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by Michael Chu
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Last Friday, I had LASIK eye surgery performed on my eyes. The results were both immediate and impressive. Here's how it went down.

A couple weeks ago, I decided to go ahead with LASIK after several friends had undergone the surgery. Several friends and coworkers (including my wife) recommended Dr. Michael Furlong in Campbell, California.

Laser assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is an operation that involves cutting a flap from the cornea of the eye. The interior of the cornea is then shaped with an ultraviolet excimer laser and the flap replaced. Using the flap greatly assists the healing process and is the reason when LASIK is so popular (as compared to PRK or LASEK eye procedures). The main requirements for LASIK candidacy are reasonable prescription (-0.75 to -11 diopter nearsightedness, +0.75 to +4 diopter farsightedness, and 0.75 to 4 astigmatism), a pupil diameter that is smaller than 8.5 mm, and a corneal thickness greater than 500 microns. (Requirements may vary due to prescription and specific eyes.)

The Monday of the week prior to my operation, I went in for a consultation to determine if I would be a candidate for LASIK or CustomLASIK (a more recent innovation in LASIK allowing the correction of higher order aberrations in the eye). At the consultation, they determined that I fit the requirements for CustomLASIK. The main requirement that I'm aware of for CustomLASIK (in addition to those requirements for traditional LASIK) is to not have thin corneas. The minimum corneal thickness desired is 500 microns (average thickness is 520 microns). Luckily, my corneas were in the 580 micron ball park. Everything else checked out and they agreed that they could improve my -8.5 D (left eye) and -9.5 D (right eye) myopia and astigmatism (which is bad enough that the 20/something rating isn't used anymore - it's somewhat worse than 20/4000). They also went through a PowerPoint presentation (or something similar) complete with animations showing me how the operation would proceed as well as the statistical data of patients needing enhancements (additional operations - which was a very low percentage) and other similar information. The staff was very open and answered all my questions. My visit ended with a brief introduction to Dr. Furlong who was happy to answer any questions that his staff hadn't answered yet. By that time, I had run out of questions. It was kind of nice to meet him face to face as my consultation.

Wavefront Maps for my left eye (background) and right eye (foreground)
The Tuesday before my operation (St. Valentine's Day), I went in for my full preoperative examination. During the hour at the office, they measured my exact prescription (with my eyes dilated), produced a wavefront mapping (a picture of how light rays are refracted by my eyes), and did a few other tests to check the health of my eyes. Having completed that, I was ready for the operation (and I got a recipe for Orzo Risotto while waiting for my eyes to dilate).

On the day of the surgery, I arrived at the doctor's office at around 10:40am (and was on my way home by 11:45am). After signing my release forms, I paid for the operation and was given a small pill (supposedly, a fast acting sedative). I placed the pill under my tongue and waited with Tina in the waiting room for a few more minutes. Then I was taken into a ready room where my eye lids were sterilized and a few final instructions (which I don't remember) were given to me.

They noticed that I was still quite anxious, so they asked if I wanted another sedative. Since the first one was obviously a placebo (or I'm immune to sedatives), I agreed to a second one.

To help calm me down, the staff (and the gentleman prepped for operation before me) chatted with me. As the other gentleman was taken into the operating room, the staff continued to talk to me about chocolate and food. I'm not sure how much time passed as I talked about potatoes and protein content in vegetables.

Soon, I was taken into a dimly lit room where a man (who turned out to be Dr. Furlong) entered and applied some eye drops (anesthetic drops, I think). After a few more minutes of talking about food, I was ushered into the operating room.

Dr. Furlong asked me to sit and lie down on an operating bench. After lying down, I asked for something to hold onto. They gave me a Nerf football to squeeze.

They covered up my right eye and then started with my left eye. Dr. Furlong explained each step of the operation. First they insert something to keep the eye open (so you can't blink) called an eyelid speculum. Suction is then applied to the eye (to keep it from moving) and a device called a microkeratome cuts through the top of the cornea to form a 160 micron flap. The flap is folded up and a computer controlled laser reshapes the internal corneal tissue through a series of quick blasts. The flap is then folded back down and the eye immediately starts to heal.

What I remember, is tiny pin pricks as Dr. Furlong put the device on me that pulls open my eye lids. I remember casually commenting that I could feel that and the numbing eye drops might not be working. Dr. Furlong reminded me that they didn't numb my eye lids and to please look at the blinking red dot. I looked up (which was straight ahead since I was lying down), and saw a blinking red dot surrounded by a bluish white circle or insanely bright light. It seemed to me that the circle of light was so bright that the rest of the world turned dark as my eye adjusted to the brightness of the light.

Then Dr. Furlong said I'd feel some pressure and the lights would go out (probably not what he said, but I don't remember the exact words he used). Everything started to get dark and within a couple seconds I couldn't see anything anymore - the world had faded out to black. I swear Dr. Furlong asked me to keep looking at the red dot - but there was nothing to look at. I might have remembered incorrectly since I did have a double dose of sedatives.

At this point, I felt something rotating on my eye (the microkeratome). No pain, no irritating, I just felt the movement. Then the world started to fade back and the circle of light with the red dot was back - except now it had both a crisp and hazy quality to it.

Then there was a repetitive buzzing, cracking sound and a strobing light that seemed to come from a different direction every time it went off. This seemed to take a lot longer than I expected. It was probably less than a minute, but it seemed to take a quite a while. At the same time, I could start to smell a light odor that reminded me of melting rubber. I was later told I was smelling the burning flesh. There was a device that was vacuuming up most of the smell from the air.

Through the whole operation, Dr. Furlong's voice was there telling me what to do (look at the red light). Meanwhile, I kept thinking: What happens if I accidentally stop looking at the red light? Keep looking at the light; keep looking at the light. Should I be squeezing the football this hard? Being a primarily visual person (and generally nervous when it comes to my eyes – so nervous I never even tried contact lenses because I couldn’t abide the thought of sticking my fingers in my eyes everyday), I usually just close my eyes when I want to avoid an uncomfortable situation or to calm down. Well, unfortunately, I couldn’t – I was forced to watch the blinking red light.

Then the flap was replaced and Dr. Furlong started swabbing my eye with something. I don't know what he was doing, but it just looked like he kept brushing my eyeball - like when I'm cleaning the CCD of my Nikon D100, except instead of doing it once, he kept swabbing and swabbing. He explained that the corneal flap was sealing itself (like a living bandage). Then he stopped and released the eye so I could finally close it.

The operation was repeated on my right eye, but much faster (it seemed).

In less than ten minutes from when I laid down, I sat back up and was told I could open my eyes (because I had closed them as soon as possible). I opened my eyes and could actually see! It looked like I had a soft focus lens on though. The staff noticed that I was quite pale and gave me a Kern’s Mango Nectar. I have to say, I was pretty freaked out over the whole experience, but I made it through.

After a few quick checks, Dr. Furlong had his assistants tape these plastic shields on my eyes (to keep me from accidentally rubbing them) and released me. I don't actually remember much else - I think after the adrenaline wore off, the double dose of sedatives finally kicked in.

The next morning, when I woke up, I opened my eyes and was amazed. The world wasn't perfectly crisp, but I could focus on basically everything I wanted to. The image I could see would be sharp and slightly hazy at the same time. (As if I had a sharp, high-resolution image superimposed with a blurry one.) I was most amazed by the ability to look around without moving my head. (When wearing glasses, the only part of the world that was in focus was the area covered by the lenses. That meant looking up, down, left, or right meant the world was out of focus.) Now, with my post-surgery eyes, I could see - it was amazing. Plus everything within four feet of me looked much bigger than ever. With glasses, everything seemed to have been shrunk, but now, everything was bigger than life.

Simulation of haziness in high contrast areas
I went in for my first post-operation examination and there it was determined that I had 20/20 vision in my left eye and 20/15 vision in my right eye. They told me the haziness was due to inflammation and would reduce over time as my eyes healed.

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Written by Michael Chu
Published on February 22, 2006 at 12:48 AM
36 comments on LASIK:(Post a comment)

On February 22, 2006 at 05:34 AM, SurfMan (guest) said...
Subject: Get well soon

Good to hear things went ok for you!!

On February 22, 2006 at 06:51 AM, Janne (guest) said...
Subject: Did you find out?
Did you ask what would happen if you didn't focus on the red dot?

On February 22, 2006 at 09:14 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Interesting story, thanks for sharing!

In the current issue of Make magazine Tim O'Reilly writes a little bit about his recent LASIK experience. He said the doctor told him that if he didn't look at the light the laser would detect that and would automatically shut off.

On February 22, 2006 at 10:42 AM, *morningstar said...
I know this is kind of off topic, but that picture of those flowers is very pretty.

On February 22, 2006 at 11:41 AM, guest (guest) said...
Subject: Amazing story
I took am very anxious when it comes to my eyes... your story was very encouraging. Great to hear such good news.

On February 22, 2006 at 11:50 AM, Michael (guest) said...
Subject: mono vision
5 years ago, at almost age 50 and with coke bottle glasses near sightedness, I went for it, too. I did it when it was "experimental" and they only did one eye at a time.

During surgery the little red light was a problem. One of my eyes is "lazy" and wanders a bit. I thought I was focused on the light, but the eye was actually moving. 5 years ago the laser did not shut off for this, but the doctor sternly warned me to re-focus, which I could not do. He had to stop and let me get re-oriented a couple times.

Eye one was easy. Eye two was horrible, but it all worked out. Somehow right after surgery, when the flap was floating, my eye lid had a spasm that tore it loose. It felt like tobasco in my eye for several hours until the doctor saw it, freaked out, carefully replaced the flap. He was not happy with it and said there was a micro-wrinkle. I was just happy to get the tobasco pain out of my eye.

After healing, the vision was fine - superb. I had my eyes treated differently - one for near vision and one for far vision. It took all of about a week to get used to it and pay little attention to the difference.

Now, 5 years later, I have had to get fitted for reading glasses. The near vision is slipping due to aging of the lens in both eyes. I can still do without glasses entirely, but when tired I have too much fatigue reading without correction. My doctor said I should never need bifocals or distance glasses the rest of my life! That is awesome.

All in all, this is a wonderful new technology that can correct a disability for life. It is well worth the cost, even the very high cost I paid to be an early adopter.

On February 22, 2006 at 11:52 AM, an anonymous reader said...
I got LASIK done a year and a half ago. I'm quite happy and don't regret it at all, but I did notice that the sight in my right eye degraded a bit a few months after the surgery... I can still pass a 20/20 test but my left eye is a definitely clearer than my right eye. When I went back for my checkup, the eye doctor said it was still within parameters and the difference was so small that it isn't even measurable by the LASIK machine (in other words I couldn't get it corrected).

My only complaint is the halos that I see when driving at night from street lamps, oncoming cars, traffic lights, etc. My eyes are just ultra-sensitive to high contrast situations now, like watching a brightly lit TV screen in a dark room. It's something I've gotten used to though, and overall, it's a hell of a lot better than having to wear glasses (which have their own visual aberrations).


On February 22, 2006 at 12:58 PM, taurax (guest) said...
Subject: eyes
Congratulations on your eyes.

How much did it cost?

Can you post a follow up article about the haziness associated with the healing process?

Thank you,

On February 22, 2006 at 02:34 PM, Andrew (guest) said...
Subject: The PRK perspective
I just had PRK done on both of my eyes this past Thursday and thought I would share my perspectives. For those who aren't familiar, PRK stands for Photorefractive Keratectomy. A similar procedure called Laser-Assisted Sub-Epithelial Keratectomy (LASEK) differs from PRK in whether the epithelium is preserved. The epithelium, is a soft, rapidly regrowing, outermost layer of the cornea in contact with the air. The epithelium can completely replace itself within a few days. Both PRK and LASEK permanently change the shape of the anterior (outermost) central cornea using an excimer laser to ablate (burn off) a small amount of tissue from the corneal stroma at the front of the eye, just under the corneal epithelium. In both PRK and LASEK, the epithelium is softened (with alcohol) and detached from the eye and removed prior to the ablation. In PRK, the epithelium is discarded. In LASEK, the epithelium is preserved and replaced after the laser ablation is complete. By comparison the epithelium is preserved in LASIK, which accounts for the rapid return of visual acuity for those lucky enough to qualify for LASIK.

PRK versus LASIK

Because it does not involve a permanent flap in the deeper corneal layers, (as in LASIK), the cornea's structural integrity is less altered, but there is more pain and visual recovery is slower. PRK does not run the risk of dislocated corneal flaps which may infrequently occur with trauma even years after LASIK.

I opted for PRK after two different Laser Surgery centers determined that my corneas were slightly too thin. The actual procedure was relatively uneventful. I was given a valium pill just moments before I went to the operating table. The valium was less about anxiety during the procedure and more about making sure I was nice and sleepy by the time I got home. The procedure involved the aforementioned alcohol treatment to remove the epithelium. During this step, a disc was pressed onto my eye for about 10 or 15 seconds so I couldn't see anything. Once the epithelium was removed, I was told to focus on the red light, which was blurry throughout the whole process. For whatever reason, I found it pretty easy to focus on the blurry light. The doctor's assistant counted down through the procedure so I knew how much time was left.

Once the laser was done, the doctor washed out my eye with a cold saline wash and then inserted a very thin contact lens that stayed in my eyes for the next four days. She repeated everything on my left eye and I was done in less than 10 minutes.

I started feeling discomfort in the car on the way home. I have to say, the pain was pretty bad that night (Thursday) and through the next day (Friday). The doctor had prescribed oxycodone and I was glad I had it. Every time I took a pill, I ended up sleeping for a couple of hours. I was told that sleep is good for recovery in PRK. I was also given four different types of drops to use: a steroid (7 day use), an antibiotic (7 day use), a pain reliever (4 day use), and natural tears (use as needed from here on).

I went in for my follow up the next morning (Friday) and my vision was about 20/20 in one eye and 20/25 in the other. They were surprised to see my vision this good since I had no epithelium. They said that my vision would proceed to get worse over the next couple of days while the epithelium grew back over my pupil.

By the morning of the third day (Saturday) the pain was subsiding, but the blurriness they talked about appeared. I gave up on watching TV that day and pretty much listened to books on tape all day. Sunday, the third day, was more of the same, with clarity getting better in one eye. By the morning of the fourth day (Monday) I could see fairly well in both eyes and I opted to go back to work. Don't get me wrong, things were still blurry, but I could still read the computer screen.

I went back to have the contact lenses removed on that fourth day (Monday). They checked my vision before removing the lenses and my vision had degraded (as compared to day 1) to about 20/30 in one eye and 20/40 in the other. Again, this was just the blurriness caused by the healing epithelium. Once they removed the contacts, I could feel the grittiness of the epithelium. No pain, just kinda like there was some small dust particles under my lids.

So here I am at day 6 and according to the eye chart on the wall, I'm at about 20/25 and 20/30 in my left and right eyes, respectively. They are getting better by the day. I'm told they should both settle in close to 20/20 over the next couple of weeks.

Obviously, PRK is a much more painful, more lengthy recovery than LASIK. If I had to do it over, I'd probably opt to do one eye at a time, just so I wouldn't have to deal with the blurry vision for so long. Other than that, t's still worth it to me in the long run.

Andrew (a-aranda-at-alumni-dot-utexas-dot-net)

On February 22, 2006 at 05:04 PM, DC (guest) said...
Subject: follow up a month later
Great article! The graphics totally help! Please give a followup post like a month later. I'm especially curious about the night vision/halo effects.

If there's a suction holding your eye still, why do you still have to look at the red light?

Too bad they can't sedate your sense of smell. Burning flesh would freak me out. I'll have to remember to only breathe through my mouth if I ever get LASIK. =)

On February 22, 2006 at 05:49 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Modern technology is Great!
That is just wonderful! Good for you. Now no more dirty glasses to clean. You can steam those creations without fogging up your glasses. B) No more specs to lose on the top of your head. Enjoy your New World. :shock: I am happy for you.

On February 22, 2006 at 09:17 PM, Squirrel (guest) said...
Subject: Re: Lasik

Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. Now I have some more info to take to take to the eye doctor and know what to expect. Does anyone know of Lasik correction for farsightedness? Would the procedure have to be repeated as the patient ages? Keeping track of several pairs of glasses is annoying. Congratulations on your vision freedom!

On February 22, 2006 at 11:23 PM, Steve (guest) said...
Subject: Good Luck!
I had mine done last year. I can see very well now, however I now have developed "dry eyes" and require a prescription for Restasis and it's not cheap. It does work though. The added solution was punctal plugs for the tear duct drains to keep the fluid in my eyes instead of letting it drain. Well, my left eye is so wet that I need to frequently wipe it dry and my right eye still needs additional drops. I'd rather have my glasses back. Hope works out well for you.

On February 23, 2006 at 08:42 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: My surgery
I had LASIK 8 years ago (I was 22 at the time). My doctor explained every detail to me before the operation (not during) so I was pretty well prepared (the doctor also did my fathers cataract). Anyway my experience was very similar to yours only I didn't get any sedatives and I did one eye at a time (week apart).
Despite the fact that the device that keeps your eye open and the suction device (the micro saw that cuts the flap) were slightly painful, I enjoyed the procedure very much. When it was finished the doctor just closed the flap (I don't remember him using any swab like you describe) and BAM (sorry Emeril) I could see clearly! Immediately! I personally enjoyed the procedure since I looked at everything as a soreal movie happening around me and tried to distinguish what was happening such as when the laser fired and the burning smell starts ;)
I personally recommend this treatment to anyone who can go through it, I found it really helpful and enjoyed it a great deal. Even now 8 years after removing my glasses (for good) I still get to bed late at night and start looking for my glasses on my nose. I'm not sure if I see exactly the same as before, but it doesn't matter since its good enough and I can ride my motorcycle.

On February 23, 2006 at 12:13 PM, aspyrebodyworks (guest) said...
Subject: lasik
Wow! Thank you for taking us with you on that journey. I am much more comfortable considering this now. I have contacts, but they get expensive after awhile. You are a wonderful writer, by the way! And if those flowers are part of your portfolio, a great photographer, too!

On February 23, 2006 at 12:28 PM, an anonymous reader said...
That was very informational and useful. I have been considering it for a while but like you, I'm a person who is afraid of doing anything to my eyes and never had contacts for that reason.

Some have told me after 40, it's perhaps too late for it. We'll see. Your post helped, though.


On February 23, 2006 at 02:58 PM, MacedonianElida (guest) said...
Subject: Your Lasik play by play!

I have your website link on my SBC homepage and of course i peek in everyday. You certainly painted a very exact albeit nerve racking picture of Lasik! I appreciated the play by play style because i dont know too many people who've had the procedure done.

I will be looking into that for myself as part of my own personal
"make over".

Heres to seeing clearly, all that life has to offer!

Elida :shock:

On February 23, 2006 at 08:10 PM, Michael (guest) said...
Subject: Systane
Huge tip for LASIK recipients and anyone.

My eye doctor just told me to try an over the counter drop called Systane as it is the best eye moisturizer available. He said it will literally improve vision especially when the eyes are tired, after work, driving home.

Ever skeptical, but impressed by his enthusiasm (he did not even sell the stuff) I bought a dual-bottle box for about $9 on my way home from work a few days ago.

I dropped in one drop in each eye and found the stuff was a bit "goopy" in my eye. That lasted for a couple minutes then my vision cleared and (how do I do bold here?) WOW! It really worked! My vision was truly sharper. I could literally see individual twigs on trees several blocks away. Of course, the vision potential was already in my eyes, but this stuff brought it out to its best.

My next stop was ebay where I found 12 bottles for $20.

Great stuff!

On February 24, 2006 at 09:01 AM, mjheil (guest) said...
Subject: actually, LASIK is not so offf topic on this site
this article on LASIK was posted on cooking for engineers, and actually that's not too off-base.
I once had the opportunity to interview the inventor of LASIK, and he told me that the idea for the technique came to him over thanksgiving turkey. He had been wondering about a laser's cutting properties on different types of materials, and while he was at dinner it strck him that the laser might be used to cut flesh. So he wrapped a drumstick in a napkin and took it into the lab the next day. After that, he experimented on beef eyes -- er, cow eyes.

On February 24, 2006 at 11:51 AM, Jim (guest) said...
Subject: Good luck
I had the same surgery 2.5 years ago. I couldn't be happier. Be prepared to use a lot of saline drops the 1st 3 to 4 months after because your eyes may be easily irratated for a while. Also, I had this experience (no one else I've talked to seems to have had) that sometimes in the morning I had to pry my eyelids apart with my fingers. If I tried to do it the normal way with the appropriate face muscles it was very uncomfortable, painful even. The only thing that I could figure was that my eye mucus became more viscous for some reason. But don't worry, like I said, no one else I spoke with seems to have had that experience & it eventually passed.

On February 24, 2006 at 05:29 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Long term effects
About 8 years ago, my company (who I wasn't with at the time) had an awesome deal for LASIK surgery. It only cost about $100 per eye (ridiculous, I know) and at least half the company got it done. There are 5 people in my group who had it done at that time and would reccomend it to anyone. All of them have had relatively little side affects, the most common being halo's, but they have said it goes away. One of the guys who had it done at the time was over 40 - he may only have 10 years of perfect vision, but the most he'll need after that is reading glasses. I'd say that's a good investment.

On February 26, 2006 at 07:21 PM, rhapsody said...
Subject: My great lasik experience (also with Dr. Furlong)
First I've got to say, Michael, I LOVE your site and your recipe format and really enjoy your writing style and point of view. :)
I also had Custom Lasik (aka Wavefront) performed by Dr. Furlong in Campbell, CA on Jan. 6, 2006, and am extremely pleased with the results. Let me say right at the start that I have absolutely no connection to Dr. Furlong except that of an incredibly happy patient.

I am 52 years old and have been nearsighted (20/400) for most of my life, wearing contacts since age 16.

After age 45 I needed reading glasses, also. I opted for a procedure called monovision, which has worked perfectly for me, where one eye is corrected to be used for reading and the other for distance. My brain does the sorting out, and I see perfectly, near, far and in between (meaning my computer screen), without realizing I am using one eye or the other.

I have friends who used Dr. Furlong years ago who were thrilled with him, and after talking to him, checking into his experience, education and reputation, as well as looking at other doctors, I am very glad I went with him. His very skilled, experienced, calming, confidence-inspiring "bedside" manner, soothing voice and step-by-step explanation of what was happening and what I would be experiencing put me at ease as we went through the surgery.

The procedure itself was very brief and relatively painless. I followed his instructions exactly, going home and keeping my eyes shut for the rest of the day, using drops as instructed, and then was able to drive myself (!!!) back to his office the very next morning for my checkup. Today, exactly 51 days after my surgery, I have experienced no discomfort or complications and I am still thrilled with my results. I have perfect night vision, no halos at all, no sensitivity to headlights or bright sunlight. I think the risk of those problems is greatly lessened with the new Custom Lasik or Wavefront technology.

I hoped I would be one of the patients who ended up happy with the lasik results, but never dreamed that I would be one of those who came out with better than 20/20 vision - mine is now 20/15!!! I ride horses and bicycle, and have no problems with wind, rain, dust or dryness.

I'd advise anyone interested in lasik to find the most experienced surgeon he can. Dr. Furlong's website at furlongvision dot com has a lot of technical information on the procedure for anyone interested in researching it.

I would say I was sorry I didn't do this sooner, except that I think my great results are to be credited to my surgeon's years of experience and the relatively new Wavefront technology, which has only been FDA-approved in the US for a couple years, I think, though used in other countries for much longer.

Sorry this has been such a lengthy comment, but it's hard to contain my enthusiasm!

On March 03, 2006 at 12:51 PM, Chris Moorhouse (guest) said...
Subject: Keeping you focused
I too, had LASIK surgery, with a very similar experience to you, right down to the double dose of Atavin. While on the table though, I had each hand held by an attractive young nurse/assistant (yes , I'm male, and I was in my early twenties at the time), whose only apparent jobs in the OR were to mutter in my ear that everything was just fine. Either they had both been recipients of the procedure, or they had been thouroughly briefed by other patients, because both communicated to me exactly what I should be seeing and feeling, and when I should be seeing and feeling it. It was great knowing that there was two people for whom nobody in the universe mattered more at that point in time.

The downside to this was going into recovery with a light blindfold on. The room was dark, and while there may have been other patients in there, nobody said a single word. After being spoken to constantly for a half an hour, the contrast was marked. A toddler left at preschool for the first time would likely have felt no less abandoned.

But seven years after the fact, I'm still 20/15 using both eyes; there has been no regression at all. And halos haven't been an issue, since I had them in a pretty bad way before the surgery, and LASIK seems actually to have improved them.

On March 17, 2006 at 06:06 PM, funkyvision (guest) said...
Subject: Lasik stinks
I had lasik several years ago, and I went to one of the most highly recommended lasik surgeons. Lasik is far worse than glasses and contacts in every respect. My eyes are less comfortable because of the dryness than they were with either glasses or contacts.

My eyesight is terrible now too. Halos, starburst, smeared and blurry images, unstable refraction that changes throughout the day. I wear contacts now all the time just to get by. My vision will never be the same, and I'll always be uncomfortable. There is no cure.

When people make an irrevocable bad decision they tend to rationalize it. Before I had lasik everyone I'd talked to that had the procedure said they loved it and there were no side effects. But now that I've had it and I mention my side effects I find that others admit they have terrible side effects too. You'll find people who rave about it putting on glasses so they can drive home at night, or that later admit that they need punctal plugs just to deal with the dryness.

Don't be fooled. Contacts are more comfortable, and the vision is much much better.

It's too late for me. Save yourselves. 8|

On April 17, 2006 at 12:32 AM, simonf_71 said...
I wore glass for more than 20 years now. I would like have a clear vision without having to depend on glass. After reading some of the horror experience, I guess I can wait for few more year until they improve the procedures.

Lasik Eye Surgery Latest News

On September 01, 2006 at 06:06 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Lasik was awesome for me
I had terrible vision, to the point that a book 1' from my face was readable, and 18" was not. Luckily I qualified for LASIK, (just) and had it done as a 21st bday present. 9 years later, there _is_ some degradation, but it was expected. The doctor (whose name escapes me now) had layed all this ot before hand. I do have some haloing at night, but not dramatically.

My eyes do get somewhat dry after a long day at the keyboard, but so do other peoples, and I can get by with standard eyedrops for tired eyes, and need them only very infrequently (ie, have none at moment, havent needed them in months)

This, and changing asthma medications around the same time (seretide is awesome) had a dramatic impact on my life. Playing rugby, which I had done for years, became fun again, as I could see the ball, not just follow the pack. I also had a lot more confidence with women (my glasses were hell dorky). I reccomend LASIK, and the new computer assisted LASIK (which an ex-gf of mine had) heartily.

Also, the valium I had was great! ^_^

On September 04, 2006 at 08:05 PM, an anonymous reader said...
your experience is really great!! congratulations to you... as a 21yr old tired of wearing heavy specs and messy contacts, i am so tempted to go in for lasik.

however, i came across a few no-so-lucky cases in my research too. one is right here in the message board. few are even worse, with hazy (double and triple) vision all the time (which still happens to be 20/20 and hence, technically, they have perfect vision!), extremely severe dry eyes and what not...

i have decided to put a hold on my plans for lasik. i hope people realise the risks involved in going for this (or any other procedure, for that matter). and i hope they understand that probability for risk is not just a number... and they don't end up as a statistic ("the rare 2-3%") themselves.

On November 02, 2006 at 07:28 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: PRK
I had a very similar experience, but I went through an alternate procedure called PRK. They told me on the day of the surgery that the shape of my eye was too flat for the flap to stay in place, so PRK was the best option. The difference is that instead of using the flap, they just scrape off the surface of the eye and let it heal back. They could only do one eye, as the other was not usable for a while.
It hurt more, it took longer to heal, and I still sometimes have dryness issues (two years later), but I don't regret it.

Great site, by the way!


On January 20, 2007 at 01:05 AM, off task writer (guest) said...
Subject: LASIK - ask lots of questions
My 64-year-old dad has awful vision, the kind where he can't get out of the bed until he puts on his glasses. He was supposed to have LASIK a few years ago. Imagine his excitement after wearing super-thick glasses his entire adult life thinking that he would be free. The day of the procedure, the doctor mentioned [u:ee534c10e7]for the first time in the consultaion process[/u:ee534c10e7]that because of his particular situation, the results were not likely to last even 5 years. He ended up cancelling, but was unbelievably disappointed. So check and double-check on this issue before you go under the red dot!

Great site...but not for someone who has a book chapter draft due tomorrow and can't seem to get back on task...

On January 20, 2007 at 11:04 AM, GaryProtein said...
BE VERY CAREFUL with any refractive eye surgery. Doing it when you are 21 years old is definitely not recommended because the results will not last. People's vision change even after age 50, and they usually tell you to wait until you are over 40. You can only burn off so much of your cornea with a laser before you end up in trouble. Besides, even if you correct your vision, typically at infinity--distance, YOU WILL STILL NEED READING GLASSES. Sometimes, they correct your eyes for what they call monovision, which means one eye is corrected for distance and the other for close-up like reading. One eye will always be blurred AND you will likely have a depth perception deficit because you only have one clear, well focused eye at a time. If you read a lot, you might have your vision corrected for that, and wear glasses for distance work like driving and everything else you do.

If you have myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness), you may have a good result, but if you also have presbyopia (inability to focus close due to ageing--older than 40 or so), you will either need glasses for reading or distance, depending if you correct your vision for close-up or distance.

BE VERY WARY OF LASIK SURGERY. This type of vision correction is "glamourous" but has noticeable drawbacks, most noteably is that it won't last, you will have a halo or star effect in low light (especially when driving at night where you have oncoming headlights and streetlights) AND you will usually still neeed glasses for something you do with your eyes.

On July 04, 2007 at 01:49 AM, cnx7 (guest) said...
Subject: Great description!
Thanks for a fantastic description of what LASIK is really like from a patient's perspective. You outline fears and expectations that most patients have... particularly about looking at the light during treatment.

I am actually the webmaster for the Lasik MD website. Our site is less personal, but has a neutral, objective presentation of all the common variations of LASIK and a lot of pricing information that is very popular.

On August 19, 2007 at 12:36 AM, libra (guest) said...
Subject: Lasix and RK
I had RK surgery years ago before Lasix was approved in the USA. I opted for the monovision. Worked great. My left eye reads and my right eye does distance. After about 10 years it faded and yes, I do have a starburst effect at night.
The Lasix was to improve the left eyes distance vision. It was more painful then the RK surgery which is now outdated anyway. Dry eye was a problem for me for over a year even with the plug and Restasis drops. I have some dry eye now but its relieved by OTC drops.
Now the Lasix is fading in the left eye and I'm getting farsighted in my right eye.
IN spite of this, I DO recommend both or either surgery. I wear glasses for driving and just purchased OTC glasses for reading the very small print. Beats wearing glasses for the last 15 years. Before the eye surery, I kept my glasses beside the bed; put them on first thing and took them off last thing.
Next time, when I have my vision corrected again, I will definitely spend more time and focus on the expected long term effect. Didn't expect the Lasix to fade and cause so much trouble.

On March 03, 2010 at 03:35 PM, Dr. Lasik (guest) said...
Subject: Cost of LASIK
Over the past four years to LASIK industry has seen a stabilization in the average price of the surgery. Beginning in 2006 this industry report showed the average cost of the LASIK procedure to be about $2000. The 2007 report showed a small increase to $2100. The 2008 report showed an almost disregard increase of a mere five dollars, and the 2009 report showed the average cost of San Diego Lasik to be $2140. Overall, the last three years have only shown an average increase in $40.

On May 18, 2011 at 06:17 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Not for this biologist
RK procedures have not existed long enough to establish MTBF in human lifespans. At 55 and having myopia requiring correction since the 3rd grade - I'll let you early adopters establish the data pool. Perhaps my grand kids or great-grand kids will have the procedure.

Additionally, I have an airman's license and eye surgery is a primary disqualification for license renewal (or, issuance). I'll keep my glasses.

On November 21, 2011 at 02:09 AM, jqueeng02 said...
Subject: Lasik
Hi thank you for your story. I am also interested on lasik surgery. I am kind of hesitant though because I am afraid. Anyways congratulations to the success of your surgery!

On August 10, 2016 at 10:08 AM, Dude111 said...
I think its kinda scary to get LASIK. I know some have said its worked woinders for them but its so easy for them to ruin your eyes BY MISTAKE!!

I dunno..........

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