Showing posts with label icl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label icl. Show all posts

My ICL (Implantable Contact Lens) Experience // Recovery, Cost, better than LASIK?

I never really thought about getting anything done to my eyes; I've been successfully using regular contact lenses for probably a little over 10 years but for whatever reason, summer of 2022 my eyes decided to freak out. My right eye was red for probably two months, it kept getting worse and then I also got a stye in my right eye so I finally decided to go to the doctor. My eye doctor said I'm not allowed to use contact lenses anymore and that I had gotten a hole in my cornea from an infection in my eye. It took several weeks for my cornea to heal but the stye just wouldn't go away, so they brought me to the hospital and surgically removed it. It was a whole entire process to get my right eye to look and feel fine again. But I've been stuck wearing glasses ever since and I just had enough. 

I went to see a specialist to get LASIK (which is what I initially wanted to do) but after running all different kinds of tests on my eyes, he said he'd never do any type of laser surgery to my eyes because my cornea is extremely thin, and it would be very risky. He told me about ICL and said it would be the better option for me so I decided to do that instead.

The Cost

As I went there originally to get LASIK done which would've cost around 2.500€ depending on the exact doctor you go to, I was quite shocked when he told me an ICL would come up to 5.700€ but at the end of the day, I just wanted to get rid of my glasses. I'd have done anything to finally get to see properly again. Depending on how bad your eyesight is, you might be able to get some money back through your health insurance though, be sure to check that in advance.

Finding a Doctor

If you've read my rhinoplasty post (you can read it here), you'll know how much research I did on different surgeons, I also booked an appointment with a few other doctors to get a feel for their work, their personalities and if they understand me and my vision. But when it came to eye surgery, I kind of had this vision of "It's a laser doing the work, the doctor only has to program the machine right.. does it even matter who I go to then?" so I only ever booked one appointment and decided to go with that doctor right away. If I had felt anything negative at my first appointment, I'd have checked out a different eye doctor. But overall I felt very welcome, the woman running all these tests on my eyes was very sweet and so was the doctor. I explained to him my experience in the last 6-8 months, he checked out my eyes and told me right away that he wouldn't laser my eyes. He explained how LASIK and ICL are both not necessary for my health so I should take my time to think about it; he also said that if I'm not 100% healthy and fit on the day of my surgery, he'd send me home and book another surgery date for me later on because he'd just never risk it to perform any kind of surgery on a patient if it's not absolutely necessary. I just got really good vibes from him, he made me feel like he actually cares about his patient's health rather than just performing surgery on as many people as possible to make money.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a doctor/surgeon you feel good with. If you don't vibe with them, please don't go through with it. Everyone has their inner instinct, we can feel it if something is weird or off with someone, and usually, that instinct is right. There are hundreds of different doctors out there, you will find the perfect one for you if you just take your time and don't stress about it.

He also told me one of the girls in his office had ICL surgery done several years ago, he recommended I go down to her desk and have a chat with her, ask her whatever questions I have about the surgery, she should tell me all about her experience. So that's what I did. I had a lovely chat with that girl as well, it felt very genuine. Also, I later on found out that my surgeon was actually the first doctor to bring ICL surgeries to Austria, which is kinda cool.

The Surgery

Quick sidenote for my surgery story, I did get sent home on the original day of the surgery, which was March 29th because my right eye had an infection and that had to be treated with antibiotics before the doctor would even touch my eye for an ICL surgery. A week later I ended up getting a new surgery date which was May 3rd. So yes, May 3rd was the day. I'm officially a month without glasses :)

Anyway, when I arrived at the hospital on the day of the surgery, the first thing the nurse did was put something in my eyes to get the pupil to expand as wide as possible because the bigger the pupil, the easier it is for the doctor to perform the surgery. They also gave me pills to calm the eyelids and as for sedation, you'll be awake during the entire process. Eyedrops are used to numb your eyes, they probably used the eyedrops on me like 20 minutes before the actual surgery and just kept on adding and adding more eyedrops to make sure everything is numb.

As for the actual surgery, it only takes around 10 minutes per eye. I did watch a few Youtube videos on ICL surgeries to see what exactly is happening during surgery, which made me think it would be so much worse than it actually was. I went in there thinking I'd be able to see everything happening, as it's an eye surgery. But obviously, you don't really see anything really. All you notice is a blurry light right in front of you. It kind of feels like you're watching tv while falling asleep; you know when your vision just gets blurry as your eyes keep closing and all you see is the lights of your tv? That's what I would compare the vision to. I didn't feel anything at all, it was so quick. As for my right eye, the contact lens kept flipping whenever the surgeon would put it under my cornea; so he had to take it out again and re-insert a new lens, which happened twice so for my recovery later on, I did notice my right eye having a little bit of a harder time.

After the surgery, I got some bandages over my eyes as well as little clear "cups" over them to protect my eyes from any dirt or me accidentally scratching my eyes. Basically, I was completely blind for the first 30 minutes after surgery. I had to stay in the hospital for around 1 hour after my surgery, the doctor did check on my eyes to see if everything settled nicely, which is also where they removed the bandages and only put back on the clear cups. After that, I already went home.

One thing I do want to mention to anyone thinking about ICL surgery is the fact that depending on the light incidence, like the angle the light hits your eyes, you might be seeing little blurry circles. I'm obviously not a doctor but I'm trying my best to explain what my doctor told me. An ICL lens is not like a regular contact lens that is completely round, an ICL lens is more rectangular; right in the center of the lens is a tiny little hole that is there to regulate the intraocular pressure (so basically the eye pressure), as inserting a lense under the cornea can increase that pressure (high intraocular pressure is not good, don't ask me for the exact health risks though). Anyway, depending on the angle of the light hitting your eyes, the light can hit right on that edge of the tiny hole and then it reflects off of that edge, projecting little circles for you to see in front of you. It's really strange and hard to explain but I personally don't mind it. It barely happens and I think the more it does happen, the more you just get used to it, and with time passing, you probably don't even notice it anymore. 

Recovery & Healing

Recovery was actually so quick and easy. The first day I could barely see anything because I just constantly had to put in several different eyedrops as well as an ointment for the eyes; also the clear cups had to stay on for the first day which also made my vision a little blurry. The very first night was also the only night where I did feel just a little scratching pain in my eyes (which is completely normal for this kind of surgery) but it was just super minor. The next morning I had my first checkup with my surgeon. I was allowed to remove the cups already, but he did recommend putting them back on in the evening so I can't accidentally rub my eyes while sleeping or anything. My eyes were looking a little dry for my first checkup, but with all the eyedrops and ointments, the doctor said that would quickly be fixed. 

Actually, as for my recovery, I could see completely fine the next day already. Depending on the light, sometimes my vision would get just a little bit blurry and my eyes were (and still are) very sensitive to light. I wore sunglasses and a baseball cap for the first week whenever I left my house. Even now, one month after surgery, I still notice how extremely sensitive my eyes are to the sun. But other than that, everything is great.

Like I said earlier, I did notice just a tiny bit of trouble with my right eye, where the lens had to be removed twice during surgery. My left eye was completely fine right the next day but with my right eye, I did notice my vision being a little more blurry for the first few weeks, also sometimes I would get that scratchy feeling as if I had something in my eye. It was really minor though, nothing I worried about to be honest. The right eye also had a lot more redness which stayed for probably a week or 1,5 weeks post-op. Now, one month post-op, both eyes seem completely fine. I'm also already done with all my eyedrops and ointments I had to use post-op.

Was it worth it?

Absolutely. I'd do it again and again without even thinking twice about it. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. Yes, it is extremely expensive but it was worth every single Euro for me.

Here are a few post-op impressions for you, just for the giggles:

First picture is me with the clear cups on my face to protect the eyes from basically anything; right picture is me with my red and very sensitive eyes the next day after surgery. The redness did stay for a while, especially on my right eye (as you can see).