SMILE Pro – Laser Eye Surgery at London Vision Clinic

August 19, 2023

Key Notes:

  • Surgeon: Professor Dan Reinstein, world leader in Refractive Surgery
  • Machine: Carl Zeiss Visumax 800 released 2021 (Smile Pro)
  • High Prescription Case

Details about me: I’ve been wearing glasses for 27 years. My pre-operative refraction was

  • Right Eye: -8.00 with -2.25 astigmatism
  • Left Eye: -9.00 with -1.75 astigmatism


I went into London Vision Clinic for my first consultation on 29th June 2023. They took various of measurements and scans of my eyes to decide if I was a good candidate or not. The whole consultation took about 2 hours. Fortunately, I was informed that I have thicker than average corneas (Right Eye 6.03mm and left eye 6.02mm) and was a good fit for Laser Eye Surgery. Further, because my prescription hadn’t changed much compared to my glasses prescription which was about 4 years old the optometrist wasn’t concerned. I had a further consultation with Professor Dan Reinstein on 31st July to go over the risks and complications. His office was grander than I expected with high ceilings and large paintings. I had a big list of questions but in the end he reassured me to trust the “pilot flying the plane” which made me feel less worried about doing all the research and trust the surgeon.

Why I got laser eye surgery

  • Toddler kept knocking my glasses off/ taking them off and I would feel at mercy in case he broke it
  • Night vision in seeing baby in dark without glasses
  • My glasses were very heavy and weighted on my nose bridge leaving hollow marks
  • I developed regular pimples on the side of my face due to the contact of the glasses frame
  • Contacts would get too uncomfortable and dry within a few hours


  • Don’t have to stop when stepping  from outdoors to indoors (especially going in and out of high street shops) to change glasses.
  • I will be able to enter rooms or homes in Winter without getting fog on my glasses
  • I will be able to see in saunas and showers
  • I will be able to walk in the rain without having to worry about the rain on my glasses

DAY 0 (D-Day) Surgery Day

  • Quick clean of our room so that I could come home to a clean place to sleep
  • Showered because I planned on not showering for the first 2-3 days as they said you can’t get water in your eyes
  • Eddy drove me to the clinic and we parked on Harley street. I felt much more at ease with my husband next to me, he gave me a sense of confidence and had a calming affect.
  • The nurse explained drops very clearly in room and went over the plan, she put some drops in my eyes and a series of pills. We had a friendly chat about where she was from and about our sons which lighten the mood
  • The chocolates in the room were delicious, the mint milk chocolate was prescribed by Professor Reinstein instead of a sedative as I told him I was nervous. The chemicals within cocoa can act as mood enhancers, relieving stress and making us feel calmer and happier. A pill sedative would only knock me out if I wasn’t extremely nervous.
  • I read in the LVC reviews that patients used to get head/neck massages prior to surgery. Sadly, they no longer offer this service but Eddy kindly gave me a massage before the surgery which was very relaxing
  • The nurse put a hair net and shoe covers for me
  • I walked to the surgery room which was next door
  • I confirmed my birth date, there were 2 male technicians in surgery room, 2 nurses
  • I laid down in the Visumax Pro 800 bed which felt like a dentist chair but with a head scoop
  • They put a pillow under my knee, blanket over me and a small fluffy toy to hold
  • The right eye was first. I saw a blurry green light which turned into a clear green light, blackness then grey. he then used his utensils to swipe out the lenticle all the while saying “good, excellent, good”
  • I only clenched my fist when he swiped and pushed on my eye that was the only uncomfortable part. the rest was fine and i didn’t feel any pain
  • It was the same with the other eye but this time I was scared that i didn’t keep looking at the green dot. under 6 secs and it was complete. This side felt more uncomfortable when taking the lens out, the surgeon did mention that it would feel more uncomfortable because you know what to expect.
  • Finished! He took a quick look at my eyes and off I went to the recover room
  • I laughed at how fast it had happened and I just smiled as I laid down in the recovery room. The total time in the surgery room was 25min. It felt similar to a dentist appointment except quicker and less painful.
  • I went home with sunglasses, everything was quite blurry and couldn’t make out too much
  • I asked Eddy to google how long numbing drops wear off because I was anticipating extreme dry eyes or stinging sensation when the numbing drops wore off but after 4 hours surprising my eyes felt okay – left didn’t feel anything had happened, it was perfectly fine. right eye had a gritty feeling.
  • I had light sensitivity during dinner. went to sleep at 10:30pm with a Lorazepam (sleeping pill)

DAY 1 Post Operation Checkup

After Eddy took Harvey to nursery, we drove to London Vision Clinic. Dan took pictures of my eye and said I was okay and legal to drive. I felt happy and surprised that I have a photo with the famous Dan Reinstein.

Before we left the clinic, additional scans were taken by the technician and then we were told we were good to go until the next appointment in 3 weeks time.

For lunch we walked to Muji to get a hand held mirror so I could easily do the drops while out and about. we had lunch at Banh mi bay and it was lovely to have an appetizer of summer spring rolls. After that I was exhausted and dizzy and needed to lie down. I was in bed most of the time listening to podcasts (DOAC), Trevor Noah and Ali Wong. Eddy made another delicious dinner.

My vision seemed to be doing better. I could see the numbers on my clock. Fell asleep with another Lorazepam. Both my eyes didn’t have any pain, they feel perfectly fine. Left eye has a twitch.


  • Bit better but still blurry
  • Went out to Ekachai for lunch
  • Felt dizzy after lunch, napped for 1hr. Today I’m listening to podcast to pass the time. DOAC, Kevin Hart, Ali Wong


Today I can finally see and hold my baby. he was upset and excited to see me finally. Better clarity today and less dry eyes. there is still lights glows and light sensitivity in the daytime get dizzy after 2 hours out and about.

First time I washed my hair since the surgery as I feared water will get into my eyes.


Not very clear today, after the drops everything is rather blurry. During the night I accidentally swiped my right eye lid. I need to tighten the sleeping googles so they don’t slide off my face.


Woke up with stinging eyes, I quickly put dry eye drops and went back to sleep for 2 hours. Eye feel better today bit I still see a haze and my clarity in vision hasn’t changed. Left eye is clear, right is fuzzy/blurry

Day 6

Feels like something is in my right eye. I doused it with eyedrops and closed my eyes for 1 hour. All better now. I am happy with my left eye vision but my right eye vision seems very poor and still rather fuzzy/blurry

Day 7

First day working with my new eyes. It was hard to focus and very hazy in the morning. I scheduled 30 mins drops. In the morning my eyelids were stuck to my eyeballs and it took a few tries before the drops could make it in. Vision on left side is good. Right is blurry. Also its the last day for the antibiotic drops! I didn’t like them because they sting my eyes and I could taste the drops as they travelled down my nasal cavities.

Tips for recovery 

  • Daily Omega 3 tablets 
  • Daily Multivitamin
  • Hand held mirror if you have trouble dropping drop into eyes
  • Safety googles if you have young children
  • A few meals pre-made/ready meals 
  • Organise childcare if you have kids
  • Clean room and bedsheets
  • Set up air purifiers to decrease dust in room
  • Shower before surgery to delay first wash

How did I choose where to have the surgery?

I went to 3 clinics for a consultation. Optegra, OCL Vision and London Vision Clinic. Although all 3 perform extensive measurements and scans, my gut feeling was to go with LVC.

  • At Optegra, I was suspicious of why people working at the clinic was still wearing glasses. I also didn’t feel confident after the consultation. They did have a good price though £5,000 for SMILE.
  • OCL Vision, they were slow to respond to my questions and when I did receive a reply, they referenced research articles published by Professor Dan Reinstein. They also had a very competitive price, from £4,400 for SMILE.
  • At LVC, there was always one contact I could rely on to answer my questions before the surgery, the clinic felt calm and accommodating, and they provided an extensive report on my consultation. The ultimate reason I chose LVC was because Professor Reinstein could perform my surgery.
Dedicated patient care coordinator was quick and responsiveNo longer offering massage
Bag of drops, sleeping pills, discomfort drops, timer for dropsCan seem pricey compared to competitors (high prescription) £6900
Private rooms
Sleep goggles instead of eye shields that you have to tape on
Receptionists were friendly and good
Snacks, chocolates, soft toy to hold
I ran out of dry eye drops and they sent me 2 bottles the next day
I may have developed an eye infection on Day 10 and a doctor was able to see me on a weekend



First 7 days: All in all, I had a very positive my experience and less scary than I initially thought. Some days I forget I’m not wearing glasses and try to adjust my frames, only to touch my nose bridge. It is so amazing being able to see now after 27 years of needing glasses and contacts for everything. 


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