optical express laser eye surgery review
Health

My Optical Express Laser Eye Surgery review: my LASIK experience

(Last Updated On: 16/05/2023)

Background

I’m happy to have finally found the time to document my LASIK experience with Optical Express. I underwent laser eye surgery (iDesign LASIK) at the Haymarket Terrace Optical Express clinic in Edinburgh in March 2022. Before my procedure, I wore contact lenses and occasionally glasses. My prescription was -.2.75 in my left eye, -2.50 in my right eye, with some astigmatism in both eyes. I was 36 years old at the time of the procedure. Read on to hear my Optical Express laser eye surgery review.

My reasons for seeking laser eye surgery were as follows:

  • Dry eyes at the end of the day after wearing contact lenses all day
  • Hated wearing glasses at the best of times, made worse by the requirement at the time to also wear a mask in public
  • My contact lenses were costing me almost £40 a month, plus the cost of glasses
  • I travel a lot and was always terrified I would forget to bring my lenses or glasses with my on my trips
  • I enjoy swimming and was worried about eye infections

So in short, a whole load of reasons! I made an appointment at the clinic for a consultation which took place on 16/03/22. My actual procedure took place just two weeks later on 30/03/22. I’m not sure if it’s typical for a date to be available so soon or if it was because the clinic was new and had a lot of surgery appointment slots available, allowing me to kick off my LASIK experience quickly. I had asked for a date as soon as possible but of course you can book months in advance if that suits you better.

The Consultation

During the consultation they did quite a few tests on my eyes using various high tech machines. This was then followed by an eye test and a chat with an optician who confirmed that I would be a good candidate for surgery. I was told that LASIK iDesign was the right procedure for me. I then sat down with a patient rep – this was the point where I confirmed that I wished to go ahead with the surgery. I had already made up my mind in advance that I was doing it, as long as I was a suitable candidature, as I had done so much research. However, you definitely wouldn’t need to decide on the spot, you could absolutely go away and think about it. The consultation is free and without any obligation. The whole consultation took around an hour in total.

The Cost

After all the tests, the patient rep talked to me about the cost. Optical Express have prominent advertising in their high street store windows claiming that they do laser eye surgery procedures from just £595 per eye i.e. £1,190 in total. This is the only part of my whole experience that makes me go “hmm” – I have numerous friends who have had laser eye consultations with them and the figure they have been quoted has been much higher. My total came in at £4,290 – yikes! I assume that is because of my astigmatism, presumably if you have a more straight forward prescription it would be lower.

If you’d like to get £300 off your procedure, I am able to send you a refer a friend code: simply click here. I can get the code to you within a couple of hours and all you need to do is present it to your patient rep at your consultation.

The good news is that (at the time of my consultation) they were able to offer me 24 months interest free credit. After deducting the £395 deposit which I paid in order to secure my surgery spot (I understand that there is a cooling off period which means you can claim this back within a certain amount of time if you change your mind), this means I am now paying £162 a month for two years. Which is definitely a lot but is a lot more manageable than paying the lump sum up front. I also don’t have to spend £40 a month on contact lenses so really it’s more like £122 a month.

Preparing for the Procedure

The only preparation I had to do before the surgery was to not wear my (soft, daily disposable) contact lenses for 7 days before my procedure. This is because the lenses can change the shape of your eye and for the surgery to have the best chance of success your eye needs to be as ‘normal’ as possible.

The Day of the Procedure

I was asked to come in to the clinic at 8.15am and was told to expect to be out roughly 2.5 – 3 hours later, which was accurate. There were a few last minute eye checks, I was handed an aftercare kit which contained various eye drops and told how and when to use them. I then had a brief chat to the surgeon himself. I was pretty nervous at this point but mostly excited.

When the time came, I was led through to the operating room and lay down on a bed. I can’t have been there longer than 6 or 7 minutes, although time takes on a weird dimension during these things so I may be totally wrong. Some numbing eye drops were applied to my eyes and then things were applied to my eyes to keep them open. This felt weird but not sore – it’s just so strange having your eyes fiddled with. I did lots of deep breathing to get me through it. Whilst it wasn’t pleasant it was over very quickly. All I had to do was look at a dot and the laser did its magic within seconds. There was a slight smell of burning which is pretty gross when you think about it, but like I said, it was over very quickly. They did my left eye and then my right eye. Minutes after lying down I was being led out of the room to a recovery room.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, whether I would stand up and be able to see clearly immediately or if things would be blurry. I’d imagine it’s different for everyone, but I was definitely at the blurry end of the spectrum which increased in severity as each minute went by. My number one tip is to make sure you have someone to pick you up and take you home after the procedure, I had my husband to do so but I had naively thought beforehand that if he wasn’t available I would have just got a taxi. There is no chance I would have been able to do so – my eyes were getting blurrier and blurrier and more and more light sensitive by the second.

The Immediate Recovery Process

The whole car journey home I felt nauseous (because of the nerves and the adrenaline) and just desperately wanted to be in a dark room because any hint of light felt like agony. My eyes were streaming and I wish I had bought an eye mask or something to cover my eyes, although maybe that would have looked like a kidnapping to any passing police patrols! I was very grateful to be led into bed, eyes tightly closed. Here’s another tip – before you go in for your procedure, make sure there is zero light coming into the room in which you will spend your recovery. I hung a duvet over my curtain rail to block out any tiny bits of light and even put a rolled up towel under the door. I cannot overstate how sore it was to see any light. From chatting to people I think must just have very light-sensitive eyes as my reaction seems extreme compared to others. This part was by far the worst part of my LASIK experience, I think I hadn’t been sufficiently prepared for the discomfort. But like I said, this doesn’t sound part of a typical LASIK experience.

The good news is that I very quickly turned a corner. After sleeping for an hour or two I woke up and I was able to tolerate light much better – I could open my eyes as normal, only difference is that I wore sunglasses indoors for the rest of the day. Astonishingly, that evening I was able to watch a little bit of TV which was such a novelty – for the first time since I was a teenager, I was going about life with no glasses, no contact lenses.

An important thing to mention at this point in my Optical Express laser eye surgery review is that getting some sleep as soon as possible post-op is so important: in hindsight, downloading a sleep hypnosis session and skipping my morning coffee would have been a good idea.

Long Term Recovery

Within 48 hours I was able to go about life as normal. I had some redness on one of my eyes but that dissipated over the course of a week. The only longer term affect I had, which lasted about 5 months (although it gradually got better over those 5 months) is that my eyes were much more sensitive to sunlight. I had to wear sunglasses even on grey days. My eyes were slightly dry for a few weeks, I would say after about 6 weeks there was no dryness whatsoever.

Aftercare

I had to administer eye drops into my eyes for two weeks after the procedure – an antibiotic one for a week, plus a hydrating one for the first two weeks. I had an in-person after care check at the clinic 24 hours after my procedure. Here, they checked my eye health and my vision, which was already better than 20/20. I was able to get the bus to and from my appointment with no issues, I just had to wear sunglasses. I then had another appointment a month later at the clinic where I got more hydrating eye drops for my eyes which occasionally experienced dryness. Finally, I had a telephone appointment after 3 months. I don’t have any further after care appointments scheduled but all the way through the process, I have been encouraged to contact Optical Express if I experience any issues or have any questions.

Overall Optical Express laser eye surgery review: Any Regrets about my LASIK Experience?

Absolutely none whatsoever. It is an expensive procedure but one that has improved my life immeasurably. A thing I say to people often is: “yes it was expensive, but I feel the benefit of it every second of my life”

If you want to go ahead with a consultation with Optical Express, don’t forget to click here and follow the insructions to get a code that gets you £300 off if you chose to go ahead with your surgery.

Hope my write up of my Optical Express laser eye surgery review/my LASIK experience has been helpful. Please let me know in the comments below if you have any questions.

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