Ask a patient: Sophie’s LASEK story
12 April 2022
A life-changing treatment
Sophie is the clinic manager of our Reading clinic. She spends her days ensuring the smooth running of everything in the clinic, as well as helping our patients on their journey to clear vision. Wearing glasses and contacts herself, Sophie was able to understand patients’ frustrations with their own poor vision. After having worked as a patient advisor for 5 months and then becoming clinic manager in September 2021, Sophie decided it was time to have laser eye surgery herself.
We wanted to hear Sophie’s story, from what it was like to rely on glasses as a child, to her main motivations for getting laser eye surgery in her twenties now. She was kind enough to sit down and have a chat with us to tell us all about it!
What made you want to get laser eye surgery?
Ever since I can remember I have always needed glasses. Although needing them, seven year old Sophie really did not like the brown frames. Having issues with my long distance vision was not only an issue for school but also for dancing. I was unable to wear my glasses during class as they would steam up from me working so hard, but it was also impossible for them to stay on my face while I spun across the studio. At aged 14, I finally convinced my mum and my optician to let me have contact lenses, on the condition that I wore my glasses during school. I was so overwhelmed the first time I wore my lenses to dancing. I was able to see in so much detail and finally see the issues my teacher was pointing out to me. I was finally able to see the point on the wall I used as my spot to stop me from getting dizzy, and like a completed puzzle, everything just slotted into place.
When I was 16, my optician saw I was able to stick to the agreement and we both agreed that I could start to wear my contact lenses full time, with the occasional break in glasses for my eyes. It then became second nature: wake up, go straight to the bathroom, wash my face, and open the contact lens pots. Then I could start to get ready for the day. Fast forward however many hours, and I’m changing into my pyjamas, back in the bathroom, washing my hands, and there I was opening the contact lens pots to put them away for the night. Heaven help me if, when I was doing my make up, I got foundation on my lens. There I would be for 15 minutes, trying to clean the life out of the lens, only to end up ripping it and having to get a new one.
I always, always, wanted to be like my friends, being able to wake up in the morning and just see so clearly. I suppose this is why it would confuse me when people would say 'you’re so lucky! I wish I needed glasses, they’re so fashionable.' What’s fashionable? Not being able to see clearly? Having to squint at the television if I really couldn’t be bothered to go back upstairs and get my glasses? Or feeling I was spending hours trying to get dirt off of my lens only to realise it’s a scratch and I can’t get rid of it?
The money I spent every month on my contact lens subscription, every two years (or less!) having to buy a brand new pair of glasses because my prescription has changed... yet again!
I wanted laser eye surgery because I was getting sick of it all. To me, everything revolved around my eyes. What makeup I wanted to wear would actually depend on if my eyes would tolerate my lenses that day. When going on holiday, I would have to triple check that I packed enough saline solution to last me the two weeks, and make sure I packed extra lenses should one rip. I was forever forgetting where I had put my glasses and squinting my way round the room, only for my partner to shout they were downstairs. I knew I would be uncomfortable for a couple of days, but I figured if I could still put my contact lenses in after barely sleeping, I would handle this well.
Fast forward a month and a few weeks since my treatment, and I cannot promote this enough. I am able to fall asleep on the sofa, and it doesn’t matter. I don’t have to force myself up the stairs to make sure the lenses are out. I don’t have to worry about having to replace my nearly £300 pair of glasses because I accidentally sat on them. I can finally buy the designer sunglasses without having to worry about the additional cost of the prescription added on. I can go on holiday and actually swim, not pathetically swim while trying to keep my head above the water because I have my lenses in, or have to worry about not being able to see anyone when I get out of the pool because I don’t have my glasses on.
I can finally wake up in the morning and see so clearly.
How strong was your prescription prior to surgery?
Although my prescription was only -2 and -2.25, I couldn’t just leave the house – I had to wear my glasses or my contact lenses. Either that, or I spent the whole day glaring at everyone I looked at, when I was actually just squinting, trying to figure out who I was looking at.
What was the Optimax experience like in the Reading clinic?
My experience in the Reading clinic was perfect. Dr Ayoubi was as brilliant as he always is, making sure I was okay throughout the entire treatment. The laser assistant Hannah was professional but calming as necessary. The nurse Jane – I have a special place in my heart for Jane. She has known me as a new patient advisor for Optimax, and was there for me when I was promoted to clinic manager. I couldn’t have wished for a more perfect team for my treatment.
How was your recovery process?
As I was having LASEK treatment, I knew I would be uncomfortable, and I was a little surprised when the following day I woke up and could see quite well. The discomfort for me wore off probably about two days later, but my vision hadn’t settled down so I had a headache a couple of times where my eyes were straining for me to see. Once I had the bandage contact lenses removed, I instantly felt a lot better. I was told that the cells had regrown very nicely and to keep refreshing them with the eye drops I was given as this would help. I had a couple of days where my vision in my right eye was better than my left, but the left needed a little time to catch up. I now have better than 20/20 vision.
How has life changed after treatment?
Not only has my personal life changed for the better, but I am now able to use my own experience to help the patients in the clinic. I am able to tell my own story, and as someone who finds confidence in people’s own experiences, I know how much this means to patients. I’m able to see things better now than I ever did with contact lenses. I don’t have to worry about my glasses rubbing behind my ears and I definitely don’t have to worry about getting comfy in bed and then remembering I’ve left my contacts in.
I cannot thank Optimax enough – this really is life changing.
We’ve loved hearing about Sophie’s LASEK journey and how she is finding life after laser eye surgery. If you would like to learn more about laser eye surgery, you can read more on our website or give us a call on 0800 093 1110. Our customer service advisors are also contactable by email on email@example.com, should you have any further questions, or you can book your free consultation here. We look forward to welcoming you to your nearest Optimax clinic soon!
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