Laser Eye Surgey - Who Here Has Had It?

Adam Taggart
By Adam Taggart on Fri, Oct 18, 2013 - 12:10pm

If you have eyesight issues and require corrective solutions in order to see well (glasses, contacts, etc), making sure to keep an extra pair or two (and any related solutions, etc) in storage is smart emergency planning.

Like Burgess Meredith's character at the end of Time Enough At Last (a Twilight Zone classic), you don't want to lose your visual aids at a time when replacements may be hard to come by.

Of course, it would be even better if you could fix your eyesight so that you didn't require corrective solutions in the first place.

I'm curious how many people here have had corrective eye surgery (Lasik, PRK, etc), and how many people may be considering the procedure.

Chris recently underwent Lasik, and I had PRK about 8 years ago.

I'll let Chris comment on his own experience, but for me, the procedure was about as close to true magic as anything I've experienced. After 2 decades of wearing glasses and becoming increasingly dependent on them, I was suddenly seeing better than I ever had (my right eye still clocks in at 20/10 on a good day).

Beyond the joy of sharp, clear vision, I also felt a huge weight removed from my psyche. I no longer had to worry about losing or breaking my glasses during an emergency or while in a remote location. The surgery permanently removed a serious concern I had regarding my resilience.

Of course, no solution is perfect.  Lasik/PRK surgery isn't cheap; although it seems substantially less expensive than when I did it. It made my night vision a lot worse, though that's a trade-off I'm pretty happy making for the much-improved daytime clarity. And Chris now requires reading glasses, which he didn't before.

For those of you who have had corrective eye surgery, what has your experience been like?

For those that haven't, have you considered it? Why or why not?

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19 Comments

Thetallestmanonearth's picture
Thetallestmanonearth
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 28 2013
Posts: 320
Considering it

This is top of my list for physical resilience, however it has been a hard pill to swallow to spend several thousand dollars on the operation.  Does anyone in the Seattle area know of a good Lasik surgeon they can suggest?  Maybe it's time to choke down the pill and get it done.

shastatodd's picture
shastatodd
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 16 2010
Posts: 49
im lucky

other than some slight astigmatism, i seem to have the best of both worlds my right eye trends far sighted and left trends nearsighted... 

BSV's picture
BSV
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 26 2009
Posts: 170
Lasik

I was quite farsighted and underwent Lasik in 2007. It's more difficult to correct vision in farsighted persons, though the eye surgeon (one of the best in the country, in Houston; a surgeon to whom other eye surgeons refer their difficult cases) was able to correct my vision to 20-30. For a time I did not need reading glasses, but after six years I'm now farsighted again and need 2.5X reading glasses for close-up work.

My wife was very near-sighted and the same surgeon was able to correct her vision to almost 20-20, which she reckons is a near-miracle. After six years her vision has remained pretty constant and she is very happy. It changed her life for the better.

For my part, I"m glad that I had Lasik, for I can get by without glasses except for reading. Those who are contemplating Lasik or an alternative surgery should be aware that vision will change with increasing age. Also, my opthalmologist told me that cataract surgery is more difficult for patients who have had Lasik.

Cistern's picture
Cistern
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Joined: Jan 18 2009
Posts: 9
I had this done three years

I had this done three years ago for specific reasons related to personal resiliency. 

It was worth every penny.  I also convinced my wife to get it done and she too has found it to be very worthwhile.

I couldn't recommend it more.  I wore glasses for over 25 years for nearsightedness and now I see 20/15. 

I know I sound like a damn commercial, but it's really a great release from having to deal with eyewear or contacts, plus swimming, driving, showering and even sleeping is now easier since I don't have to worry about contacts floating away or drying out. 

If you can swing it, do it.  You won't regret it for a second.

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Posts: 5568
I love my new eyes

Well, I too will be a commercial for the procedure.  I had iLasik, which involves having both the flap and the sculpting done by lasers.  

For me this meant having a couple of pre-exams, one where they map the surface of the eye with incredible precision, and then the 15 minute procedure where exactly what needs to be taken from each part of the surface of the eye is removed.

Now my vision is a solid 20/15 and I love being free from glasses in order to see distance, and having my peripheral vision back.

Colors are brighter and clearer, I’ve never had vision this good in my entire life, and I can better withstand bright sun overhead, I think because the lenses used to refract light into my eyes or something.

I snorkel and see great. There’s nothing slipping off the bridge of my nose when I rock climb. I’m sure skiing will be just as grand this winter.

The recovery process was a little longer than they told me, and if I were going to tell someone what it would be like, I’d say this. The day of the surgery you aren’t going to do anything else besides have the procedure and then rest with your eyes closed. They will be tearing up and generally unhappy.

The next day things are definitely much more comfortable, but the vision was still not perfect. Certainly a lot better, but not totally right. There was a bit a blurring, more like double vision, a white cloudiness or hazyness, and dryness.

After three days I began to worry that I had made a mistake.

At the end of the first week I knew I hadn’t made a mistake. I would say, overall, that my eyesight was finally mostly settled in after a month.

And I noticed the gradually changes and marveled as my vision got better and better.

Now I regularly ‘outsee’ my kids who have perfect vision and can read things at really far distances.

My personal tradeoff was that I now need reading glasses, where I used to be able to see perfectly clearly up close. No biggie, I have bought about a dozen pairs of $3 glasses and have scattered them about the house and office, so I’m good.

Bottom line is that after thinking about the procedure for many years, but waffling because the procedure scared me, I would now do it again in a skinny minute if you plunked me back in time.

ao's picture
ao
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2009
Posts: 2220
I wouldn't do it

Peronally, I wouldn't do it although most people would.  But then again, with many health issues, my opinions differ from the mainstream's.  Too many risks, some in the short term but of greater concern, potentially in the long term.  Scarring of very delicate and sensitive tissues (whether mechanical surgical or optical surgical) can have potential long term effects that may not become apparent for many years.  To me, eyes are too important to take any risks.  One has to ask oneself, why did your vision deteriorate?  There are reasons beyond simply aging or congenital problems.  What are the biochemical influences (e.g. non-optimal nutrition and deficient exercise to promote full oxygenated blood supply)?  What are the psychological influences (e.g. fear or avoidance based thought patterns)?  What are the environmental influences (e.g. too much computer time without looking off to infinity at greens or blues or into complete darkness or staring at fixed focal distances or developing dysfunctional neurological patterns related to ocular movement, cervical movement, and vestibular influences)?  What are the functional differences (e.g. are your eyes properly exercised)?  Are you reducing your stress levels and getting enough rest and enough sleep or are you up-regulated 24/7?  Etc., etc.   There are natural eye improvement methods such as the Bates Method and others but they take a lot of time and discipline (as does anything else involving achieving excellence and high levels of proficiency) and most people in our modern society wouldn't take the time. 

http://www.amazon.com/Method-Better-Eyesight-Without-Glasses/dp/0805002413

Mercer Gardener's picture
Mercer Gardener
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Posts: 2
I went to Kent Leavitt in

I went to Kent Leavitt in Bellevue.  I had a very good experience.  I had very bad astigmtism and I now see 20/20 in one eye and 20/25 in the other.  My coke bottles are gone.

dryam2000's picture
dryam2000
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 6 2009
Posts: 279
I did it 5 years ago and couldn't be more pleased.....

I had lasik done 5 years ago, and couldn't be more pleased.  It was the best $3400 I've ever spent.  Yes, there are risks involved and everyone needs to carefully weigh the risks with the benefits in regards to their own personal situation.  My sight now is better than it ever was previously with glasses or contacts.  Everyone should keep in mind that the biggest problem is with your eyes changing after the procedure.  The more years of prescription stability prior to the procedure is most predictive to the stability after the procedure. 

If you are a very busy and active person, not having to deal with glasses or contacts is huge on a daily basis.

If you are in the Charlotte, NC area I highly recommend Dr. Mozayeni.  He is my doctor & did several of my physician-colleagues' eyes.  Couldn't recommend any more highly.

RoseHip's picture
RoseHip
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 5 2013
Posts: 147
It's all BS

As in it's all about your belief system. Remember that first time you went in for an eye appointment? Well that was probably the place that the belief system of you have bad eye sight and there is not much you can do but use corrective measures came from. What would be possible if the doctor prescribed eye exercises, proper eye nutrition like kale and such and implanted the thought of you can change your vision without glasses simply with your thoughts, nutrition and exercises? With so much technology It has made us lazy and searching for quick fixes. Don't believe me when is the last time you strongly believed in something I mean really believed and it didn't manifest in your life? What happens when you start to think that it might be possible to naturally change your eye sight, do you hear the conflicting beliefs as they square off? What's the worst that could happen, might you think your a little silly? I think it's worth the try vs. thousands of dollars and fricken lazers aimed at your eyes. It pays to pay attention to your inner world. Much can be achieved in a healthy individual with an open curious mind and self directed programming.

Rose

hammer6166's picture
hammer6166
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 30 2010
Posts: 25
LASIK in 1999

I had my LASIK in 1999.  The doctor explained the procedure would reset my vision to 20/20.  My procedure used a metal keratome to create a flap, not the laser which is often used today.  The next day I was 20/20 with my vision eventually settling at 20/10.  Recovery was quick with slight watering of my eyes which was fixed with the anti-inflammatory drops they gave me.  There is some starring in my night vision that is most noticeable when looking at street lights.  It was fun to see farther than my young nieces and nephews. Now, 15 years later, my eyes have drifted enough that I'll soon need glasses or LASIK again.

Cost was the only real negative for me.  I wore contacts which cost about $350 a year to maintain.  I think the procedure was $4800 in 1999 (I'm in Silicon Valley where everything is more expensive) which makes it roughly break even.  I did get to avoid sticking fingers in my eyes every morning and evening which is worth something, too :-)  Sand volleyball, swimming, running, seeing the clock in the morning are just some of the many things improved by having the procedure.

As a point of resiliency, LASIK wins in my book.  Storing 15 years of contacts and solution would be a problem.  The same goes for glasses.  I think clear, starred night vision is better than my blurry night vision but I know others that had the procedure that were annoyed by the starring.

 

gillbilly's picture
gillbilly
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2012
Posts: 423
Funny, I see both sides

of this issue. Couldn't resist the pun. I'm 47 and was contemplating lasik about 5 years ago. My daughter, 2 at that time, was constantly pulling my glasses off my face. One pair broke, the next were scratched, the $$ were adding up with the cost of glasses. I was near-sighted, and had to wear glasses to drive (by law of course), and especially at night because of my astigmatism. I tried contacts for months (many different kinds), but my eyes couldn't stand them. So I stopped wearing anything... and my eyes improved. I took the eye test two years ago at the dmv and passed no problem. I haven't used glasses or contacts for the past 5 years and although I do find my glasses still make things more focused, for the most part, I only use them when reading music from a couple feet away. I know your vision changes in your 40s, and that things farther away get a little easier to see, and that you eventually need the bifocals for close up reading, but I haven't needed reading glasses yet. I wonder how long this will last, but I have to say it's been nice not having to wear my glasses. I expect my eyes will continue to change and I will eventually contemplate lasik again. I hear Montreal gives great packages, and it's a bonus my in-laws live there. Good to hear some of the concerns as well, I guess nothing is without risks.

Amanda Witman's picture
Amanda Witman
Status: Peak Prosperity Team (Offline)
Joined: Mar 17 2008
Posts: 409
I've considered this, too

The price tag is a deterrent, but I can see that it would be an investment.

My concern would also be that my eyes would worsen.  It's reassuring to hear that prescription stability for some years beforehand can translate into less of that.

I was told that average folks with decent eyesight start needing reading glasses around age 40, and people who are "naturally" nearsighted start needing them around age 45.  I'm only 40, so maybe it would be prudent to wait (and hope the option is still available in 5 years or so)?

However, if the eventual relapse is minor compared to my current prescription, it would probably still be worth it...my glasses are pretty strong.

Chris, I'll be asking you who did yours and the price tag...

 

Petey1's picture
Petey1
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 13 2012
Posts: 58
Wife loves it

My wife had it done about 10 years ago and has zero regrets. She does the books for a eye doctor and he recommended it. 

Rector's picture
Rector
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 7 2010
Posts: 490
Changed Everything

My wife had LASIK about four years ago.  When I became aware of the vulnerabilities in our lives, I decided that having my partner in life totally blind without contacts was a major weakness. She considered it, made an appointment, and was thrilled at the idea of ditching contacts and glasses. 

The surgery was about $3500, went flawlessly, and remains the best money we have spent in many years. It is truly a miracle. Her vision is better than it has ever been.  

Rector

nickbert's picture
nickbert
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 14 2009
Posts: 1207
Overall positive experience for my wife....

.... but I noticed that for about 3 or 4 years after her eyes suffered from dryness on a regular basis and required using eye drops regularly. It's better now, but she still finds the need to use eye drops every so often. Granted some of it would be due to living in dry and/or cold climates (Colorado, Alaska, Mongolia), but it was something she never had to do before the surgery.

Despite almost everyone in my family eventually wearing glasses, genetics somehow cut me a break and I've had good vision so far into my 30's. I expect I may eventually need reading glasses in future years like many, but unless my vision deteriorates to a great degree I think I will forego any eye surgery. For me it would need to mean a very substantial improvement in quality of life, rather than alleviating an inconvenience.

- Nick

treemagnet's picture
treemagnet
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 13 2011
Posts: 344
My wife and I

Had ours done, never looked back.  Just do it.

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1982
hmmm - HSA?

The comment about having your prescription stabilized for a while before getting laser eye surgery to correct my vision makes sense. I could have had it done years ago but my eyes kept getting worse, and I said to myself - what if they change after the surgery? 

My Rx for my glasses has not changed much in the last 10 years, and no change at all in the last 5, I may do it now, if we can scrape up the cash. We are checking into whether or not our Health Savings Account (HSA) will cover it. (An HSA is made up of pretax dollars and if you do it right, it does not effect your after-tax income. _

SingleSpeak's picture
SingleSpeak
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 30 2008
Posts: 496
I had it done a few years ago

and part of the deal was if my eye sight changes (and it can be fixed) they'll redo it for free.

I don't know if this is the standard deal or not.

SS

aggie74's picture
aggie74
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 7 2013
Posts: 9
Pros and cons

My best friend and I both had lasix done in 2001. I had one eye tweaked afterwards. I use eyedrops every am before I get out of bed and it is like a miracle for someone who was legally blind without glasses.

 

My friend, on the other hand, has had many complications. At night she has the halo effect. Earlier  this year, at age 59, she had cataract surgery, then this summer a detached retina with complications. That eye will never fully regain normaL vision. She was told at that time that eye surgery increased the chance of a detached retina. She is now having cataract surgery redone in both eyes. So, closely investigate possible problems down the road. She was told being very nearsided increased the chances of later detachment.

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