There are some moments in time that will remain etched in our memories forever. In all likelihood, these are also the moments that had a major impact on our day to day lives and for ease of understanding, I’m going to term them as ‘turning points’.
It’s easy to recall some of my turning points, graduation day, followed by my marriage. Then the birth of my only child, a daughter called Neha, my first book launch and just last Wednesday, the day I watched Neha undergo ‘Z Lasik’ surgery.
Image Source- The Irish Times
Having taken the decision to go in for ‘Z (Zeimer) Lasik surgery’ was only the first step to watching a whole new way of life and living unfold. Day 4 and we can already see it in operation, there’s no need for her to wear contacts or glasses and she can now read things from a distance that was unimaginable just days ago.
And from what were given to understand, this quality of vision is there to stay forever, the only caveat being that the few prescribed ‘dos and don’ts’ are accurately followed through.
So what is Z-Lasik? As recently as ten years ago, laser eye surgery routinely resulted in days of dull pain, sensitivity to light, potentially blurry night vision and the need to wear some protection by way of eye patches or something like that.
However, the Z-Lasik technique can deliver a correction with relatively few side effects, once the first couple of hours of pain can be tolerated and the patient has had the opportunity to get a few hours of sleep and rest for a day in a dimly lit, cool and comfortable room.
A sophisticated procedure which has been hailed as the most advanced innovation in ‘bladeless surgery’, it involves the use of a high-frequency laser to correct a variety of refractive eye problems, including myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and presbyopia among other eye diseases.
After a thorough investigation, the patient is carefully chosen for the surgery which usually takes 60 to 90 minutes.
As explained by a renowned eye surgeon in simple language, “When you’re short-sighted, the light gets bent inwards too much by your cornea. So the treatment aims to reduce the curve of the cornea by flattening it.
"Quite simply, we polish the top off. With every pulse, lasers can remove one quarter of a millionth of a metre of tissue, pain-free.”
Before the corrective lasering can begin, the surgeon must create a window in the eye. Better still, with the Ziemer, a so-called ‘blade-free’ laser which has the added advantage of cutting a thinner flap, patients with only a mild prescription can be treated with greater precision.
I was allowed to watch the surgery as well as click photographs through a glass partition and will try and describe what I saw as accurately as possible. A clamp designed to keep Neha’s eyes open during the operation was lowered on to her face, and I’m sure that it couldn’t have been easy for her to deal with.
Despite the fact that she was given anesthesia before the surgery, there was a distinct element of pain felt during the procedure. The actual laser part of the surgery was something that I focused on as closely as I could and must honestly say that it was very difficult with the thunderous sound of my heartbeats threatening to deafen me!
The surgical team inside seemed to be completely in command and in fact, one of the assistants pointed out a television screen towards the top of the room from where I could watch the entire procedure that was magnified. One eye over, the second eye was done shortly after.
Immediately after the surgery, a specially designed pair of goggles was put onto her eyes and we went home. All through the drive (just 15 minutes) I was very aware of the fact that Neha was in pain and could not bear any kind of light at all, lying back with her eyes completely closed.
Fortunately, a pain killer had been provided to her for just such a possibility and with that inside her, followed by an afternoon’s rest, things seemed so much better. What I particularly liked was the fact that on the third day, she could actually read lines from an A4 sized sheet of paper from almost 6-7 feet away.
If anything could sound better than that, it’s the qualitative difference that has come about in her day to day life. There’s no need to hunt for and put on that daily set of contacts, and certainly no likelihood of spectacles hereafter.
As for me, I will close by coming back to where I began. “There are some tuning points in life....”
NB- This piece was originally written by me for my column My Take in Muscat Daily