Thinking of having LASIK?

Lilou

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As an optometrist, I am asked several times a week about LASIK surgery. Many people have the notion that if they can afford it, they should have this surgery done to correct their refractive error. Well, think again folks! This surgery to eliminate glasses (temporarily) is not all it's SOLD to be.

I have seen some horrendous results in my office. Granted, most of these came from one particular surgeon, but nonetheless, they were in my office hoping to get their 20/20 (6/6) vision restored with glasses. Some were not so lucky – one case was barely legal to drive best corrected – and I was happy to hear he was the husband of a lawyer! Poor fellow had folds across his cornea. The surgeon did not get the corneal flap laid back down smoothly.

As with any elective surgery, one must weigh the risks vs. benefits. As I see it, if you've already got 20/20 vision with glasses or contact lenses, all that is left is risk! Risk of chronic dry eye, risk of chronic inflammation, which can lead to glaucoma, risk of a fold in your cornea, risk of induced astigmatism, risk of glare & halos around lights. A colleague of mine had a friend who went to Canada to have the surgery – this was before it was approved in the USA. Poor thing, has such bad glare problems at night, that she has to instill drops of Pilocarpine to constrict her pupils if she needs to drive at night. OMG, was all I could say.

Most of these Lasik Centers will do their best to sell you “Lifetime Enhancement” packages. What a joke! Each time Lasik is done on a cornea, it becomes thinner & flatter. Most folks have an average corneal thickness, which would allow this procedure to be done only twice! If you had a really thick cornea, you may squeak by for a third go-round. So this sales pitch is really a con job!

If you are a die-hard contact lens wearer & have LASIK, don’t think you’ll go back to contacts when your 20/20 vision shifts to 20/40 after a few years. Your cornea will be too FLAT. The contacts will not center on the eye. It seems to be the “norm” that your prescription will shift after 6-10 years. The amount of the shift will depend on how high your refractive error was going into the surgery. But know - it WILL shift!

I saw a very unfortunate case just this past week. The fellow had LASIK for his near sightedness with no astigmatism - pretty straight forward case. Well, in just a few short years after the surgery, he had a HUGE astigmatism. I was actually stunned by the amount. So he’s back in glasses with a football shaped cornea (ideally, we’d like it round).

In addition to my view of LASIK, the following article was on yahoo last week.
_http://www.politicsdaily.com/2011/02/10/is-lasik-eye-surgery-safe-fda-scientist-regrets-saying-yes/

If you’ve had LASIK with good results, I’m happy for you! If you are thinking of having it, think twice or even three times. But from where I sit, the risks far outweigh the benefits – and the only benefit is no glasses or contacts – for a while anyway .
 

anart

A Disturbance in the Force
Thanks, Lilou - I've always been a bit freaked out by the idea, so I never did it. Now I never will! :)
 

Niall

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I was stunned when a friend got his eyes done. He had near good eyesight with glasses (slightly thicker than average lenses perhaps) but decided at the age of 20 that he had had enough of wearing specks. His description of the procedure was horrifying - I would NEVER let someone slice the top of my eye off then shine a burning red laser inside it!!

Anyway, my friend's eyes never fully recovered and he has a hard time looking at anything too bright - computer screens, TVs included. He is constantly applying drops of some solution to his eyes because they're constantly drying up.
 

Gimpy

The Living Force
Thank you Lilou. I'd been wanting to have this done, but every doctor I talked to said no, but not one would give me an explanation as to why, other than "You have MS, and that means no." It boggles my mind why professionals won't be honest with me about things like this.
 

Mrs.Tigersoap

The Living Force
Mrs.Tigersoap said:
Poor thing, has such bad glare problems at night, that she has to instill drops of Pilocarpine to constrict her pupils if she needs to drive at night.

An acquaintance of mine has had LASIK and even though she's happy (because she used to wear really unelegant thick glasses and now she can go without), she is really frustrated because she can no longer drive as soon as it gets dark (which can be pretty early in winter) due to the glaring lights. From what I understood, it was not really explained to her that way before she had the operation. At some point Tigersoap was considering this. I sure am glad he never went through with it.
Thanks Lilou!
 

pete02

The Living Force
Your timing with this is blowing me away Lilou. :shock:

My brother is taking a trip to Columbia with his girlfriend next month to have this procedure done. We had many questions about it but most articles on the web are pro for having this done and we had come to the conclusion that is was a good thing. Knowing you personally and reading your post has definitely changed my mind on this matter. Needless to say my brother is not going to be happy to hear this because he had his heart set on it but it sounds as if its for the best. He only wears contacts currently and he is a truck driver to boot. Having halos at nighttime could very well put an end to his career. I can only imagine that your timing with this post is one way the universe has chosen to speak out to me and I am grateful to you both.

Thanks again Lilou! :flowers:
 
G

Gertrudes

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Well, I'm very surprised to read the experiences you're all relating. I had laser done in both of my eyes in mid 2005, and I'm wondering whether it is actually the same thing since I've had no side effects whatsoever and my vision is now at 100%. In Portugal where I had it we call it laser eye surgery (in Portuguese of course), but from your description it seems to be LASIK.

At the time I was dancing professionally and had done so for a few years, my eyes could no longer bare contact lenses for more then 2 hours without becoming extremely dry, and I couldn't wear glasses while dancing because they would just fly out of my face. This was a problem because I had strong astigmatism since I was a child, my eyesight was extremely weak, although I don't remember numbers. It was becoming increasingly difficult to work because I just couldn't see. So after much pondering it took us (me and my family) a while to find a really good doctor.

While reading this thread I realize that I am very fortunate to be able to say that for me it worked wonders. Within 1 day I was seeing crystal clear, had to use eye drops for a week (I think that it was a week) and that was it. Since then my vision has been stable, no dry eyes, no sensitivity to light...I wasn't even aware that that had been a possibility!

Although it worked so well for me and I feel I have gained freedom because I can actually see, today I think differently and I don't know whether I would have done it. As I think of it, the fact that I couldn't see very likely had a deeper meaning, a connection to my own subconscious. Somehow, having done the operation seems to me as having forced something to happen not only on my eyes, but probably elsewhere....I don't know.

Added: I don't regret having done it, for me seeing after a lifetime of non seeing was absolutely freeing, but if it were today, I don't know whether I would act similarly.
 
H

Hildegarda

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People I know had very good experiences with LASIK. My friend had paid triple for extra computer monitoring and initially had trouble with dry eye, but that has gone away after a while. Halos at night time were more of a risk for procedures performed earlier in the past; currently, they seem to have figured out a way to decrease the risk of this happening.

That said, all other risks plus inevitable age-related eye changes still make it not worth it for me personally.
 

curious_richard

Jedi Master
Gertrudes said:
Well, I'm very surprised to read the experiences you're all relating.
Me too. I got LASIK around 2003 and it is one of the best decisions I ever made.

While reading this thread I realize that I am very fortunate to be able to say that for me it worked wonders. Within 1 day I was seeing crystal clear, had to use eye drops for a week (I think that it was a week) and that was it. Since then my vision has been stable, no dry eyes, no sensitivity to light...I wasn't even aware that that had been a possibility!
Same here. Without glasses, I could see clearly for maybe ten feet or so and "usefully" for maybe twenty to thirty feet. After LASIK, my near vision was still good and my far vision was excellent. My far vision is MUCH BETTER now than it EVER was with glasses. My eye test after LASIK was 20/20 for one eye and 15/20 with both eyes.

For the first few years, I did have "ghost" images at night when looking at very bright objects. These were the moon, the stars, auto headlights, and reflective signs. This did not cause me any problems, but it was very annoying. This gradually went away by five years or so. Now I can look at the stars and I can seem them clearly! When I was using glasses, I could not really see the stars very well at all.

Like most people my age, I do need reading glasses for anything closer than 6 to 8 inches. If I had not had the surgery, I would still be nearsighted and I would probably still have great near vision. No problem. No regrets.

I never did go back for "adjustments". As "Lilou" suggests, I think it would be foolish to take any new risk for (maybe!) a small improvement.
 

manitoban

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Lilou said:
As with any elective surgery, one must weigh the risks vs. benefits. As I see it, if you've already got 20/20 vision with glasses or contact lenses, all that is left is risk!

Exactly why I never had it done, plus a friend of mine had it done and she is now wearing glasses again and does have problems with her contact lenses.

Thanks very much for sharing this Lilou - very useful information to help people at least make an informed decision and know the risks.
 

Masamune

Jedi Council Member
I came across this video recently by Dr. Mercola on Lasik.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Lk_xD_0wPg

He recommends not getting it done because it is a permanent correction burned into your eye - and your eyes can change after the surgery. Also it can cause all types of other vision problems as discussed above. It can benefit some people but for others it will not. What he recommends is eye exercises to restore proper vision - his program that he sells is $150. http://products.mercola.com/vision-program/
 

Lilou

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I did a bit more research, and Lasik professionals are claiming a 5% complication rate. But these stats are put out by the makers of the lasers they use! So they are biased and not reliable. And in all fairness, it is the complications that end up in my chair. The happy people are not visiting me.

In addition to choosing a competent surgeon, you should also find out what type of laser they are using and research its accuracy. There is currently a lawsuit against ALCON, the makers of the LadarVision4000. Doctors are claiming that it is not producing the correct results and they are having 20-40% enhancement rates (it should be less than 10%). So it is pretty much a crap shoot, and I don’t like to gamble!

For those who have had successful LASIK, I’m happy – because how else could you keep up with all the reading we do?! For those thinking of having it, do your own research, consider you may be one of the unlucky ones, and then make a decision. Also know that the surgeon dials in a glasses prescription – so this data is the MOST crucial. Be sure you have a good optometrist doing the Pre-Op exam.

As for Dr. Mercola's Vision Program - it is certainly not a quick fix. The technique of relaxation of the eyes, combined with a detox diet, could keep you out of reading glasses in middle age. But DIET is the most important factor in this approach. For someone who has consumed processed foods for decades, this program probably won't do much. He even states it is most effective in children.

So in the end, a diet free of toxic food & relaxation (Eiriu-Eolas is a great choice!) is the best approach to maintain a healthy visual system.
 

Deckard

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
well I ve been considering LASIK surgery for a long time now, most people I know who had this surgery are very happy with the result and I was lately again thinking that I should do it, but now after reading this thread I am not so sure.
I remember in the past something Tigersoap posted also put me off for a while.

I don't have any problems with my glasses or lenses ( except when I fly and my eyes get dry) but my main concern is rough times ahead when having tick glasses ( - 5.25 and 5.50) or having to wear lenses might be quite a disability ( especially if I have to go on the sea or swim to leave my island). Cannot imagine finding fresh pair of lenses in post-cataclysmic world.

I was chatting about this with my dentist who also wears thick glasses and he had a good point- "why all the ophthalmologists I know wear glasses and none of them had the surgery?"

Really not so sure what to do. :huh:
The Ophtalmologist who does LASIK on my island is supposed to be very good and he has turnover of at least thousand surgeries per year. I know 6 people who did it and all of them are very happy with the result. One of them did it in UK and he suffered from glare during the night but he seems to be OK and the problem stopped.
 
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