Physician, heal thyself is a proverb found in The Bible (Luke 4:23)
“ 23 Then he said, “You will undoubtedly quote me this proverb: ‘Physician, heal yourself’—meaning, ‘Do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum.’
Meaning: The phrase alludes to the readiness and ability of physicians to heal sickness in others while sometimes not being able or willing to heal themselves. This suggests something of ‘the cobbler always wears the worst shoes’, that is, cobblers are too poor and busy to attend to their own footwear. It also suggests that physicians, while often being able to help the sick, cannot always do so and, when sick themselves, are no better placed than anyone else.
I started wearing glasses when I was ten years old and the number kept on increasing till I was 18 years and finally stabilized at a whopping -6.5D. By the time I was in medical school, I was totally incapacitated without my spectacles and would need to find them the moment I got up. Sometimes my younger brother would hide them for just troubling me and at other times, I would lose them and then search for them all over the house. Further, I could not go for swimming and felt limited in lot of other outdoor activities. The other option was to wear contact lenses which brought in their own procedural hassles.
Being a trained Cornea and Refractive surgeon for over a decade now, Lasik Surgery forms one of the most common surgeries in my practice. It has always been a source of joy and satisfaction for me on a very deep personal level to hear how this quick and painless laser vision correction surgery has changed the quality of lives of so many patients. While for some it has meant better marriage prospects, for others it has meant higher self-esteem and confidence and for still others the freedom to participate in activities which spectacles and contact lenses always inhibited them from. Surely LASIK surgery has the power to impact people lives.
Attesting to the above proverb, Physician Heal Thyself, I decided to get the Lasik surgery for myself. Though, the thought of putting my eyes under the laser machine was scary to me also just like for anybody else, but being a cornea surgeon I knew exactly what Lasik surgery procedure entails.
The biggest fear the ‘What if’ scenario – what if something goes wrong and I am left with a residual hazy or a little blurry vision after Lasik. Being an eye surgeon, my practice involves eye microsurgeries where thin hair like threads & stitches are used under magnification. Even a bit of blur would have endangered my ophthalmology career. But it just seemed so right to get Lasik done myself and then be convinced one way or the other.
Circa 2009, I decided to undergo the latest type of Laser vision correction – called Femto Lasik which uses a special Laser machine called Femtosecond laser to create a corneal flap before the excimer laser is shot to correct the corneal curvature. In a traditional Lasik surgery, a blade called microkeratome is used for making flap and Femtosecond laser is indeed more accurate than Microkeratome. When it came to my eyes, I was certainly not taking any chances and wanted the best Lasik in town.
As a Cornea Surgeon, I knew Pre-Lasik evaluation would be needed to ensure long term safety of my eyes after Lasik surgery. I passed the tests with flying colours – jokes apart my corneal thickness, topography, eye pressures and retina all were in order and I was judged suitable for Lasik surgery. With my husband in toe, we went to the Centre. Both of us were very apprehensive but once we reached the eye hospital, the time passed very fast and everything became a blur. The Lasik procedure was very quick and I didn’t feel any discomfort during the surgery itself – and now I knew that local anesthetic drops actually work very well. Ten minutes later, I was back to the ward and asked to rest for the rest of the day.
Truth be told, immediately after the Lasik procedure I had some irritation and heaviness in both my eyes. I decided to sleep through my afternoon and evening which surely helped. My dear husband who accompanied me for the procedure kept putting the drops in my eyes at the recommended times which is usually 4-5 times a day. By evening, my vision was still a little blurry as if I was seeing through a dirty glass. But I was still happy that I could see the expressions on my husband’s face from a distance without glasses.
My eyes developed some redness due to surgically induced sub-conjunctival hemorrhage. This is a known post Lasik side effect and anyways I was mentally prepared about it. I had two very important meetings with some top executives the next day and I was worried how this may impact my interaction with them! By the night I was feeling better and I got a very nice restful sleep throughout the night.
As soon as I woke up next morning, by the force of habit I stretched my hand to grab my glasses. I could not find them by the bedside. I asked my husband and he burst into a loud laughter. And then I saw him standing over my head smiling wearing my frame minus the glasses in them. And actually that frame looked great on him! And suddenly I realized that I could see everything very clearly! That feeling was priceless, to be able to see everything clearly without my glasses! After 20 years of wearing glasses finally I didn’t need them, I was free of them!
My post Lasik surgery check-up on day one morning was great and I was informed that everything was normal and fine. And on the side note, my meetings day one post Lasik went great and I didn’t care in the least about the red spots on my eye. My happiness and renewed confidence was so palpable. I walked with energy and a spring in my step all the day and the following week through.
It has been almost 5 years since my laser vision correction and I continue to enjoy a crystal clear vision. I have enjoyed every moment of this freedom and used it in every possible way. I tried my hand at learning to swim, sky diving and now I run on a regular basis. I do not have any difficulty or haziness when I am doing complicated eye surgeries like corneal transplants, cataracts, deep lamellar keratoplasty or limbal stem cell transplants.
To be honest I have forgotten how it was to wear glasses. Having taken this step myself, I am convinced that for suitable and motivated individuals, laser vision correction surgery is the way to go. It is safe, precise and has a long term excellent safety profile. It is even better with the availability of new bladeless Lasik- Smile Lasik surgery .