In June 2017, Rosanne Jepson, 37, decided to go for laser eye surgery having worn glasses since about the age of 13 and contact lenses for the past 15 years.
We talked to Rosanne about why she decided to have laser eye surgery. “As a small animal medicine specialist (veterinary specialist) I have a very active job that can involve long hours in the clinic and at times, boisterous patients that like to jump or climb up to my face! I also love to run, hit the gym and enjoy evenings at the theatre and opera when I find the time. I found it frustrating to wear glasses, which were constantly in the way and where my peripheral vision was compromised. In addition, some of the specialist laser procedures I perform in the hospital require me to wear ‘safety’ glasses and the combination of two pairs of glasses is just too cumbersome! So, I resorted to wearing contact lenses every day at work for far more hours than is recommended. Although I never experienced any serious complications from wearing contact lenses, my eyes would be dry and irritated by the end of the day. So, laser eye surgery offered the opportunity to be free from glasses, to have perfect and uncompromised vision whether at work, out running or looking down at a theatre stage from the gods! But most importantly I felt that LASIK would be beneficial for my long-term eye health.”
Rosanne commented that when choosing a surgeon, she knew she needed someone she felt confident and comfortable with. “This was very important to me. There are plenty of ophthalmic surgeons who perform LASIK, but there are exceptionally few with the combination of qualifications and experience that Allon Barsam has achieved in refractive, corneal and cataract surgery. I chose Allon Barsam partly because he came highly recommended and had treated my partner, but also because I was impressed with his work ethic, professionalism and his contributions to advancing the scientific evidence base surrounding LASIK. He is someone who not only provides an exceptional level of care and is incredibly skilled in his area of expertise, but who also strives to improve practice in his field.”
For Rosanne, the whole process, from making her initial appointment to the day of laser surgery, through to the aftercare and follow up appointments, was efficient yet always very personal. “Allon’s secretary, Joanne, was very accommodating, arranging my appointments to fit around my busy schedule. Everything was punctual, well organised, professional and personalised. The aftercare was clearly explained. Everything from the use of eye-drops, wearing the eye protectors, and all the do’s and don’ts. Overall I experienced an outstanding level of customer service and standard of care!”
One of the greatest barriers for people who are considering laser eye surgery is fear and anxiety. Rosanne explains how she felt in the run up to her surgery. “I think it’s normal to be anxious before any surgery and for me, going into the clinic on the day of laser eye surgery was no different; after all your eyes are very precious. However, I was very confident with Mr Barsam’s expertise and I’d also read about the procedure. For me, it helped to understand exactly what was going to happen. When I looked at the evidence base relating to outcomes and the risks associated with LASIK, I realised that the outcomes (particularly Mr Barsam’s) were excellent and the risks were very small; actually, less than the risks I was taking with long hours of daily contact lens use. The environment at the clinic was very calm and the caring attitude of all staff, including Mr Barsam, helped to put me at ease. Ultimately any nerves that I had were completely unfounded. The laser eye surgery was really quick, completely pain free and before I knew it, I was lying on the couch in a quiet room already able to see better than I ever remember.”
Rosanne’s laser eye surgery went very smoothly. After being taken through to the laser suite and lying down on the bed, the whole procedure was over in a matter of minutes. “Your vision goes blurry (to be expected) during the procedure and you focus on a green light, while Mr Barsam counts down over 30 seconds. As a patient, this is the simplest and smoothest procedure that I could ever imagine.”
Rosanne’s prescription prior to her LASIK surgery was -5.00 and -2.50 with astigmatism. Enough to see not much more than fuzz without glasses or contact lenses. “My vision from the day after surgery was 20/12; so it couldn’t be any better!”
Having clarity of vision after laser eye surgery has made a huge impact on every aspect of Rosanne’s life. “My work as a veterinary specialist in a university is very diverse and I’m constantly changing between different tasks requiring both distance and near vision in different environments. It’s great to no longer have glasses slipping down my nose when trying to examine dogs and cats as moving targets on a consulting room table! When I wore contact lenses I used to notice my eyes becoming dry and irritated, particularly performing endoscopy (camera) procedures that required me to look at screens for long periods of time in warm rooms or in air-conditioning. After laser eye surgery, this just doesn’t happen and my eyes feel less tired at the end of the day. It’s not just about the animal patients though. I can now see those students not concentrating at the back of the lecture theatre!
Outside of work, Rosanne has found it’s the simple things that she notices too. Like waking up in the night and being able to see the time on the bedside clock, dozing on the sofa in the evening and not waking up with the panic that she fell asleep wearing contact lenses and if she wants to head out for a run morning or night, she just goes; “There’s no pre-planning and faffing with lenses. I’m looking forward to the 2018 ski-season too, without having to double check I’ve got that spare pair of lenses with me in case of a mis-hap on the slopes.”
I don’t ever remember having the level of visual acuity that I now have after laser eye surgery. It still strikes me every day, but it had the most marked impact the morning after my laser eye surgery. I was apprehensive about testing just how good my vision was going to be. I’d stayed over in London. Opening the curtains, I looked out and, instead of the usual blur of coalescing roof tops differentiated pretty much only from the sky, I could see individual tiles, chimneys and aerials, the detail of trees in the middle distance, and all the way to the London Eye on the horizon. It was a pretty miraculous moment and, in short, my vision every day since has been perfect.
Laser eye surgery has given me an immense sense of freedom and the ability not to worry about something that should be as innate as perfect vision.
I cannot recommend Allon Barsam highly enough as a laser eye surgeon. Indeed, I believe he is the best in his field and I will be very happy to go back to him at the point where I need reading glasses to consider blended LASIK.”