LASIK and Shooting -- My Experience


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Grampa
August 17, 2006, 02:10 PM
I’m 52 and have worn glasses since the second grade. My eyesight was very poor, but was corrected to 20/20 with glasses. I also had some astigmatism in my left eye. I tried contacts in my 30’s, but they were uncomfortable. I didn’t naturally tear enough to wear contacts for more than a few hours.

Shooting with strong prescription glasses, and eventually bifocals, was fine for handguns, as long as I paid attention to looking through the “sweet spot” of my glasses. Same with rifles with iron sights. Using red dots, holographic sights, and scopes was always a problem. Not only did I have to concentrate on looking through the “sweet spot” of my glasses (tough to do and have proper cheek weld), often the combination of astigmatism, strong prescription glasses and optics caused the target to bloom and halo.

A few weeks ago I had LASIK surgery. The operation and recovery went fine, and I now see 20/20. The right eye took 38 seconds, and the left 42 seconds. I was in the operating room at most 20 minutes start to finish. And the next morning my vision was 20/20, tested. I looked up at the stars the next night and saw them as pinpoints of light for the first time in my life. And Mars was actually a disk. Just amazing.

But, there is a big downside. The vision correction for my distance sight was so great that my near vision now is absolutely shot. For most instances, that just means I need to wear reading glasses for reading, looking at the computer monitor, reloading, stuff like that. You can buy reading glasses very cheap, and in a variety of powers. I've bought several pair and have pre-positioned them in key locations. For most stuff I use 2.00 power, but I keep a pair of 3.00 at my reloading bench.

The worst impact is that I can no longer clearly see the sights on a handgun. I used to be able to shoot fairly accurately (just slow), but that may be significantly degraded. Or, at least, it requires some adjustment in shooting style. Last weekend I took my 22/45 out and tested my new eyes. As I suspected, overall my groups have opened up. I was still able to put 210 of 220 rounds in a 5 ˝” bullseye at 50 feet, but it took a new level of concentration and different sighting technique. Where before I really tried to concentrate on the front sight, now I have to depend more on watching for the white space around the front sight. I find myself looking more at the target. Opposite of the “sight alignment then add the target for sight picture” process I was taught.

Shooting a rifle with any kind of optics; red dot, holographic or scope, seems to be no problem. Even better, as there is no more blooming of the target. Cool! Iron sights are tough. I haven't shot iron sights since the operation, so don't know how well I'll be able to do with either the 16" or 20" AR's with A2 sights. I suspicion that the 20" AR and longer rifles will be easier to shoot.

So, for those of you considering LASIK surgery and have moderate to bad nearsightedness, you may be interested in my experience. I am glad I had the surgery, but there are drawbacks related to shooting.

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Chipperman
August 17, 2006, 03:01 PM
Nice review. The surgery is a two-edged sword.
Glad the surgery went well overall.
Things like that make me realize how lucky I am to have perfect vision still.

AVESguy
August 17, 2006, 03:07 PM
Thanks for the great post. I'm in the same spot as you, same age too. I went to be evaluated for Lasik, and was given contacts to "pre test" and see if I would adjust (I can wear contacts fine most of the time). I had the exact same problems you describe wearing the contacts, still needed prescription reading glasses with variable bifocals, which I wear sometimes when wearing the lenses. I finally decided that just trading one problem for another doesn't seem worth it and am in no rush to get the Lasik done.

AVESGUY

Wiley
August 17, 2006, 03:26 PM
Welcome to the club, kid. :D

I'm 57 and wore glasses since about the year you were born (20/"What chart?"). I had LASIK about ten years ago and never looked back. I had the choice of distance vision or close vision or one eye close/one eye distance. I picked both distance. It took some months the 'settle in' and I had to have a tuneup on my left eye at about a year. Beyond that it's been great. Ten years later I can still see individual leaves on trees at a half mile, craters on the Moon.

What you will find is that since you wore glasses, you'll have to adjust to having periferal vision. Things that you had to turn your head to see you'll pick up periferaly, and it may startle you.

In time you'll adjust. I have no problems with my P-3AT to Uberti 1875 Remington to M14.

Dravur
August 17, 2006, 03:56 PM
Lasiks about 3 yrs ago. I am younger than you all, at 42, but the surgery did not affect my near vision at all. To this day, I have had no problems shooting and seeing iron sights.

I do know that as we age, our near sight does decline, called Prespyopia <sp> And I do believe that it could be accelerated by correcting your vision. I think that correcting your vision brought out the prespyopia that was present, but not noticed when your vision was set for nearsightedness.

I am not an optometrist, so, I could be wrong, but Lasiks worked well for me.

HMMurdock
August 17, 2006, 04:34 PM
I'm 22 and had LASIK 2 years ago. Super close distances (right next to my face) is a bit blurry, but otherwise no down side. No problem at ANY shooting distances. The only downside I have noticed is that my night sight isn't what it used to be. I used to have wonderful vision at night and now I'm average at best. But otherwise I am very grateful for the LASIK, for I had horrible vision (-7.5) and astygmatism.

Congrats on the procedure, though. I'm glad all went well.

TRL

JesseJames
August 17, 2006, 04:55 PM
Thankyou very much Grampa for your post.
I've thought about getting that surgery myself but stories of the negative aftereffects instilled some serious doubts. You only have one pair of eyeballs.
I may try out the newest type of gas-permeable contact lenses. I don't want to take any chances with my eyesight. Too much depends on them.

'Card
August 17, 2006, 05:26 PM
Lasik 2 years ago when I was 36. My personal opinion? Best thing I ever did. I only wish I'd done it sooner. No near-vision issues, but as I understand it, that's primarily age-related, and linked to losing tone and flexibility in the muscles in the eye that do the focusing.

For me it was almost like a miracle, in some ways. All my life I'd thought the one thing I could never change, and just have to accept, was my vision problems. Then they wheel me under that laser, fire a few shots, wheel me out, and my vision went from 20/500 to 20/15 almost overnight.

striker3
August 17, 2006, 05:53 PM
I'm 25 and it has now been 4 years since I had LASIK. Best thing I could ever hae done. My vision went from 20/400 to 20/15. I have no problems shooting at any distance under any conditions. It did not change my night vision, but that had been horrible anyways.

Wiley
August 17, 2006, 06:17 PM
JesseJames,

You should have some concerns. As with any surgery there are a percentage of patients who have complicateions. To ignore that would not be smart.

However, there are ways to limit the risk. Go to a surgeon who has done LOTS of them. Ask for refreals. Ask about the possible compications. Don't just pick the low-price leader.

If you have bad eyes, like the other posters here and the procedure is successful, you'll wonder why you didn't have it done sooner. Don't let internet horror stories scare you unnessarily.

Grampa
August 17, 2006, 06:18 PM
Oh, I'm VERY glad I had the surgery. For most aspects of my life, it really is a miracle. Since it has only been a few weeks, I'm probably being premature in my evaluation of my near vision. It may still improve. But, the points made about aging eyes are right on. I started losing my near vision at about 47. I was still able to take my glasses off and hold something about 6 inches from my face to see it, but otherwise I used bifocals or reading glasses. Now, something held next to my nose is blurry, and it doesn't really get sharp to about 6 feet out. Before, I needed my reading glasses or bifocals starting with anything closer than two feet. Handgun sights were right at that boundary.

I've not noticed any change in night vision, nor am I any more sensitive to light than I was previously.

My wife wears her contacts as one distant, one close. I think its called monovision. The ophthamologist said he could do the same thing with the LASIK surgery for her. She is considering it.

Devonai
August 17, 2006, 06:36 PM
I'm 29 and I had LASIK surgery in January. I can't remember what my vision was on the Snellen scale (20/x) but in decimal it was -2.25. Now I'm at 20/15 in both eyes. Near and far vision is excellent.

The major drawback to the surgery was well disclosed prior to the procedure. I was told I had very large pupils, and that in low light the size of my pupils would exceed the surgery area, resulting in light distortion. That's exactly what happened, so the acuity of my night vision depends entirely on the ambient lighting conditions. Glare is most pronounced when there is a very bright single light source, i.e. a car approaching on a country road. My mom uses hard contact lenses and she experiences the same glare for exactly the same reasons.

For shooting, there has been nothing but improvement. I got the surgery because I was alerted for possible deployment to Iraq with the Army, and I'd had enough of my glasses fogging up during combat training. Now I can shoot from a wider variety of positions (especially when prone) and I don't have to worry about my damn glasses fogging up!

The only thing I regret is that I'm currently experiencing hard financial times, and the $3500 I spent on the surgery would look pretty good back in my bank account right now.

gunsmith
August 17, 2006, 07:23 PM
and I use reading glasses in low light and fine print...very inneresting thread here

History Prof
August 17, 2006, 07:28 PM
I just started wearing bifocals (yesterday, in fact). I'm more curious about this "sweet spot" thing you're talking about, because I haven't been to the range in about 2 months or so. I never had problems with my single-vision lenses, which I've worn since age 12. Dang, I just realized I haven't even picked up a gun in the past 24 hours to see what the impact might have been.:eek:

Catbird
August 17, 2006, 08:45 PM
Grampa -

Your eyesight background sounds a lot like mine. I am in my 50s and started wearing glasses at age 7; by age 10, I was totally dependant on glasses to navigate through my everyday environment.

I had LASIK surgery on both eyes approximately 5 years ago. Prior to the actual procedure, I was given the option of correcting one eye to 20/20 and under-correcting the other eye to (approx.) 20/40 - called monovision. Initially, that sounded like a bad idea and I wasn't interested at all because I feared it would lead to headaches and/or dizziness.

To make a long story short, I decided to go with the monovision option after I gathered more information and am now so happy I did. Utilizing both eyes, I can read small print and see pretty well at a distance without any corrective lenses whatsoever with both eyes working in concert.

The benefit of all this is that the monovision has given me the ability to see my gun sights and my target pretty easily.

For a guy that had an (estimated) 20/800 uncorrected vision in both eyes and wore super thick glasses most of his life, I'm more than satisfied with the results. Other than shooting, the only time I choose to wear any glasses is to sharpen things up a bit for nighttime driving.

Werewolf
August 17, 2006, 08:47 PM
As one grows older the lenses in the eye become less and less flexible - they just can't adjust to the full range of distances we need to see at anymore.

Lasik doesn't affect the lens - it changes the cornea - it's kind of like adaptive optics but it only goes so far.

You can correct for far or near but if you're older and your lenses are getting stiff you've just got to decide what is better. My doctor showed me what correcting for near, far, and mid would look like. None were acceptable for various reasons.

Lasik isn't for everyone and it isn't a cure all for poor vision in many, many cases.

Tokugawa
August 17, 2006, 08:55 PM
Now this is an interesting thread! I am nearsighted with astigmatism. I can focus like a magnifying glass up real close with out glasses, but no distance vision at all. I'd like to hear what other guys in thier 50's experience is.

Glock_10mm
August 17, 2006, 08:59 PM
My doctor told me that if you can see well enough to drive / move around the house in normal activities, its not worth the risk of lasik (ie a bad infection or wrong move and your blind). Glad the surgery went well but I'd only suggest it to those who dont have 'decent' vision.

Also, if you are real young, your eyes will constantly change until you are 25 or so, so you should hold off until then. The change is much slower after that, but doing it too early can put you in the same boat just years later. I read an article where a parent got their 14 year old lasik and by 17 they needed to have it again.

taliv
August 17, 2006, 09:53 PM
very interesting thread. i've been debating this for years.

did any of you ask your doc if you could do one eye at a time? like, do an eye and wait a day to do the next one, to make sure they didn't screw up the first one?

i mean, losing sight in one eye would suck, but not nearly as much as losing it in both eyes, due to something like a machine not being calibrated properly.

Ricebrnr
August 17, 2006, 10:35 PM
Werewolf is correct, the condition is called presbyopia. Unlike glasses your natural lens flexes to accomodate focus at various distances. As you age the lens naturally loses this flexibility.

Lasik will correct your vision via sculpting of the cornea but even younger people are usually advised as I was (37) that with my corrected vision there is a possibility of losing near vision as I grow older.

There are several other options available now but they require a more invasive surgery. These use new multi focal intra-ocular lenses in a surgery called a refractive lens exchange. This is essentially the same surgery that would correct for cataracts but in this case you'd be replacing a "clear" natural lens with an artificial presbyopia correcting intraocular one. There's even a new class of lenses (Toric) that would correct for astigmatism as well. Generally speaking these all fall under the classification of "New Technology Intraocular Lenses" or NTIOL's.

Should you have cataracts, Medicare and some other private insurance carriers willl pay for the medically necessary portion of the surgery and you can pay the difference for the vision correction out of pocket.

HTH

XLMiguel
August 17, 2006, 11:27 PM
Thanks for sharing. I'm 58, pretty nearsighted, and considering Lasik/Visik. My brother (7 yrs younger) did it this last spring and is very happy with the results (one eye tuned near, one distant), but he isn't a shooter.

By and large, I hear many more success stories than not, but still, I've only got one set of eyes . . . . will consider it further, and technology will progress, and thanks again, for the input:)

mordechaianiliewicz
August 17, 2006, 11:44 PM
I discovered just 3 months ago that my vision is 20/350 in my left eye, and 20/590 in my right. I've been wearing glasses since I was 10. And as soon as I have the money for it, I'm gonna get LASIK with a view to distanced sight in both eyes from an eye Doc in town who is very good but also quite expensive.

As far as the shooting aspect, I've had to labour to find optics that I can work around. Although I'm a surgeon with most any handgun I get my hands on, with a rifle, I'm average at best. And most of that I chalk up to my bad eyesight.

With glasses on, and a very steady hold, iron sights is an adventure when I'm using my rifle.

AnthonyRSS
August 18, 2006, 09:09 AM
Does anyone here shoot shotguns (clays, not stationary targets) after having LASIK? My eyes are real bad -9.0 almost, with a bad astigmatism. I was wondering how the monocular vision would work trying to see targets.

Anthony

Beren
August 18, 2006, 10:22 AM
I have fairly bad vision (20/400 or so, I believe) and astigmatism in both eyes. Put it like this: without corrective lenses, the reticule of an Eotech is a single reddish blob.

I've considered Lasik, but as contacts and glasses work well enough for me, it doesn't seem worth taking an additional risk. It's work great for many, many people, but it is an elective surgery that cannot be reversed if you don't like the results. I can always switch to a different brand of contacts or get new glasses.

New eyes are still a little more difficult to obtain.

But for you vast majority who have had great results with LASIK - congratulations, and thanks for sharing your experiences!

AirForceShooter
August 18, 2006, 10:39 AM
I'm 60 and been wearing glasses like forever.
I know it's an E.
The thought of somebody playing with my eyes terrifies me.
But maybe, just maybe

AFS

Seismic Sam
August 18, 2006, 12:19 PM
I was 55, could afford to pay for my own Lasik no problem, and went in expecting to be taken care of in a week or two. They told me I had cataracts in both eyes, and to go away (you feeble, broken down old man :uhoh: ) So I got scheduled for cataract surgery for both eyes, and unfortunately I had really let myself go. I had coke bottle glasses with the left eye corrected far, and the right eye corrected for 12" to see my computer screen. I had an old pair of glasses that allowed me to at least see the sights on my gun with my right eye, but the target was a complete blur. About that time I had acquired a brand new 50 GI, which I immediately outfitted with Crimson Trace LG-301 lasergrips. I go to the range, reach for my range glasses, and :cuss: :cuss: :cuss: I left them at home!! :banghead: So my right eye is totally useless, and I wind up shooting for the FIRST time in my life with my left eye at 25 yards using just the laser dot to aim with. The result was astounding:
http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/1550/50gitarget13wh.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Since then I had the surgery in both eyes, and for the first time in 48 years I don't need glasses. :D :D :D :D :D My right eye is corrected for distance and is 20/20 all the way to the horizon, and my left eye is 20/15 and I can see anything from about 34" to 15 feet. As such, iron sights are a little blurry for me, so I wear a cheap pair of glasses with 1 diopter of correction for shooting.

That aside, I think laser sights are the greatest thing for us older people since Viagra :p , and I would highly recommend them to people who may have some distance focus issues after they have had Lasik or cataract surgery.

Grampa
August 18, 2006, 01:17 PM
The “sweet spot” I was referring to is merely the focal center of the lens. This may all be obvious, but bear with me. One of the measurements the person fitting your glasses takes is the distance between your pupils. When your glasses are made, they attempt to place the focal center of the lenses directly in front of your pupils. That focal center is not only the place where the lens is thinnest, but most accurate for the least light deflection. If you look at an object through your center glasses, then move your head around while fixing on that object, you may see the object sort of move around. The light beams entering the glasses are being deflected at a different angle and different distance to your pupils. That’s why those of us who wear glasses tend to turn our heads to look at things to either side, or up and down, to most accurately fix on the object’s location and proper focus. It takes some getting used to having no glasses, and having peripheral vision restored, as Wiley stated.

Now, this may be a minor, unnoticed problem for daily vision, but it exacerbates parallax problems with rifle optics, especially scopes. You have to take extra care to make sure your are looking through the focal center of your glasses and the center of your scope to minimize parallax error. Try it. Look through a scope at an object while wearing glasses and see if changing the distance to the lens and the tilt of your head changes the location of the crosshairs on the object. Also try changing the location of your eye in relation to looking straight down the scope tube. It is deceptive, but unless you are consistent in the hold, looking straight through the focal center of your glasses aligned to the center of the scope, your groups will never be nice and tight. It is especially difficult if you have a low comb on the stock and are trying to be good about cheek weld.

The same deflection error occurs with iron sights, both on rifles and pistols, but is less pronounced. I always corrected for it by being conscientious to look through the focal center of my glasses.

Now, all of the above is only my opinion and observation. I’m not an expert, just a shooter. I suggest you make your own observations. Someone that knows optics may want to drop in and correct my deflected errors. :)

Oh, and I want to reiterate what has been mentioned by a few people here. I seriously considered if I wanted to risk my eyesight for the rest of my life by undergoing an elective surgery. The clinic showed us a video explaining all the potential things that could go wrong, and before the operation I had to read and sign off on a CYA form that comprehensively went over the potential issues and problems, one of which is the near-sightedness I am experiencing. I made the decision to do it, and am pleased overall, so far, with the results.

The clinic I went to seemed to have the best credentials I could find. Certainly not the cheapest. The original evaluation was free, and during that evaluation, all of the testing and mapping of the eyes was done. One fee covered the entire process, for one year. Any corrections or treatment for complications I may need over the next year would be covered. I did my homework, and am glad I did.

Legionnaire
August 18, 2006, 01:25 PM
Thanks for posting this. I've been considering LASIK, but have had some reservations. I wear contacts, and have my right eye optimized for distance. As a consequence, it gets tired quickly when focusing close in (no way to avoid presbyopia, I guess).

Anybody here gone the "optimize one eye for distance and the other for close up" route, either with contacts or surgery?

Oops. Didn't see Seismic Sam's post until after this.

ARTiger
August 18, 2006, 02:27 PM
Like myself (I have Astygmitism solely - no other vision problems) lots of folks with astygmitism have tried contacts unsuccessfully in the past and have considered lasik. I was almost there when I tried the new AccuVue Toric disposable contacts. Although you're supposed to take them off at night, I find I can wear them continuously for about a week, do one night's rest and cleaning, and repeat 3-4 weeks worth. To me it's the same effect as lasik without the surgery. I hardly know the contacts are even there and just a rub on the eyelids in the norning brings everything into focus.

I bought what they consider six months' worth of lenses 3 years ago and still have 2 pair left. I do not have any interest in Johnson & Johnson, etc., but in my opinion their AccuVue Toric lenses are an awesome product for astygmatics.

The_Antibubba
August 18, 2006, 03:21 PM
I had it done almost 4 years ago, and I have no regrets.

I had 20/25 in my left eye, and 20/500 in my right :eek: Since I'm left-handed, this made my shooting choices a foregone conclusion. Problem is, I'm right-eyed. Now, after the Wavepoint, I'm learning to shoot right and right, and my shooting has improved.

Some things to consider:


Don't go cheap! $300 LASIK gets you a possible horror story. I spent $2500 for the one eye, and it was totally worth it. My doctors are at the forefront of their professions, the machine is stationary and seismicly grounded (most of the bargain jobs have their machine trucked from clinic to clinic), andthe price includes 10 years of followup care. I had to have it touched up once, and I got right in.

It isn't perfect. I still have haloes around bright lights. To be fair, I have them around the untreated eye too-I just never noticed them until about a year after the second zap. My doctor says within 1 or 2 years they should be able to correct that, too.

If your profession or hobby involves close-in, detailed work, you might not want to do it. I used to call my right eye "SplinterVision" because I could pull stuff to within a half inch of my eyeball to examine it (of course, at arms' length I wouldn't be able to identify it). I could actually see the flaws in diamonds! That's gone. But so are the sore spots on my nose and behind my ears, the constant need to wipe my lenses, etc. It has been a fair tradeoff.


What's funny is, even now, I'll occasionally reach toward my face and panic because my glasses aren't there, before I realize I don't need them and don't wear them anymore. :o It's like a phantom pain, but they were such an integral part of my life.

Just be informed and knowledgable-don't go in blind, so to speak. :D

History Prof
August 18, 2006, 08:09 PM
When your glasses are made, they attempt to place the focal center of the lenses directly in front of your pupils. That focal center is not only the place where the lens is thinnest, but most accurate for the least light deflection.

Ah, so that's what that is all about. I kinda figured, but didn't really pay much attention as to why they have you look into the binocular thing.

Now, this may be a minor, unnoticed problem for daily vision, but it exacerbates parallax problems with rifle optics, especially scopes.
So THAT's why my groups are so lousy on my scoped rifles! I've always sighted through the top left of my right lense!

The same deflection error occurs with iron sights, both on rifles and pistols, but is less pronounced.
And that explains why my groups are better with open sights. It also explains why I've always been a durn good shot with pistols (sighting through the "sweet spot").

I always thought my scopes were junk, and I could never figure out why, no matter how much I spent on a scope, I couldn't get decent grouping, especially on a rifle I was doing well with on open sights. Another argument for letting others take a turn with your firearms, I guess. Also goes to show you that a PhD doesn't always = common sense. Now that I think about it, this should all be common sense! Lenses are NOT consistent, are they.... Now I'll have to find a way to shift my hold so that I'm using the Sweet Spot with my long guns.

Grampa, thanks for your reply here.....

History Prof.

Glock_10mm
August 18, 2006, 10:29 PM
Hey ARTIGER,

I used to work for Vistakon in Jacksonville, FL (makers of Acuvue).

Be carful how long you wear each lens and which lens you buy.

The Torics come in daily disposable, 2 weeks by day (or 6 days / nights straight), or silicone hydrogel 30 day/night straight. Each one is manufactured specifically for the term they claim, which means they are rated to provide oxygen/water to your eye (cornea) for that period. After the rated period they begin to break down.

For instance if you are wearing the dailys for weeks at a time without changing them, on about the 3rd day, the contact is breaking down and not providing your eye with the oxygen it should. The water fused with the contact is depleted and the contact is no longer protecting your eye. It may not seem like anything is happening, but it is slowly causing damage. Cleaning them is good to provent infection, but it does not restore the properties you eyes need the contact to perform.

If you are into wearing them day/night, make sure you are wearing them for the rated time period and not longer, and that you are wearing ones rated to work day/night.

I know they cost $$$ but just think about what your really saving by paying the extra to change them when suggested.

I just thought I'd let you know as I saw some of the worst, including people who had depleted their contacts so much, that they fused to their eye! Not saying contacts are bad...they are better than the risk of lasik if your vision is decent, but just be responsible using them...stretching they lifetime of the contact is only shortening the lifetime of your eyes.

NMshooter
August 18, 2006, 10:37 PM
Best money I ever spent!

I am so glad I do not have to reach for my "eyes" every time I wake up, or worry about those heavy glasses falling off at a really bad moment.

Contacts were not a realistic option for me.

I definitely agree, find the best doctor in your area and pay the money, you will not be disappointed.

Ricebrnr
August 18, 2006, 11:28 PM
I too was VERY concerned about negative repercussions of Lasik. As many of you have stated, you only get the one set of eyes, right?

For those of you who are considering it, the advice of researching the Dr, paying for the quality care, etc are all worthy of following. To address more concrete fears though maybe I can shed some light from my research before I went through with it.

Seeing halos, stars etc around lights at night. There's a reason this problem is usally noted only at night. The current "flap & zap" requires a very sharp blade to cut a flap in your cornea. The size or diameter of this cut should be somewhat bigger than the largest diameter your pupils will dilate to. Since this cut does scar somewhat it will refract light somewhat differently than the rest of the cornea, this is what cause the haols. If they measure your pupil correctly during your work up and cut the flap correctly, the risk of halos and other light distortions at night should be minimal. If your pupils dilate too much OR your corneas are too thin for a "flap & zap" you would be better suited for a slightly different procedure, PRK I believe its called.

The PRK procedure uses the laser to resurface you cornea. It requires a longer healing time but since there is no cut, you should not experience as much light problems. In fact this procedure is better suited to those with more active lifestyles where eye injuries are a concern since the corneal flap created by the other procedure may though highly unlikely dislodge.

Many of the horror stories you will find on the net are fairly outdated or the results of people going to the cheaper Lasik mills around (using less advanced, less maintained equipment). One fear I had of the laser "gouging" my cornea if I inadvertently twitched during the procedure, was a very real possibility in Lasik's early days. This risk is minimized today since all current technology units have at minimum an auto shut off if your eye should move or even better will track your eye moevement and adjust for it in real time. Also the procedure can take a much shorter period of time these days (depending on the amount of correction of course).

At any rate, damage to your corneas may be reversed by a corneal transplant as a last resort. This would not be a viable solution to retinal damage due to the laser, which again in the early days may have been an issue. The laser is focused at the plane of the cornea. Any light that travels past this should not damage the retina. As a precaution, some doctors have done the procedure slightly off angle so that the laser does not shine directly back to the retina.

I think the majority of you will experience at worse "dry eye sundrome". This can be resolved by carry drops. Most of us who use contacts are used to it anyway. In more extreme cases, plugging the tear duct drains will help and new medications are available as well.

Now take my research for what you will, it's been just over a year since I had mine done. My eyesight was good enough that I could live without my glasses, so this was not a critical necessity for me. Now I see 20/15 and really am glad I did it.

Sorry for the long disjointed ramble. I hope this little bit of information helps prompt you to look into it some more if you are curious.

PinnedAndRecessed
August 19, 2006, 12:21 AM
Yo, Gramps. You can't just get glasses for your mid-range vision to see your front sight?

I use progressive trifocals, and use the middle part to sight my weapon.

Remander
August 19, 2006, 12:34 AM
Thanks for all the info. I am signing onto this thread to keep informed.

I have near-sightedness in both eyes and astigmatism in one, and I just can't stand the Toric contact lense for the astigmatism.

I have a friend who just had the surgery, and he loves the results.

I read and write for a living (shooting is just a hobby), so I am very hesitant to undergo the laser unless I am darned sure I will get good results.

Please keep posting your experiences.

ARTiger
August 19, 2006, 10:38 AM
Glock 10mm: Thanks for the heads up. I've been wearing the two week variety for about 5 years. Usually I keep them in for about a week then switch to another pair. I let the "old" pair soak in solution for a week then wear them another week. When they get dry, usually they tear and I'm on to another pair.

Have to say they're a great product. I had trouble wearing contacts forever - just couldn't get used to the feel of them on my eyes. These I hardly ever notice they're on!

I didn't know about the 30 day version . . . will have to try those.

Regards,
Jim

dfaugh
August 19, 2006, 11:00 AM
Anybody here gone the "optimize one eye for distance and the other for close up" route, either with contacts or surgery?

Yes, I've had cataract surgery on both eyes. Left is corrected to about 20-50 or 20-40 (for reading and computer use) and the right one is 20-15. Unfortunately, I can't use iron sights worth a damn, because right eye won't focus close enough to see rear sight. So, I use scopes on all my rifles, which is OK, as I shoot better with a scope anyway. But its all worth it to not have to wear glasses/contacts for the first time since I was 8. My sister wears contacts, and has a similar setup-- one or distance, and one for close-up.

The only problem I have is if I read/use the 'puter for extended periods, my right eye (the distance one) gets fatigued, as it tries to focus up close. considering getting an eye patch to cover it when I read.

PinnedAndRecessed
August 19, 2006, 11:11 AM
I have no idea where I got this, but here goes:

This year, approximately 1.8 million people are expected to get it done — and lower prices also encourage more people to see the light. A couple of years ago, Lasik surgery could run up to $5,000. But now, it can be had for as little as $499 an eye, and the guy behind the laser may still be working his way through the owner's manual.

"The dark side of Lasik is that in some cases it has moved from a surgical procedure, which should always be carefully considered and researched, to an impulse buy," says Dr. Roy Rubinfeld, the ophthalmologist in Chevy Chase, Md., who operated on my eyes. For the most part, Lasik is a safe procedure, resulting in about 98 percent of patients with 20/40 vision or better. The procedure entails using a microsurgical instrument to create a corneal flap that's approximately a quarter of the cornea's depth. Then, a laser beam is used to gently reshape the cornea. When that's completed, the surgeon puts the flap back into place on the eye.

However, the remaining 2 percent have problems. Some get better with a follow-up procedure, but some don't, resulting in permanent vision impairment or loss.

How to Choose a Doctor
If you're considering Lasik, here's a three-step plan to help you become a satisfied customer.

Step 1
Realize that Lasik isn't for everybody. Rubinfeld says you're not a candidate for Lasik if:
You have extreme near- or farsightedness, or severe astigmatism. Doctors consider that your vision impairment is "extreme" if you can't see clearly even with glasses or contacts. The worse your vision is to start with, the lower the chances of successful surgery.
You're under 21. Your vision continues to change as your eyes mature. If you have Lasik at 18, you'll almost certainly need follow-up surgery in your early or mid-20s.
You're over 40 and just want to avoid wearing reading glasses. Middle-aged men generally need help reading small type. The good news: Two pairs of drugstore reading glasses will set you back only 10 bucks.
You have extremely thick corneas, severe glaucoma, or retinal problems. Your eye doctor should be able to tell you if you have these conditions, which would make Lasik a risky proposition.

Step 2
Choose your surgeon wisely. A personal referral is an ideal start. In the absence of that, try referring to the International Society of Refractive Surgery, run by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, or the American Academy of Ophthalmology Web sites. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist might also offer a referral, but be warned: He may have financial incentives to send you to a particular surgeon.
The hands-down worst way to find an eye surgeon is through advertising. With these deep discounters you may see advertised on the subway or newspaper, you never know if they're going to be in business a few months down the road. One example, Lasik Vision, a chain of 28 cut-rate Lasik centers in the United States and Canada, ran out of money this spring, leaving patients and employees stranded.

Step 3
Ask a lot of questions, including:
How long have you been doing Lasik? You want the answer in years, not hours.
How many surgeries have you performed? More than 1,000 is optimal.
What's your complication rate? You want to hear that less than 1 percent of his patients had complications from surgery, and that 5 percent or less required follow-up procedures.
What changes can I expect in my eyes? Most likely, you'll have blurry days, and your eyes may feel dry for three to six months and require artificial tears. You may see halos (the secular kind) or starbursts around objects when you drive at night, and this could last for months, or even years.
How old is your laser? Your doctor should've had his laser upgraded in the past year. Experts say that the newer, "flying spot" lasers improve results.
Who will be doing the surgery? The doctor who examined you and answered your questions about the procedure should be the one performing the surgery. (Often, that's not the case.) Finally, keep in mind that even the best surgeon can't guarantee a 20/20 outcome. The difference between the best and the rest is that the good surgeons can fix the problems that arise during their procedures. And they'll actually be in business long enough to do so.

New Procedures May Trump Lasik
Though many doctors consider Lasik an amazing medical breakthrough because of its high success rate and limited side effects, four new, and possibly even better procedures may be coming to a practitioner near you.
Depending on your vision, there may be better alternatives:
Wave-front-based laser surgery: Doctors will still cut a flap in the eye and use a laser to smooth the surface of your cornea to improve your vision. This new method will be so accurate that surgery is expected to give patients better-than-20/20 vision. FDA approval is a few years away, but researchers expect it to become the standard eye-correction procedure. Initial cost: Up to $5,000 per eye.
Phakic Intraocular Lenses (IOLs): These are permanent contact lenses that doctors attach to the eye either by cutting a flap in your eye and sliding the lens underneath, or by using tiny claws to hook the lens down and clamp it into place. Doctors believe they may be more effective for people with severe vision problems. FDA approval is expected by the end of 2002. Initial cost: Still to be determined, but the lenses will cost the doctor $650 to $1,000 each.
Conductive Keratoplasty (CK): For farsighted patients only. Doctors shoot radio waves into your eye to smooth your cornea and correct your vision, without cutting a flap in the eye. The whole procedure lasts a few seconds, and patients can read small print immediately after the treatment. FDA approval is expected by the end of 2001. Initial cost: Researchers suspect this will cost around the same as Lasik, which usually runs about $1,800 per eye.
High-powered Contact Lenses: Johnson & Johnson claims its new Acuvue 2 contact lenses can give you more accurate vision than standard lenses, because they're made of a lighter, more absorbent material that holds more fluid than traditional contacts. One editor who had 20/15 vision with standard contacts was tested with 20/10 vision with the new lenses. cost: Up to $28.

PinnedAndRecessed
August 19, 2006, 11:15 AM
Oh, and for the flip side, you might want to check here:

http://www.lasikflap.com/forum/

BTW, I had a friend who had lasik, only he had each eye corrected for different distance. Messed him all up. He hates it.

Re my friend, somebody else said that it's important that the doctor know which eye is your dominant eye before you have the correction for different distances. Cause if the doc reverses the two, then your brain gets all confused trying to figure it out.

ZipperZap
August 19, 2006, 11:28 AM
I'll keep this short.

I wore thick glasses from the time I was 8 until I was about 50.
Without my glasses I was pretty much blind. I won't bore you
with the horror stories about not being able to find them upon
waking up, coming out of the shower.

I had a terrible astigmatism problem. Some opthamologists warned
me against Lasik!

I believe my eyesight was 20/2400.

Had the procedure done here in San Diego and was asked to read
the eye chart after I sat up after the procedure. Not only could I
read every line BUT I read the copy right date on the bottom!

When we walked out of the operating room my wife was miffed
because I was fascinated with two nurses down the hall - but I
was looking at single hairs I could see accentuated by the lights
above them.

Since then my vision has been 20/15.

End of discussion, as far as I'm concerned.

There have been only five visual miracles in my life. Four were
the witnessed births of my kids ... and guess what the fifth was?

Yep!

... oh, and shooting? Nah, I'm still just an OK shot - never was an
excellent one, anyhow, BUT I can see the targets out past 200 yards
now!

Grampa
August 21, 2006, 12:52 PM
Yo, Gramps. You can't just get glasses for your mid-range vision to see your front sight?

Good question, and I'm going to try. I bought a set of 1.25 power reading glasses, and they allow me to see well at arm's length, and still see targets at a distance, however, blurred. I intend to try them for handgun shooting at 50'.

But, one of my first purchases to celebrate my new eyes was a set of ESS I.C.E. 2.4 shooting glasses. Got to be tacticool! :cool:

PinnedAndRecessed
August 21, 2006, 03:22 PM
The reason I asked was because I wear trifocals. For handgun shooting the Rx in the middle of my lens is best. That's my midrange distance. It's also the distance for looking at my computer screen.

If I were you, I'd get permission from my doc to bring in a handgun (unloaded, of course), and have him measure the distance from my eye to the front sight of the gun.

Then have him prescribe some shooting glasses.

Seismic Sam
August 21, 2006, 03:45 PM
I totally agree with NOT getting anything done with your eyes until you have to, but in my case I had let things get so bad that I was already past that point when I went in for a Lasik exam.

DO NOT get the $300 Sunday paper ad Lasik! For that they just burn a "stock" prescription into your eyes, rather than doing the fully customized job, which is about $3,500 for both eyes. (Oddly enough, cataract surgery is the same price...)

If you want to check into it more, there was a clinical study done by the US Navy on correcting vision problems with sailors, and the numbers are pretty damn good. (I seem to remember that 95% of the patients were corrected to AT LEAST 20/20.)

As far as eye fatigue of the close vs. distant eye, I have never noticed anything at all. In addition, the "overlap" zone for me is incredibly deep (like 10 - 15 feet) so your steroscopic vision is excellent. As a matter of fact, I had let myself go so far that I had effectively become monocular (either computer or distance, with NO overlap), and after the surgery women's ahem, CURVY parts... looked a LOT better than I had remembered them looking before. :D :rolleyes: ;) :p

Also, at least with cataracts, the problem of driving at night abruptly vanishes because the cataract is no longer there to scatter the light throughout your eye and mess up the image.

If you live in Minnesota, my recommendation is to see Dr. Elizabeth A. Davis - her credentials are impressive, and she does a good job. Turns out another guy in my shooting club who had glasses since he was FOUR saw her like I did, and he's 20/20 or better just like me.

TIMC
August 21, 2006, 03:50 PM
Nice review of the lasik rocedure. Sorry about not being able to see iron sights well any more but you are 52 so you are pretty much just like most our age. I have never needed glasses but my ability to focus on up close objects has gone steadily down hill since I turned 40. Now at 46 I too have had to resort to reading glasses for up close items and still see good at distance. You sound pretty normal to me! You might try some 1.0 glasses for pistol shooting It works pretty well for me. I can see the iron sights fairly decnt and the target is not too blurry.

BigV
August 22, 2006, 09:35 AM
I started wearing glasses when I was 6 years old. I hated them! I tried contacts and had a tough time adjusting. The worst part about glasses is going outside when it’s cold or rainy. It seems I always wore a hat to keep the rain off my glasses. The worst part I think was hunting. The constant fogging up when walking in the field during those cold mornings was a nightmare! That all changed about 8 years ago (I was 40) when I had Lasik surgery. I had both eyes done at the same time to correct for nearsightedness and astigmatism in both eyes. Now I don’t ever wear a hat. As a matter of fact, when it’s drizzling outside I look up into the sky just to remind myself of how lucky I am. I can truly say that Lasik surgery changed my life! Would I do it again? In a heartbeat!!

Bubbles
August 22, 2006, 10:24 AM
I'm finally at the point in my life where I can afford the $4-5k to have Lasik done. My doc says I'm a great candidate for surgery as my vision hasn't gotten any worse in the last ten years. I just could never justify the expense as things like paying the mortgage, putting gas in the truck, and eating had priority.

So, for those of you who had it done, did your doctor know going in that you were a shooter? That you wanted to see iron sights after the surgery? That you were right/left eye dominant (for handgun sights)?

K-Romulus
August 22, 2006, 10:39 AM
I met a guy 11 years ago who was part of a trial in NC. Told me to throw out the contacts and get it done.

I understand IOL is pretty common in EU.

My problem is (1) waiting for a few more years' worth of case studies, and (2) cost . . . but reversible eye surgery will be worth it.

Seismic Sam
August 22, 2006, 01:16 PM
Just spoke to an old friend last night who is 57 like me, has cataracts, and is going in for the progressive implanted lenses, which apparently have TWO different areas of correction, so you can focus on two separate distances with the same eye. (The lens is apparently actually segmented, so you get two different images, and your brain sorts out which one you want, sort of like the Bindon aiming concept on Trijicon scopes.)

At any rate, that would probably be ideal for shooting, although I apparently wasn't a candidate for it, and quite frankly I'm not too sorry about it. To go from monofocal vision with Coke bottle lenses to unrestricted crystal clear vision down to 34" is such a huge improvement that having to wear a cheap pair of 1 diopter glasses to shoot is really insignificant.

And speaking of unrestricted vision, as a newbie I have to ask: WHO is Oleg Volk, and HOW did get get to know so many good looking women who like guns??? Is he good looking, rich, or what?? :confused:

Remander
December 9, 2006, 01:56 AM
I pulled the trigger and scheduled my Lasik surgery with the best doc I could find in the area. Several friends have had good results with him.

Wish me luck. I'll report back in late January 2007.

DragonRider
December 9, 2006, 08:52 AM
Every year I keep asking my Eye doc. And I keep comming to the same conclusion. With out my glasses I can still shoot COM up to 15 yards. Over that its a little harder. Glasses to me are all the time eye pro and my regular glasses have been very helpful in the situation.

To me eyepro trumps the pain of wearing them. My wife had lasik done on one eye and loves it.

John

loki.fish
December 9, 2006, 06:13 PM
Just another opinion on LASIK. I had it done to one eye back in around 2000-2001. Within the past 6 months or so I've noticed my sight in that eye has diminished. After asking around, I had heard from a few other people that had it a year or so before me and they said it only lasted like 5 years. This is just what I've heard, and have lived myself. After my LASIK, the eye that got it was 20/15. 3 months ago my vision was 20/40. I'm sure it's cheaper now, but when I got it done it costed me just under $2000 for only 1 eye. I've been hesitant to spend the money for another one, just to have it only last 5 years and my vision go back to being crap.

wally
December 9, 2006, 07:04 PM
Anybody here gone the "optimize one eye for distance and the other for close up" route, either with contacts or surgery?

Its called "monovision correction", your brain has to adapt to switching dominant eye with distance. When it works its great, when it doesn't its really bad.

Left eye for me is fine but presbyoptia means I need cheaters. Unfortunately my right eye has developed an astigmatism and is pretty useless now. I've a pair of reading glasses that correct both eyes for near but they distort when not looking thru the "sweet spot" which annoys me greatly so I only use them when I need maximum detail close up, using the cheap off the shelf +1.25 to +1.5 cheaters for computer work and most near things. I've a pair of +1.5 bifocal safety glasses/cheaters/sunglasses from Duluth Trading Co that work great at the range if I tilt my head back a bit.


BTW, I had a friend who had lasik, only he had each eye corrected for different distance. Messed him all up. He hates it.

That's why I'm going to try nothing in the left eye and a contact for near vison correction in the right eye first!

I've a cheap (free, part of the exam covered by insurance) soft contact that corrects near vision but does not correct the astigmatism. This is to see if I can wear the contacts and adapt to monovison. So far so good, but I've trouble getting them in and out. Was very nice to read small print close up without my cheaters. I'm too busy at work next week to mess with new glasses or contacts so I've put the trial on hold until the week before Xmas I'll be much less busy then and can give it a real try. I've an appointment with the eye doc Dec 28 and if I can handle the contacts he'll adjust the correction and I'll get one that fixes the astigmatism too.

Very timely thread for me! If I can't handle the monovision, I'll probably get the surgery to fix only the right eye astigmatism and continue to use cheaters for close up work.

--wally.

44Brent
December 9, 2006, 09:46 PM
www.usaeyes.info
www.lasikfraud.com
www.thelasikreport.com
www.lasikinfocenter.net

Gifted
December 10, 2006, 03:51 AM
I looked at PRK in the AF. Lasik is still not accepted, as they have concerns about the flap coming off, and then the fact that I have really bad nearsightedness with some astigmatism. I'm over seven diopters, which would translate to about 20/2500 using the other system, if they bothered to use it where I am. I haven't done it yet, as I've not bothered to sit down and do some of the research I want to.

I look at it as more of a preparedness thing. Think about it, if something big happens, you can't just go to the Wally World(family joke for Wal-Mart) eye care center and get new glasses if they break, or new contacts when they wear out. Thing is, the risks, and I'm concerned about having to go back in years later for corrections when there aren't any facilities to go to.

I've heard some about other, nonsurgical methods. Biggest one appears on KMOX every once in a while, where they ask you to call in for a video to watch. I don't think the video itself is the trick, but an intro. Excersising your eye is what it seems.

Anyway, I figured I'd do some research on something like that too, then talk to a doctor about the best way, which may combine surgury and some other methods.

wooderson
December 10, 2006, 04:02 AM
Does anyone know of a neutral place to go for doctor evaluations and recommendations? A 'Consumer Reports' of eye surgery, you know?

Kingcreek
December 10, 2006, 08:43 AM
Good thread, great info.
I have been struggling with this issue. I have 2 friends that had the procedures. one hunting and shooting buddy says its the best thing he ever did for himself.
the other guy had something go horribly wrong with his dominant right eye 2 years after the lasix (in a state with a 2 year statute of limitations) and has uncorrectable and permament vision problems. says he wishes he'd never heard of it.
I'm 50 years old and I don't know the numbers, but I can't see squat without my glasses, but I see very well with my glasses. excellent night vision, too. I shoot sporting clays and skeet, shoot rifles and handguns well, and hunt alot, especially archery.
My optomitrist is a family friend, and I've known him all my life, hunted and shot with him too. He advises against it for me at this time, because of the risks and possible longterm ramifications. He tells me I have unusually good visual accuity with correction.
I would love to ditch the glasses but only if I knew I could see as well as I do now, and not have problems down the road.

Jam
December 10, 2006, 04:30 PM
I had cateract surgery in my 30s i am now 43 i had new lenses in both eyes now i cant see nothing far i need glasses all the time 1 eye is worse then the other and i have stigmatizams in both i was thinking about lasik has to be better then glasses every year my wife had it she had really bad and really thick glasses for many years and she has perfect vision now 5000 later next year i am gonna look into it

DoubleTapDrew
December 10, 2006, 05:01 PM
I'm getting it done Friday. I'm nervous about having someone mess with my eyes but everyone I've talked to says it's great. I'm -4.0 with slight astigmatism in my right eye, -2.75 in my left.
My optometrist says nearsighted people will usually need reading glasses when they are 50 years old or so where they wouldn't without the surgery because it changes the focal point in your eye to the correct place.

carebear
December 10, 2006, 05:31 PM
Another pleased customer.

I wish I had done it a lot sooner.

The Real Hawkeye
December 10, 2006, 05:36 PM
Had a chance to get LASIK about ten years ago, but the night before the procedure the doctor gave me all kinds of papers to sign totally relieving him of liability if the procedure went wrong and caused blindness. When I read that, I handed the papers back to him and said no thanks. I'll just keep wearing glasses.

Now this is an interesting thread! I am nearsighted with astigmatism. I can focus like a magnifying glass up real close without glasses, but no distance vision at all. I'd like to hear what other guys in their 50's experience is.That's me exactly. Before I switched to progressive lens glasses (the modern form of bifocals), I would see distances with the glasses, and read by looking under my glasses, or else read by pushing my glasses to the end of my nose and looking through them. By the way, many people can do this and don't know it. Try pushing your regular glasses out to the tip of your nose. They become like reading glasses.

Grampa
February 7, 2007, 01:00 PM
Well, how'd it go?

sixgunner455
February 7, 2007, 02:02 PM
I've thought about getting LASIK done a couple of times, but chickened out because I don't want someone cutting my eyes.

I wore rigid gas-perm contacts for my near-sightedness w/astigmatism for...14 years or so. Glasses before that. I remember getting glasses, but not how old I was.

In December, my optometrist encouraged me to try some new version of Toric soft contacts. "They're what I wear", he says. I'd tried some others about 5 years ago, and didn't like them. Didn't correct as well as the RGPs I wore.

These work very well. I can sleep in them. Dust doesn't bother me like it did with the RGPs, and they're more comfortable.

I don't even think about having surgery now. It's like not wearing anything, except having to change them once a month.

ozwyn
February 7, 2007, 02:23 PM
Had it done back in 2000, and I love it. I should probably get my eye re-checked again just to make sure after all these years everything is 100%, but so far for just about everything it has been GREAT.

probably one of the top 2-3 investments in my lifetime.

30Cal
February 7, 2007, 02:55 PM
I had it done 3 years ago. I had halos at night for about 3 months after. It was probably the best money I ever spent.

I was -4.5 left and -2.0 right. Now I'm 20/20 at the worst time of the day, 20/10'ish first thing in the morning.

Ty

Outlaw Man
February 7, 2007, 03:02 PM
I'm glad this thread got bumped. It's been a good read.

I'm -7.5 and -8.5 with astigmatism in both eyes. I've been considering LASIK or PRK for a few years now, but I keep buying too many guns to afford it.

svtruth
February 7, 2007, 03:04 PM
learned in an older thread here that if I wear my drugstore reading glasses, I'll be able to see the front sight. It worked for this 59 yo's presbyopic eyes.
Good luck.

DoubleTapDrew
February 7, 2007, 03:21 PM
It's been a month and a half since mine were done. I was -4.00 in my right eye with a slight astigmatism, and -3.00 in my left eye. I was very apprehensive about someone "cutting on my eyes" but it's not like they do it with a scalpel these days. They do a comprehensive eye mapping scan first with some very expensive looking equipment. Then a small half moon cut is made around the edge of the cornea with a laser (your eyes are totally numb at this point and you have been given a valium to relax), the newly made flap is folded back, and the laser removes a small amount of cornea underneath to bring the focal point of your vision to the back of your eye. That part takes about 10 seconds per eye. The laser tracks small movements in your eye and makes corrections about 1000 times a second (If you move too much it shuts off and they tell you to focus back on the dot. It looks like a laser sight dot :)). Afterwards the flap is folded back over and natural hydrostatic pressure holds it on (they give you goggles to wear for the first few days and say DO NOT rub your eyes).

I had a checkup yesterday and tested 20/20 (I was legally blind before without my glasses or contacts). My vision still fluctuates a little but I think that's mostly due to eyes being a little dry at times and the healing is supposed to take around 4-6 months to fully heal. My gf's vision was about the same as mine and she had it done a couple years ago and was seeing 20/15 after 6 months.

I see a little bit of "starbursts" with headlights at night but I did with glasses and contacts also. That's normal for the first 6 months or so I've heard.
Right after the surgery you are supposed to feel some mild irritation (and go to sleep for 8 hours when you get home). I felt like I had been peppersprayed and my eyes wouldn't stop watering. The doc prescribed some eye numbing drops and vicodin. I was fine when I woke up the next day. That was the only discomfort and he said that's the first time it's caused that much irritation after surgery.

It still feels weird going to bed without having to take out contacts or glasses, and waking up and being able to see. I'm glad I did it. $4200 (includes all pre/post op stuff and a year of checkups).

ozwyn
February 7, 2007, 03:34 PM
One thing to remember if it cost you that much _ talk to an accountant on a possible tax deduction.

When I had mine done it was not covered by insurance and was expensive enough to write it off my taxes.... just something to think about.

DoubleTapDrew
February 7, 2007, 04:01 PM
When I had mine done it was not covered by insurance and was expensive enough to write it off my taxes.... just something to think about.
Woah! I may owe you a frosty beverage! Our medical insurance doesn't include vision and I'm about to do my taxes. That would be a honey of a deduction.

Jorg Nysgerrig
February 7, 2007, 04:18 PM
Well, I'll chime in, although somewhat prematurely.

I went under the knife, so to speak, for my eyes about 2 weeks ago. I did PRK, not LASIK, so my vision is still healing. However, the improvement is amazing. I'll try to remember to post again when things have stabilized.

Anyway, lately I had been thinking seriously about getting it done for a variety of reasons. I'd been putting it off for years due to a number of the concerns listed above, but I decided that I wasn't getting any younger, so I might as well do it now.

Here's my brief story. Upon deciding to seriously investigate it, I asked everyone I knew who did it and knew people that did it if they were happy with it and where they got it done. Then I set out to make some appointments. Just about everyone who does LASIK will give you a free screening. I recommend doing a couple of these.

The first doctor I went to was an eye surgeon and the head of the opthamology department at one of the larger hospitals in the area. He did a few of the scans, looked at my eyes and said he didn't think I was a candidate for LASIK due to a combination of thinner corneas and the shape of my left eye could result in a higher risk of complications. He said he could fix my eyes using PRK, which is another method that is similar, but doesn't use the flap like LASIK. The catch is that it takes longer for your vision to stabilize and is actually quite uncomfortable for the first few days Plus, you're out of service for a few more days.

The second place I went to was a outfit that specialized in LASIK. Then did the same scans and the doctor there told me a I was a perfect candidate for LASIK. I was then shuffled off to a scheduler who told me about their great deal they were having until the end of the year.

So, I went to a third place. This time I went to the eye center of a local research hospital. They did an even more exhaustive exam than the first two and reached the same conclusion as the first doctor. I was not a candidate for LASIK, however, I could get get PRK done.

In the end, I got PRK done. 5 days after the surgery, I had gone from an uncorrected 20/400 to about 20/25. However, it takes from a month to 3 months for everything to settle out. I'm not quite two weeks in, so we're still waiting.

I can give people specific PRK tips if anyone is interested, but since it is so much less common, I'll leave it until my report unless someone wants to hear.

So, in the end, my advice is to go to several places to get screened and try to go to places that don't primarily rely on LASIK as the primary source of income.

Also, if you company has a Flexible Spending Account/Cafeteria Plan, you can put money for LASIK/PRK in it pre-tax. Ask your benefits person about it. That saved me several hundred dollars since I didn't have to pay tax on the money I used. Frankly, if you have any recurring or expected medical expenses, you should look into it.

Stevie-Ray
February 7, 2007, 09:59 PM
And I do believe that it could be accelerated by correcting your vision. I think that correcting your vision brought out the prespyopia that was present, but not noticed when your vision was set for nearsightedness.This is quite interesting.
I still have 20/10 vision, but the readers are a must at almost 51 years old. I generally use 1.25s but the 1.50s are getting more and more needed, especially in darker areas. I'm told that I should have needed them soon after 40, and I'm quite lucky to have never needed readers until 47. I recently had a visit to my Opthalmologist who gave me a clean bill of health, but I found that my vision seemed to have gotten worse after the visit. (Drops and all that crap they do to you) Probably coincidence, but the 1.50s are needed much more than before the visit. 1.25s are OK for the keyboard, 1.50s needed to read a menu at a restaurant.

Guess there's not much in the way of surgery for me. Not having to wear glasses all my life, I hate readers. Seem to leave them everywhere except where I want them. So far, though, I don't need them for shooting.

Greek
February 8, 2007, 11:55 AM
I'm 59 (will be 60 in a few months and I have -7.5 in one eye and -7.25 in the other with astigmatism in both (90 and 87). I'm afriad that my right eye may have the beginning of a cataracht (things not as clear). Anyone get this done with similar eye conditions?

hqmhqm
February 8, 2007, 12:02 PM
It's really weird that they never mention with LASIK that the surgery does nothing to improve the eye's accomodation (ability to squash from near focus to far focus). So adjusting the lens to be focussed perfectly at infinity might make your close up vision worse.

Jorg Nysgerrig
February 8, 2007, 01:03 PM
Greek, if you are getting cataracts, they may replace your lens. That lens can correct for refractive errors. I would go get LASIK screenings at some doctors not at LASIK clinics and see what they have to see. LASIK can make it more difficult to calculate the type of lens for you.

It's really weird that they never mention with LASIK that the surgery does nothing to improve the eye's accomodation (ability to squash from near focus to far focus).

Where did you get this idea? Every doctor I talked to and almost every website I found mentions this. They pretty much all explain that you'll probably need reading glasses as you age, just like you would if you had no refractive errors.

If it makes your near vision worse, it would likely be because you had a refractive error that made up for the lack of accommodation.

Bobhwry
February 8, 2007, 07:08 PM
What about lens replacement like Restore or Crystaline?

Ricebrnr
February 8, 2007, 09:22 PM
hqmhqm

It's really weird that they never mention with LASIK that the surgery does nothing to improve the eye's accomodation (ability to squash from near focus to far focus). So adjusting the lens to be focussed perfectly at infinity might make your close up vision worse.

The condition you mention is called presbyopia. I think any reputable Lasik clinic would mention this during your evaluation. Especially for those getting older.

Since this is a condition of your lens inside your eye and Lasik reshapes your cornea on the surface of your eye, there would be no way for Lasik to affect that condition anyway.

Greek

I'm 59 (will be 60 in a few months and I have -7.5 in one eye and -7.25 in the other with astigmatism in both (90 and 87). I'm afriad that my right eye may have the beginning of a cataracht (things not as clear). Anyone get this done with similar eye conditions?

There are new intra ocular lenses (IOL) available specifically to correct astigmatism (Toric lenses) or presbyopia (Restore or Crystalens). You may be a candidate to have these new technology IOL's implanted if/when you have your cataracts removed. Depending on your insurance(s) much of the costs may be covered.

If you do not have cataracts you can still choose to have lens replacement. With Restor this would correct for both refractive (near/farsightedness) and presbyopia. However since for this purpose it would be strictly refractive surgery (like Lasik) most insurances do not cover it. Out of pocket costs depending on where you go may be somewhat higher than Lasik since these procedures should be done in an operating room and anesthesia would be required. Whereas Lasik can be done in office without the need for general anesthesia.

wally
February 9, 2007, 07:00 AM
If you company offers a 401K they probably also offer a "Health Spending Account" where you pay $X/pay period and its deducted from your gross salery. Then you spend $X*Nperiods on medical expenses and/or supplies (contacts, glasses, lasik, dentists, etc.) and get reimbursed so you end up paying the bills with pre-tax dollars. A nice savings off the top equal to your tax bracket percentage!

To follow-up my monovision contact trials, the ones without the astigmatism correction were ultimately useless but encouraging, just got two with the astigmatism correction, one distance, the other near, this way I can try both options -- mono-vision and hopefully no glasses or just continue with the drugstore cheaters on top of the astigmatism distance corrected contact. If either of these options end up working well for the rest of the year I'll put the blade-free lasik fee on my HSA for next year.

I still have trouble getting the contact in and out, but hope to try the newest ones this weekend.

--wally.

HiWayMan
February 9, 2007, 01:06 PM
I got LASIK in 2000 and my vision was to the point that I only knew one letter on the chart, E. After surgury I have 20/20 in the right and 20/25 in the left, but my left eye is clearer. My right eye, shooting eye, is a bit cloudy which has proven to be a bit of a dissappointment. I shoot most things with both eyes open now as my stereo vision is awesome.


I just wish they would have warned me about the smell :cuss: .

RockyMtnTactical
February 9, 2007, 02:03 PM
My wife got Lasik and has had nothing but positive from it all. Nothing negative at all.

I have good eyes so I never really thought about it like this until somewhat recently, but if we were awaken in the middle of the night, she'd have to fumble around looking for glasses or go to the BR to put on her contacts to see...

Now, if we are waken by a burglar or some other perp, she can get up and I can toss her a weapon that she can use.

Lasik is a great thing from what I have seen.

gak
February 9, 2007, 07:32 PM
I'll stick with contact lenses. Stuff like this scares me:

Iris repair after a catastrophic laser in situ keratomileusis complication
M. Bowes Hamill, MD, William H. Quayle, MD
J Cataract Refract Surg. 2005 Nov;31(11):2216-20.

During the forward pass of the microkeratome in the first (right) eye, the patient experienced severe pain. The surgeon noted a sudden gush of fluid present on the surgical field and, upon removing the suction ring, observed a full-thickness corneal laceration, iris prolapse, and a flat anterior chamber.
http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j234/gakk/eye-1.gif
http://www.lasikflap.com/forum/index.php

ezypikns
February 9, 2007, 07:54 PM
Oddly enough, my distance vision has improved slightly. I need glasses for reading now, but I can still see the front sight of my pistol or revolver quite clearly. I think I'll leave everything alone. Because I'm able to practice a lot, I can still outshoot a bunch of the youger guys.

Remander
February 10, 2007, 12:58 AM
Hey Remander!
Well, how'd it go?

I was just past my 41st birthday when I had Custom Vue Lasik January 8, 2007.

My eyeglasses Rx was OD -3.75 +0.75 x 107
OS -4.00 +1.75 x 060

That's about 20/400 in laymen's terms; nearsightedness and astigmatism. I could not watch TV, read the paper at normal distance, or even safely walk about the house without glasses. I sure as heck could not drive.

I went to one of the most experienced docs in the region. Several friends have used him with good results. They have taken varying times to get max correction, depending on age, level of correction, etc. Despite what some say in sales pitches, it's not a 20 minute miracle, but up to a 6 month program of recovery. But.. some folks recover much quicker. It varies.

After the surgery:

Younger folks or folks who need less correction often take less time to heal and come around. It's taking my older eyes a bit of time to come around. I had pretty blurry vision for about a week, and then it started to rapidly sharpen day by day.

3 weeks out: Read 3 or more of the 6 letters on the 20/20 line with each eye, but they were a bit fuzzy, and there were ghosts floating above the line and at a 45 degree angle. Halos driving at night, but reducing somewhat with time.

30 days out (yesterday): Things are much better. I'd say I am about 95% of where I need to be. Fully functional driving and reading, etc., but I still lack the full degree of sharpness I desire. Still see halos around lights at night.

I have an appt Monday, so we'll see how I test then. My natural tear screen has not come back fully yet, and max improvement won't happen until then. But no serious dry eye (common side effect of Lasik) problems. I know the tear screen function is not fully back because (2 weeks or so ago) I could chop onions with no sting or tear reflex.

Doc said at 6 weeks out we should have a good indication of what the eventual results will be. He (at last visit) was very pleased with the results and healing of the flap thus far.

One friend (who used another doc) said she took a full 6 months of fluctuating vision before it all came together for her, but it did get 100% for her.

I've not worn glasses, except sunglasses, since the surgery. And I had worn them in all waking hours since I was a child. Yahoo!!

Time will tell, but I think it is going to be a good thing. Your mileage may vary.

I'll try to provide an objective update as things progress.

MZ5
February 10, 2007, 11:20 AM
I'm in my 30s and had Lasik performed a couple years ago. Overall it's pretty decent, but my night vision is SIGNIFICANTLY worse. In contrast to an early poster in this thread, I told the doctor about the fact that I have large pupils and that I used to see over the top of my gas permeable contacts in the past. They measured my pupils in a pitch black room and assured me that there would be no issue. Well, there is, so I now have considerable difficulty stargazing or doing most things at night that require excellent acuity because of the streaks from light points. This was NOT a problem for me when my contacts were working properly.

Also, I was looking through the peep sights on a rifle the other day, and the hole through the peep doesn't look round. I thought there was something in the peep at first, but it's just something wrong with my vision. Frankly, even though I have lifetime 'touch-ups,' I have to get to 20/40 first (which I'm not in bright light), and even then I'm not sure I want another surgery done on my eyes. It's probably just a mental thing, but I have visions of scar tissue problems or other such things.

Ricebrnr
February 10, 2007, 12:09 PM
FYI all, besides researching your doctors and ensuring their creds, you should know that MANY of the problems with Lasik mentioned here have to do with 2 things.

During your evaluation besides your general medical history etc, THEY MUST dilate your eyes and measure your corneal thickness.

I don't believe it is acceptable to simply measure your pupils in a darkened room. By dilating your eyes it ensures your pupils are at their maximum diameter. The point is this measurement is used to ensure when they cut the flap the cut/scar is outside of the pupils. When the cut is close or inside the maximum pupil diameter, that is when you see halos etc at night.

Second, they must measure your corneal thickness. This is also used to calculate where the flap is cut. If your corneas are too thin, you should not be a candidate for Lasik, but should consider PRK instead. I believe the picture above (guessing) is a graphic example of what happens when you either cut the flap too deeply or the corneas were too thin for the procedure to begin with.

Sindawe
February 10, 2007, 12:45 PM
:what: Gak indeed! While an interesting and apparently normally successful procedure, those cases where it goes horribly wrong are the reason I'll not go under the knife for the eyes until its routine to just replace the whole eye with a custom grown job. I've lived with corrective lenses since I was in 2nd grade, so its just part of my routine now.

Run&Shoot
February 10, 2007, 03:00 PM
I'll throw in my experience so far.

I am 52, wore glasses since I was 5. About -3.75 in both eyes, with minor astigmatism in the left only. I wore soft contacts for about ten years since high school, then went back to glasses (raising young kids and working on computer screens sometimes 48 hours straight). Kids are grown and I was sick of glasses (rain, fogging, can't see curbs or trails well when running) so I thought about eye surgery.

Two of my sisters (50s also) had Lasik done a few years ago and both love it still. Neither is a shooter.

I finally decided to try soft lenses again for a year or so to see if I would be OK with the good distance vision and reading glasses combo. I ended up with Accuvue lenses which are amazingly comfortable (I have the one month version). My right eye (dominant) was fully corrected and my distance vision is totally amazing. But I can;t see anything closer than about 3 feet so reading is pretty much impassible with just that eye.

The left eye is slightly less corrected (I think the right is -3.75 and the left is -3.650) so I have marginal reading ability up to about 18". Closer than 18" with either eye requires reading glasses, and I use about 1.50.

Together I have better distance vision than I ever had with glasses, fantastic peripheral vision, and no discomfort on the nose, no fogging, etc. In good light I can read fairly well by holding the page out to 18" or more. For closer work or poor light conditions I need reading glasses (fine print, gunsmithing. etc.).

Now for shooting. Unfortunately, handgun iron sights are the worst situation. Like a previous poster stated, they are a kind of blurring now, whereas with glasses I could get a very sharp front sight. I find it best to have a more open rear sight so I can see the open space on either side of the front sight. with the same gun I could shoot 2" groups at 25 yds. now I can do just 3-4" at best. That is still acceptable for defensive purposes.

I am now thinking seriously of going for the eye surgery after my youngest daughter gets married off this summer. The degradation of front sight picture is acceptable considering the fantastic distance clarity and elimination of encumbrances and glasses. I am working with my optometrist who will examine my eyes thoroughly and then recommend whether to have eye surgery at all, and if so which type is best (wave front, Lasik, PRK, etc.).

It would be easy to find some eye glass correction specifically for shooting with contacts/eye surgery, but I want to practice under the circumstances I will likely find myself on the street, not artificially tuned for the range. I may try out the AO Express sight and the Crimson Trace laser (besides, my youngest daughter wants one for her GP100). At a minimum I am going to have all my handgun sights refitted with more open read sights with slightly wider front blades. My G23 tritium sights are pretty decent already, as well as my SIG P245. Makarov sights are now impossible, as well as the small older BHP.

tuckerdog1
February 10, 2007, 04:09 PM
Some other responses from a similar thread.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=191440

Tuckerdog1

MZ5
February 11, 2007, 12:44 PM
When the cut is close or inside the maximum pupil diameter, that is when you see halos etc at night.

Well, they did dilate my eyes as well and measured my corneal thickness. That isn't the problem. I do not see halos. There is a line of light through the point source. This line is along the axis of my (former) astigmatism in each eye. Unfortunately, those axes are different between my eyes, so the net effect is a slightly squashed "X" through light sources.

The issue with me appears to be that my corneas are larger than the area of correction they made. The surgeon performing the procedure (not the same doctor as the one who did the evaluation) even gave a "wow!" and called the nurse over to see how large the first one was. I made a(nother) comment then to be sure they opened the laser wide enough to correct properly and I was assured there would be no problem. There is. It's not a vision destroyer, and frankly I doubt the 'average' person would notice or care comparatively speaking. However, it's made trouble for me.

DoubleTapDrew
February 11, 2007, 03:21 PM
My corneal thickness was a little on the low side but still in the safe range. I think he said it was like 629 (but I have no idea what that is referring to. .629mm?)

Remander
April 14, 2007, 03:01 AM
Let's crank this thread up again.

I posted above about my recent surgery.

I'm now 3.5 months out. No eye-health problems, but I was under-corrected a bit. I am settled in at -0.75 (nearsighted) in both eyes, but my astigmatism is gone. I can read most of the 20/20 line.

I don't need glasses, but my vision is not clear/sharp enough to suit me or the Doc.

I am going in next week for the eupehemistically named "enhancement" procedure. It's no charge under our arrangement, but it sucks to have to go through the recovery process (drops, meds, dry eyes, etc.) again.

Wish me luck!

carebear
April 14, 2007, 03:05 AM
Good news!

Good luck on the enhancement.

Len S
April 14, 2007, 11:38 AM
I had mine done 3 years ago. Custom wavefront LASIK. I went from 20/what chart to 20/15. Of course I need cheaters. My doc knew I was a shooter beforehand and asked one eye or both eyes open? Also wnated to know pistol. rifle, shotgun. When I said all of the above and both eyes open he said monovision would not be a benifit. My doc is a professor and makes sure he has the latest Laser and software. He says about 1/3 of his practice is fixing the stop and zap laser centers mistakes. Not bad docs he says but older lasers to keep expenses down. My wife had PRK done on Thursday. She has thin Corneas and BIG perscription She was somewhere like 20/is that a car infront of us as we were stoped at a stoplight. I was in the room during the surgery. The doc says that he is trying to get away from LASIK and go with just PRK. He says PRK is alot more precise and there is not the regression in acuity that you can get with LASIK. The reason he does not is because people want the instant gratifaction of LASIK. My wife 2 days post-op still has burning sensations in both eyes. They say this is normal. I did not get the choice three years ago but now he gives everyone a choice if they can have LASIK. Of course my wife had no choice PRK only. If you have the time for recovery and can put up with someocular discomfort I would recomend the PRK even though I am totaly happy with my LASIK and have had no regression I my have been lucky. I also asked him about FLAP damage from shottys or Highpowered rifles. He said the only flap problem, outside of surgical complications, was a man whose truck had a brake fire when he was inspecting things the tire blew a chunk hit im in the face. The R flap was torn away and the cornea was tore open. The L eye had corneal lacerations. After healing the right eye needed glasses again. He said all flap problems are written up and this is the only one he is aware of in IL. Please pardon spelling, typing, and gramatical errors there is WAY too much blood in my caffine system.Thats my excuse and I am sticking to it

Len

CliffH
April 14, 2007, 05:47 PM
Thanks to all for posting their experiences.

My wife & I just got new glasses - progressives for both. The last pair was OK, I could live with them, but this new set is terrible! I'm waiting for a second pair of lenses, they're moving the focal point down a bit.

During the exam the doc said I'd be a good candidate for Lazik. After wearing glasses for over 40 years I'm seriously considering it now. One of the main reasons I've been hesitant is because of the possibility of damage from shooting, motorcycling, welding etc.

From reading the posts here, it looks as if I may start looking into getting it done.

wooderson
April 14, 2007, 05:53 PM
A question for those who've had it done - how did you pick a doctor?

In DFW there are a number of big operations that advertise on the radio (including a couple who talk about their deep discounts - no thanks!), but I can't find a good Consumer Reports-y resource on different doctors. I would call and ask about problem/failure rates, but I don't really expect the responses to be meaningful.

Remander
April 14, 2007, 06:26 PM
how did you pick a doctor?

I have several friends who used this doc with good results. That was my primary reason for selecting him. He is also one of the most experienced Lasik guys in the area. I did not take price into consideration at all. Pick the best and pay the price.

The site linked below certifies Lasik docs and has some good info. It has a bulletin board to read the experiences of others. Bear in mind that people who have problems are most likely to search out the board an post.

http://www.usaeyes.org/

Len S
April 14, 2007, 07:32 PM
I do not know about that site. But I do know that the only doc listed in IL runs a chain. The doc I went to is a professor of opthmalogical surgery. Gets the lastest in lasers and software from the mfg.and is the Md other docs send their mistakes to and he is not listed. The best way to find a doc is word of mouth. Find out who has had it and if they are happy. Cliff, as I stated in my previous post I had Lasik three years ago and am still happy but my wife just had PRK the doc said it is more precise and would recommend it over lasik. The downside is longer time of discomfort, my wife says pain, and logner healing time. The lasik flap does take about 1 year to heal but you do not feel it or notice it. I had no discomfort at all. There is less regression in PRK that in LASIK. MY doc does run specials like right now it is 3000.00 for both eyes.

LEN

CliffH
April 14, 2007, 07:55 PM
....my wife just had PRK the doc said it is more precise and would recommend it over lasik. The downside is longer time of discomfort,....

Thanks Len, sounds like PRK's the way to go if possible. I like the idea of better precision, and discomfort's a normal part of life - used and abused this body too many times :)

Jorg Nysgerrig
April 14, 2007, 07:56 PM
I would be careful of the usaeyes site. It doesn't seem to be fully on the up and up.

My recommendation would be to go to a surgeon at a hospital rather than a gun running a LASIK clinic. If you check out my post earlier in this thread (#71 (http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=3090436&postcount=71)) . You'll see that two surgeons at hospitals recommended I NOT do LASIK, but the one LASIK center I went to told me I was a perfect candidate and gave me a hard sell to put down money that day.

I had a check-up yesterday at 2.5 months after my PRK. Right now I see 20/20.

GDDYUP
April 14, 2007, 07:57 PM
I'm having LASIK done on Monday morning. My contact script is 5.00 right and 3.00 left whatever that means. I'm nearsighted. I have been wearing some type of corrective lens since I was 12 years old or so. I'm very looking forward to LASIK on Monday. I've been waiting ever since it became available in 1991. I finally got to the point where my pescription was stable enough to go and have it done. Monday is the day.

My Doc, Dr. Corbit of NH Eye Assosciates, has been doing LASIK since it became available in 91. He has done thousands of procedures since it's inception and has an impecable track record. I know that doesnt ensure 100% success but it certainly makes you fell better about doing it! I've been through 3 seperate pre-flights before finally getting my date under the laser. My doc has been very meticulous and very particular in ensuring that he has every possible measurement available and accurate data for my LASIK on Monday. I'm very confident that my surgery will go well and I'll finally be free of contacts or glasses! I can't wait!

Quick FYI : I'm 32 years old, again nearsighted prescript w/no other eye problems, and my LASIK is going to be done using the newest Customvue LASIK available right now. My OP is running me $2400 for both eyes. Normal cost is $4400 to the public, but I am a Career Firefighter here in NH and that gets me a $2000 dollar discount with the CMC Eye Center where my LASIK is going to be done.

Wish me luck! I'll post back the middle os next week and let you guys know how everything worked out....

Remander
April 15, 2007, 12:37 AM
I'm having LASIK done on Monday morning.

Good luck!! Please be sure and report back later and let us know of your experience.

Don't be freaked out if you do not see clearly immediately. It can take a few days or weeks for things to come around.

Tip: Put some of your tear drops (Systane or such) in the refrigerator. When you have the inevitable dryness/discomfort in the days after the surgery, those cool drops can feel really good.

Remander
April 22, 2007, 03:04 AM
Had the enhancement; Thursday, April 19, 2007

As of Saturday, April 21, it has worked out well.

I have written a detailed description below for folks who are interested in the particulars of how these things work.

I have also posted about my original Lasik at http://www.usaeyes.org/ask-lasik-expert/viewtopic.php?t=820

Enhancement April 19: 10:00 a.m. appt.; out by about 12:30.

Doc rechecked me on the charts to make sure vision was same as pre-op on Monday. He deadened my eyes with drops and used a little needle/blade to trace the cut/seam of the flap while I sat in a chair in an exam room. No discomfort at all. Once on the Laser table, he used a little device to flip the flap open.

He used conventional Lasik this time to focus the laser on the tiny bit that he thought was causing the ghosts and -.75 nearsightedness after the first Custom Lasik.

My total time on the Laser table was about 20 or 25 minutes, but the laser ran only about 5 seconds on each eye. The staff (who are absolutely terrific!) got a chuckle at how short it was, but it was well worth doing. (I had over 1 1/2 minutes of laser for each eye the first time.)

My epithelium (outermost layer of the eye that is just a few cells deep) was loose (Doc said it was a 1 on a ten scale of slipperiness, with 10 being best). Doc had trouble getting it where it needed to be on the right eye (zapped first), and I reminded him that we had trouble with it on the left last time. Left epithelium was equally slippery this time too.

I was comfortable and conversant during the procedure, but I must admit that (as the first time) I stayed pretty tense and had my hands and jaws clenched (except when speaking). The two prescribed Valiums did not do much for me that I could tell.

Rode home with a dark towel over my head that I thought to bring. I suggest you take one because sunglasses don't always do the job on a bright day to block the light. Napped for a couple of hours after I got home.

I had more discomfort (stinging) this time post-op. The informed-consent form said that discomfort in the hours after an enhancement is generally worse than after the first go-round, although overall recovery is faster. That seems to be my experience.

The mild stinging lasted until about 6:00 p.m. Watched TV that night. Saw pretty decent. Very mild halos around lights compared to after the first procedure.

Friday, April 20, 2007: Did not notice ghosts last night on digital clocks. (Hooray!) All ok at follow-up, but Doc wants to leave the protective contacts in another day to make sure that danged epithelium gets a solid hold. Boy, I hate the feel of those contacts.

Saturday, April 21, 2007: Doc saw me on a Saturday a.m. Contacts come out. Epithelium looks good. I can read 20/20. I notice that my left eye is sharper than the right. Doc says I actually test the same in each eye when reading the chart, but I can definitely tell that the left is better than the right. There is reading a fuzzy Z and seeing a crisp Z, if you know what I mean.

I am also light sensitive this afternoon. Doc predicted that the light sensitivity should pass in a week or so.

Doc sees a few white blood cells gathering on the left eye, so he says to use Econopred drops every two hours to address that. I also continue to use other drops and meds. Will return Monday.

I am VERY light sensitive this bright Saturday afternoon after the contacts are removed. Had to ride in the car with my eyes closed most of the time, and I left my sunglasses on in a restaurant at lunch. At times Saturday afternoon, I can’t even watch TV (IRL race) with the shades drawn and sunglasses on, but it gets better as the day passes. By 5:00 p.m. or so, that issue seems to have resolved a great deal.

My neighbor had a different kind of Laser procedure done that just cuts on the cornea surface with no flap opened, and he said he basically sat in the dark for a week with sunglasses on. And it hurt like heck the whole time. Ouch!

I had a little foreign-body sensation in the left eye Saturday afternoon, but the right eye was great, and the left FBS went away this evening. No extraordinary dryness.

Saturday night: I watched the Phoenix Nascar race (Jeff Burton fan) and noticed that my vision got better and better (!!) during the night. The fonts on the TV got more and more crisp. I think I could read Doc's eye charts much better at midnight than I did at noon today.

At this early point, I think the enhancement was well worth the mild discomfort and time. (No extra $; enhancements were free for one year.)

My right eye tonight is already catching up with the left in clarity, and I hope it gets there, because I am a right-eyed shooter. It can take several days or weeks for all the flap swelling to go down and best vision to settle in.

So far, so good! No more danged glasses.

Doc predicted I might need reading glasses immediately afterwards if he corrected for best distance vision (reading glasses will be required eventually anyway; Lasik does not fix that), but so far I can read fine with my 41 year old Lasik-corrected and enhanced eyes.

P.S. I don't know if it helps, but to fight dry-eye (a common, temporary Lasik side-effect) I have been using Restasis (prescription drops), liquid Flax Seed Oil, and TheraTears Nutrition For Dry Eyes (pills made of fish oil, Vitamin E, and flax-seed oil). I figure it's worth the few $$ to buy this stuff and maybe avoid dry eyes, even if the TheraTears sometimes makes me burp fish taste if not taken with a full meal.

I also use Systane eye drops as needed. Put some in the refrigerator for soothing comfort.

Chui
April 23, 2007, 12:44 AM
I went to the opthamologist due to blurring in right eye. Discovered it was a vitreolic detatchment. I also scheduled an exam and my eyesight was 2.25 diopters left and 2 diopters right (i.e., "mildly nearsighted").

Asked for a free evaluation for LASIK and was told I was a great candidate for LASIK surgery.

Guys, I'm nervous as Hell at the thought of touching my eye, much less cutting on it.

They dilated my pupils and measured everything several times. I'm an engineer and I'm as curious as a Jack Russell Terrier pup so they took me thru everything answering my questions and discussing the machinery used for the evals. My corrected vision is 20/15.

I told the doc that I was a shooter and needed to see "things way out there" as well as needing to see the front sight. He said that it "would be no problem" but I'm not so sure. I will have another eval (I hate them due to the fact that they must get too close for my comfort and those dilation drops cause issues for me well into the night.

The opthamologist also stated that with my mild myopia the secondary effects/side effects should be minimal. My scheduled date is May 18th. I'll be armed with information from this thread to further question him. He's performed "over 4,000 LASIK surgeries" with "just under 4% requiring enhancements" and "1% experiencing halos but the vast majority of those were patients with much more degaded vision" than I have.

He also stated (and I'm a bit confused) that I'll probably require reading glasses. I read fine without glasses out to the length of my outstretched arm. My question - for those with knowledge as well as the opthamolagist/surgeon is will my short vision be negatively affected by the surgery? I recall him saying no, but then he did mention that I'd need readers (perhaps because I'm 40 years old now and the preponderance of data states that we'll need correction for near vision sometime after 40).

One other thing: I do eye exercises and my prescription has weakened over the years. Initially, they measured 2.7 diopters in my left eye. I exercised daily waiting for the new glasses and when I got them they were too strong in the left eye. They measured 2.5 diopters and redid them. During my eval the opthamologist measured 2.0 diopters in both eyes. I was doing the eye exercises nightly during the entire time.

It would/will be so nice to be able to not use eyeglasses for everyday things including bicycling, shooting, mountain biking, etc.

At any rate, I'll keep everyone posted on my final decision and the outcomes.

Jorg Nysgerrig
April 23, 2007, 01:19 PM
My question - for those with knowledge as well as the opthamolagist/surgeon is will my short vision be negatively affected by the surgery

No, your short vision will be negatively affected by growning old. LASIK corrects refractive errors by reshaping the cornea. The need for reading classes is do to the reduced accomodation ability of the lens due to less flexibility as we age. He's telling you that since most people need reading glasses as they age due to that and that even if you get LASIK, when presbyopia sets in, you'll need readers. Maybe not now, maybe not in five years, but eventually.

glockman19
May 17, 2007, 05:35 PM
well I've decided to do it. I have narrowed down my choice of Dr's to two. I will make the decision in the next week and go in for the initial eye exam.

I'll let you know who and when as soon as I make the decision. Thanks to everyone who posted in this and other threads.

Remander
May 18, 2007, 11:47 PM
I posted above about my experience with my first Lasik in January and an enhancement on April 19.

May 16, I had a followup: 20/20 with each eye.

I still have issues inside large buildings with big A/C running (dryness related), but that is diminishing with time as natural tear screen returns.

In my central-air house, it is fine, but in large buildings like a hospital, courthouse or grocery store, the recirculated air still drys me out and diminishes quality of vision.

When my indoors (A/C environment) vision equals my outdoors vision, I will be very happy.

Remander
June 30, 2007, 01:34 AM
An update:

June 29: About 2 months post-enhancement. VERY happy I did the enhancement back in April.

Have really turned the corner in the last couple of weeks. All dryness is almost gone.

My vision is clear and crisp.

LED lights (alarm clock, coffee pot, etc.) in a dark room are the only thing that look funny. Still a little ghosty.

I still take a hit of tear drops in the morning and sometimes in the evening, but could live w/o them if I had to. Am not drying out in big A/C buildings nearly as bad as a few weeks back. I continue to use gel drops at bedtime, just because.

I stopped using Restasis about 3 weeks ago. Did not notice any difference when I quit.

Light sensitivity continues and is my only lasting issue. It is not painful, just a sensation of too darned bright, but it is seeming to reduce with time.

I still need sunglasses to drive or be outside on all but the cloudiest days. Perhaps it is just me getting weaned from my 25 yrs of photogray/transition lenses, but my informed consent sheet indicates that light sensitivity is a common post-Lasik complaint even months out.

I can read as fine as ever, despite the warning that I would immediately need reading glasses post-Lasik if I was over 40.

I am closing on the 6 month mark since my original Lasik, and things are looking good. I just need to shake the light-sensitivity issue.

Recovery post-enhancement: Many ask about this. Mine was MUCH quicker than after the original operation, though my enhancement was just a 5 second blast on each eye (but did involve a flap lift). It was as if the enhancement, after about a week or two, left me on the track where I was before as far as dryness. It was not like starting over, as I feared. Very glad I had the enhancement.

Best of luck to those who decide to try it. So far, so good for me.

glockman19
July 18, 2007, 05:08 PM
Update...

I had my pre-OP Exam last week. Dr. is on vacation this week and my anniversary is next so I have the procedure scheduled for 7/31. After much research many phone calls and parient testimonials to go with the Dr. who is on ABC's Extreme Makeover. He not only corrects many other Dr.'s errors but after talking to other Dr.'s about who did their eyes he was the one. I am going with wavefront lasik, the most advanced technology. It is more expensive than other procedures and most other Dr.'s @ $3,200 per eye but I'm happy to pay more for the best available.

Thanks to everyone who shared their experience. I'm looking forward to finally seeing my EOTech without the fuzz.

G19

I'll check back on Aug 1 to let you all know how it went.

M1 Shooter
July 18, 2007, 06:37 PM
I'm 32yo, mildly near sighted (-1.75L,-2.00R) with an astigmatism. I also have a condition called diplopia which causes double vision. My glasses correct the double vision except when I am tired, then I see double no matter what until I get some rest. I have considered LASIK ever since I first heard about it. My concern is that sure it should correct my near sightedness and astigmatism, but it won't do anything about my diplopia, and I'll still have to live with double vision, unless there is another surgery/procedure that can correct it. I guess I should talk to an eye doctor about this, but I was wondering if anyone else here has the same problem with double vision caused by diplopia.

One of Many
July 18, 2007, 07:42 PM
I have had double vision for many years, and I have had surgery twice to improve it. The first surgery occurred in 1986, when I could no longer get sufficient prism in my eyeglasses to correct the double vision. That surgery essentially eliminated the double vision for almost 20 years; it gradually returned, and I had to have a second surgery in 2004, which improved but did not eliminate the double vision.

Most of the time, I can see OK, but I still see double when I am very tied, even after the recent surgery.

I don't know the official name for my double vision; it may be what you called it. My eyes crossed outward rather than inward. The surgery involves detaching one or more of the muscles that move the eye, from the original location on the eye, and stitching it back in a different location on the eye; no big deal - but it takes a few days for the brain to adjust to the new configuration.

wooderson
July 27, 2007, 08:37 PM
Finally went in for the surgery yesterday - almost creepy how little time it takes.

The procedure itself is a little bit scary in the way that being completely helpless and awake is, but not painful at all (the pressure of the suction cups they put on to hold your eyes steady is about it.

Immediately afterward, I was seeing things fairly sharp, but with a "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" soft focus look to it. Took a four hour nap and then started my hourly drops regimen for the evening. Slept in goggles to protect my eyes.

Woke up this morning, vision is good enough to drive without incident, was seeing 20/25 at the morning checkup (possibly even better - the assistant didn't turn out the lights and the projected vision test blended into the wall).

Not quite good enough to go shoot yet.

My pre-op was about ten times as long as the procedure itself - they put me through three different measuring computers BEFORE dilating my eyes and doing it some more, two doctors (optometrist and surgeon) checked the cornea and prescription, etc.

My surgeons were the Kleiman-Evangelista Center in Arlington, TX.

Praetorius
July 28, 2007, 04:02 AM
Well, I guess if you have astigmatism they often have to overcorrect, which is what it sounds like is the case for the original poster.

Remander
July 30, 2007, 12:32 AM
Wooderson, congrats and good luck with the recovery. Lots of patience and eyedrops may be needed. I bet that in a few weeks, it will be great.

I was out on a lake this weekend when the sun set and the full moon rose. It was so cool to see it all clear and crisp with NO DARNED GLASSES!

glockman19
July 30, 2007, 01:02 AM
Well I go in on Tuesday for my procedure. I'm going shooting tomorrow the last time with prescription glasses just to see the difference because I probably won't go for at lease a week or two after teh surgery. also going swimming as I won't be in the pool until the doc gives the OK. Looking forward to seeing the clock next to the bed, the Lbs. on the scale and finally being able to snow ski without having to cram my glasses beneath my goggles.

Now I'll need some good eye protection for shooting.

Q: I have two frames, should I donate them to someone who may need them or maket them into sun glasses?

Thanks again to everyone who shared their experiences.

glockman19
August 1, 2007, 11:54 AM
Well I did it. It was painless and quick. entire procedure took between 5-7 min per eye. Everything is a little hazy now but I'm told it disapears over the next few weeks. It's amazing to be able to see with such clarity.

Now it's Drops 4x a day for the next week, no pool or any water in the eyes, no shooting for at least the next week.

Reading the paper this morning was interesting I held it at 18" away instead of closer and looking into the mirror was also done at a distance or 12-18", with clarity.

Now it's off to find some Gun & Sun glasses. for the time being I took the lenses out of my glasses and will be using the sunglass clips.

Thanks again to everyone who shared their experiences. So far it's been less than 24 Hrs. and I'm so happy. Teh clock & everything is very crisp and clear. Once the halo effect and night sight, fussy lights, goes away they say it disapears over the first 2-3 months before vision is Excellent, I'll be perfect.

As with others I whould highly recommend this to anyone who wears corrective lenses. I can't believe after 20+ years of wearing glasses it's over.

ozwyn
August 1, 2007, 12:34 PM
My only regret with Lasik is the lack of a equally good and fast repair job on teeth and joints :)

about 8 years now and I love it.

glockman19
August 2, 2007, 03:36 PM
Had my 24 hr. follow-up yesterday afternoon and everything is perfect. Vision tested @ 20/15. Next followup in 3 weeks. God I love being able to see. last night it was wonderful looking at the stars and waking up early this morning and seeing the moon clearly against the blue sky was awesome.

So I went inside and for the first time looked through my scopes. AWESOME.

rino451
August 2, 2007, 04:22 PM
Any of you who have gotten LASIK or PRK keloidal?

RCouch
August 3, 2007, 01:10 AM
I didn't read all the posts so I hope I'm not repeating. My son-in-law is an optometrist and has handled some cases similar to this. An optometrist can make a bifocal pair of glasses that might solve the problem if there is not too much difference in the areas he is trying to correct. It might be a reading range and an intermediate range or some other combination. You might talk to a good one and get some help.

ozwyn
August 3, 2007, 08:32 AM
Don't worry Glockman, that's just post Lasik "I can see without all that glasses/contects" euphoria kicking in.

It passes in a few years :D

ok, I'm lying, it never really goes away :neener:

Meatco
August 3, 2007, 03:12 PM
A terrific thread. I think I learned a bit from every post.

I have to admit, I've been thinking of "Wave Front" for some time, but just don't have the courage to go through with it yet.

Perhaps one of these days!!

Richard

Jorg Nysgerrig
August 3, 2007, 03:21 PM
Today, I had my six month checkup after my PRK. 20/20 in each eye. I still have some halos around streetlights at night, but it is a minor annoyance it is still likely that will go away in time. I'm still quite happy with the results.

20nickels
August 3, 2007, 03:28 PM
Had lasik 3 yrs ago. Good investment for me, only downside is slight streaking of single source lights at night like headlights.

amprecon
August 5, 2007, 09:34 AM
Just had mine done friday and am very satisfied with the results so far. The car lights at night have a hazy look to them, but that is normal and will supposedly fade in time. I had slight astigmatisms in both eyes and now I'm glasses free, it's a good feeling.

glockman19
August 5, 2007, 02:35 PM
amprecon,

Congrats, It's Wonderful and Amazing isn't it.

I went tothe range for the first time yesterday and bought shooting glasses. Funny.

amprecon
August 5, 2007, 04:11 PM
Yes, it is amazing and I am so grateful for the abilities and technology that allowed this to happen. I will also have to get used to wearing safety glasses, at work and at the range.

gp911
August 6, 2007, 04:01 PM
The more the merrier, had it friday...

24 hours later I was seeing about 20/25. :what:

48 hours later I took a 12 hour CCW course. :D

It was outdoors, I would not have done it at an indoor range that soon.

I had discomfort during the procedure when they propped my eyes open and used the suction device, but aside from that it was quick and easy. The results are amazing. I'm seeing at least 20/20 now, if not better. It varies some though, so it is obvious I'm still healing. The actual procedure took about 5-7 minutes. They put drops in, patched the opposite eye, slid plastic pieces under my eyelids, popped in the speculum (in my eye, duh), used the suction thingie, then when he cut the flap it looked like he used a butterknife to spread vaseline across my eye. 19 seconds of laser, flip the flap back over, tuck it in, more drops, then head to the next eye. Lather, rinse, repeat. :p Then they sent me right home with clear shields taped over my eyes for a 4 hour nap.

Oh yeah, the stats: 32 years old, -1.75+, astigmatism, wore glasses since age 13 or so. I went with "CustomVue", one of the many customized versions available that involve a more detailed map of the eye that is input into the laser.

Highly recommended.

gp911

glockman19
August 6, 2007, 05:31 PM
gp911,

Congrats.

amprecon
August 7, 2007, 02:29 PM
Im 38 years young, ;) and I just got Lasik 3 days ago. I've been wearing glasses since I was 11 or 12. My vision is on top now with 20/20. I had some conserns but I was very excited. I always thought i looked a little dorky :B. In the process of getting surgery, it was alot of pressure. And then I was done. It's pretty simple to do. But the thought of someone shaping your eyeball isn't, I should have gotten a little more conserned more than I was. I was just very exquisit. Vison is something thats very dependable.

As for you, JesseJames:

Quote:
I've thought about getting that surgery myself but stories of the negative aftereffects instilled some serious doubts.

That is true, Lasik really is a choice if you need it AND if you want it.

-Tuesday, August 7, 2007
-amprecon's daughter (shh) :)

Neophyte1
August 8, 2007, 10:53 AM
I too suffer with glasses, contacts, misplacing, rain, fog, swimming. Does this list seem familiar from an early age.
Several years ago a tool spring broke striking me in the r eye. Did that hurt.
Cut the Cornea, and for awhile; plum dang miserable.
Find out later Cornea cut in two places
Find out later; durn near did what Lasik could. 20-25 right eye, now
Not a candidate for further treatment.
Being able to see the Target, Sights WOwW. Am I happy.
I can only begin to say how good it is.

Only to add: this is one of the BEST threads I've followed.

Thanks

Devonai
August 8, 2007, 12:53 PM
One year ago, on the first page of this thread, I wrote this:

The major drawback to the surgery was well disclosed prior to the procedure. I was told I had very large pupils, and that in low light the size of my pupils would exceed the surgery area, resulting in light distortion. That's exactly what happened, so the acuity of my night vision depends entirely on the ambient lighting conditions. Glare is most pronounced when there is a very bright single light source, i.e. a car approaching on a country road. My mom uses hard contact lenses and she experiences the same glare for exactly the same reasons.

I am very happy to report that over the last year this glare has become greatly reduced. I don't think it will ever go away entirely, but under most conditions I don't notice it anymore.

taliv
September 6, 2007, 08:26 AM
well, i had lasik (the expensive wave thing one) yesterday. not a pleasant experience. they said out of 15,000 patents, I won the award for the tightest squeezer. (trying to keep my eyes open was an adventure)

but this morning, i can make out individual bricks in the houses across the street (from inside my house). i can see blades of grass in my front lawn. my close-up vision is still a little wacky. i'm finding it very difficult to read my pc screen. but i assume this will improve.

i havent peered through my NM sights yet, but that's high on my list of things to do this afternoon.

Remander
September 6, 2007, 10:44 AM
my close-up vision is still a little wacky. i'm finding it very difficult to read my pc screen. but i assume this will improve.

If you are older than about 40 and were nearsighted before, you may find that your reading vision is a little worse now. My consent form said because I was over 40 I would need reading glasses after the surgery, but so far I do not.

But lots of healing and changes happen in the first days and weeks after the surgery. Your close vision may be much better in just a short time. Patience, and good luck!

glockman19
September 6, 2007, 12:39 PM
taliv,

Congrats.

wally
September 6, 2007, 09:27 PM
If you are over 40 and don't need reading glasses, you will eventually, I was on the upper end of the curve and made it to 50, but now I've developed bad astigmatism in the right eye so lasik is in my future.

Tried a contact in my right eye to fix the astigmatism and it worked pretty well but I can't stand putting the lens in and taking it out. Also doesn't stay put with fast eye movements giving short periods of very bad vision until it rotates back where it belongs.

I don't have enough accomadation range for monovision to work. Tried a contact in my right eye to fix the astigmatism and give near vision but when strong enought to read the computer screen I have a "dead zone" about 5-8' away where neither eye sees clearly :(

--wally.

r2t2
September 6, 2007, 10:45 PM
There is an eye diseased called Keratoconus which not very common but any one getting Lasik should be checked for this. The cornea may not be thick enough for Lasik.

glockman19
September 6, 2007, 10:47 PM
The cornea may not be thick enough for Lasik.

It's one of the tests they perform to see if you are a candidate.

kellz123
September 7, 2007, 12:48 PM
Has anyone here had lasik eye surgery? I have been researching lasik information (http://www.docshop.com/education/vision/refractive/lasik/) for a few months and I think I am ready for the surgery. Any suggestions?

glockman19
September 7, 2007, 12:58 PM
Has anyone here had lasik eye surgery?

You obviously haven't read the thread.

The answer is an astounding YES. Best thing I've ever done.

Car Knocker
October 6, 2007, 11:08 AM
Thought this might be relevant to this thread:

LASIK eye problems may be underreported
By Sabine Vollmer
McClatchy Newspapers
Published: October 6, 2007
RALEIGH, N.C. — Millions of Americans have undergone laser eye surgery to correct bad vision, and along with the procedure's popularity something else is coming into focus: its hazards.
Advertising stresses the surgery's safety, and most procedures are successful. Tiger Woods, who relies on keen eyesight as the world's best golfer, pitches it as a quick and painless way to restore sharp vision. Even the U.S. Air Force, long skeptical of the surgery, changed its policy last May to let people who had LASIK apply for pilot training.

But every year thousands of Americans who undergo LASIK are left with chronic pain, dryness of the eyes, distorted night vision and even blindness, according to Food and Drug Administration statistics.

LASIK — which stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis — uses lasers to cut and reshape the cornea. It can improve eyesight without complications, but equipment flaws, a surgeon's error or a failure to screen out patients whose eyes are ill-suited for the treatment can cause the operation to go awry.

The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, which represents about 9,000 ophthalmologists specializing in laser eye surgery, estimates that only 2 percent to 3 percent of the more than 1 million LASIK surgeries each year are unsuccessful. But FDA records of clinical studies show that six months after the surgery, up to 28 percent of patients complained of eye dryness, up to 16 percent had blurry vision and up to 18 percent had difficulty driving at night.

The Triangle, home to two medical schools, is a hot spot for LASIK, where 11 eye centers will perform LASIK on about 8,000 patients this year, according to market research.

One of the leaders is Duke Eye Center, whose LASIK surgeons are among the best-trained and best-equipped in the field. But even surgery at Duke's level has damaged a few patients' eyes beyond repair.

One of those patients is Matthew Kotsovolos, 38, of Raleigh. He had more reason than most patients to feel confident about undergoing LASIK. He was the Duke Eye Center's head of finances. As an employee, he said, he was promised "red carpet treatment" and the procedure would be free.

The surgery June 8, 2006, gave him 20-20 vision, but it left him with intensely dry eyes and excruciating facial pain. He wakes up with sore eyes every morning, puts on special goggles to preserve eye moisture and wonders when the pain in his face will start to kick in.

"I traded in my glasses for permanent head pain, eye pain and these things," Kotsovolos said, pointing to the goggles.

Nine months after his surgery, Kotsovolos quit his job at the Duke Eye Center, took a 25 percent pay cut and started work as business manager in the Duke University Medical Center's gastroenterology division. He is organizing a support group for LASIK patients with complications.

"It may help inform people that this is a surgery with real risks that are understated by LASIK surgeons," Kotsovolos said.

How many LASIK patients develop post-surgery complications is obscured by a lack of regulation and reporting. Because health insurers don't pay for LASIK, they generally don't track complications. The Food and Drug Administration doesn't require reports from doctors, and regulatory enforcement has been largely limited to recalling malfunctioning lasers.

Evidence of problems is accumulating. Some of the strongest is the growing market for contact lenses designed for people who have undergone LASIK and still have vision problems, some seeing worse than before the surgery. One of the leading post-LASIK lens makers is MedLens Innovations, a Front Royal, Va., company founded in 2000.

Robert Breece, an optometrist and MedLens' president, said his company provides hard contacts to more than 2,500 post-Lasik patients annually and business is increasing about 10 percent every year. Breece said his company serves more than 200 people per year who have been seriously disabled by the surgery.

"I don't get to talk to happy LASIK patients," he said.

By the end of the year, SynergEyes of Carlsbad, Calif., plans to bring to market the first line of contact lenses designed specially for laser eye surgery patients with complications who cannot tolerate hard lenses.

A trial version of the SynergEyes contact lenses have given Paula Cofer, 49, of Tampa, Fla., some relief from dry, itchy eyes and night vision so distorted that she sees up to eight moons.

The specially fitted contacts cost $300 every six months, Cofer said. Contact lenses solution, sterile saline solution, artificial tears and lenses rewetting drops run another $150 to $160 per month.

"Life was very simple then," she said about the 30 years she wore glasses. "Now, it's very complicated."

Patients with complications are starting to fight back on the Internet and through support groups. Medical research in the past three years has come up with insights about LASIK worrisome enough that some eye surgeons have begun to ease away from the procedure.

"We've learned the limitations of LASIK," said Dr. Stephen Pflugfelder, professor of ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

An expert in laser eye surgery for more than 15 years, Pflugfelder is increasingly falling back on an older, less invasive procedure known as photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK, which involves only the surface of the eye.

In the past three years, the number of LASIK procedures at Baylor has dropped from about 70 percent to about 50 percent of all laser eye surgeries.

At Duke, LASIK makes up about 80 percent of all laser eye surgeries. Dr. Alan Carlson, head of the Duke Eye Center, is comfortable with that.

"Dry eye hasn't been a big problem," Carlson said.

The university buys the most sophisticated lasers on the market, he said. Patients are screened for risk factors and informed of what they can and cannot expect from LASIK. A surgeon might even do LASIK on one eye at a time.

Those precautions did not prevent Lauranell Burch, a former Duke medical researcher, from suffering a serious complications after undergoing LASIK at the Duke Eye Center.

Burch, 47, said that since the surgery March 31, 2004, her eyes sting and burn all the time, eye tissue is wrinkled like a Ruffles potato chip and her night vision is distorted.

"(The damage) is noticeable and on the front of your mind all your waking hours," Burch said. "There's no escape."

In the winter, she takes an anti-anxiety pill about 15 minutes before she drives home in the dark from her job in Research Triangle Park. She compares the distortions she sees at night, also known as star bursts, to explosions of light without a bang.

Burch cut short her follow-up treatment at Duke, became an avid patients' advocate and started to take on LASIK surgeons on Internet Web sites.

Federal privacy laws prohibit Carlson from speaking about an individual patient's case. But the head of the Duke Eye Center acknowledged that LASIK can cause serious complications.

"It's imperfect surgery in an imperfect world," he said.

© 2007 Deseret News Publishing Company | All rights reserved
http://deseretnews.com/article/content/mobile/0,5223,695216268,00.html

Neophyte1
October 6, 2007, 05:44 PM
Carl Knocker: Sir; thanks for a comprehensive piece. I am unfortunately/fortunately not a candidate; yet I have followed many different thinkings. Risk abound with life; would I risk my less than perfect sight for other eyesight woes? Not being a candidate has not stopped me from exploring, and wondering what it might be like to wake; look across the room, and see the clock.
Again; thanks for the information; we all need good; quality, concise, qualified, responsible information, and you have provided another piece.

glockman19
October 17, 2007, 02:59 PM
Just had my 3 month post operative exam and am happy to report 20/15 in each eye.

Once again I'd highly recommend this procedure to anyone who wears glasses.

goemado
October 17, 2007, 03:48 PM
You may need some patience on this. I had the surgery a few years ago. My vision was terrible for several months - it eventually became better than 20/20. During this healing time, I could barely read a computer screen or read the newspaper. It was pretty bad. But it recovered and now near and far are great.

Hopefully that's all you'll need too - some time. It'll all be worth it the first time you sit in a tree and your glasses don't fog up - or hang in your face net - or you don't have to cock your head just so to see the peep sight and pin. I don't miss any of that - at all!

Good luck.

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