Finn Ni Fhaolain's LASIK at the WEC
Seeing is Believing – My Laser Eye Surgery with the Wellington Eye Clinic
I was one of those lucky little ducks who for all my young life (till age 16) had perfect eyesight. Want to know what that bird is out to sea? Ask Finn. Need to know what number bus is at the end of the road in the dark? I got you!
And just towards the end of secondary school (I’m looking at you leaving cert) everything started to get a little fuzzy. Damn genetics. Like my mother, grandmother and basically everyone else in my family, I needed glasses.
Now don’t shoot me here. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with glasses. Some people wear them and they look just effortlessly cool, more intelligent, maybe even a little French. I just look uncomfortable. Read on to find out about my laser eye surgery journey here.
Wearing glasses has never suited me. When I’m rushing around, when I’m nervous/giving a presentation they just fog up and I feel like an absolute ejit. When I work at sea on research vessels they are a complete hindrance.
First of all you have to prove you’re bringing two pairs, in case one pair falls overboard. Then you have to do an eye test before you leave. When it gets to actual work you have to stuff your glasses under your science goggles and then eventually get a headache from the pressure on the sides of your head. Outside there is constantly sea spray getting on the glasses or on a nice day you’re switching between regular glasses and prescription shades all the while trying not to lose either or get them crushed in any of the machinery. Come back in from the cold at night and they fog up.
Now that I do a lot of catering work, the main battle is glasses steaming up opening ovens and looking over pots, taking glasses off to read recipes and then forgetting where the glasses are.
And thats just professionally. I love to be outdoors, ever since I was little I’ve rambled and scrambled around the country side with my parents, hiking, swimming and later in my teens surfing. Needing glasses has impaired me in the water massively. I can’t see the bigger waves out the back on their way to me, I can’t see important features on land that tell me how I’m moving with the current and I can’t see other people so well (are they friendly, are they in my way/am I in theirs etc).
So why don’t you just wear contacts you ask? With science (and science at sea) I can’t wear them working with chemicals and working split shifts and sleeping 4 hours twice a day would mean two sets of contacts a day (expensive). Contacts aren’t great cooking as I can feel the heat dries my eyes. But the biggest most annoying no no is I can’t wear them in the sea surfing or swimming. Wearing contacts causes tiny cuts (more details on this) on the surface of the eye and while this can be ok for someone who works at a computer or mostly indoors this is not good when you’re in the ocean. Not only is the salt in the environment massively drying (I’ve had contacts shrink on to my eye making it difficult to get them out in the very salty seas of the Canary Islands), but there is a big chance for bacteria from the water to get into you eyes. With that in mind I just don’t wear contacts anymore for the health of my eyes.
So I’m wandering around half blind.
Sorry if I never wave at you on the street.
I promise I always wear my glasses when I’m driving.
So it was a few years back that the idea of laser eye surgery first came into periphery.
A fitness Youtuber that I’ve been following for years – Nikki Blackketter – did a video on why she wanted laser eye surgery and why it would be so beneficial for her career in the fitness industry. I could relate to everything. Seeing how happy it made her, as well as how quick her recovery was and generally how it was just way less scary than I had imagined it would be.
Then suddenly a friend I baked with got it and I saw what a massive difference it made for her in the kitchen. I couldn’t believe it, she was even in work the next day. Then a good friend I surf with got it and I constantly plagued her in the water asking about how her “new eyeballs” were. As her only other friend with glasses she was delighted about it, since no one else had been asking about her miracle of sight.
Then things started to fall together. I began researching laser eye clinics and seeing that there were clinics all over Ireland. I was wary of all these “two for one” type offers. After all, it’s my sight. I wanted to be sure I was in the safest hands possible.
Then in wonderful randomness of the world, when I was getting a lift home from a business course the wonderful lady who was driving me (Caca Willis is her business, look her up her cakes are some of the most beautiful creations I have ever seen) saw me fumbling with my glasses to see something out the window.
The chats began, had I ever considered laser eye surgery? I told her my story. It turns out Michelle had already had the surgery herself. What did she think of it? She said it was the best investment she had made in her life. In. Her. Life. She has a successful business, a beautiful car (this is all I’ve seen so far). But this investment she’d made in herself and her own health was priceless.
The Wellington Eye Clinic
She told me all about her surgery and I told her my trepidations about getting the surgery. The answer she said was the Wellington Eye Clinic in Dublin. One of the longest running clinics in Ireland, with top spec equipment and amazing surgeons. But what I think made her remember it all so fondly was the staff, she raved about the clinic and the surgeons and how safe she felt and how amazing the aftercare was.
It took me two months to work up the courage (I was still a little scared!) but I got in touch and right away I saw exactly what she meant, every member of staff I was in touch with was so friendly and helpful. We chatted about which type of surgery would be best suited, talked me through how it would work and sent me on loads of information about what to expect and how to have my eyes in tip top shape for the surgery. We chatted about my surfing, cooking and life working at sea and how much of a phenomenal difference it was going to make to my quality of life.
We partnered up as the clinic had decided it was time to make a new video for their patients to see before they came in for surgery. I was delighted to do this since it was exactly that video of Nikki who had put me at ease and made me realise I could do it! With that in mind I filmed a little of my last trip to sea wearing glasses and plan to film my pre and post op. So you can be with me for the whole experience and for anyone thinking of laser eye surgery they will know exactly what to expect. This will include the initial consultation to assess my vision, pre-op, the surgery itself and then post op and then some surfing and adventuring testing out the new vision!
For more information on the Wellington Eye Clinic check them out online at www.wellingtoneyeclinic.ie and also check out their youtube videos. The videos have been a massive help for me as I have quite dry eyes these last few years from surfing and spending a lot of time working on a computer so these videos gave me great info on what I could do for myself at home even before my consultation!