Michelle's Story

Having Lasik Eye surgery is the biggest regret of my life and if I could turn back time and go back to wearing contact lenses I would do so in a heart beat. Quite simply Lasik has ruined my life as all I do now is think about my eyes and the problems I have as a result of the surgery.

I'll start briefly by explaining my situation. I had Lasik Intralase Wavefront on the 18th February 2012 by Mr Panagiotis Theoulakis at Optical Express in Lakeside, Thurrock. I decided to proceed with the surgery as knew about 8 people that raved about it, so although I was scared I was convinced it would be fine, and give me a new lease of life as that is what they seemed to promise you. My prescription was roughly -5 in one eye with -7 in the other given that I had an astigmatism. I hated wearing glasses so would always wear contact lenses but given my long working hours, lenses would be in my eyes at 6am, and sometimes not be removed until 9pm. I felt that this may damage my eyes in the long run, so laser eye surgery seemed like my best option, how wrong I was. I had been informed previously by Specsavers who I brought my contact lenses from that I have slight dry eye, I did think this may mean that I could not have Laser Eye surgery, but at the consultation I was told I was a perfect candidate, but yet no real tests for dry eye were taken.

I had the procedure and my prescription was definitely improved in comparison to before the surgery, but it wasn't perfect, looking at the computer screen became a blur and given that 99% of my work is computer based I became very anxious and depressed as felt that I had ruined my eyes. The fact was that once my contact lenses were in my eyes, my vision was fine and I could ignore the fact that I had a high prescription. Although I did have a high prescription, Optical Express made me feel like I was the average customer they help as they go up to -13 in prescription. Reading text on the tube, or train stations and computer work became very frustrating and this is one of the main reason I constantly wish I could turn back time as lenses did not cause the problems that I now experience post Lasik. The annoying part however was that I was being told my vision was 20/20, but the problem is 20/20 does not mean perfect vision like their advertising makes you believe as I needed glasses to read text anywhere. Since obtaining my medical notes, it even states I have obtained 20/20 ish vision, what on earth does that mean?

I was suffering badly from dry eye and had several check ups and was given different eye drops to try. I was then supplied with some temporary glasses until my eyes were safe enough to operate again and have what they call an enhancement, but lets call it a correction. Although I was reluctant to have my eyes operated on again as felt they had destroyed my healthy eyes, fact remained I had spent £4k on the procedure on the belief that I would be contact lenses and glasses free, yet I was back to wearing glasses for computer work. I was bullied badly at school for wearing glasses so wearing glasses to me takes me back to a very bad time in my life, so my confidence was hit badly so I had to try the enhancement and trust the surgeons again. My enhancement took place on 2nd October 2012 with Manek Patel. Since the enhancement, although my vision has improved further and I don't feel I need glasses for computer screen, I do struggle on a daily basis with clarity and sharpness of vision. My right eye's vision in particular is definitely struggling but I am told this is merely the dry eye issue, but I refuse to believe this. I am also still suffering from chronic dry eyes and using Hycosan Extra drops frequently as well as Vitapos when I go to bed and Restasis twice a day. My eyes sting and often feel heavy and tired and I am always analysing my vision. My left eye is always red in the corner, I am told this is just burst blood vessels that would not be caused by the surgery, but again I am not convinced as I have never had this problem before. I recently had temporary plugs put into my tear ducts, to help improve the dry eye, and although they did seem to help for a short time I am now back to suffering from dry eyes. I am trying to remain positive about my dry eye situation but this has been going on for 18 months now, so I fear to is now permanent.

The main frustration I have that I have saved until last as Optical Express won't take responsibility for it is eye floaters.
As I write this e-mail I am struggling with the frustration of eye floaters. Optical Express argue that the operation itself does not cause floaters as does not go behind the eye where floaters deposit, but yet in the next sentence they do say that the brief trauma to the eye can cause them due to the pressure from the suction. They have also argued that I probably had these floaters before but had not noticed them and only notice them now as I am thinking about my eyes and vision constantly. Again I feel like I am constantly being fobbed off. I am told that in time the floaters will calm down as my brain will get used to them and learn not to see them. However the floaters I have are huge, especially one cobweb style one in my left eye that I see mainly when on computer (now) or when outside walking. Due to this driving has become unbearable and I recently had to paint my house, this was very upsetting as the floaters dramatically increased when I looked at the white walls.

I have asked why floaters are not mentioned as a side effect prior to the surgery and was just told that its all about figures and that there are not enough people suffering from floaters to bother mentioning it. I feel this is unjustified as to just effect 1 person, it should be mentioned. The fact is that they do not consider floaters as a problem and on occasion I have felt laughed at for stressing just how much they have impacted my life. I also believe that more stress should be given on how severe the dry eye can be and how much it can effect your life. Friends and family don't even understand what I am going through as they believe the hype as others they know rave about it and the advertising that Optical Express have put in place only highlights the positives and downplays the life impacting side effects and complication

The main thing that upsets me is that there is now really nothing that can be done and I fear I am stuck with these floaters forever, and at the cost of £4k to have the surgery, I do feel robbed and would happily return to contact lenses in a heart beat. I regret my decision to have laser eye surgery daily and feel angry towards Optical Express for not making me fully aware of the seriousness of floaters and dry eye. I now suffer with anxiety and do experience depression regularly which has almost led to the break up of my relationship with my partner. I also feel like I am going to have to change my career as my position involves looking at a computer screen from 8am-5pm, and this worsens the dry eye as well as having to deal with eye floaters when looking at computer screen which is very frustrating.

I feel like whilst they are attempting to improve my dry eyes, it is just going on and on with little improvement and the fact is that my biggest concern is actually floaters but they have told me that there is nothing they can do about them. They do highlight prior to surgery that dry eye can occur but often only for up to 6 months. Well I am now 1 year on from the enhancement op and still suffering and do fear for how much longer. I have now been using drops for over 18 months because the first op was in February 2012 and it really is ruining my life. I have also developed dark circles under my eyes which is caused by lack of drainage due to the dry eye problems. This has furthered my depression and anxiety as has hit my confidence badly.

Lastly I also would like to mention that I do notice halos and star bursts at night from cars and street lights, which has made night time driving impossible. I also am more sensitive to light and find that if I am anywhere outside and do not have my sunglasses on me I can't enjoy the nice weather like my friends. I even have to wear sunglasses on a fairly dull day as still find it too bright and the floaters as a result increase. Every morning I wake up and instantly think about my eyes and floaters as I cannot ignore them and escape them like they are telling me to do as I see them everyday and deal with the dry eyes frequently. Often I look forward to going to bed as that is the only time when my eyes can rest and not have to deal with dry eyes and floaters. These side effects just adds to the many other reasons that I regret Lasik eye surgery

I have reached the end of my patience in all honesty as I do not believe that my situation will improve and if anything I fear my vision will just deteriorate and I will end up wearing lenses again in no time, which further highlights the sheer waste of £4k for this procedure.

Having researched a lot and finding Sasha Rodoy online, I have discovered that there are many post Lasik patients suffering like myself and it is not as rare as Optical Express lead me to believe. Whilst they are trying to help me with the dry eye, they do seem to be ignoring my other side effects post Lasik as simply they don't know how to correct them, and floaters remains a mystery and they often seem to not actually know what causes them, but they stand firm that Lasik is not a cause. I refuse to believe this, they are merely down playing it and covering up the life impacting side effects so that the industry continues to expand and ruin even more people's eyes, so long as they hit their sales targets, quite simply they do not care about those of us who are left suffering from the consequences.