Saturday, May 22, 2010

My IntraLASIK Surgery

We have broken-up.

Dinner_2

No, no, no. Not me and Guna, alright. We have never had any relationship that is more than just friendship-lor haha!

That picture above was taken back in November, 2005, when I had a dinner together with my high-school mates. Throughout that dinner, Guna tried to teach me the correct way of using chopsticks lol! What I crapped actually didn't relate much to this entry. Anyway, from the picture above, I was wearing a pair of glasses, which was my second glasses. Unfortunately, I lost it in the sea during our year-end trip to Redang Island several months later. In all, I have had five glasses.

I started to wear glasses since I was sixteen, which lasted for more than seven-long years. That is almost one-third of my whole life! The breaking-up was actually my relationship with my glasses. May 6, 2010 was the last day I've worn my glasses. It was the day when I went to do my laser eye surgery and bid farewell to my contact lens and prescribed glasses forever.

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The clinic was located at the Yurakucho Itocia Office Tower, just a stone's throw from JR Yurakucho station.

The decision to go for this surgery came from almost nowhere. I had casual conversation with Kai Cung one night, and the next thing I knew was that the two of us decided to go for the laser surgery.

The place was Shinagawa Lasik Centre in Yurakucho, Tokyo. Besides its main clinic in Tokyo, it also has branches in Osaka, Nagaoka and Fukuoka. It is the leading-clinic in Japan which deals with laser surgery, which boast the highest number of visual correction surgeries in the world. Of over half a million of surgeries undergone, the reported number of infectious diseases cases is zero. Besides that, the rate of the visual recovery above 1.0 after the surgery is 99.7%.

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Shinagawa Lasik Clinic.

Okay-lah, I gotta admit the statistics look a little bit fishy. But anyway, with all these statistics, one would surely feel safe to do it here, isn't it? After all, this surgery deals with your eyesight, and anybody would surely want to get the best place to do it.

Before the surgery day, I have actually gone to do a check-up several weeks earlier. During that check-up, they put me through a series of processes which involves measuring my eye-sight, both in bright and dark rooms, the condition of my cornea, whether it is suitable to undergo the laser surgery, and a few other processes as well. Besides that, we were given a briefing in advance what to expect, and how to take care of our eyes after the surgery. They also gave me an envelope which included a pamphlet that detailed on the do's and don'ts before and after the surgery.

The whole thing took me almost three-long hours!

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The waiting area, before patients are called in for check-ups.

I passed all the check-ups without any complications and made an appointment to do the surgery on May 6, 2010. It wasn't just a case of going there on that day and let them laser your eyes, because I was told not to wear contact lenses three days prior to that surgery day, and to use the eye-drop they'd given me earlier, once every three hours a day before the surgery.

During that time, the alarm on my phone wasn't used to wake me up in the morning, instead, I set it to ring every three hours, to remind me that it was time to put on my eye-drop haha! I'm such a forgetful person, that's why.

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Filling-in some forms during our first visit to the clinic.

For a person who cannot stand the sight of blood and operation theater (that explains why I will never become a doctor), it was quite a miracle that I didn't feel really worried on the day of the surgery. Perhaps this surgery doesn't involve any blood splattered around the operating theater, or uses sharp surgical tools that cut through my organs.

Kai Cung has been watching videos on the surgery at Youtube almost every night before our surgery day, but I ignored him every time he asked me to see it haha! I don't know, I just feel that my eyes would feel pain when I watch those videos. Perhaps my tactic of not watching them worked wonders, as I was pretty much a calm and unworried guy when I stepped into the clinic that evening.

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This hall alone explains how huge this clinic is.

Thank God I had Kok Hong to accompany me there, although he left the clinic halfway to catch his flight back to Miyazaki. At least I wasn't alone on the day I did the first and hopefully, the last surgery in my life. That would be such a lonely and sad case-lor haha! After a few final eye check-ups to make sure the data collected a few weeks earlier remains the same, they prepared me for the surgery. I was made to wait for almost an hour in the waiting area, that I dozed off halfway lol!

I will be honest here, I was a little bit nervous when I was waiting for my turn. Several thoughts ran though my mind. Will it be alright? How if something goes wrong? How if suddenly, the doctor feels like farting while he is lasering my eyes? Okay-lah, that sounded a little bit stupid, but the possibility is there, isn't it?

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Another waiting room, this time to see the doctor.

The price of doing the surgery in Malaysia and Japan doesn't differ much, and in fact, it is slightly cheaper to do it in Japan. Given a choice, where would you prefer to do it? The answer is pretty obvious, isn't it? However, I guess Kok Hong summed it up the best way: he said he personally still prefer to do it in Malaysia because he cannot imagine what would happen to our eyes if an earthquake occurs halfway through the surgery. That time, not only my eyes, but my whole body will be lasered haha!

I put on a blue-coloured cap over my head and waited in the waiting room. During the wait, a nurse come over and drip a few types of eye-drops. I don't know why they need so many kinds of eye-drops; perhaps one of them is to make the patient calm down lol! Finally, I was led to the operating theater. From this point onwards, my camera wasn't with me anymore, so I'll try my best to use words to describe what happened.

process

I won't be giving a detailed description about the IntraLASIK surgery (also known as the Intralase method) in this entry, as the information and its comparison with the conventional method, Microkeratone method, which is used during LASIK surgery can be read here.

The first process of the surgical operation was to create the cornea flap using the femtosecond laser. I was asked to lie down on a bed upon entering the room. The doctor then dropped some anaesthetics to numb me eyes. That is why I started to feel a little nervous. But I told myself to calm down, despite the fact that the whole surgery was done while I was conscious at all times.

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The IntraLase laser machine, which was used in the operating theater.

After everything was ready, the doctor moved the IntraLase laser machine over my head. He then used a steel scissor-like tool to fix my eyelids open and to make sure I didn't blink. Later, a plastic transparent suction ring was placed on my eyes, which made me I felt some light pressure acting on my eyes, and my vision blurred out.

It was a little uncomfortable at first to have an foreign object touching my eyeball. An appallation lens was then docked into the suction ring and I felt more pressure on my eyes. He asked me to focus on a ring of white light, and I shouldn't move my eyeballs under any circumstances. The sight was as if I was in a spaceship flying through the universe, seeing twinkling stars from every corner haha!

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Just a photo to give you a better idea how the process was done.

The whole process took about twenty seconds. I could hear the nurses doing the count-down of fifteen, ten, and five seconds, until it was finally done. The doctor then did the same thing on my other eye. When it was finished, my vision became quite blurry because there were thousands of gas bubbles that joined together to create the flap.

After the first step, I was moved to an adjacent operating theater for the second step, which is to re-shape my cornea. The procedure was similar to the first one - extremely fast and painless. This time however, there were more staffs inside the operating theater - about eight of them, including the doctor. Another difference is that instead of focusing on the white circles, I was asked to look at a green light in the centre. The process took just a few seconds.

Kai Cung told me that when he went through the second step, he smelt something burning. As far as I could remember, I didn't smell anything. Perhaps I was too distracted at the exciting sights of the universe during the surgery, because there were not only white lights but also red, blue, and green lights as well haha!

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Some of the souvenirs I got to bring back lol!

In total, the whole surgery took me about ten minutes for both eyes. I were later transferred into a dimmed room to relax and allow my eyes condition to stabilise for about thirty minutes. After that, a simple eye check-up was done, and we were given a set of eye drops and a pair of weird-looking transparent sunglasses to be used for the next few days. That was not the end, because there was a series of follow-up eye check-up after one day, one week, and three months from the day of the surgery, which are all free-of-charge.

It surely gotta be free after I paid such a huge amount of money, ain't it?

My vision right after the surgery was blurry. Imagine yourself wearing a fogged-up glasses when you exited from an air-conditioned room into the hot weather outside. It was something like that. I could just see, but just the vague shape of things. But of course, I managed to differentiate the two shapes properly when I went into the toilet haha! Fortunately, I managed to navigate myself back home on my own and I went to sleep straight away that night.

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We were given this protective sunglasses to be worn for one week after the surgery. 
I know it looks really ugly but when my classmate asked me if I had just gone for a new pair of glasses, I just nodded to him haha!

The next morning, I woke up and guess what? I could see my room so clearly, without the need for glasses or contact lenses. In fact, my vision was much clearer than how it used to be.

During the first few days, there was the usual dryness on my eyes. I had to refrain from showering on the first two days to avoid water from entering my both eyes, which were still in the process of recovering. However, things are getting better and the red spot on my eyes is beginning to disappear now. The two periodic check-ups that I have gone to reassured me that I am recovering fine.

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Celebrating Bao Cong's birthday at his place.

It has been more than a fortnight since my IntraLASIK surgery. Life is so much easier without glasses or contact lenses. Unlike last time, I would have to spend some time to put on my contact lenses just before I go out, or to worry about carrying long a bottle of solution whenever I go traveling. I can also now do sports without glasses or contact lenses.

Malaysia might not be able to achieve its vision of Wawasan 2020 by the year 2020, but I can proudly say that I have achived my own version of Vision 20/20 haha!

27 comments:

Tempus said...

omg some how you just did what i had in mind years ago!!! I was also planning to get a laser in japan if I'm ever going there, so this post actually persuaded me even more to do so!!!

how much did you spent on doing this minor surgery?

well...even if im not going to japan next year, im still going to get a laser by next year anyway... must be fun right walking around without glasses anymore? Can now join basketball games without the fear of the ball smacking into ur face, cum breaking your glasses~~

kae vin said...

is it expensive to do this surgery in Japan?

k0k s3n w4i said...

having refractive errors must a real hassle - not to mention an expensive problem to keep up with. i was just shopping with phoebs the other day and i found out for the first time just how expensive eyewear can be.

congrats on ur surgery, mate.

p.s. sure am glad i have almost perfect vision still :P

Eric Sng said...

The toilet so WHITE AND CLEAN! XD

calvin said...

@ tempus:
to be honest, i sometimes can't believe that i have done it as well. i used to think that eye laser surgery might bring long term bad side-effects but i guess from e feedbacks i have read, it is something which we can consider doing it :)

the surgery cost under 100k yen.

this kind of surgery can be done locally as well, although the choices might be more limited. and yes, it is so much easier now without having to think about putting on contact lenses or wearing my glasses =)

calvin said...

@ kae vin:
believe it or not, it is so much cheaper to do it in japan. perhaps there are not many places that offer this kind of surgery back in malaysia or singapore, which explains why they are more expensive to do it back home.

calvin said...

@ k0k s3n w4i:
yes, eyewears can cost quite a lot, especially if you need special lenses. besides, going for this surgery would probably gives you a perfect vision for the rest of your life, so i guess it is not a bad decision to consider :)

thanks and i was quite surprised to hear that you gotta perfect vision still xD

calvin said...

@ eric sng:
haha! this entry is about my intralasik surgery, and of so many things, you commented about the clean toilet lol! but yeah, it is common to see toilet in such condition in japan :)

i know it is totally the opposite back home @.@

sakura said...

wow, u actually did the laser thingy... that's brave. i couldn't imagine doing it, although i really i want to(provided if i have enuf money n courage :p)wearing specs n contacts r big hassle. specs, somehow makes me feel confined. my eyes r sensitive, so previously d eye specialist i went to advised me to not wear contacts for 1yr+, but if on certain occasions, then i still wear. how i wish my eyesight can be normal again T.T

any ideas how much d surgery here might cost? if u did urs for <JPY100k, that means in M'sia, ~RM4k?


are there like, any special things u need to pay attention to after d surgery to take care of ur eyes (long term)? i dun read in d dark,watch tv too closely etc n those kind of things, but maybe too much comp :p (but nowadays studies or work oso will involve comps)but my power is quite high. when i was in secondary school, d power +50 for every half yr! it's quite scary.anyway, oh ya. my Q is, i wonder if one recovers their full vision after surgery, is there a possibility that their vision may revert back to their old eyesight? is there like, a warranty or s'thing?

oops, seems like i wrote too long d.. better stop :p

calvin said...

@ sakura:
wow, what a long comment, but never mind, i love it! xD

like i have mentioned, even though you have the courage and cash to do it, it's not necessary that you'll be able to undergo the eye laser surgery, because some people's eyes are not suitable for the surgery. that is why i underwent an eye check-up first a few weeks before the surgery.

i have a friend, whose aunt did it in malaysia and apparently, it cost around rm8k. yes, mine cost about rm3k ++

there's nothing much to be worried during the post-surgery period besides making sure you do not rub your eyes excessively and to apply some eye-drops five times a day to avoid dryness on your eyes. but that is during the first few weeks, to ensure that the eyes will fully recover.

i think i spent too much time in front of the computer during my younger days, which caused me to wear glasses. but now, the power has remained the same for several years.

back to you question, the clinic i went to has a warranty which is valid up to ten years. they will redo the surgery for free for the first time, if there's any problem. but i guess it also depends on what kind of package and clinic you go to.

hope my explanations had answered your questions. feel free to drop any further questions, if you have any :)

Anonymous said...

why that indian want to teach u how to use chopstick!

calvin said...

@ anonymous:
it was merely a candid shot and he wasn't really teaching me how to use chopsticks. i made the caption out by myself xD

Jean grey said...

sien u lor!

Shamanti said...

aiya aunty V tempted to do it lar..but scaredddd. cham liao la.i wanna do it so badly coz i dun like wearing specs.i found a good eye specialist that can do for 2888 for both eyes. i just scared that when the procedure i feel pain and i suddnly blink or sumthing larrrr.....:(

calvin said...

@ jean grey
i'm not sure who and what are you referring to, but if anybody wanted to sien me, then let it be. some parts of my writing are only for humour purposes and i don't expect people to take it seriously :)

calvin said...

@ shamanti:
no worries-lah, i was a bit worried whether or not i would blink my eyes during the surgery too. but they use tools that will ensure that doesn't happen.

rm2,888 for both eyes seems to be a good bargain. which clinic is that? perhaps you can ask around, if there's anyone who has done it there, and get their feedbacks?

neil said...

Educating about the LASIK surgery by clearly explaining how the surgery goes on and the consequences of surgery is appreciated and suggestions for enhancing our vision by this method is preferrable.My mom has the problem with her vision but never prefer using glasses or contacts constantly her sight has been increasing so i concluded LASIK is best option to her.I think LASIK surgery best suits her and, i’d like to go for laser eye surgery as suggested. Thanks alot!!!

Shatha S. said...

Hi
My name is Shatha and I had my intralasik 2 weeks ago. Unfortunately, I regained sight in one eye but not the other :-(
To tell you the truth I'm VERY terrified and I don't know what to do!! So I tried searching the net to see if what happened to me is normal or not and I came upon your blog, it made me feel a bit better and I hope that I will gain full vision like you asap. Interesting blog I enjoyed it, thanks for sharing it with us and congratulations on the success of your surgery...

calvin said...

@ shatha s.:
well, the result differs according to individuals. some might regain much better eye-sight compared to others who had undergone the same type of surgery. my friend, who went for the surgery with me for example, now has better eye-sight than me, although we went to do the exact surgery,

i hope you are doing fine by now and good luck! =)

Karina Chiodo said...

I'm so happy for you, Calvin! So how do you feel now that you could see better? I've heard this type of surgery before. In fact, my friend even told me that this procedure will give us more freedom from using eyeglasses and contact lenses, just like you. Congrats! :]

calvin said...

@ karina chiodo:
hi karina. thanks for leaving some kind words here. it is so much convenient for me now, that i do not have to think about putting up contact lenses when i go for outings and doing sports. it was definitely a right choice to do this lasik surgery! =)

MUZANI RAZLAN said...

hi im Muzani,your kosen kohai,
we met 4 years ago at yayasan selangor but i dont think you remember me,
im at muroran now,

so i`m having thought about this lasik thing,i think i gonna do it during this nastu yasumi,i`ve check the shinagawa website, and apparently there are many option (price) offered for different method lasering your eyeball. haha
I think from 7.5~32 man yen,
so is the 7.5 man yen procedures effect is inferior to the more expensive one?

and hows your eyes now?

calvin said...

@ Muzani Razlan:
Hello Muzani. Nice to see you here.

Sorry for my very very late response. As I stated in my blog entry, I chose the cheapest package and I do not think there is any much difference, especially if you are on a strict budget.

It has been more than 1.5 years since I underwent the surgery and everything seems to go well :D

Dexter Scofield said...

hmm, just to ask,
if you have heard of lasikpro?

im curious bout their professionalism.

calvin said...

@ Dexter Scofileld:
Hmmm, unfortunately, no I don't.
Perhaps you can try looking up for them in the Internet? :D

calvin said...

@ Dexter Scofield:
Hmmm, unfortunately, no I don't.
Perhaps you can try looking up for them in the Internet? :D

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