Hi friends! It’s me, checking in with a huge life update. I JUST underwent ICL Surgery for my extreme nearsightedness and I’ve been so excited to share my experience with you!
I grew up not being able to see for as long as I can remember. Like, I’m talking VERY poor vision. I’d accepted imperfect eyes as a part of my life, but it was a persistent annoyance. Being tied to glasses and contacts was an ongoing frustration. But even so, the thought of getting laser eye surgery to correct my vision after about 20+ years of wearing glasses and contacts made me a little bit nervous. I mean, I’ve lived with my bad eyes since I was 10 years old…why can’t I live with it for the rest of my life?
So, if you’re here because you are in the same boat, let me assure you… you’re not alone! Making the decision to have laser eye surgery—and then recovering afterward—can be an emotional rollercoaster, but it is one that is well worth it. (Promise!) I’m sharing my experience below, from pre- to post-op, so read on for my complete laser eye surgery diary…
What is ICL Eye Surgery?
Without getting too technical, there are a number of different types of laser eye surgery options out there, one may stand out as the most popular—LASIK. While I personally wasn’t a candidate for LASIK, I was a good fit for ICL Surgery. Not familiar? I wasn’t either.
The Visian ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens), also known as permanent contact lenses, is a small lens that is permanently implanted in the eye behind the iris and in front of the natural lens through a tiny incision. The key difference being that the ICL is placed inside the eye opposed to on the outer surfaces. The ICL does not replace the eye’s natural lens but is specially shaped to work with it in order to correct vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
ICLs have some really appealing features. Because the ICL is a technology that is added to the eye, the eye can remain in its natural state without having anything permanently changed. So that means the ICL can be upgraded, replaced, or removed as my visual needs change over the rest of my life. For example when I am older and need cataract surgery, the ICL can be removed and then I can have cataract surgery and take advantage of whatever new technology is available at that time just like everyone else.
While ICLs cannot be seen from the outside once in place, they deliver incredibly crisp vision – without the need for glasses or contact lenses!
Before My Surgery
Before knowing which procedure would be best for me, I met with the Kugler Vision team for an EyeAnalysis consultation appointment to discuss my options, see if I was a candidate for surgery, and determine my current vision. What I didn’t realize is that Kugler Vision offers multiple vision correction surgery options that can help patients see clearly — including for many people who have been told they are not candidates for LASIK, like myself.
As I mentioned briefly above, Dr. Kugler and team all agreed that ICL Surgery would be the best route for me. Here’s a little bit about why…
Both LASIK and ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens) can be used to correct nearsightedness. However, ICL is frequently recommended for patients like myself with a very high glasses prescription who is not a candidate for LASIK.
After meeting with their doctors, it was a no brainer. The entire Kugler Team, from up front to behind the scenes, were amazing. They made what could have been a scary, and somewhat intimidating process, comfortable, fun, and smooth. I knew I was in such good hands and finally at a place in my life where I deserved my visual freedom.
I scheduled my appointment for surgery, was asked to not wear my contacts for at least 3 days prior, and began the prescribed drops to prep for my procedure.
The Day Of
On the morning of my surgery, I simply plopped a few eye drops into my eyes as directed, washed my face to make sure it was clear of any makeup or debris, and headed to Kugler Vision. After I arrived, I was taken to a small relaxing room equipped with a massage chair and music, which definitely helped calm my nerves before the surgery. I was given a blue surgical cap to add to my ensemble to wear during my procedure. They numbed my eyes with numbing drops, and then it was almost go-time!
The entire procedure was done in under 20 minutes, and I didn’t feel a single thing. (At the very most, I felt a bit of pressure on my eye every now and then, but it was nothing uncomfortable.) You’ll lie down on a comfortable bed and a small, gentle blink protector will be put into place so that you do not need to worry about blinking during the procedure.
Immediately afterward, the staff provided me a goodie bag with all the essentials needed for the next week as well as a pair of large, extremely stylish (just kidding) sunglasses to help avoid any light sensitivity. For the first day I could see at about 80%, but I was forewarned that my vision would fluctuate over the next several weeks throughout the healing process. They sent me home to rest and I slept for a few hours—doctor’s orders!
Dr. Kugler puts you at ease, and talks you through the entire surgery, his positive attitude and relaxing demeanor is great when you’re anxious like myself about seeing things come toward your eyeballs. Getting a call from him directly the same evening asking how your doing, shows you how valued you are as a patient.
The First Week
1-2 Days Post-Op:
For the first few days, my eyes felt AMAZING but a little dry. It was such a rapid recovery! Let’s just say I drove to my next day Post-Op check-in without contacts or glasses! I’ve never in my life been able to operate a vehicle without corrective measures, so this was a FIRST for me. But as far as pain and down time goes, absolutely none. Most ICL patients like myself, typically experience little if any discomfort during or after the procedure. Most patients are able to resume regular activities, including returning to work, the day after surgery.
Following your procedure, you’re provided with instructions as well as eye shields to wear at night for the first week so you don’t accidentally rub your eyes while you sleep. You’ll also schedule follow-up examinations for a few hours after your procedure and the morning after surgery so Dr. Kugler can personally ensure that your new vision is progressing well.
1-2 Weeks Post-Op:
SPOILER ALERT: I CAN SEE!!!
At the end of the first week, I went back to the clinic to have check-in. I am happy to share that I now have better vision than I ever had experienced in my life. Immediately after surgery, I had 20/40 vision. By the next week, it was perfect: 20/20. (I used to be 20/400!) I was the girl that couldn’t see the big E on the eye chart, they had to use fingers in front of my face.
The Long Run
1 Month After Surgery:
How time flies! It’s already been 1 month since my ICL surgery and I’m happy to say that I have recovered nicely! I had a check-in appointment this week and my vision is still 20/20 with no side effects. My next update will be a year later! *throws confetti*
Vision is 20/20, but my vision does get a tad blurry when I am tired, but hey, who doesn’t.. haha
I’m still sticking with eye drops every 1-2 days as my eyes are drier than pre-surgery, but that is expected for the first several weeks and is gradually getting better. By the second week, my vision became noticeably clearer and my eyes started to balance out and “communicate” with one another to see normally.
I just went on my first family vacation post-surgery and what an amazing difference traveling with no glasses/contacts made! What a relief to no longer have to worry about dry airplane cabins or bringing extra supplies of contacts and lens solutions.
I’ll still find myself automatically going through the motions to put in my contacts. Then I catch myself and have a laugh and remember I don’t have to do that anymore. I’m sure that may take more time to break a 20+ year habit.. 🙂
I’m so incredibly happy with the results. It’s been so freeing not to be attached to my glasses or my contacts. They were my lifeline.
Little things like not being able to get your day started until you search for your glasses, or being able to go get my son out of his crib until I put in my contacts, you think are small enough, but it’s when that was no longer part of my daily routine, I TRULY realized how much my life has changed for the better.
When you become a new mom your life is centered around your little human so I couldn’t tell you the last time I’ve done something for myself. This decision has been the ultimate act of self care and truly life changing. Now that I have visual freedom, I get to focus on being a mom.
Thank You Kugler Vision! I am profoundly grateful.
Even if you’ve been told you are not a candidate for LASIK surgery due to high prescription like myself, you may still be able to enjoy great vision. Get in touch with the Kugler Vision team for a consultation. They will give you all the information you need to determine your best option for vision correction.
Have you ever thought about getting laser eye surgery? Or if you already have, how was your experience?
Tell me all about it below.