May 26, 2016

Before, During, and After ReLEx Surgery in TRSC Bangkok Thailand

Hello!

There are plenty information regarding ReLEx on the internet, but I would like to share mine. I hope it is helpful.


BEFORE SURGERY

I live in Yangon, Myanmar. There are 2 options for me where to get the surgery: Singapore or Thailand. The surgery price are more or less the same, but the cost to go there, accommodation, transportation, food, etc = Thailand is much affordable. Thailand people (in the hospital / eye center) look more friendly; while Singapore people are very 'precise' - fast and efficient -- if you are from very friendly environment, you might think they are pretty 'rude'.

I decided to go to Thailand, TRSC. A short email from me got myself a very long email from TRSC, which amaze me! It explains almost everything I need to know as an international patient. Let me summarized the email a bit here:
  1. There will be list of questions regarding your eyes that you need to answer. Some important questions/notes/recommendations are: recommended age of the patient, medicine and drug allergy, history of past eye illnesses or operation,  current eye prescription (not much changed within 1 year. bigger that 6.0 has slightly higher risk), not wearing soft lenses minimum of 3 days, for hard lenses at least 2-3 weeks, dates of travel (it is recommended to stay in Bangkok in 5 days), information of when the eye center closed, recommended not to do surgery if you are pregnant or breastfeeding (fluctuations on hormone. plus, it is also recommended to hold the plan to get pregnant until 3 months after the surgery). 
  2. The result of anti-HIV blood test is required on the day of surgery. You can get it in BNH hospital (very close to TRSC) on the same date with the surgery (in the morning). More details on "ON THE DATE OF SURGERY" section. 
  3. Explanation of what will be done before, during, and after surgery. 
  4. Price of surgery and other fees and accepted payment method (Cash, Credit and debit cards: AMEX, DINERS, VISA and MASTER). We paid with all cash and got some cash back!
  5. It is recommended to go with your friend, because after the surgery your eyes will be covered by eye shield (that make you look like a grasshopper - in my honest opinion) - it is pretty difficult to see - for sure you are not recommended to drive yourself.
  6. Also, bring your sunglasses and hat!
  7. Please refrain from wearing any perfume, deodorant, or anything with an odor on the day of the surgery as the vapors and odors from alcohol and perfumes may affect the laser. Please do not consume any alcohol before the surgery. (TRSC)
  8. When you arrange the surgery schedule, they will give 4 items, here were mine:
  • The pre-operative eye exam: Monday May 2, 2016 at 9.00 hrs.
  • If you are a candidate, surgery: Monday May 2, 2016 at 15.50 hrs.
  • The 1-day follow up: Tuesday May 3, 2016 at 9.00 hrs.
  • The 1-week follow up: Monday May 9, 2016 at 13.00 hrs.
Let's go back a bit to some of the options (there are more that I don't cover. Please excuse me to use very simple terms that I understand):
LASIK or Lasik (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis), commonly referred to as laser eye surgery or laser vision correction, is a type of refractive surgery for the correction of myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. The LASIK surgery is performed by an ophthalmologist who uses a laser or microkeratome to reshape the eye's cornea in order to improve visual acuity.[1] For most patients, LASIK provides a permanent alternative to eyeglasses or contact lenses. (wiki)
  • PRK : The first PRK procedure was performed in 1987 (wiki). For some proffesionals, such as pilot and boxer (?), will choose this over LASIK. LASIK and ReLEx will leave 'scar' that can be easily check by an equipment. PRK takes longer time to heal, compare to LASIK.
  • LASIK : In 1992, under the direction of the FDA, Greek ophthalmologist Ioannis Pallikaris introduced LASIK to ten VISX centres (wiki). "Flap" created on the eye surface. There are several different technologies for LASIK, such as blade and blade-less LASIK.
  • ReLEx : 3rd Generation Laser Vision Correction. No flap and heal faster. Read more: http://www.lasikthai.com/cms.php?ref=do:read/id:62, Zeiss

ON THE DATE OF SURGERY

9.00 in the morning I went to TRSC, I was lead to pay the eyes examination fee and run various eye tests such as the myopia degree, the measurement of your pupil size, topographic mappings of your corneas, your eye pressure (IOP), detailed wavefront measurements of the optics of your eyes, and measurement of your refractive error twice, before and after dilating your pupils (TRSC). 

It is also required to watch a detailed multi-media presentation about ReLEx/LASIK (necessary information for each patient to better understand ReLEx/LASIK) provided by TRSC, to later on sign the Consent Form. Watching the video did make me want to back out  a bit. 
Afterwards, I met the doctor and informed that I was eligible to take ReLEx.

After all test done - it was about 12 at that time, I went to BNH (11 min walk according to Google Map) to take anti-HIV blood test and go find some food. Going back to BNH to take test result after 2.5 hours, and go to TRSC.

After paying the surgery, I entered the surgery area around 4 PM, sitting on a comfortable seat while the nurse kept coming back to me every a couple minutes to explain about the eye drop (some antibiotic and to numb the eyes) and put the eye drops.
At one point the doctor came and explained how the surgery will be done - all I can remember that during the surgery, I have to focus and follow the light for several seconds (and she said she will remind me again during surgery). I think I was in the surgery area about 15 minutes? There was no pain during the surgery. Right after the surgery, I have my 'perfect' eye sight!
Anyway, after settling up with eye shield, some medicine (paracetamol and valium), and eye drop, I was send home!

Feeling tired, I spent the rest of the day on bed and trying to sleep. Lucky for me, without the valium, I could sleep the whole night! My eyes was heavy and feel a bit sandy, I will say it felt like I was wearing the contact lenses whole day and felt so tired, but to wound-pain feeling. 

Caution! This video contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing



SURGERY DAY +1, +7

Morning was fine, still with eye shield on, ate breakfast and went to TRSC. Some eyes check and met the doctor. Everything was fine. I could already see as fine as when I was wearing the weary contact lenses (because it was blurry! but the doctor said that is normal). The doctor said it will take about 3 months to adjust, during that time blur is normal, at some days might be much clear, at others might not be blur. Leaving TRSC without eye shield - but need to wear it during bed time for 3 nights (I did 5 nights, just in case). No rubbing!!
Another meeting with the doctor after 7 days. Looked like everything was fine, again, luckily!
During the first 2 weeks I put the tear drop every hour, now after 3 weeks: every 3-4 hours.


WHAT NOW?

It's been 24 days. I really think this is magic! I still think I am wearing glasses / contact lenses now, and at some point I really thought so and I was thinking, oh it's time to take out the contact lenses.
I don't think I see halos.
It still blur though, especially in the morning when I lack of sleep. I tried to close my eyes for half a minute every half an hour. Bought another 2 boxes (1 box = 32 vials) back to Yangon.
I will go back to TRSC to check my eyes up in 3 months, and 6 months.


I hope this is helpful, feel free to drop me any question, and, good luck for those whose going to get the surgery!

Regards,



Eye shield




Tear drop