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Lasik Stories...

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Post them up. It sounds like a great way to drop some savings. I've been waiting for the surgery to become more mainstream... and I think I forgot I was waiting. Glasses don't bother me on a day-to-day basis. Contacts have got to be causing more damage than I'm aware. I only wear them when active.

Share what you know, if you will...
post #2 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai View Post
Post them up. It sounds like a great way to drop some savings. I've been waiting for the surgery to become more mainstream... and I think I forgot I was waiting. Glasses don't bother me on a day-to-day basis. Contacts have got to be causing more damage than I'm aware. I only wear them when active.

Share what you know, if you will...
I had gotten to the point that I could no longer wear contacts and I hated glasses. So, 4 years ago I got the surgery. Excellent outcome with 20/20 vision and no problems. Recovery period is very short - like a weekend. This surgery is completely mainstream now.
post #3 of 36
I had mine done 2 days after 9/11/01. Best thing I ever did for myself. I am sure I will need reading glasses still at some point, but otherwise has been great. I did use one of the better Doctors in the area, from Wills Eye Hospital and it is worth the cost vs. some of the smaller places, just for the piece of mind.
post #4 of 36
I had Lasik 4-5 years ago, and couldn't be happier with the results. No complications, no discernible loss of night vision. And I really don't miss wearing glasses (I never could handle wearing contacts).
post #5 of 36
My brother and my neighbor had it done, both are extremely satisfied. I want to do it as well. It seems the most advanced technique now is the Advanced Custom Lasik which is fully automated, as opposed to the regular lasik which is more risky and relies on a surgeons steady hand and how still you can can lay.
post #6 of 36
No matter what you do, check out the surgeon who will be doing it and how many they have done!

Now to start with and I'll try to keep it short, I had laser not lasik but that was only cause the guy lied his ass off and said the FDA wasn't going to approve lasik for years; within a few months they were hooting it .... I did overhear the staff while they were doing the operation complaining about how Sierra (company that made the laser) stock was going in the tank .. and I think they were trying to max out the machine to cut their losses!

When I asked him how many he had done his answer was "We have done hundreds of these" ... after my eye was f'd up it turned out I was #4 .... his partner had done hundreds ... not him!

Worse ... it was botched ... pain and blurred vision for weeks and ghosts for years ... ghosts are seeing a faint second object like when your headlights illuminate a stop sign .. you see another right behind it .. I hit the jackpot cause most nights I see like three of them!

Things have gotten better over the last ten years cause I think the tissue smooths out by itself, but the vision is lacking for distance and what they do (check on this) ... is asymetric correction. One eye is done with a different value than the other so you see distance wiith one eye and closer stuff with the other.

I wear a contact in one eye and even though I have considered lasik I am reluctant to let anyone touch my good eye (with the contact).

I'm not saying don't do it ... but get two opinions and if you are anywhere near "the margins" give it a lot of thought.

The a-wipe called me for weeks badgering me to do the other eye and had the brass balls to write off my bad eye as a "success" because I could make out the big letters on the eye chart.
post #7 of 36
Ouch...a friend who's sister is a doctor no less had the surgery and nearly lost her sight. She has continued issues and has had other surgeries to try and correct the problems.
post #8 of 36
I had Lasik sugery about 5 years ago. I am very satisfied. It took quite some time to quit looking for my glasses, when I woke up in the morning!

I went to the TLC Lazer Eye center in Johnson, TN. It is the same outfit that did Tiger Woods eyes.

I did not want to go cheap on this surgery! I have heard some peoples horror stories, about price shopping, and having serious sight damage afterward.
post #9 of 36
Johnnys Zoo nailed it. Man, don't go price shopping, price did not influence my decision I went to the best medical group in our local hospital .... note ... the word group! That was the error.

My wife ... sob ... before I retired ... sob, sob ... ... and had money ... wanted me to fly down to Florida to one of the top guys in the country for lasik.

If I was going to do it .... I go right to the best ... I forget the prices but the cost of the flight and the overnight .. would have been worth it.
post #10 of 36
I am considering Lasik surgery but still have some doubts. For the people who had it done, how long did it take you before you could do sports again? I am in the middle of my soccer season which ends just as the ski season begins so I don't have much time for sittiing around waiting for my cornea to heal.

One of the reasons I am a bit reluctanct to go with it is that I've worked doing research on retinal imaging. In that area I got to meet a lot of great research ophthalmologists, and guess what, not one of them had Lasik done.When asked about it they didn't have great things to say about the procedure.

Still, after dealing with contacts for 15 years, I'm ready to get rid of them.
post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by simonbda View Post
I am considering Lasik surgery but still have some doubts. For the people who had it done, how long did it take you before you could do sports again? I am in the middle of my soccer season which ends just as the ski season begins so I don't have much time for sittiing around waiting for my cornea to heal.

One of the reasons I am a bit reluctanct to go with it is that I've worked doing research on retinal imaging. In that area I got to meet a lot of great research ophthalmologists, and guess what, not one of them had Lasik done.When asked about it they didn't have great things to say about the procedure.

Still, after dealing with contacts for 15 years, I'm ready to get rid of them.
Weeks. AS long as you ski with goggles I don't see a problem.
post #12 of 36
just two opposing anecdotes.

I have one friend who had it a few years ago and loves it - wake up without glasses, golf game improved (like Tiger) - great deal.

Another acquaintance does what I do at a tube all day and ... well lets say he's very unhappy - he gets rings of lights, halos he calls them. In the afternoon, he sits sometimes with a hand over one eye taking a break every now and then. Can't drive at night - too distracting. I don't know what he can do other than maybe wear a patch

Get the right doc is my advice!
post #13 of 36
Thread Starter 
Get the right doc, do your research... both great advice.

I'm starting to wonder if I should just wait until I actually hate contacts and glasses enough. Being as I forgot about Lasik for the last 5 years, I guess I'm not a 'needer'.
post #14 of 36
I haven't done it partially because I see it (pun) as cosmetic/vanity that is not without risk, and that risk is irreversible. There is also the point that it weakens your eye wall to some degree, in certain situations (sudden deceleration as in a car crash, possibly diving) this could theoretically be an issue. But it must be a great convenience.

I joked that I'm waiting til they've done 1 million of them and see how the results are. I'm sure they are passed that milestone by now though.
post #15 of 36
I almost did it, but contacts work for me. I did read stories about people who had extreme dry eye afterwards, to the extent that the breeze of someone walking by them in a hall would hurt their eyes!

Hasn't been around that many years.
post #16 of 36

pain when skiing ..

Once again I gotta' preface this with the fact that I had LASER and not LASIK!

So, I don't know if the effects are the same.

I used to be able to ski in snow without goggles or glasses. Since the surgery, I now have to have something protecting my "laser eye" any time there is snow.

Any contact with flakes causes ... well it feels like needles being stuck in your eye .....

I found this out the hard way during a white out when I tried to get down from the top of Stratton and my glasses (clear sunglasses, I hate goggles) frosted up ... so I took out goggles and they got iced/snowed up ...... it was snowing so hard you could not keep a lens clear .... so I figured just ski slow and took the goggles off. I ended up coming down on "the good eye" with the laser eye closed.

I tried this a few times even in light, gentle snow and the result was the same .... instant pain!

I did not do this for vanity, I did it because wearing contacts while doing martial arts had drawbacks .... glasses would fog but contacts would "deform" with all of the sweat in your eyes, the sweat would cause burning and you would start blinking not to mention having a lens come out on occasion. That and I figured I could wear normal goggles instead of having my glasses fog when skiing.

Generally, it was better for skiing because wearing normal wrap around sunglasses ..... much better peripheral vision!
post #17 of 36

lasik

Had it done in 1999 have not even had an eye exam since. Very happy
with the outcome.

Mark
post #18 of 36
I had Lasik surgery on both eyes in 1999. I went up to Montreal because the doctors up there had done about 4,000+ procedures each, the equipment was newer than the FDA allowed here in the US, (the equipment was later approved for use in the US), and the cost was $1,000 US.

As Yuki has said, check out the doctors fully before going. The doctor and his equipment are the key factors.

I recommend you do what I did, search the internet for horror stories. The complication rate for Lasik is 1% to 2%. This hasn't changed over the past 8 years. Understand the complications and what they are; dry eye, epithilial cell ingrowth, haloes, and a bunch of other stuff. Only after you are fully aware of what can go wrong should you decide to have the proceedure.

Yes I know people that have had problems with Lasik. I also know people that have had good results. Some people's eyes are not suitable for Lasik; thin corneas, too much correction, other medical problems. So get an evaluation and if it's not favorable, don't do it.

My Opthalmologist told me that I'm a storybook case for excellent results from Lasik. My vision before surgery was 20/400; my vision afterward is between 20/15 and 20/20. I do wear reading glasses. However, that is an affect of age. Every now and then I get dry eyes. This is very infrequent and is no big deal, I use drops if needed.

Remember you only get one set of eyes. Make sure you follow your doctor's directions before and after surgery. I used the eyedrops, wore the protective gear when sleeping, and kept it up even after the suggested timeframe. I'm sure that doing this helped contribute to my positive result.

I was back out and doing active things within a month. The recovery time is fairly short. Just make sure to protect your eyes. You won't have that pane of glass between you and the outside anymore.

To sum it up. Make an informed decision and do what the doctor tells you to.
post #19 of 36
I had an eye exam yesterday and my (really cute) doctor told me that she was going to have the surgery this Monday, and that she would tell me first hand how it went. She also recommended me the place where she's getting it done, so I know that's a place I can trust.

I've been having issues with my contacts lately and I'm trying my 3rd different type this week to see if a different material solves the problem. Like Samurai said, I'm afraid I'm doing more long-term damage to my eyes wearing contacts.
post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Square View Post

Just make sure to protect your eyes. You won't have that pane of glass between you and the outside anymore.
Thats the cool thing about contacts...they do act as a light sheild. I am always doing some sort of work on the house or my cars, and stuff gets airborne. I try to always use protective eye gear but sometimes I forget or things happen..the lenses act as a barrier. The few times I have done stuff with just my glasses on and dust got around them and ended up in my eye.....OUCH!!! Those contacts sure make a difference on the positive side in that regard.
post #21 of 36
That is a problem. Years later, I still do something stupid like running along full tilt on the lawn tractor and hitting some low branches.

I'm used to having glasses on (still ten years later), and have learned to keep light tinted sunglasses on the steering wheel of the tractor.

I used to keep hearing protection on the wheel.

I am now freakin' going deaf because with the glasses taking the place of the hearing protectors ..... I wish I was kidding.
post #22 of 36

lasik

Will add my story to the bunch.

I had Lasik 20 months ago. I had been thinking of it for years. The final straw was at Beaver Creek, crawling on the flowered carpet of my hotel room looking for my glasses after realizing that was the last possibility. Crawling carefully and feeling with my hand, so that I would not crush them. TOO LATE!! They had already been stepped on.
Now, I did wear contacts, but only had 8 hours of comfort in them, so wore them skiing and took them out when I finished the ski day. The idea of having to wear contacts for 16 hours was pretty horrible. Fortunately, I got a ride from WILDCAT to a local Walmart with a vision center that could fix the bent frames.

But that was the end. Time for lasix. Went with someone who had done thousands, had references from friends for this particular surgeon as well and also was affiliated with TLC. THe benefit of TLC is being able to go back for revision without added costs. A nice feature that I doubt I will access.
I did this at age 50 and was told before- hand that I would need reading glasses after. While it took me a couple of months to acclimate to needing a magnifying mirror for make up, the trade off was worth it.
I bike, run, ski and downward Dog. Not having glasses to deal with is wonderful. Reading glasses are cheap and easily available at one's local flea market or pharmacy.
The real problem was waking up in the mornings and seeing the cobwebs in the corners that needed cleaning. MORE TO DO!!!

Yes, had halos at night for a few months. Eyes are dryer than they used to be, but definitely not a huge issue. Each person needs to evaluate the drawbacks vs the benefits.
Look at your lifestyle, age and probablity of needing increasing change in your prescription. Research.
Good luck.
post #23 of 36
I had Lasik done in 2000 or 2001, can't remember which. I had worn glasses since I was 8 years old and was never able to wear contacts.

My primary doctor at the time, who is a friend of mine, was in the pool with me helping me with my stroke (she had been a swim coach in college). Naturally I can hear what she's telling me but not really see it. So she tells me to go do Lasik. Well that's all fine and well Patty, I say, but I can't just write a check for it like you can.

So she tells me to go to Montreal and helps me find a Lasik clinic there. I drove up on a wednesday during the kids April school vacation. Neither of them were old enough to drive at the time (so it must've been 2000). We left at 6AM and my appointment was at noon. Arrived at 11:30 and went right in.

They did an exam and told me everything looked good, be back at 8 the next morning. The kids spent the morning at a book store, and I took a cab from the hotel to the clinic and back. Rested a few hours after, then we set out to explore Montreal.

Went back in for a check up on Friday morning then drove 6 hours home. I did see halos for a few weeks after the procedure, but other than that, no problems. I am 200% happy with my decision to do Lasik. Total cost was $1200 back when it was close to 4K per eye in Mass.
post #24 of 36
If you are over 50 and have a family history of cataracts you might consider implants instead of lasik. If you have lasik and later have cataracts you will end up having two operations. All of the cautions regarding lasik also apply to implants. It's not 100% successful. It's quick and painless but it's serious stuff. Pick you surgeon carefully. I wore glasses since grammar school (50 years) and now see better in daylight than I have in 20 years but my vision in low light is not good.
Note that very few lasik or cataract surgeons have the operation. They can not operate without good vision and a 1% - 2% risk is not an acceptable risk for them. It would ruin their practice.
post #25 of 36
Thread Starter 
Interesting stories here. Quite a range of opinions and experiences. Halos seem quite common.
post #26 of 36
From my buddy's sister ... the eye surgeon.

She thinks my "ghosts or halos" are the result of "being on the margins" and having it done.

By that, when they measure the area necessary to make the correction, they must also factor the dialation of the pupil under low light conditions. If the two areas are close, there is a prisim like effect at the edges that can generate a ghost/halo.

You will note it under the lights skiing and it will be like an intense circle you see around the moon from ice in the upper atmosphere ... only much more pronounced. Or, like in my case I see it when the lights of the car reflect off a stop or yield sign ... and then I see a few hazy images of the sign behind it.

My halos have lessened over time or perhaps I just blank them out.

Another consideration ..... ask if they intend "asymetric correction" ... and then ponder that issue.
post #27 of 36
I have been very pleased with the results of Lasik (20-25 vision) BUT had a kind of ordeal getting to that point. Like everyone else said, you want to go to the best doctor FOR THIS PROCEDURE -- not just a great ophthalmologist but one with a high volume lasik practice.

With my operation about 7 or 8 years ago, I went in for Lasik and walked out with a computer assisted PRK. The cornea has layers, and when they cut the flap, the outermost layer peeled away from the underlying ones -- think rug on a slick hardwood floor. So, the doctor had to use a scalpel to remove the outermost layer, and I had to wear clear contacts until those cells grew back. Instead of coming home with dark glasses and somewhat blurry vision, my eyes were taped shut for the first day or two (thank you doctor for prescribing some narcotic pain pills -- not so much for pain, but to reduce the mind-numbing boredom of sitting around with taped up eyes!). This happened even though the little topo eye maps, eye dilation and tests indicated I was a good candidate for lasik.

To make matters worse, some cells from those outer layers had migrated under the flap. Nothing you can feel, but enough of an irritant to keep the top layer from growing back correctly (the cells didn't "remodel"), and it kept peeling away (this I could feel). Each time, I had to back to the doctor, and he would remove the bad cells to try to let it regrow correctly, and I'd get more clear soft contact lens "bandages". He couldn't see the reason for the problem until he removed the entire top layer of the flap again and could use the microscope to see epithelial cells under the corneal flap. Then he had to open the flap again (like they do before recontouring your eye) and flush out my eyes. Since it was an office visit, I didn't even get a valium to take the edge off (like they gave me right before the lasik).

So, this took a month or two of many doctors visits. I could drive to most of these, since you apparently need only one eye to drive. Even in my mid-forties, I am needing reading glasses but I can read street signs at night, watch TV in bed without glasses, and see the clock on the cable box when I wake up in the middle of the night. There is minor haloing at night, but much less than with my glasses. Even better, I can see people across the room at a party and recognize them (I never wore my glasses to parties, and probably came across as very unfriendly). For me, the tradeoffs have been worth it.

DEP
post #28 of 36
Recently retired but my partner was kind of vain and would only wear his glasses when driving. The guy tried to pretend that he didn't need them that much.

He tried contacts but his eyes were too "sensitive" .... but he honestly never gave them a chance.

His latest ..... gimmick .... for lack of a better word ... was night contacts that you wear when you sleep. Your eye is supposed to form overnight and retain the correction.

Sounds like a good concept I guess if you have the discipline to actually put them in before "nighty-nite"... but he often forgot. So he is wearing them on the way to work .... but ... the correction isn't quite complete so ..... you can't just put on glasses cause' now you have a partial correction.

I use to have to f' with him and play games to make sure his eyes were up to the job .... "see that bird?" ...... (there was no bird) .... cause' if we ever got to court, anyway there were days where I had to know what I could rely on him to see ..... and it got a bit testy at times.
post #29 of 36
wow - really interesting. The pupil thing makes some sense and explains night halos.

Like you say you have to have the right fit. I bet my eyes aren't completely the same either (I have astigmatism). But I bet they would claim I'm a great candidate. Well I have the money so that's a plus right there

I'm not ruling it out ... maybe one day.
post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post
If you are over 50 and have a family history of cataracts you might consider implants instead of lasik. If you have lasik and later have cataracts you will end up having two operations. All of the cautions regarding lasik also apply to implants. It's not 100% successful. It's quick and painless but it's serious stuff. Pick you surgeon carefully. I wore glasses since grammar school (50 years) and now see better in daylight than I have in 20 years but my vision in low light is not good.
Note that very few lasik or cataract surgeons have the operation. They can not operate without good vision and a 1% - 2% risk is not an acceptable risk for them. It would ruin their practice.
My mom (82 or so) had one such implant 3-4 yrs ago, and is having the other done next month (for cataract issues). Same experience as you - can see like hawk in day, not so well at night (hard to drive with). The implants are virtually undetectable even up close.

I can read without glasses, see ok with glasses, and ski with contacts. I looked into Lasik, talked to alot of people who have had it done. It works for most, fantastically for some, - but there seem to be an array of potential issues (many mentioned here, there are others) many of which have nothing to do with the expertise of the person doing the procedure - but are nonetheless risks. For a medical procedure involving an important sense (vision), this moderate and serious complication rate (they say a few percent) is still way too high for my comfort. It may be "mainstream", but it isn't perfect; 95% or 98% success might sound like a great bet for a stock pick, but not for the 2-5% for those people's eyes that are affected. I WOULD do it if I had to, but not for convenience, and that's with my medical insurance covering much of the cost if I wanted to.
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