I have been wearing specs since my teens and the idea that I may never need them again is alien to me, yet that is precisely what seems to be happening – as you read this I am recovering from laser eye surgery and feel confident I can pack away my glasses and contact lenses for good.
Immediately after the operation, even with the slight blurring, I was able to read previously illegible posters several yards away.
And it is getting better by the day. I was warned my eyes would probably stream as I chopped onions once the anaesthetic wore off, but nothing of the sort.
Laser surgery has been around since the Sixties but it wasn’t until the Nineties it really started to take off. With advances in technology, the risk factors were reduced to a bare minimum and only a small percentage of patients develop complications.
I know at least 20 people who have gone under the laser beam as it were. Of them one needed two operations – her eyesight was exceptionally poor to start with – but has now been told that’s it.
Another pal did have a difficult recovery period, and it took her almost a year to get the all clear, while a third friend is back to wearing specs. But even they are saying it has been the best investment of their life.
For an investment it is. The op isn’t cheap, costing between £595 and £1495 per eye depending on the type of procedure, but there are payment plans to reduce the financial sting. And if you consider how much money you spend on glasses and lenses over the years, it actually is cost effective.
With all the sports I do – from running and riding to water sports and skiing – specs have been a real nuisance, and I’ve never been comfortable with lenses because they leave my eyes red and raw.
Millions of people have been lasered over the years for various reasons, and while it is not always straightforward, most patients make a full recovery.
Rather bizarrely my biggest concern regarding the operation was nothing to do with how it might feel, but wither it would smell.
I wasn’t too fussed about the idea of someone touching my eyes, but I really did worry I would be physically sick at the stench.
In the event, there was little odour and the whole thing was over within seconds. The worst part during my procedure was the creation of a flap on the cornea, which involved a suction ring to hold the eye in place. But it was not painful.
David Teenan my Optical Express surgeon, explained every step, and when I asked him how many procedures he had completed, I knew I was in good hands – apparently he stopped counting at around 19,000 mark.
I am allowed to start doing sports again this week and even wear eye make-up. And while I still have a couple of nights left during which I have to wear rather unsexy goggles to stop any accidents rubbing, I would not change anything.
This article was first published by Paula Murray in the Scottish Sunday Express