When I was in fourth grade, we found out that I have bad eyesight. At first, it was tolerable. I would go out during the day and play with my classmates without my glasses, attend my classes and do the everyday stuff without the need of wearing my specs. It wasn’t until I was in college when I realized how bad it is, and how badly I would love to have it fixed.
I used to be a part of a dance group and we would rehearse every single night. It was then that I realized how bad my problem is. Sometimes, training with my team is easy as steps would usually include big movements, but most often than not, it was a huge challenge, as I can’t follow simple hand gestures that were part of our choreography, pretty much because I can’t see it from afar.
Proof that I used to dance:
Look for me!
I also had difficulties recognizing faces and dealing with acquaintances, and in fact, most of my peers think that I’m a snob just because I can’t see them. For 15 years, I suffered from poor eyesight, and when I found out that there’s a chance for me to see properly again, I immediately grabbed it and embraced it with open arms.
Lasik Surgery is one of the most popular eye procedures that are being conducted today, and it promises to bring back 20/20 vision to its patients. The procedure includes reshaping of the cornea, which enables light to enter the eye, giving patients the liberty to see clearly again. It treats myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism.
Recently, I had my eye surgery done at The Medical City’s Lasik Center, and one of the first steps that I took was to have my eyes checked. Much like most medical procedures, Lasik surgery has strict standards for patients. Take note that not everyone can go through the procedure, but in case that you have a special condition, The Medical City is open to providing additional support and alternative procedures for you to get the results that you want. Based on my experience, the people at the center really take the time to screen the eyes and take a look at all the aspects that would affect the effectivity of the surgery. Here’s a detailed look at how my screening went.
THE SCREENING PROCESS
There are different available schedules for the eye screening, however, you would need to book an appointment as the center can only accommodate a limited number of people. There are also a lot of necessary preparations that has to be considered. The screening takes about three hours and patients would be asked to go through different machines and eye procedures, which actually take a lot of time.
As for me, I was scheduled for a morning session and we started the screening at around 10:00 AM. I arrived at the hospital a couple of minutes earlier and was ushered by Nurse Ava. She conducted most of my screenings and she also accompanied me as I go through check-ups with the doctors. I really appreciated how Nurse Ava takes the time to explain each step of the process during the screening.
There are many people who are afraid of doctors and anything that’s associated with the hospital, but I’m glad that the people from the center make sure that patients are comfortable and relax as they go through anything. Taking the extra mile of making you understand what they are doing is an effort that I commend a lot. It makes patients feel safe and secure all throughout.
For the first part, I mostly went through different high-tech machines that measured my eyes’ characteristics. The first machine that I went through was called the Auto Refractometer, which measures the grade of my eyes. If you have been to your local optical shop, chances are they also have this machine and is being used to double check your grades before giving prescription glasses or contact lenses. What’s inside is a projection of a long and winding road with a hot air balloon or an image of a house in the end. It adjusts accordingly based on your vision and would help the doctors get an idea of the condition of your eyesight.
The next machine that I went through was called the Corneal Topography Oculyzer, which checks the parameters of my eyes. It maps the surface of the cornea and the level of astigmatism. Just like most of the machines, I was only asked to look at certain lights during the process. For the most part, I was only having difficulties on keeping my eyes open as wide as I can for five to ten seconds, other than that, all went well.
I went to two more machines before proceeding with the check ups and consultations with the optometrist and the doctors. I went through the intra-ocular pressure machine, which checks the pressure on my eyes, as well as the biometry, which measured the shape and size of my eyes. The intra-ocular pressure machine blows off some air and is a bit surprising, but there is zero level of discomfort. As for the biometry, I did feel a little dizzy trying to focus my eyes on different lights, but it was all good. I was given instructions by Nurse Ava, and she always make it a point that I am comfortable. Whenever I feel a little nauseous, we would usually take a break and resume once I feel okay.
Dr. Lulu Pablo conducting my test
One of the most intricate and vital procedures during the screening was the refraction test. My test was conducted by Dr. Lulu Pablo, and it made me realize how important it is to take the most accurate grade possible before going in with the Lasik procedure. This was one of the longest tests that we had, as we went through different changes and trials with the lenses before we were able to come up with my exact eye grade. I went through the refraction test twice, first with my normal eyes, and then again with my pupil dilated. The procedure was a huge challenge, as I needed to go through the Snellen chart many times, trying out different lenses, mixing and matching it with one another, just so I can see properly. I was thankful that Dr. Lulu was very patient with me even if I was having all these difficulties of assessing my own vision. In case you’re wondering, my vision was 625/20, and it was extremely hard for me to assess any subtle changes (especially when reading smaller letters).
Nurse Ava doing some eye preps
The succeeding tests required putting drops on my eyes, all of which are painless and provided minimal discomfort. The first test was to check my capability of producing tears and the solution that we used was cold and it left a stinging sensation. It only lasted for about a minute, which is definitely not something to be worried about.
The second drop that was applied on my eyes were for pupil dilation, which necessary for my retina screening with Dr. Paolo Silva. People with very high grades are more prone to retinal tear, which is why it is important for them to check the back of the eyes for any issues that may occur. Luckily for me, mine are well and healthy, which gave the nod to my Lasik procedure.
After going through another round of refraction test, I went for a short consultation with my doctor, Dr. Cecilia Agdeppa, who did some final checks and reviewed my screening results. She also gave me some final reminders before choosing a schedule for the surgery.
The screening was easy; it never really felt like I was there for three hours. I never felt like I was alienated despite being clueless about everything, and right after the screening, I felt like I was able to have a whole new level of understanding about my vision and my eyes, things that I wouldn’t really discover by myself. After meeting everyone and experiencing the care that the center gives to its patients, I felt like I am more than ready to have the procedure done and turn my life around. I am usually scared when it comes to anything that involves the word “surgery”, but being able to go through the screening process in the center made me realize that I was in good hands and that all will go well. True enough, here I am today, writing this post with a 20/20 vision.
Me with my new eye grades! (Obviously, this photo makes me look extra fat)
THINGS TO PREPARE FOR THE SCREENING
As I’ve mentioned, you would need to book an appointment with the center for your screening. Not all patients will be able to have the screening ASAP as there are some necessary preparations that you would have to go through before proceeding with the process. If you are wearing contact lenses, depending on the type, you would be required to take a rest from wearing them for a week up to a month. I was also asked to sleep the night before for at least 8 hours as it is very important that I am well rested.
During the day itself, you will be asked to bring a companion as you might have some difficulties on driving or commuting after the screening. The pupil dilation (which is done by the end of the screening) usually lasts for four to six hours, and you would have to deal with some discomfort until the solution wears off. I highly recommend that you also bring sunglasses as you might be a little sensitive to lights until your pupils go back to normal.
After you pass the screening, you will then be scheduled for your surgery. Depending on the center’s availability, you can be slated as early as the next day to undergo the Lasik procedure. Knowing that I was eligible for the surgery was a very exciting phase for me, as I feel that I am one step closer to a clearer vision. It took me a couple of weeks before going in because of my schedule, but it was totally worth the wait.
If you plan to try and check if you are qualified for Lasik, you may contact The Medical City’s Lasik Center for schedule and additional instructions.
The Medical City – Lasik Center
2nd floor, Podium Building, The Medical City
Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City
Tel. Nos.: (632) 988 10 00 | (632) 988 70 00 ext. 7783 / 7784
Good luck and I hope that this post was helpful for you!
My LASIK Surgery Journey