This is what really happens when you have laser eye surgery – and how much pain to expect

Does laser eye surgery can you hurt? Yes, I can tell you that it is not. The procedure was performed in the name research. The amazing Professor Reinstein from the London Vision Clinic has corrected many celebrities’ visions, including the Rolling Stones, Lorraine Kelly, Carol Vorderman, and Phillip Schofield.

Since I was 14, I have worn contact lenses. Although they have not bothered me in any way, I will admit that they have been annoying. I would have my eyes ruined by suncream, sand, and saltwater on holiday. My lenses were necessary to enjoy the views and swim or relax on the beach. This is a problem I have faced every summer for since I can remember.

They were also the ones I cursed on mornings when one of my lenses wouldn’t fit, my mascara would leak, and my morning routine would be completely disrupted. In exchange for an honest review, I was given a chance to have LASIK surgery.

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First, the clinic must conduct a whole morning or afternoon of eye exams to determine if you are eligible for the procedure. The range of tests performed was beyond what an optician would check. Many examinations used high-tech equipment. Comprehensive testing includes scans including Topography, Tomography, Pachymetry, Optical Coherence Tomography (including epithelial mapping), and Pupillometry. The initial consultation takes around 3.5 hours. It is a comprehensive eye MOT, and the clinic believes it is one of the best in the UK. You will meet your Patient Care Coordinator, who will guide you through the process and answer any questions. My research shows that no UK clinic does this level of preoperative testing before surgery.

After all the procedures, I was informed that my eligibility for laser eye surgery was confirmed. I was best suited for the keyhole treatment called ReLExSMILE. I was provided with detailed instructions and information. I was then instructed to leave for a cooling-off period to consider whether I wanted to continue.

It seemed like a simple decision after considering both the benefits and the risks. According to the British Contact Lens Association, approximately six per 100,000 contact lens wearers experience vision loss annually from corneal infections. So it’s not as though there aren’t any risks. I trusted the staff and had complete faith in them. They were supportive and caring right from the beginning.

I was able to confirm that it was a yes. The next step was to schedule a consultation with Professor Reinstein. He is a world-renowned surgeon who pioneered laser eye surgery techniques such as Laser Blended Vision and has dedicated his life to performing LASIK and other vision-enhancing surgeries. In 2002, he also established the London Vision Clinic.

He explained that he enjoys the ability to “repeat perfection over and over again.” He is also an accomplished saxophonist and invites his patients to enjoy a night of jazz at the 606 Club in Chelsea. “The platinum package!” He laughed when he invited me to a gig that night, right after my surgery.

Professor Reinstein was a man I trusted completely. He put my mind at ease, answered all my questions, and even asked me if he would perform the surgery on my family. (Spoiler alert: he has already performed the surgery on his mom, dad, and wife!) However, I felt nervous as the date for my surgery approached. He said that performing the surgery flawlessly every time is half of his job. The other half is managing patients’ anxiety. The clinic places a lot of emphasis on making patients feel relaxed before the procedure begins. After checking in, I received a head and neck massage. Then I sat down in a darkened room and listened to gentle waves crash against the shore. It felt more like I was in a spa than a Harley Street clinic.

After anesthetic drops had numbed my eyes entirely, I was taken to theatre, where I was given a cuddly doll to hold. Professor Reinstein calmly explained to me what was going to happen and how it would feel. I was told to look at a bright, shining light. It took me about 40 seconds for each eye before I realized it.

It was almost as if I was in a sauna. Finally, after five minutes, my boyfriend and his daughter arrived to collect me and drive me home in a taxi. (FYI: After surgery, you cannot ride on public transport because of dirt or pollution. Also, you will be instructed to close your eyes for the first few hours.

It was painless. My eyes didn’t feel dry or scratchy, as I was warned. My boyfriend brought eye drops to my eyes every half an hour for the next five hours. I stayed in bed for five more hours. I was awake by 3:00 p.m. that day. Professor Reinstein said to me that I had the vision of a fighter jet pilot when I returned from my post-op visit. It was unbelievable. He allowed me to drive again and encouraged me to resume other activities. He also showed me incredible photos of my eyes and how they were healing.

“It’s unbelievable that I ever was worried about this!” He was amazed when I said it. This is what everyone says. My surgery was four months ago, and I can honestly say that it has completely changed my life. It is a beautiful feeling to be able to see clearly when I awake in the morning. It’s liberating not to have contact lenses. It feels like a miracle to me,” I’ve told anyone who asked about it. It’s true.

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