Melanie Sykes Playing Tennis

To Be Clear – My Journey To and Through Lasik Eye Surgery

I have been wearing glasses since I was about 14 years old. I tended to sit at the back of the class for most of my lessons at school (I know! Don’t judge me!) and was struggling to see the blackboard. A quick trip to the opticians and I was diagnosed with short sighted vision and prescribed my first pair of NHS glasses. I actually liked myself in glasses but changed to lenses when I was 17 mostly because I started modelling.

Although wearing lenses has always been necessary, they can also be irritating because they are quite impractical really, especially with my very active lifestyle. I could never just dive into a pool as I always lose a lens, and I could never open my eyes in the morning and be able to see in the distance properly. I also find my peripheral vision isn’t great when wearing glasses particularly when I am driving.

Reading from an Autocue is naturally pretty important as a presenter, so having either contact lenses or glasses on me is vital so I can read the words clearly. However, on several occasions professional makeup has irritated my eyes and powder or mascara has got onto the lens making them blurred too. It can be really uncomfortable but of course I have to carry on when I’m on live TV.

When I was in the jungle for ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’ It was such a pain to have to put contacts in daily and in the night trying to find the dunny was not easy in the pitch black and without lenses! Luckily during the trials they give you goggles to protect from stuff getting in your eyes. On the whole, swapping from contacts to glasses was an inconvenience and the more active I am the harder it was getting (not that glasses have ever stopped me from staying fit as you can see here).

Even at events, sometimes makeup has dropped onto my lenses and I have had to take them out leaving me unable to see the room clearly and who is in it. Think of how rude you seem if someone acknowledges you across a room and you simply cannot work out who they are!

Melanie Sykes Working Out In Glasses 2

Having The Surgery

There are lots of stages of the whole process and lots of consultations before the actual surgery. You have to find out if you are a good candidate for the treatment first and foremost. When they told me I was eligible I thought long and hard about it, talked to a lot of people and decided to go for it.

I had my surgery in December 2016. I was a little nervous but the clinic’s environment is very chilled. The plasma screen in reception was strategically playing a David Attenborough Blue Planet episode with underwater shots of beautiful fish, like watching a large fish tank. It definitely chilled me out.

Before the surgery, you are guided through all the meds and after care so you are clear on what you are doing, and don’t feel confused or rushed.

The procedure itself was over in seconds. The laser makes a little buzzing noise for each eye and really you feel nothing.

I could not believe how zero drama it actually is. Everyone I spoke to prior to all this said it’s life changing and they wished they had done it sooner and in fear of being completely unoriginal which I hate, its all can say about it too!

Within a few days I was back in the gym and makeup back on and its like nothing happened except my world is crystal clear!

You really cannot appreciate its impact until you go for it. Around 6pm I still think “Right – I must take my lenses out soon.” only to remember I don’t wear them anymore! Makes me smile every time.

Melanie Sykes Laser Eye Surgery

What Professor Dan Reinstein Has To Say

One of the most commonly held misconceptions is that laser eye surgery is only for short sighted eyes; in fact as well as short sightedness we can correct astigmatism, long sightedness and reading vision or presbyopia. Basically 98% of all refractive errors can be now corrected by laser surgery.

Many people are still scared of having laser eye surgery because of the fear of causing blindness – and yet, they consider contact lenses to be of adequate safety. Pretty much no one would argue that contact lenses are unsafe, but in reality you are actually more likely to go blind from a contact lens infection than from a complication of laser eye surgery.

It’s unfortunate that the vast majority of patients undergoing surgery to get rid of their reading glasses are having unnecessarily invasive surgery: a permanent lens replacement with the insertion of a synthetic lens into the eye. Since 2004, we have treated over five thousand patients for both reading and distance vision by laser eye surgery –  which does not involve going inside the eye to in the form of Laser Blended Vision is able to correct for reading vision and ageing eyes more accurately, with greater safety,  less side effects, easier reversibility and adjustability than permanent lens exchange.

One of the arguments used for saying that lens surgery is better than laser eye surgery for reading vision is that lens surgery is “permanent” and that it will prevents the need for cataract surgery in the future.

The facts are clear: firstly, only 30% of people in the UK require cataract surgery during their lifetime, secondly, to archive the same accuracy as lasers have you’d have to add laser surgery enhancements to about 20% of lens surgery patients.

Our statistics show that only 1 in 10 patients have returned for a laser adjustment at 5 years postop. I personally had laser eye surgery for my eyes, and I would rather have 4 adjustments over the next 30 years than take the risk of IntraOcular surgery on both my eyes. The stats on eye surgeons having surgery support this: a much larger proportion of eye surgeons have opted for laser eye surgery than having more invasive lens surgery.

London Vision Clinic

Telephone: 02038058593