two weeks. I still didn’t get this why.
Since I couldn’t drive, my colleague came to pick me up and I was happy to go to the office. Now, this is the most difficult part of the surgery. IT’S THE BURNING AND DRYNESS OF THE EYE. For the next week, I had to wear dark sunglasses for two reasons. One because I was sensitive to the light. But two, the dark glasses protect your eyes from inadvertently rubbing your eyes, or poking them with anything. I had actually showered with my sunglasses on as well so I don’t rub my eyes or press them hard.
I was instructed to sleep for the whole day and not see any kind of displays. But I had work and I couldn’t take days off for this. But read below where I have written things to keep in mind. As soon as we were driving home, my eyes started to burn. Not like a painful burn but it felt like I squeezed lemon or onion in both my eyes and my eyes would not stop tearing.
HOLY CRAP! I could see everything! I couldn’t believe. In fact every single minute I would keep looking for my glasses out of habit and I realized I didn’t have them as I threw in the box. They were part of my identity. The rest of the night I just slept in and waited for the next morning for the doctor’s appointment.
1 Day and 1 Week after the surgery.
Dr. Shashikant checked my eyes and to my happiness, I could see all the letters without any glasses. I had a crystal clear vision. It felt like I have slept with lenses on or had my glasses on while reading the letters. My cornea was taking time o heal purely because I wasn’t comfortable with the pressure on my eye. The major concern is the dry eyes after the surgery is what he mentioned. At that point in time, I was certain that I might have to do another surgery for the dryness or the tear gland to keep the moisture intact. He mentioned that excruciating burning is because the flaps are healing after the surgery. Now the prescription plays the most important role here. It is what I needed to remember for at least the first week. The first 4 days required a lot of drops of thee different kinds at different interval and hours. The doctor mentioned that the artificial tear would give me a lot of relief when I experience dryness and yes it did.
It’s still crazy to me to think I got eye surgery. It also hasn’t felt like a week. I’ve stopped using the prescription drops (you stop after five days) and that has been nice. Doing them three times a day was a little much for me 🙂 But I continued the medicine till I started traveling to be on the safer side.
Now if you are thinking about driving then let me tell you after one week I didn’t drive purely because I wanted to be safe. After one week I resumed driving only during daylights and wore sunglasses all the time. It was fine and good but again because of dryness, I kept blinking a lot. Night driving was not tested so blogs where I had read diagonal and stars in the night I wasn’t sure yet of it. One day I took the car and roam around in my area to see my sight at night. It was normal I didn’t see any stars or halos. Then went on the main road to check if the lights and boards affect my eyes, I was happy to see that I had full vision and could read the board. Now I was confident my surgery was successful and I am not GLASSES FREEE.
As I was traveling to mountains, I was happy to see I didn’t have to carry extra bags of lenses and solutions, the best part I couldn’t wear my favorite sunglass brand Guess ever because I had to always wear numbered glasses. The biggest thing I heard from people who’ve had this done previously is that it was life-changing to be able to wake up and immediately see clearly. I didn’t reach out for the glasses from the bedside table. I immediately called Hanadi and told I am so happy that you helped me to make my decision that I can’t thank you guys enough for taking care of me and my crazy shouting during the surgery. I am healing beautifully and I don’t need visual aids for a perfect vision anymore. I embrace my freedom during my travels!
Few important things before and after the surgery as per my experience
- You cannot drive the day surgery is going to be and a few days after that purely because of blurry vision and dryness in your eyes.
- You can eat whatever you want but avoid spicy as it will make your eyes drier.
- You cannot apply makeup on the day of the surgery and minimum of two weeks after the surgery.
- You should not be flying within one month of the surgery because of emergency check-ups.
- REST! REST! REST This should be your motto for the first week purely because the eyes need it. It’s a surgery for god sake.
- Stay away from heat, gym, pool water and sweat. This all will affect the eye big time.
- Remember to enjoy the time when you realize your vision is perfect. Celebrate that moment just that way I did.
- Prescription assigned is the most important give priority to that.
- Family and friends being around will be helpful as many daily things you might not be able to do.