Welcome back to the blog! Today I am going to share with you my experience with vision correction surgery, specifically ICL surgery.
I’ve never been one of those people who have had particularly good eyesight. I got my first pair of glasses in elementary school, and by the time I was in sixth grade, I graduated to contact lenses. My eyesight steadily got worse year after year, and I always needed a stronger and stronger prescription, which meant my lenses were getting more and more expensive. And to top it off, my eyes weren’t even the same prescription, so I had to always have two different boxes, and if I got them confused, hello vision induced migraines!
And I’ll be the first to admit, I’m lazy AF when it comes to changing my contact lenses. Not only were they expensive (and let’s be honest, vision insurance didn’t really put much of a dent in the cost of the lenses. And glasses and contacts? Forget it, it was one or the other). To me, it was such a hassle to take them out every night and put them back in in the mornings. Add in the fact that by the time I was late teens/early twenties, I was pretty much blind and couldn’t see anything clearly past six inches from my face, and you can start to understand why I never wanted to take my lenses out.
And before you get all up in the comments telling me how awful that is for your eye health, trust me, I know!
I got to the point where I was making a box of contact lenses last well over two years, and I was hardly taking my lenses out at night and just sleeping with them in. I almost never had any issues with my lenses and shockingly, my eyes stayed pretty healthy, other than some dryness issues. I had always wondered about getting vision correction surgery but figured I wasn’t a good candidate for it, because of how bad my vision was, and the fact that it kept getting a little worse each year.
Then one of my friends got vision correction surgery. And he said it was the best thing he had ever done. So I started looking into it a little more. I contacted Brinton Vision in St. Louis and set up an appointment to have a consultation done. At the very least, I could see if I was a candidate for vision correction surgery, right?
After going through several tests and measurements, I found out that while I wasn’t a candidate for laser correction surgery, I still had a few options for vision corrective surgery. I had been under the impression that there were only a few types of surgery but there are actually several different types, so the odds of finding something that works for you are very high. I was a perfect candidate for ICL implant surgery. This means that they were going to place a lens into my eye, behind the iris, and in front of the natural lens that is already in your eye. After reading over everything and discussing it with Matt, I decided to take the plunge and get the surgery.
The first step in getting ICL surgery is probably the worst part in my opinion. Basically, your pupil allows the fluid in your eye to move freely. When you place the lens into your eye, you are restricting the flow of those fluids and that can cause some serious damage to your eye. So they go in and make “drainage” holes in your iris to aid in the fluid flow and keep your eye healthy.
If I had to describe this to you, it would akin to someone holding you down and snapping a rubber band on your eye 10 or 12 times, then immediately rubbing sunscreen into it. My eyes hurt for roughly four hours post-procedure, but then I was just a little sensitive to light and the next day I was fine. Being the lucky duck that I am, I got to repeat this lovely step the day of my surgery, to ensure that the holes were completely through my iris and the fluid could do its fluidy thing.
The surgery typically takes place one eye at a time, because this can be a massive change for your brain to handle. I had to wear my glasses basically for two weeks since contacts can mess with the surface of your eye and cause the measurements to be off. They dilate your pupil (pro tip, keep that eye shut and away from light or it takes forever for your pupil to dilate) and then you head into the surgery room. You get to have a fancy drape stuck to your face so only one eye is visible, and then they put the contraption in that holds your eye open. None of this particularly hurts or is weird, because you can’t really see anything! They also clean your eye with a yellow solution and then add in some numbing gel. You never think about your eyes until they’ve been numbed and it is honestly the strangest sensation!
The doctor then makes two small incisions in your cornea to insert the lens in and also makes small anchor spots to hold the lens into place. It gets a little sketchy for a minute because your vision goes completely black and you see nothing for a few minutes. But then the lens is in place, and they swab your eye to clean it and you’re done. The whole procedure takes maybe 20 minutes if that!
Afterward, you chill for a few minutes then you can head out. You have to come back in a few hours to have a post-op check-in, and then again the next day for another check-in. I had some minor discomfort in my eyes for maybe 45 minutes, but after that, I couldn’t even tell you that something had happened, other than my vision in that eye was a little blurry still. By the next morning, my vision was almost 100% cleared up, and I could read several lines below what I had been reading with my contacts prior to surgery!
UPDATE- I originally wrote this post roughly a year out from my first surgery. My vision went from 20/400 to 20/12.5, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with it. I do want to mention that I did incur a small complication with my left eye ICL about a year after surgery. I noticed a cloudiness in my left eye that wouldn’t go away despite eye drops or rinsing my eye out. It turns out that my ICL lens was sitting too close to my natural lens, and this basically caused a cataract to develop in my eye. This is something that happens to less than 1% (according to ICL studies) of the people who have this procedure done. After speaking with Dr. Brinton, I made the decision to have RLE surgery done on my left eye this month. I’m happy to report that the surgery was successful and I can see clearly out of my left eye again! Even with having to have this additional procedure done, I would 100% do it all again. RLE is something I would have more than likely had to have down the road at some point anyway, and now I just have a jump on getting it done.
As always, if you have any questions about my experience with vision correction surgery, don’t hesitate to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest and sign up below to be the first to know when a new post hits the blog!
This post was not sponsored in any way by Brinton Vision. I received no compensation or discount for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.