Experiences 05.2014

Nadine D., Assistant

She had her eyes lasered in June 2015 by the touch-free SmartSurfACE method

Client Nadine Dietrich with her attending physician Dr. de Ortueta

Nadine Dietrich und Dr. Diego de Ortueta

Maria Widdermann, Dennis von Rüden, Nadine Dietrich and Dr Diego de Ortueta, Aurelios Eye Clinic

Von links: Maria Widdermann, Dennis von Rüden, Nadine Dietrich und Dr. Diego de Ortueta in der Aurelios Augenklinik

Nadine, how many years did you wear glasses?

I wore corrective lenses for 30 years, the last 15 years mostly hard contacts. When my son was born, I switched from hard contacts to soft (day) contacts. Before the operation I had –4.75 dioptres in my left eye and –5.0 in my right eye.

What bothered you most about wearing corrective lenses?

I never felt good wearing glasses, as I just didn’t think they made me look good, especially as my vision got worse. My eyes looked so small behind the lenses. Also, I love sport and windsurfing, and corrective lenses were always such a limitation. For surfing I had to use soft contact lenses, and even then I had to improvise a lot, since dust and water are the enemies of any contact lens. It was always a challenge to do sport without having my eyes hurting. Glasses were also a bother when jogging, and in general they were simply annoying. My eyes would often get tired from looking at a computer screen all day and at home I didn’t like wearing glasses. Especially with a small child, glasses and contacts were just an additional hindrance in daily life. But without them, I couldn’t see at all well and that doesn’t work with a baby. Plus there are the usual problems – babies like to grab at your face, glasses can get broken, contacts fall out – in short, glasses and contacts bothered me, not to mention the costs for super-reflective glasses or high-end hard contacts.

What did you consider before deciding to go ahead with eye lasering?

I put the most thought into what the right method for me would be, and what would happen if I got other indications in old age like cataracts. The cut in the eye that they do in Lasik might be a problem then. Plus there was the fear that the flap might not grow back properly – and that as a mother with a child and my love of sport. So Lasik was not the first choice for me personally. When touch-free TransPRK became available, I wanted to get it done on my eyes immediately. Trustworthy, honest advice about all the advantages and disadvantages was very important to me. An experienced surgeon who was concerned about the good of his patients, and who used one of the world’s most advanced eye laser systems, was the perfect combination. I had very little reservations about any pain that might be involved. I gladly accepted that risk. Pain is relative and I thought “occasional pain” during a 24-hour period, what is that against having good eyes afterwards?

Were you afraid of the laser treatment?

Not really, since I’ve known my doctor, Dr de Ortueta, for a long time and also knew how he works and how careful he is.

What was the procedure like?

First they anaesthetised my eyes with drops, so I didn’t feel anything. Then they put on the lid speculum and taped my eyelids open. First you hear the “rushing” of the laser beam, and then it felt like a soft breeze on my eye. My vision got milkier and milkier. The fixation light got dimmer and dimmer. When the laser stopped, all I could see was a blurry, milky soup. But once Dr de Ortueta had moistened my eyes and put on the bandage lens, I could see amazingly clearly.

Could you see everything right after the laser treatment? What kind of feeling was that?

Immediately after the procedure I had 40% visual acuity, so it was still limited and I couldn’t see everything entirely clearly yet. But it was already much better than before without glasses. The next morning the epithelium was already two-thirds closed and my visual acuity had improved to 45%. After about 20 days I had constant 100% acuity.

Did you experience pain in the days following the operation?

During the consultation I was told that barely 10% of patients experience any pain worth mentioning after TransPRK. I did, because contrary to expectations I was among the 10% who do have controllable pain after TransPRK treatment. But it was no big problem – headache-like, sometimes dry eyes, tiredness, occasional acute pain. Not continuous, and only during a 24-hour period. It was the final epithelium closure process. Local painkillers kept it within a reasonable and controllable range. Looking back, it was definitely worth it.

You said you really enjoy sport. How long did it take until you could get back to it?

I gave myself a 2-week break. I wanted to avoid getting something in my eye needlessly. I could have started earlier. There’s no reason not to get back into normal fitness training after about 5 days.

How has your life changed after getting your eyes lasered?

Since the operation I can do things that would have been almost impossible before, like go snorkelling on holiday. The feeling of not being dependent on corrective lenses is really great. I think that the operation has greatly improved my quality of life. Not to mention the feeling when you wake up in the morning and see well instantly! I still love it, even after three years.

What advice do you have for people who might be thinking about getting their eyes lasered?

You need to be well informed about treatment methods, consider their advantages and disadvantages, and think about possible indications later in life, like cataracts. It’s important to be able to trust the doctor, and not try to save money in the wrong place.