Corrective Eye Surgery and the range


August 29, 2004, 01:57 PM
My eye glasses have not been helping much at the range. The problem is I'm left eye dominant and right handed. I've debated having corrective laser surgery on my right eye but wonder about the success and cost. My left eye is either near sighted or not, I've been told it's practically 20/20. The right has astigmatism which causes me to wear glasses all the time and as stated, is little help at the range.

Has anyone with astigmatism had this done? I'm told it's quite expensive and I'm concerned about the success rate and risks. I know it'd immprove my accuracy and make shooting more pleasant. Appreciate any feedback. Thanks.


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August 29, 2004, 02:13 PM
And then, I had a cornea transplant to repair the damage in one eye: (

Links to similar sites: (

August 29, 2004, 02:29 PM
Thank you for those links. I had heard of Tiger's luke warm reponse about the procedure but I had no idea what happened to his girlfriend. Your experience makes my glasses not such a big deal. How are your eyes now and your range performance?

August 29, 2004, 02:47 PM
How are your eyes now and your range performance?
How are your eyes now and your range performance?

My vision is not as good as it was before I started in on all the surgery.

My range performance wasn't great the last time around, but that might have been because the high-pressure MagTech 185 grain .45 ACP loads destroyed my 1911.

August 29, 2004, 02:54 PM
Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm sorry it turned into such an expensive nightmare for you. It just drives the point home why if you have doubts about a popular medical procedure, you need to do research. I feel badly for Tiger Wood's ex girlfriend. Wonder what was done to her and how she is today. Thank you again.

August 29, 2004, 03:16 PM
I've considered it myself. If you do a search on 'lasik' in the General Discussion' section you'll see a variety of results.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

August 29, 2004, 03:30 PM
My wife's experience was completley satisfactory. Before the surgery she needed her contacts to find her glasses. Now she has 20/20. While there are horror stories she researched the providers locally and used the facility with the highest success rate and the most conservative selection process.

Little Loudmouth
August 29, 2004, 06:13 PM
My vision was 20/40 for a while. I went to eye therapy (not surgery), and my vision is now around 20/22. I noticed a great improvement in my hitting in the local baseball league and a jump in my United States Benchrest scores afterward. Have you ever considered eye therapy instead of surgery?

August 29, 2004, 06:16 PM

What is this "eye therapy" of which you speak?

Bullet Bob
August 29, 2004, 06:16 PM
Eye therapy? Que? More information, pretty please!

One of Many
August 29, 2004, 08:33 PM
I do not believe that cross dominance is a function of the acuity of the vision in each eye. If you wear eyeglasses, the acuity should be nearly the same in each eye.

I have worn eyeglasses for nearly 44 years, and had closely matched acuity, but still have a cross dominance problem. One of the doctors I have seen commented about how strong my cross dominance is.

Changing eyeglasses or having laser surgery will most likely NOT affect your cross dominance. Vision therapy may have some chance, but I wouldn't expect that your rifle & pistol shooting will improve from it, but maybe shotgunning will improve.

I gave up on shotgunning with my eye cross dominance, since I shoot from the stong-hand-side shoulder. I have noticed just lately that I am shooting pistol with my dominant eye from the strong hand side. Before my surgery for a detached retina in my non-dominant eye, I used to shoot pistol with the non-dominant eye. I still shoot rifle with my non-dominant eye, but my eyesight now requires use of a scope in order to see the target and the sights. Bi/tri-focal eyeglasses do not work well with iron sights on a rifle.

If you want to shoot flying targets with a shotgun, get some good training from a qualified instructor to help you learn to shoot using the shoulder that matches your dominant eye. That will cure most of the problems with lead changing depending on which direction a crossing shot is originating from.

Learn to shoot handguns with either hand, and let the eye dominance sort itself out (don't worry which eye is lining up with the target - just focus on the target and bring the sights into the line of sight - if your wrist is cocked and you still hit the target, who cares).

Get a scope on your rifle if you don't have one, and the eye dominance is a non-issue.

I have been shooting for many years with cross dominance, and except for the shotgunning matter, it has had insignificant affect on my enjoyment and ability to hit what I aim at.

August 29, 2004, 11:14 PM
I'm one of the anomolies then. I was right handed, left eye dominant for years and years and years... then I had laser surgery for nearsightedness and BOOM! NO HANDS! :evil:

OK, ok... so I still have my hands... but I'm now right handed, right eye dominant. I have no clue how it happenned, but it did, and I am so happy about it, that it's not even funny. My shooting is better, two eye open pistol is much easier. I'm still trying to re-train myself to shoot a camera properly ...

August 30, 2004, 08:33 AM
15 years of glasses, 20/400 vision at the end.

The guy I got lasik done by, was one of the original dozen or so to do it back when it was still a medical experiment... he's done 60,000 of them and trained 2,000 doctors in the lasik procedure. He'd also done my brother the year before. My brother had to have one eye rezapped but his vision was 20/600 in that eye, it needed the extra zap, trust me.

My vision has been perfect since October 2001. At night when I am tired, streetlights etc fuzz a little at a distance, but they did that with glasses cause your eye muscles are tired.

Research the doctor carefully, then make up your mind.

August 30, 2004, 10:38 AM
I had lasik done about 3 years ago and have never regretted it. Wore glasses since I was 13 and used contact lenses for some outdoor activities, mainly skydiving and horseback riding. Never for shooting, preferring safety glasses.

Researching the surgeon is crucial. Mine was done by a very experienced doctor who is affiliated with another surgeon (and acquaintance of mine) who invented an opthalmic surgery laser and with whom I had discussed various corrective procedures, including RK, in the past.

After-procedure results: morning after, I awoke to the best vision I'd had in over 35 years, able to see leaves on the trees 100 yards away. Tested at 20/10 with astigmatism completely corrected. Has since settled down to 20/15, still pretty darn good! I had been advised that at my age, I probably would still need glasses to read but even that hasn't happened.

Like most things is life, there are no guarantees, but with realistic expectations, some serious research and the best, most experienced surgeon, lasik can yield a positive result.

August 30, 2004, 10:52 AM
Some people have good results with this surgery. Some other people - not so good.

I've noted that there are still a lot of eye doctors wearing glasses or contact lenses. Their families too. There must be a reason.

One ophthamologist told me that in his opinion, Nature made corneas a certain thickness for a reason. Thin them down by a third, and the long term implications are uncertain.

August 30, 2004, 11:25 AM
who invented an opthalmic surgery laser

I've been monitoring the laser eye surgery for several years. One of the interesting things I've noticed is that a surprising large number of surgeons claimed to have "invented" or "pioneered" some procedure. The number of distinct procedures (LASIK, PRK, LASEK) can be counted on one hand, and the number of surgeons who claim to have "invented" procedures are in the hundreds, if not thousands.

I've noted that there are still a lot of eye doctors wearing glasses or contact lenses. Their families too. There must be a reason.

You are correct. Here is a page from a web site titled
Refractive Surgeons Who Wear Glasses (

Tall Man
August 30, 2004, 01:18 PM
Mastrogiacomo -

As you continue to consider LASIK eye surgery, let me offer a few tips:

1. Shop for quality, not price. You only have one set of eyes. Pay for the best surgical infrastructure that is available. Doing so will demonstrably reduce your risk here.

Obsessing over cost should disqualify one from having the surgery. IMO, such a personality type is predisposed to find fault in the slightest of circumstances. Perfection is reserved for God, and your baby's first smile.

2. Understand that LASIK is a surgical procedure (even if you undergo the new all-laser LASIK procedure.) There are no guarantees. Hedge your bet by paying particular attention to Point #1.

3. Those with unfavorable outcomes are in the minority. Of course, it's the bad news that gets all of the attention. I'd be more motivated to start a website about an unfavorable experience than I would be to discuss a successful LASIK procedure. "LasikFraud" and similar websites are just human nature on display. I say this with no ill intent.

Don't discount the very real possiblity of complications, but do try to remember the silent majority, too. How many times do we need to remind ourselves of the 2 million+ times that guns are annually used for legitimate self-defense purposes?

4. Talk in person with folks that have actually had the procedure. (I would tend to avoid the smiling puppets that "testify" at LASIK seminars. It's probably best that you walk away from the particular clinic that brings in such ringers, too.)

I underwent the LASIK procedure several years ago. I would do so again.

The tracking laser oblated each of my corneas for 60 seconds. In ~2 minutes, that invisible beam of light corrected 27 years of myopia, as well as the astigmatism in my right eye. The procedure was performed by the most experienced - and most "expensive" - surgeon in the area. When you invest in quality, you only cry once.

I hope this helps.


August 30, 2004, 01:46 PM
Shop for quality, not price. You only have one set of eyes. Pay for the best surgical infrastructure that is available. Doing so will demonstrably reduce your risk here.

Unfortunately, there really isn't any objective way to determine which doctors have "high quality", and which doctors have "low quality". Doctors with big names have actually caused people to go blind, and I mean that literally.

If a person wants to reduce risk, there are a couple of things that can be done:

1) Avoid TLC Laser Eye Centers and the Lasik Vision Institute. These are two corporate businesses that cut corners.

2) Have only one eye done at a time.

3) Avoid surgeons who have co-managing optometrists doing the follow-up work. Optometrists simply aren't qualified for this task.

4) Avoid surgeons who operate "surgery mills". If a surgeon is operating on 40 people a DAY, he is cutting corners (yes, there are surgeons that do that). If a surgeon is doing 40 surgeries a WEEK, he/she is cutting corners.

5) The better surgeons will take up to half a day performing tests on you to determine if you are a good candidate.

August 30, 2004, 02:18 PM
Unfortunately, there really isn't any objective way to determine which doctors have "high quality", and which doctors have "low quality". Doctors with big names have actually caused people to go blind, and I mean that literally.
I would think the Bausch and Lomb wavefront approved Drs would be a fairly safe bet.

August 30, 2004, 03:45 PM
I would think the Bausch and Lomb wavefront approved Drs would be a fairly safe bet.

Do you really trust Bausch & Lomb? See the following letter I received from a B&L employee which I published in its entirety here:

Bausch & Lomb has now developed it's own more serious problems. In January of 2001 a new plant manager took over the facility here in Miami, Florida where the first MicroKeratome was built and where the Hansatome is produced.

From then till now that facility has undergone a series of cutbacks that effected quality and will be the end of the Hansatome project. That new manager had a personal falling-out with the previous manager and decided to replace the entire power structure of the facility to spite him. He has now done that by neutralizing 5 key people. Unfortunately for the project he has neutralized the supporting knowledge base. The people building Hansatomes were once surgical instrument makers and machinist. Now the device is built by housewives and teenagers in an assembly line production. You can figure out what happened to the quality.

Anyway this last year the production has gone down hill fast and here is a copy of my letter to the FDA in June, I fear they will not take is seriously. This facility needs attention.

Bausch & Lomb Miami

The Bausch & Lomb facility at 7790 NW 55th St. in Miami Florida is engaged in the production of the surgical instrument known as the Hansatome Micro Keratome. In this last year the quality of the product has deteriorated to a dangerous level. This effort to reduce cost, cut corners and implement assembly line type manufacturing has now out weighed the need to maintain quality, in this product that actually cuts the human eye. Actual patient injuries have occurred as a result of this effort to cut cost while boosting output. The Repair Dept. covers those tracks. Micro Rings and Micro Heads are being produced in volume without the necessary Quality Controls. The current Quality Manager is in the process of being replaced for voicing his concerns.

The rush to bring the new Z-Heads, Micro Suction Rings and the new 20MM Micro Suction Rings into production, was driven by Marketing and should have required a new 510(k). All other factors take a back seat to that need to hit the market with a new generation device. We are engaged in developing the new prototypes and at the same moment the plant manager is cutting resources. Reducing wages for supervisors and reduced hours for employees.

Reduced availability of tools and equipment. Cutting corners. Gages, measuring tools and cutting tools are in short supply. SPC is non existent and created after the fact as needed.

The design measurements and calculations for the calibration of the Z-Heads are flawed. The prototypes used in the clinical tests were re labeled several times since they did not produce the expected results. They did not cut the correct thickness as predicted by engineering so the numbers on the heads were changed several times. The design was never reevaluated and under pressure from the plant manager the project pushed forward to production and product release in order to meet his timeline. The actual heads used in the clinical evaluation do not match the manufacturing drawings for the release.

Many small changes have gone undocumented in the effort to push forward.

This device is claimed to cause less compression on the flap when in fact it increases the compression of the entire eye and it is much greater pressure than the ACS unit. Several design changes have inched the Micro Keratome head closer to the eye increasing the IOP. So many Micro Heads were produced so fast that the documentation could not keep up causing heads with similar labels in inventory to have differing dimensions. This creates confusion when calibrating and installing these heads in new and service units.

The manufacturing process for Micro Suction rings and the new 20MM Ring has never been perfected even though production of the rings has increased. The development suffered from cutbacks. The FAIR's on the 20mm rings were done long after the rings were in clinical testing and were not done on the same rings used in the testing. On the Micro Suction rings, discrepancies in the measurements that control the exposure of the cornea above the ring have caused many Free Flaps as noted by the service department. Quality control in the manufacturing is lacking because of increased volume and cutbacks.

Many rings have varying dimensions. Defective rings are taken out of service or modified when found in service units.

There are massive across the board discrepancies in documentation of Prints, PCPs, SOPs and manufacturing procedures that are incorrect. Actual print dimensions are in error in many cases. This is made worse by cutbacks and restrictions in an effort to save money. GMP and ISO are the goals but the facility is in a state of disarray at this moment. The employees are working blind with an ever growing pressure by the manager to produce more volume in less time. When B&L bought this company 2 years ago documentation was minimal. Much of it was created immediately by a remote engineering department in many cases by people with no knowledge of the device. It was incomplete and flawed and in need of repair. In the last 2 1/2 years only small progress has been made in correcting the documentation and in the last year that correction process has been all but abandon. Procedures for such things as Part Machining, Assemble, Heat Treating, Hardness Testing and Servicing are in need of attention. These documents are incomplete and not understood by the employees. This is due to lack of resources, cutbacks in financing and personnel, lack of proper training and the unyielding pressure to produce more with less and to do it in less time.

Steve ____
X Production Supervisor
Bausch & Lomb Miami

August 30, 2004, 04:09 PM
My wife and I both had it done this past year. We are both over 50 and were both wearing bifocals. We both have had "mono vision" done. That is that one eye is fixed for distance and one for reading. One of us was 20/450 before surgery and the other one was 20/800. My wife also had quite a bit of astigmatism. I was just plain old near sighted. After six months, it has worked out great for both of us so far. I had my right eye fixed for distance and my left for reading. It turned out that I can see pistol sights better with my reading eye (left) than my right eye (distance). The distance eye is, however, clearer with rifle scopes. Not a perfect solution but it is 99% for me. If I wasn't so damn old as to have needed bifocals the mono vision thing wouldn't have been needed. The process was expensive, but it was worth it. Forty five years of wearing glasses or putting up with the quirks of contacts is over. Best. Watch-Six

August 30, 2004, 04:29 PM
performed 1 1/2 years ago. Just had my checkup with 20/20 in both eyes.

I had my eyes done a month apart. I started with 20/200 in my right eye and 20/400 in my left and a month after my second eye was done tested at 20/25 in both eyes. It has improved since. I am very satisfied, but still very protective of my expensive eyes--I wear Oakley M-frames as shooting glasses and sunglasses b/c my research showed their particular poly-carb lens to have the most ballistic protection and better ray protection b/c of their wraparound design.

I second the opinion of not bargain hunting. I went with an Opthamologist who had the best reputation in town, who is also a professor at the local medical university, and who was a trusted colleague of my former opthamologist (a man who just inspired confidence with his experience). I also made use of my father's extensive contacts in the medical community. I was carefully evaluated by her and her staff and she included a year of follow-up care in the planning/cost of the initial surgery.

**Don't research your doctor half-way**

I would not go to anyone who needed to advertise for patients--no surgery mills.

It should also be said that given my eyesight, I would not have had the surgery without my then desire to go into federal law enforcement. Without that my eyesight would've had to have been considerably worse and/or eyeglasses considerably more expensive.

My shooting experience has improved, but I seriously doubt it would help with your eye-dominance.

Good luck,


August 30, 2004, 05:00 PM
Little Loudmouth

What is eye therapy?

August 30, 2004, 05:16 PM
I was nearsighted enough that I was considered clinically blind. Insurance wouldn't pay for Lasik, since it was considered a "cosmetic" procedure. This, despite the fact that my vision was only correctable to 20/40. So, I saved for a couple of years, and then had new insurance which paid for half of my surgery. $3000-1/2= $1500 out of my pocket.

The results?

I had both eyes done at the same time, and 20 minutes after surgery, I had 20/35 vision.
My eyes continued to improve for about 6 months. I now have 20/20 vision.
At night, when my eyes get tired, I wear glasses for driving.

The surgery changed my life. I could now do things like swim and participate in sports/martial arts. I could not prior to surgery, due to glasses. I couldn't see without them, so taking them off was not an option.
Research your doctor carefully.
It was well worth it.

Oh yeah, I also had a slight astigmatism, and I was right handed, left eye dominant.
I have a slight astigmatism now, which I am told is the reason for glasses at night.
I am left eye dominant and right handed still.

August 30, 2004, 10:17 PM
The Bausch and Lomb associate I consulted, before going with the Boxer Wachler Vision Institute, performed most of the same tests and seemed very competent.

Are there actual reports of laser problems with B&L, not just those from the former production manager?

S Roper
August 30, 2004, 10:30 PM
"I do not believe that cross dominance is a function of the acuity of the vision in each eye. If you wear eyeglasses, the acuity should be nearly the same in each eye."

That's a good point. I'm right-eye dominant yet I'm 20/25 in my left eye and 20/40 in my right eye.

August 30, 2004, 11:18 PM
My advice - DO ONE EYE AT A TIME!

Wait at least 3 months between!

August 31, 2004, 05:04 AM
I had Wavefront done on my right eye in June of 2003.

My right eye was at 20/500 (had been 20/550 three years earlier), and my left eye was 20/30-no explanation for the disparity. I also had astigmatisms. I'm left-handed, and right-eye dominant, but I never bothered aiming from the right, because even corrected, I could still shoot better from the left.

I paid $2495.00 for the correction on one eye. It seems like a lot of money, especially when I see LASIK advertised for $400 in my area. But there are very good explanations for the differences. My surgeons were with Pacific Eye Care, in California.

The Wavefront machine, and the technique itself. are SOTA. Older machines cost less to run and maintain, but aren't as precise. The high-volume LASIK centers may also be using the same machine at several clinics, which means it must me moved out of a clean environment, loaded onto a truck, bounced to the next clinic, unloaded and recalibrated each time. PAC has a dedicated room and machine at each facility.

The blade used to cut the corneal cover is called a "microkeratome", and it is thinner than a human hair! There have been reports that some of the budget places have re-used the microkeratome. All cleanliness issues aside, these blades dull very quickly, and cannot be resharpened.

The price includes ten years of follow-up care. All examinations and touch-ups are covered. For me, this has been a good deal.

You see, after the swelling went down after the procedure in June, it became apparent that I had been overcorrected-I was now actually Farsighted. I went "under the laser" again two months later. A year later, my right eye is 20/30.


I have problems with bright lights and glare-I get a "starburst" effect at night. I still have some problems with astigmatism. My Doctor says that the Wavefront usually corrects for this, but the act of lifting a flap of the corneal cover, doing the lasing, and setting it back down can cause irregularities on the lens. My vision is focused, but not super-sharp. At this point, the techology to fine tune my eye doesn't exist, so I will visit my doctor yearly, and he will bring me up to date on the newest techniques. He estimates 5-6 years for what I need. Since my payment was for 10 years of follow-up, it will not cost me anything more.

"Penny Wise, Pound Foolish"-pretty well covers it. :)

I'm now learning to shoot right/right with a rifle, and my left hand/right eye pistol shooting is still pretty comical, but I'm a better shooter than ever before, even with less-than-perfect vision. And not needing glasses is GREAT!!!!!

All things being equal, I'd do the same again.

August 31, 2004, 10:53 AM
I had PRK (not LASIK) surgery 2 years ago (was 20/200 in each eye, with an astigmatism). I got it done at an Air Force clinic and even though I'm generally leery of military doctors I don't have a single complaint.

I'm 20/15 now in both eyes, I get a little haze around headlights and such at night if I'm tired or my eyes are especially dry, and I'm a little more photosensitive (probably because I had to wear sunglasses outside every day for a year after the surgery). The side effects are incredibly minor (far less annoying than glasses/contacts).

I'd do it again without a second thought.

September 1, 2004, 05:47 AM
I had PRK done too. Turned out badly. The doctor cut too deep, left scars on the cornea (just like when you get a deep gash on your arm - that cuts into the lower layers of skin- you get a scar.)

I second the motion made above. Get one eye done at a time. I didn't and I'm in trouble.

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