She had her eyes lasered in April 2003 by the LASEK flap method
Thomas Christmann, MD, and Tanja Rücker
Tanja, how many years did you wear glasses?
I got my first pair of glasses in my first year of school when I was 6. I switched to contacts when I was 12. So I’ve worn corrective lenses for 26 years all told.
What bothered you most about wearing corrective lenses?
I never liked the way I looked with glasses. I don’t think I have the right kind of face for them. Plus, they always got in the way when I did sport. It was also annoying the way my glasses would always fog over. But with my bad vision (–6.50 dioptres) I couldn’t do without. It was lots better with contact lenses. I could handle them well. But I always took them out when I went swimming, as I was afraid I might lose them. I wore hard contact lenses because I couldn’t tolerate the soft ones. And it was most unpleasant when something got under the contacts, like sand or dust. It was very painful and I had to take the lenses out right away.
What did you consider before deciding to go ahead with eye lasering? Were you afraid?
Naturally I was a little afraid that something might go wrong and I wouldn’t be able to see well afterwards. But an in-depth consultation with the doctor helped a lot and made the decision easier. Plus I had very nice colleagues who assured me that I was in good hands with Dr Christmann.
I was a little anxious about the procedure itself. If I had known beforehand how fast and relatively painless it would be, I wouldn’t have worried about it so much. And ultimately the desire to finally see well again was stronger than the fear.
How did you feel during the procedure?
I was definitely apprehensive, but the doctor and the assistants at the clinic were very nice, kept me calm, and reassured me.
The only thing I didn’t like about the actual procedure was the lid scapula that kept my eyes open. Otherwise I didn’t feel a thing and was surprised at how fast everything went.
Could you see everything right after the laser treatment? What kind of feeling was that?
It was a long time ago but I still remember how I went home and had to put two eye patches over my eyes. My eyes burned and teared for a while too. The next day I had to go the clinic for a post-op check. I could already see pretty well by that point. It was an incredibly good feeling to be able to see so well without glasses or contacts after such a long time. I remember that for a long time I would automatically reach for my glasses in the morning when I got up, only to then realise with delight that I could see clearly without them.
How has your life changed after getting your eyes lasered?
For me personally, my quality of life has gone up. It’s still a great feeling to be able to see clearly again without corrective lenses.
What advice do you have for people who might be thinking about getting their eyes lasered?
I made the decision based on my personal pain limit. From one day to the next I just stopped being able to stand wearing contacts. And glasses were a huge bother, especially when I did sport. Also, my little girl would always try to pull my glasses off my face. I quickly decided that I didn’t want to put up with any of that any longer and so I decided to get the procedure done. I haven’t regretted it, and am still very happy about it. So if I had one piece of advice, it would be: listen to your intuition.