Caché Magazine Laser Eye Surgery Article


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Mary Harboe counts down the weeks, days and hours before her life-changing laser eye surgery at the London Vision Clinic.

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Caché Magazine Laser Eye Surgery Article

  1. 1. +CachéYou YouCaché+ Look Into My Eyes extensive wardrobe of reading glasses, that I don’t have quite as many cells at Also forbidden on operation day are which have suddenly been elevated to the back of my cornea as optimum; that hairspray, perfume, deodorant and, rather attractive fashion accessories, with the the front of the cornea (the flap that is surprisingly, wool as, apparently, loose added advantage of covering wrinkles! I due to be lifted in surgery) has one corner fibres can shed miniscule amounts of lint. confess to having around a dozen pairs which is not as secure as it should be; In terms of after-care, I will be sleeping in all colours and combinations: black and that my right eye – diagnosed as in eye shields for a week; the eye drop and white, grey, beige, brown, flowered, ‘lazy’ in childhood, has still not pulled its sequence is explained in minute detail. various tartans, pink, blue, black and red, socks up. olive green and, my current favourites, a I am disappointed to learn that the three kind of luminous lime. Let it be noted that All of these findings have fine medical pill cocktail – anti-inflammatory, pain relief I have embraced presbyopia with bright names and are not particularly rare or and anti-nausea – does not include a and colourful enthusiasm! Meanwhile, braver friends have treated me as a guinea pig, requesting step-by- step progress with comments such as, “If it all works out, I’ll have it done too.” For my part, all this negativity has left a mark and I find myself wondering whether I should abort the project. Is the risk – however miniscule – of damaging my eyesight in the pursuit of vanity and convenience, too great? And then I imagine what a glasses- free life would be like and it beckons blissfully on the horizon. To be able to carry out all those everyday chores without a pair of specs either on my nose, head or perched in my cleavage would be fantastic. To be able to just look at something without first searching exclusive. I learn that, although I am a tranquiliser. I was hoping for something for the glasses… wouldn’t that be just candidate for surgery, a choice needs to calm my nerves. wonderful!. to be made. Dr Dan explains the two different laser techniques and after Dr Dan carries out some more checks One week before careful consideration I go for the LASIK. Although I am assured that the end result before prescribing chocolate for its feel-good properties and yes, it really’s Mary Harboe counts down falsely assumed that reading glasses just The serious countdown has begun and will be the same, the ‘healing’ time might is just what the doctor ordered! After a went with the territory of being a “certain my biggest preoccupation is the actual vary – anything between three hours yummy chocolate treat and a wonderfully the months, weeks, days and hours to age”. I was not alone and questions from procedure – assuming that the check-up and three weeks before my eyes reach soothing, head and shoulder massage, I listeners came thick and fast. makes me a suitable candidate. optimum results. I might need to stay am ready for anything… her life-changing laser eye surgery in the a few extra days in London. All will be Fortunately, Dr Dan is also gifted in the Whenever faced with frightening revealed tomorrow… Surgery safe hands of Professor Reinstein at the art of making complicated explanations or painful situations – dentists, . understandable to us lay people. Put gynaecological examinations, etc – I The night before As promised it is not as awful as one London Vision Clinic simply, his procedure involves lifting the put into practise my yoga meditation might imagine. Although obviously not cornea, reshaping the lens underneath techniques: deep breaths and Of course, I don’t sleep. Who would after pleasant, I suppose it could be described and then replacing the cornea. Within visualisation (I usually go for a deserted reading pages and pages of medical as uncomfortable rather than painful. minutes, this results in the appropriately beach, gentle waves and swaying palm consent forms outlining every possible Dr Dan describes every moment of Two months before your watch are mysteriously blurred or you find yourself saying to your dinner named ‘Wow Factor’: the patient can read without glasses, happy in the trees) but to reach nirvana I need to CLOSE MY EYES. Obviously not possible worst-case scenario? Each page must be initialled. Dr Dan says that it is the the procedure – the colours I will see, the sensations I will feel – his voice Is there such a thing as coincidence? companion, “you choose” because you knowledge that they’ll never again try if they are pinned open. How will I react? ‘bullet-proof’ option; after all, in the is comfortingly reassuring. Sitting up I am not sure, but it certainly seemed are too vain to admit to needing specs to and shampoo their hair with conditioner wrong hands, even a routine plane afterwards – despite the blurring effects rather odd that within the space of 24 hours I had heard a new word see the menu. (surely I am not the only one who has had a bad hair day like that?). I definitely want One day before flight can be an extremely dangerous experience. I am relieved to know that of the anaesthetic – I can read. I can read, but I am not allowed to… at least – ‘presbyopia’ – mentioned in two I also spoke of ‘presbyopia’ with it done. How vain and superficial I must be that in my ‘pilot’ is an expert who knows how to not yet. I must rest my eyes overnight completely different circumstances. Of Professor Dan Reinstein, Medical Director the midst of this fascinating experience, I avoid any turbulence and this particular and concentrate on the 15-minute course, if I had studied the classics I might have worked out the meaning of a of the London Vision Clinic. We had decided to include eye health on my One month before find that I am concerned about not being allowed to wear makeup for a while? Not ‘aircraft’ is in tip-top condition with the latest equipment. eye-moisturising and anti-infection drop routine. But it truly is amazing… I can condition from which I – and the rest of medical programme on and were If one more person says to me “you are even a trace of mascara! read without glasses for the first time in humanity, if we live into our fifties – suffer. exploring the amazing advances of laser brave” I will scream! Since accepting Should anything untoward happen, I am years. It’s like a miracle. eye surgery. Prof Reinstein is a world- the invitation to have laser surgery at the Three-and-a-half hours of eye tests later confident Dr Dan will know how to land It was pronounced ‘prez-bee-oh-pee- renowned expert in refractive surgery and London Vision Clinic, I have gone from and I am convinced that there is not the us safely. I am also aware that neither the uh’ by Stephen Fry on QI, who went on LASIK laser vision correction – having being wildly excited to being filled with tiniest fraction of a micro-millimetre of captain, or any flight crew wear glasses – Details: to explain that it was from the Greek for performed some 8,000 procedures. Prior doubts and trepidation. my eye that has not been examined by I think I would find it rather disconcerting “old”. Its exact definition goes something to this, I had no idea that aging eyes the professional LVC team – each one to be treated by someone still in specs. London Vision Clinic, 8 like this: “farsightedness due to cilliary could be corrected by a relatively simple I was absolutely unprepared for the inspires great confidence. Devonshire Place muscle weakness and loss of elasticity in the crystalline lens.” In other words, laser procedure in the capable hands of this highly skilled ophthalmologist. reaction of friends and family. These have included trying to talk me out of it I learn four important things: the reason One hour before London, W1G. Tel: +44 207 224 1005 it’s when your arms become too short Obviously I knew that other sight – citing not just the unsubstantiated risks I don’t particularly like driving after dark I am not looking my best sitting in the to read the newspaper, the figures on problems could be lasered away, but had – to complimentary comments about my is because my night vision is not great; waiting room without makeup (again). +78 79+