Readers may remember that last week I had the pre-op examination from Dr. Somchai (Bangkok Hospital Pattaya) to see if my ophthalmic status was such that it would be possible for me to have SuperSight surgery. After his clearance I returned to see him, saying, “Let’s do it!”
Let me assure you that was no throw-away decision. Like all of us, to have someone tampering with our eyes is frightening. Are Labradors and white sticks our futures? Is it painful? Is it dangerous? Has he done many of these operations? What is the success rate? What is his success rate? These were all the questions I asked of Dr. Somchai.
Let me assure you that the future does not include tins of dog food and tripping over kerbs. The satisfaction rate for SuperSight Surgery is over 99 percent. The missing one percent is people who found they still felt better with reading glasses for close work, even though middle distance and far distance were now fine.
Dr Somchai has now performed the SuperSight surgery over five thousand times and is considered the world leader in this technology.
On the morning of the op I presented myself to Dr. Somchai’s rooms (2nd floor) where Nurse Wanida was waiting and a brief check was made, including Blood Pressure (which was higher than usual, showing that despite my medical knowledge and faith in Dr. Somchai, there was natural apprehension).
Financial paper warfare was next and consent forms to be signed and I was taken to my room to change into hospital PJ’s, and where I used my reading glasses for hopefully the last time, to read the paper (Pattaya Mail, naturally).
At the appointed hour, a porter and a nurse arrived with a wheelchair. Down to the second floor and the maze of operating theatres and change into sterile SuperSight PJ’s. There was no turning back by then!
The ophthalmic operating theatre is dominated by a recliner chair, similar to a dental one, where you lie horizontal and are covered with sterile drapes. Light tethers on the arms remind you not to rub your nose during the op!
All this time, Dr. Somchai was there, explaining each step, administering anesthetic and ensuring there is no sensation from the cornea.
It is actually quite weird as when he is actually inside your eye, there is no pain, but you know he’s there as he liquefies the old lens and prepares the capsule for the new lens.
When the time comes for the replacement lens it was brought out from its sterile container and Dr. Somchai then began the exacting work of placing the lens inside the eye, while I lay there, concentrating on looking straight up and not moving the eye.
He told me that the operation on the first eye was over and I was then re-draped, leaving the left eye prepared for the same procedure of removing the old lens and inserting the new SuperSight one. Each eye had taken about 30 minutes and I was then taken into the recovery area, a compulsory wait to make sure I was otherwise fine.
Very shortly, Dr. Somchai’s happy face appeared and assured me that everything had gone according to plan and I could go back to the room.
With so many eye drops it was difficult to know how my vision was going to be, and having been given dark glasses to wear, it was not possible to judge, and I just fell asleep, glasses and all.
Waking at 6 p.m. I picked up the TV remote, which I could read for the first time in years, and flicked through the channels. The reception was good and my vision was not bad, but I had been warned not to try and judge the acuity for later.
By 9 p.m., after another sleep, I turned the TV on again. Wow! Clear, no blurring, and sharper picture than I was used to before.
Dr. Somchai did warn me that some patients experience a headache post-operatively, and simple paracetamol could be taken. Quite honestly I did not have any headache, but I was questioned by the attendant nurses to ensure that I was OK.
Again I slept well that evening and in the morning was taken to Dr. Somchai’s rooms again for a final check. Everything was fine and I was given my appointment slip for the final check in one week.
In the meantime I have eight pairs of glasses in my top drawer which I will never need again. Thank you Dr. Somchai.