I had wanted to get laser eye surgery for as long as I even knew that procedure existed. There were reasons holding me back from doing it, these included cost, time to heal, and above all the fear of what if something went wrong.
My thoughts soon changed when I proposed to Leanne in November. We decided that neither of us wanted to be wearing our glasses or contact lenses on our wedding day. I had worn contacts and glasses for 15 years and they had always played havoc with me when I played sport, even just watching TV or playing the computer could lead to dry eyes.
So, I started to investigate every laser eye surgery company in the UK from the procedures that they offered, to the costing involved, to the calibre of the machines and technology that they use. Leanne on the other hand felt that ignorance would be bliss and she decided to go with my judgement.
In the end we decided on Optical Express for a few reasons. They had the most branches and it appeared had done the most procedures. They also had various levels of treatments that were in our price range and offered 0% credit if we went for a more expensive treatment. They were also the only one that we found to have a presence in Harley Street which was the final decider for us.
So in the end we both agreed that since you only get married once this would make our wedding day truly memorable. We arranged our consultation at our local Optical Express consultation clinic which was in Reading.
Leanne and I went to the Optical Express Branch in Reading to see if we were suitable candidates for laser eye surgery. Up until this point I was not even aware that there was a possibility that we may not be suitable and so when we went in I was far more nervous about the outcome than the procedures they were about to perform!
We had been told when we booked our consultation that we would not be able to drive afterwards for a few hours as they would put drops in our eyes to dilate our pupils so that they could see the back of the eye more clearly.
We booked our consultation at the same time as we were in it together and Leanne was a rather nervous patient. As they went through all of the different tests like how thick our cornea was, the shape of our eye, the dry air test etc I was amazed at just how much information they took down compared with a standard eye test.
Our optometrist was brilliant as she was not only very friendly but also very knowledgeable. She had been with the company for some time and seemed passionate about working for them. She was also more than happy to answer all of my questions and there was a fair few, no doubt making Leanne’s consultation one of the longest of her career.
At the end of the consultation we got the news that we were both suitable which was such a relief. We were told about the different procedures and which one would suit us best. She also commented on my astigmatism and how different procedures could help.
We went back to the Reading branch to book our surgery. We met with the optometrist who had carried out our consultation. She had remembered that we were getting married and asked how the wedding plans were coming on. It was nice she had taken genuine interest in why we wanted laser eye surgery.
In the end I opted for Wavefront with Intralase. They said it was the best treatment for me and the fact that I only had 2 days until I was back at work the healing time was important. Also my only fear throughout was you only get one pair of eyes so go for the best and that’s exactly what I did.
We paid our deposit to secure our surgery and we set up the payment plan which was for 10 months interest free. (This was also the easiest credit agreement we had to go through as it only took 5 minutes)
So we were booked! On the 12th January we would have the procedure….!
The week before the surgery I seemed to look at everything differently. It was like everything I looked at I said to myself ‘I will see that without contacts or glasses next weekend’. We went out shopping in Guildford and I got something in my contact lens, it became really itchy and dry and I thought to myself well after Saturday I will never have that feeling again!
We got the train up to Victoria, London and the tube to the Harley Street branch. We were about 20 minutes early and the waiting room was busy with excited patients. It just seemed like any doctors or dentists surgery, not the high tech NASA space station I had envisaged which made me feel maybe it’s not as serious a procedure as I thought it was going to be, i.e. no vacuum roofs or people with covers on their shoes.
The time came and Leanne went first. This was the first part of the procedure when they would not let us go together. It was for health and safety which I could understand but Leanne suddenly looked like a rabbit in the headlights. She did get a nurse to comfort her and a hand to squeeze but due to her fear of having anything touch her eye I knew she would struggle to go through with it. Then I was called and taken into the dark room so that I could see her before I went in. She was still rather in awe of it all as I thought she would be, bless her though she said “its all fine babe, go and get it done and I will see you when you get out”
This did shake me a little but as soon as I was in the room I clicked into Murray Mode. I just kept asking questions as I do with the enthusiasm of a 5 year old and I was laughing and joking with them throughout my whole procedure.
To my surprise there was no pain endured throughout (something this radical surely would have come at a greater cost I thought) there was some discomfort from the pressure they put on the eye to stop it moving but far less than I expected overall.
I think the excitement carried me through it and the staff said I must be the happiest patient that they had ever had (if they knew how long I had wanted this done they would understand why).
I was then led into the dark room where Leanne was now calm and collected and we started reflecting on what we had just had done and what it meant to us and also started to speak to some of the other people in there that had just had it done.
We were then given all the drops together (they gave mine to Leanne obviously knowing that I would lose them) and they explained what they did, what side effects we could experience over the next few days i.e. bright lights etc and then they told us to go home and try and get as much sleep as possible before going to another London branch the next day for our 24 hour check up.
Once home I lay on the couch and had my mother-in-law bring me drinks and food for the rest of the day. That coupled with one of their dogs cuddling in made the whole day worthwhile.
When I first woke up I thought I had left my contact lenses in as I could see everything so clearly including the dimples in the carpet. I then started to cover one eye and then the other to see how much I could actually see. The results were incredible so I then woke up Leanne to compare.
My father-in-law then drove us up to the Tube Station to go back up to the Centre of London for our 24hour check up. This was an amazing journey as I couldn’t believe how much I could see that I had missed before (even through glasses and contacts the detail was not this clear or colourful).
We had the check up and they gave us an eye test which I could read every single letter off right down to the smallest and with complete ease.
I asked the consultant if that meant I had 20/20 or 6/6 vision and she replied no that is 20/10 or 6/4 which is far better. The top line of that chart is 20/20. As you can imagine I was overjoyed at this and knew if Leanne’s was less than this I would have won the bet as to who now had the better eyes, especially as she did originally.
For this week we had to keep putting in these drops at various times of the day, and although this was easy and quickly became second nature, the taste in the back of your throat from the eye drops wasn’t great. This was proof that your eyes, ears, nose and throat are connected.
I had dry eyes for about a fortnight but after that my vision felt natural and the slight bruising on the eye disappeared completely in about 10 days.
Also I felt that my vision got better everyday and I became less sensitive to the light and so I was delighted.
The wedding day finally came and I was so glad that I had the laser vision correction done. We were married in a 12th Century Castle in Scotland and had our reception in a country house the detail and colours on show were fantastic. I was getting a photo with Leanne and her bridesmaids under a cherry blossom tree when I looked over at the house where all our friends and family were seated and I could see the looks on their faces from as easily as 75 yards away.
That for me was an incredible feeling. That plus I actually saw the look in Leanne’s eyes as she walked down the aisle, unfortunately I could also see the look in her fathers!!
All over this has been a life changing experience and is one that I recommend to everyone I meet and to anyone considering it. I tell them all the same “It’s not just a life changing experience, its amazing how quickly you take perfect vision for granted. However every now and then you see something, a small detail, the leaves on a tree etc and you realise that, not so very long ago you would never have seen what you just did”
Murray and I have wanted to get laser eye surgery done for a while but we finally got the push to do something about it when we got engaged. We booked our wedding for May 2008 in a beautiful Castle in Murray’s hometown of Glenrothes, Scotland.
As I imagined walking down the aisle of the 12th Century Chapel lit only by candles I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that I’d miss the reaction on Murray’s face when he sees me in my wedding dress for the first time or that of my parents and friends. Being short sighted, its details like this that you miss, but this day was too important for that to happen!
I’ve never warmed to the idea of contact lenses and I’m honest enough to admit I’m too vain to wear my glasses on many occasions! So this will be life changing for me!
Murray wears contact lenses but like many people he’s suffered with them, very sore/red eyes on occasions, dryness etc.
We both want this done and what better time? It’ll make all the difference on our wedding day!
Murray and I went to the Optical Express branch in Reading to see if we were suitable candidates for the laser eye surgery. We had a joint consultation and took our turns with the various tests because if we go ahead we’ll have the surgery together so we may as well start as we mean to go on.
We were a bit early but were still taken care of immediately, we filled out a form each, with our contact details and medical history and were given some information about the drops that would be used for some of the tests and why. I was reassured that the information was upfront and we knew what to expect, we’d already been advised not to drive so there were no surprises.
We were taken into a room with one of the consultants, she was very friendly and didn’t seem to mind at all the number of questions we had for her, Murray in particular, he was absolutely fascinated by it all and had done a great deal of research. My approach was different, ignorance is bliss, to trust the professional’s and go with the flow! However I was grateful to understand the tests, procedure and varying treatments a lot better.
We decided that I’d do each test first as I was a bit more apprehensive than Murray and thought watching him first would make me more nervous, I needn’t have worried, none of the tests were scary or painful. We got to see the shape of our eyes, it was incredibly interesting and our prescriptions were scientifically worked out. They were printed out for us and discussed in great detail, Murray’s prescription was slightly worse as was his astigmatism therefore glaring and halos would be slightly worse for him.
The test continued, they were very in depth, very different to the standard ones I’d had previously. It was comforting that our suitability for the procedure was taken so seriously and how high-tech the equipment was.
As warned it was hard to focus following the drops, it was nice going through it with someone though. We went out for dinner afterwards and it was amusing trying to read the menu, we were teasing each other over our huge pupils!
We were delighted to hear we were suitable for surgery should we decide to go ahead!
We went back to the Reading branch; it was nice catching up and discussing our wedding plans with our original consultant.
Murray opted for the Wavefront with Intralase (I think the fact the Astronauts get this one helped sell it!) I opted for Wavefront as I had fewer imperfections than Murray (naturally!) We paid our deposit and set up the finance agreement 0% interest (this was just too easy!)
So we we’re booked! On the 12th January we would have the procedure!
It’s come round so fast! We were so busy over Christmas and New Year that it’s coming round in a flash!
We went to the cinema twice this weekend, knowing we probably won’t manage it next weekend! Strangely I’m quite looking forward to having a quiet, chilled out weekend next week, we might actually get a chance to plan the wedding!
We went via train and tube to the Harley Street branch, the waiting room seemed quite busy which I found reassuring, as so many other people were having the same procedure. I noticed several thank you cards from people who’d had the surgery and they all said how life changing it was, I was really excited to see the results (literally!)
I went first, for health and safety reasons Murray couldn’t come with me but I was loaned a nurses hand to hold and I did, very firmly…!
I was quite nervous, as even contact lenses were frightening for me but the laser itself I found fine, as my eye wasn’t being touched. It was very quick and although a strange sensation, not painful.
I went to the ‘dark room’ where a few other patients were resting and we discussed our experiences, the whole time I thought about how Murray was finding it. He did very well (much better than when he goes to the dentist!). We were given our care packages, various drops and goggles and we were explained the instructions in detail. We were told to go home, sleep as much as possible and just rest trying to keep our eyes closed as much as we could; sounded great to me!
Two of our friends collected us and took us to my parents where I knew we’d be taken good care of. We had the first of our drops, followed by a nice sleep. At least we both had to wear the goggles, so Murray couldn’t tease me. We ordered a pizza and listened to the TV for a while before returning to bed.
We woke up and were amazed at the results! We could see so clearly already, we tested each other on number plates whilst my Dad drove us to the station. We got the tube into London for our follow up appointment, I felt like wearing a ‘we’ve just had laser eye surgery’ badge for the benefit of the people obviously wondering why we were wearing sunglasses on the tube in January!
The brief check concluded we were both absolutely fine and already showed 20/20 vision or better, we saw somebody we’d met in the ‘dark room’ the day before and he too was delighted with the results.
For seven days after the surgery we used three different types of drops several times a day, which quickly became part of our every day routine, and we wore the goggles to bed to avoid us rubbing our eyes in our sleep and dark sunglasses when we were out during the day, other than that it was business as usual. Our eyesight seemed to be improving daily and our next and final check up concluded just that. We were delighted!
Four months on, it’s amazing how quickly you take perfect eyesight for granted.
But as I walked down the aisle I took in everything I saw my friends and family and most importantly Murray, I took in every smiling face, every tear and I’m so grateful for that, you can’t repeat that moment and I’m so glad I didn’t miss it.
Today’s the day where I’m more grateful than ever for my perfect vision, I wouldn’t have worn my glasses on my wedding day and never having worn contacts I’d have simply missed so much.
Thank you Optical Express!