Sorry, was expecting everyone lives in GTA and knows North York General Hospital as NYGN.
Post is updating with my experience. Post-surgical recovery section will be updated
I have myopia around -5.5 to -6.0 for both eyes and 0.5 to 1 astigmatism with most recent prescription. Myopia has been stable for the past 10 years while astigmatism fluctuate between 0 to 1.75 due to bad habit of rubbing eyes. however it seems to be hovering around 0.5 to 1 for the past few years. Went consultation with LASIK MD twice in 2014 and 2016. I was quoted ~$3300-$3600 for custom wavefront LASIK. I wasn't ready at the time so I didn't go further after consultation.
Until early this year, I figured it would be a good time to get it done this year as I would take my parental leave this year. I started my research and found this thread. After much readings, like many RFDers here, I was very interested in TransPRK with SMARTSurface. Unfortunately NVision closed and only places offer SMARTSurface were in Montreal and Vancouver. I leaned toward Dr. David Lin from PLEC in BC. I contacted PLEC and quoted $4300. We arranged a in clinic consultation and surgery within 2 days in May since I've already scheduled time off from work. Due to COVID-19, the whole thing was ruined and I couldn't travel anywhere. I began my search in GTA and hope for a regular PRK locally in May. But all clinics were closed in May and not opening till July. At this point, PRK was completely off my list if I wanted it be done this year as I had no more vacation.
Then I looked for LASIK option locally and began with LASIKMD first. The website was completely down. All page I clicked directed me back to their Vaughan location closure page. I tried email and phoned them but I wasn't able to connect anyone. I called Herzig for a consultation and an in clinic appointment was scheduled in May and got pushed to June then eventually in July as business finally allowed to be opened. TLC also arranged me a consultation appointment in July. Bochner was fully booked till August for consultation.
In July I went to Herzig and TLC for their consultation. At Herzig, I was offered both LASIK and SMILE. Price was $4700 and $5200. I was a good candidate for SMILE and they highly recommended it. Pro of SMILE is faster recovery and less prone to dry eyes. CON is newer technology compared to LASIK. Since they had a surgery slot end of July, I took the spot until I make my decision after seeing TLC.
Then I had my TLC appointment a week after. I was quoted $4800 for LASIK. Consultant offered LASIK only. I asked other option such as PRK. I was told only 10% of their procedures were PRK due ineligibility to LASIK. She knew only limited customer insisted PRK. I also asked Dr. Jeff Machat to perform my surgery but unfortunately he is currently in US and not able to come back to perform any surgery. I could choose an early September appointment with other surgeons.
After more consideration and research, I finally chose to get SMILE from Herzig by Dr. Herzig himself at the end of July.
Thanks for this forum and many RFDers posts. I also got Omega-3 and Lutetin supplement for the procedure. I got Kirland's Alaskan Salmon fish oil as family has been taking this. Without much research, I got B+L Ocuvite regular which has Lutein, Zinc and Vitamin C. All hope for less issue with dry eyes. I started taking supplement daily one week before the procedure. Without knowing which lubricating drops and quantity I will get from Herzig, I got a pack of Bion Tears from Costco as many mentioned here that keeping eyes moist is key to recover and to combat dry eyes. I also stocked up a few bottles of Hylo which can be used after exhausting Bion Tears.
Surgery was on the Thursday afternoon before Civic Holiday. I took both Thursday and Friday off so I will have 4 days resting at home after the surgery.
Day 0 Surgery day
Got to the clinic 15 minutes prior the appointment time. Had temperature checked and COVID-19 related questions answered. They taped the upper side of my mask to my nose which preventing me taking my mask off inside the clinic (according to staff that many customer took their mask off in the clinic). Signed all wavier form and paid my balance at the front desk. Then I was taken to do one more measurement before the procedure. I was given a relaxant pill and sat outside the operating room for my turn. I was also given my post surgery kit which included a sunglass, antibiotic drops, steroid drops, and lubricating drops. 2 different type of lubricating drops were included. The Refresh Celluvisc vital (10 vitals) and Systane Complete. It included 2 tabs of Tylenol 3. There were 2 patients ahead of me. One had LASIK and the other person had PRK on one eye and SMILE on the other. I got to watch their procedures while waiting for my turn.
I met Dr. Herzig before my turn. He checked my eyes again to confirm my condition. Answered a few of my questions before stepping into the OR room. Then the staff led me into the OR room. I got placed onto the table and prep with more PPE over my head/ears and anesthetic drops to my eyes. Then I got swing under the laser head. Dr. Herzig mentioned each step to me while performing the procedure. I know what happen at each stage. First I was aligned to the laser and the suction cup descent to hold my eye at place. Then the actual procedure began and lasted 30 seconds for each eye. Tech counted the time on the side at each 5 seconds interval. I was asked to follow the green dot all time. 15 seconds into the procedure, my vision started blurry and losing sight of the green dot. It was the time lenticular tissue being detached from the cornea. At the end of the laser treatment, it was completely blurred. Dr. Herzig then switch the laser to a bright LED microscope for lenticular tissue removal. During this procedure, he insert the instruction into my eye and began scoping out the tissue. At this stage, all I felt was the movement and slight pressure from the tool. It took less than a minute for him to remove the tissue out of my eye. Then he puts a few drops to my eye. The whole procedure repeated for another eye. Overall, the whole procedure lasted than 10 minutes in and out in the OR. Dr. Herzig then took me back to the examine room to check for incision site. Then I was clear to go once he was ok with the incision.
It took just over an hour including all paper work and waiting time in the clinic. Initially we were told it would take at least one and half hour for the whole procedure. While I was out of clinic, my wife was still shopping on Bloor street. Unlucky me, I'd to go find her in one of the store near the clinic. With sunglass on. I don't have any light sensitiveness while walking on the street. But it was very hard to look at my phone screen to call my wife. My vision is about 70-80% close to preoperative. I waited half an hour for her to finish check out. While I was waiting, I was able to see most thing. Only thing I had difficulty was seeing darker colour items. I wasn't able to tell the colour of 2 darker clothing in the store. Then we walked another 10 minutes back to the park lot. I didn't feel any pain during the whole time. I felt tired and some pressure on my eyes only. On our way out of downtown. I could use the phone as GPS and navigated her out to Hwy 404. While she was driving, I had no problem seeing traffic. I felt like I could drove myself at such condition. Took us 1+ hour to get home due to traffic on highway. Most of the time I was able to keep my eyes open and able to see much. But eyes got tired quickly and needed to be closed for a coupe minutes in between.
I was told to start using drops when I get home. So in the first 2 hours after the surgery, I didn't put a single drop into my eyes. Once home, I started using the antibiotic every 4 hours, steroid every 2 hours and Refresh every 30 minutes till bed. For the 1st day. I didn't experience any pain or much discomfort. I just felt tired, slight pressure on the eyes and light tension headache. I kept wearing the sunglass the whole time including sleeping.
Day 1 After Surgery
Woke up in the morning with completely dried crust on the eyes and not able to open my eyes at all. Had to loose up with my drops and water to clean the eyelid. It was due to Fresh Celluvisc. Vision was a bit blurry but seems to be better after applying more drops (Celluvisc). But it got sticky very quickly due to gel base. Wife drove me back to downtown for 1 day follow up. I was able to see all signs and my phone screen for GPS. Optometrist at Herzig checked my eyes, left was 20/20 and right was 20/25. But combined reading was 20/20. I was cleared to drive but warned about night driving due to halo. I didn't like Fresh Celluvisc due to it was gel. I was told to skip it and move onto Systane Bion Tears. Instead of using it every 1/2 hour. it was as needed. But I kept using it every 30 minutes to keep my eyes moist. Took me 1+ hour on DVP/404 to get home from downtown due to traffic. During the time, vision was good for driving. It got a bit dry and sting when close to home and needed to apply drops right away after getting home. Vision stayed the same throughout the day. Eyes seem very easy to get strain. Over problem I experienced was seem like my eyes weren't producing any tears and needed to by moist all time by Bion Tear. Again I had kept sunglasses on while sleep.
Eyes not sticky anymore in the morning after switched over to Bion Tear. Vision seems to be blurrier than previous day during the morning. It got better close to noon time and felt much more optimal in the afternoon and seem to get a bit blurry again at night. I was told it was normal as vision would fluctuate. I just kept using all the drops according to schedule. Eyes are still sensitive to light. Even lights at home. Had to wear sunglass most of the time even at home. Like previous day, didn't feel eyes were producing any tears and needed Bion Tear every 30 min to a hour. Again slept with sunglass.
Very similar to day 2. Woke up with blurry vision but got much better within an hour of waking up. After applying my 2nd time of antibiotic of the day, my eyes suddenly felt very sting. Tears kept dropping. (first time feeling I can make tears after the surgery). I had to wiped out all drops in order to open my eyes. Called Herzig immediately to report the situation. I was told it was due to dry eye. I was asked to use Bion Tear every 20 minutes for the next couple days. Right away, I put more Bion Tear every 20 minutes for the day. Stinging feeling went away within the first hour after full moist. Went out to shopping center with family in the afternoon when I felt better. Stayed at inlaw's home for dinner. This day was first time to drive at night. It was bad. Halo from oncoming traffic glowed as big as the car. Had worsen glow with yellow yellowish headlight than bright white headlight. A lot of light noise on the road even without any oncoming traffic. Tried to wear sunglass and immediately it helped a lot to reduce light noise and able to see much better. Halo got more managable. Instead of sparking glow, it got more rounded glow.
Woke up with tired eyes. Vision was blurry before applying any drops. With drops applied, vision got much more clear. However, throughout the day, vision was more blurry compared to previous days. At times, it seem to be worse than right after surgery. It only got better closing to end of day. But overall, vision was still blurrier than previous day. To prepare going back to work (8hr in front of a PC), I got myself a pair of anti-blue light glasses. Kept applying Bion Tear every 20-40 minutes.
Same as previous day vision only got cleared after drops. First time starring at monitor after surgery. Light from screen was too harsh for the eyes. Then I put the anti-blue light glasses on and it helped by warmed colour from bluish to yellowish. Kept using Bion Tear religiously every 30 mins to an hour or whenever eyes felt strained. Toward end of the work day, eyes got very tired and had tension headache on one side. Otherwise vision was clear.
Very similar to day 5. Eyes are adjusting to long hour to screen time. Took times off the screen after 15-20 minutes. Blink and rest for a minute or 2 before resuming work. Reducing Bion Tears frequency to every one to two hour. Not feeling any sting at all even when skipping some drops in between. However eyes seem still be easier tired out and strained.
Had one week follow up with Herzig on day 7. Mentioned about less depending on Bion Tears. I was told even I may not need the drops. I am still required to put them on as they will moist the surface of the cornea and help to improve vision. At day 7, I completed all antibiotic and steroid and use lucubrating drops exclusively.
Day 8+ till now at 2 weeks point
Vision is stable. I don't need drops in the morning to get away the blurriness. I reduced using Bion Tears to just 3-4 times a day. Halo was still a problem for night driving. But now it glowed as an outter ring of night source only.