Unbelievably, 20/20

I never thought that I could say this again but I can finally see clearly through my own eyes. I’m still getting used to it but I’m back to 20/20 vision, and I couldn’t be more grateful and thankful for all the love and support of the people who made a little girl’s dream come to life. 

I used to struggle with thick glasses and contact lenses but now I have no hassle of these "external aids" anymore. God has truly blessed me with an opportunity in disguise and it’s truly in his own perfect timing that I was able to witness my most life-changing experience ever. 

Last Friday, I went through my first ever surgery at Asian Eye Institute. As shared with you all before, I failed the Lasik screening because of my high myopia and astigmatism. Although, luckily, I was still able to pass a test called Phakic IOL Implantation or Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL).

Having this surgery done has been by far one of the most important treasures in my life and I’d love to share with you all this amazing journey of mine.

If you ask me, I’ve never felt so ALIVE cause an ultimate dream of mine has come true in what I believe was God’s perfect timing. 

Road to ICL 
Just a quick recap... I went through a four hour screening at AEI (Asian Eye Institute) 3 weeks ago to check if whether or not I was a candidate for Lasik. Sadly, I didn’t pass the test but it turned out to be a great blessing in disguise cause I found out that my retina was very weak and close to detaching. Mind you, having a detached retina could cause loss of vision. So to strengthen it, I had a retina laser procedure done which happened for around 10 minutes. 

During this same time period, I was introduced to Dr. Ang who talked to me and my parents about ICL. Not to get our hopes up, his expertise definitely assured me of one of the biggest decisions I had to make. To be honest, deciding to go through the surgery was really tough for me because of the external factors that came with it like the feeling of anxiety,  the overall price of having it done and the healing period since I was bound for a trip soon. 

I honestly couldn’t help but cry because I felt guilty especially cause of how much it would cost to make this come true. I was just lucky that I have the best parents in the world who convinced me and supported me all the way. They both never stopped telling me how this opportunity was right in front of me and how this would benefit me for a lifetime. To have less eye complications than what I already endured and to actually see the world clearly to would be benefits that I could never replace. So there and then I did it, I took the risk and decided to go for surgery because I knew it would be an investment of a lifetime.

What is ICL? 
I honestly don’t want to go into too much detail about this procedure since I took photos of the brochure which if interested, you can read to help you learn more. 

Front Cover 

Brochure Information 

Back Cover 

But basically to keep it short and simple, only one company in the world called STAAR Surgical creates these special implantable lenses. These lenses are ordered from abroad and shipped to AEI. These lenses are injected in seconds in both eyes then it takes place  between the iris and the eye lens.  Just like me, you might wonder... what will happen if vision changes and complications happen once I'm older?  If vision changes significantly or if cataracts are developed, lenses could be removed or replaced because it does not alter the structures of the eye or cornea. This actually is the cool feature of this procedure cause unlike lasik which is permanent, it’s reversible. 

Prepping for ICL Surgery
So before the actual surgery, I was told to get an FBS (Fasting Blood Sugar) and ECG (Electrocardiogram) just to make sure that I’ll be okay on the day of surgery and to guide the anesthesiologist. I did these tests in St. Lukes, two days before and it was really fast. The results just took a while. 

Also since this was my first ever surgery, I asked for God’s protection and guidance during mass and confession. 

Pre-ICL Surgery 
My surgery was scheduled at 8:30am but I had to be at AEI around 6:30am for all the needed preparations which I already knew would take long (since we were informed the day before). I honestly didn’t have any emotions yet.

The first thing they told me to do when I arrived was to change into scrubs and to sit in a lazy boy chair. A nurse assisted me since they had to take my glasses off. Two different eyedrops were constantly placed in my eye- one for dilation and the other one was anesthesia. While this was happening, I was interviewed for past medical history then an IVY was also placed in my hand. I honestly didn’t really like the feeling of the IVY cause it was painful and it was at this moment that I got really anxious for the surgery. It was already in my mind that it was bound to happen. 
The next step after the IVY was eye marking to guide the doctor during operation. It took only 5 minutes, then they made me rest back in the lazy boy chair to wait for my turn for surgery. While this was happening, an old man was in the room who also talked to me. We talked about our surgeries and we wished each other luck. For me, I took this moment as God reassuring me that everything will be okay after the surgery. I felt comfort then. 

I waited for around an hour for my turn and I honestly couldn’t see anything. It was all such a blur. I couldn’t even see the face of the nurse or doctors who assisted me. I honestly didn’t know what to expect.

ICL Surgery 
When it was my turn, I was told to lie down in a hospital bed and I was wheeled down to the operating room. This was the moment when I felt really scared. When I was in the room, I remember the BP and heart rate monitors being attached to me. A bright light was above me and there were nurses who immediately cleaned my eyes with betadine. I could hear my pulse increasing cause I knew it was finally the moment of the surgery. I was then lightly sedated and the surgery started.

I honestly don’t know how long the procedure took but all I remember was Dr. Ang saying "look straight.: All I remember seeing was lava texture inside a kaleidoscope. There were a lot of gooey colors. Honestly, I didn’t feel any pain at all. Before I even knew it, it was over and I was wheeled out of the room. 

Post-ICL Surgery 
It was really weird cause I could visually see how sharper my surroundings were. My eyes were dilated though so it wasn’t a 100% clear but it was better than the usual cause I could finally see the face of the nurses and doctors who assisted me. I relaxed in a lazy boy chair again for 2 hours since they had to observe me. It felt weird and my eyes felt really stingy. I couldn’t help but be in awe cause despite the dilation causing the blurring effect, my vision was sharper and different. For me, it was just unbelievable.

The Eyedrops 

So I was finally discharged from AEI around 12 noon. It felt so weird cause it was my first time to be wheeled down through a wheelchair. I was given four eyedrops to be done 4 times in a day and also protective goggles to be worn for 3 days since I wasn’t allowed to wet my eyes for precautionary measures. 

The Protective Goggles 

On the way home, everything was visually sharp and clearer. I couldn’t help but tell my parents over and over again about it and I endlessly thanked them for blessing me with the best gift I could ever ask for in this lifetime. 

Right now as I’m writing this story, I am on my fourth day out of surgery so I’m not using the protective goggles anymore. I’m slowly seeing the full effect of the operation and I am overwhelmed and filled with so much joy of what I’m seeing. Never did I imagine to feel like this nor to see the world in this way again. I am beyond grateful. 

I would really like to thank Dr. Ang and his team for a painless and comfortable procedure in Asian Eye Institute. I would most definitely would like to thank my family especially my parents and lola who shared their love and support since the day I made the decision. Thanks also to all my supportive friends. 

As my parents mentioned to me, God gave me a second chance to see the beauty of the world in high definition. I will truly not take this gift for granted. 

So you might wonder, what’s the deeper meaning to this story I just shared? Nothing really…I’m just really happy and I couldn't stop myself from sharing this special moment with you all. 

The biggest takeaway I guess I’d like you to take from this story is to believe that things fall into place in God’s perfect time. During the time you least expect it, you’ll be surprised on the blessings you'll receive and the second chance you're given. Don't be afraid. Stay positive. Be grateful and as much as possible, share these blessings with other people. 

Right now with my “new eyes," I’m excited to experience the world and share its beauty and stories with you all. I've actually been in continuous follow up check ups with Dr. Ang and so far so good. My vision might have fluctuations from 20/20 to 20/25 but it's still a beautiful gift that I'm forever grateful to receive from up above. And oh, one interesting fact that I learned from the doctors office the other day is that crying helps improve vision cause it has certain elements that make your eyes healthier. Not to say we should do this but crying isn't all that bad after all. 

1 comment

  1. Thank you for this blog maam! i will undergo ICL surgery on Feb 13 next month.