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Lasik or other vision correction surgery?
Old 06-17-2010, 11:16 AM   #1
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Lasik or other vision correction surgery?

Has anyone had Lasik surgery (or any other type) for vision correction - not for cataracts? All the people I know who had it are much younger. I am quite myopic and have significant astigmatism.

I've worn glasses since I was 7. I can't wear contacts all the time any more - my eyes are too dry (welcome to older age... -I'm 62). Also if they correct for distance, I can't read - I tried many types of lenses a few years ago but none worked well.

I'm SOOOOO tempted. No sign of cataracts yet. My father had cataract surgery at 86, so I don't see a family history. Thanks.
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:34 AM   #2
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A lot of my friends did Lasik and loved it. The military was doing it for the active duty folks I worked with. Others drove to Canada to get it cheaper.

I'd love to do it, but am extremely chicken.
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:43 AM   #3
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A lot of my friends did Lasik and loved it. The military was doing it for the active duty folks I worked with. Others drove to Canada to get it cheaper.

I'd love to do it, but am extremely chicken.
How old were they when they did it? I'm already in bifocals...
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Old 06-17-2010, 12:04 PM   #4
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Don't Do It. The surgery is permanent, but the correction isn't.

Two of my siblings have had it done- in their early 40's,- both experienced significant changes in vision within a few years. My Sister had to have follow up surgery, and her vision is still not what it should be. My brother's vision also changed a few years later, but he said F*@# it, and now fumbles around with reading glasses.

My neighbor is battling with double vision, he had RK, his vision changed, had Lasik, and is now seeing a specialist to try to correct the problem. His comment was that he wishes he could just go back to glasses.

Very, very, few opthamologists ever have this done. That should tell you something.
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Old 06-17-2010, 12:44 PM   #5
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It is good that you do not have a family history of cataracts since if you do have Lasik, you will not have a choice of using the multi-focus lens for cataract replacement. At least that was my doc's input. She was a mid-30's lady who had had lasik and made the comment when we were deciding if I should go with the multi-focus lens. Apparently the "contouring" done by Lasik limits the ability to use multi-focus technology. Of course, the technology just gets better so who knows in another 10 yrs what they will be able to do.
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:25 PM   #6
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I had lasix done 9 years ago when I was 48 and my vision is still 20/15. It is normal to need reading glasses as we age, and I do use them. The surgery does not change the normal progression of aging in the eye.

The main reason I had the surgery is that I was near sighted and wore glasses or contacts since I was in my early 20s. The wonderful thing is that I do not need glasses for normal daily activities, only close up work; reading, computer and knitting or sewing. It was absolutely worth it to me and I would do it again.

I figured I spent more of my time doing things that are not close up, so wearing reading glasses is not done during the majority of my day.
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:46 PM   #7
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I haven't gotten it done. I can't help but think of a co-worker who had it done. It left him nearly blind. He was out of work for several months before finally coming back with "thick" glasses which he still wears now after several years. That along with what I consider to be a high cost equivalent to over 2 months take home pay make it not worth it to me. I've had glasses since 5th grade and don't mind. Even if I had the surgery and it was successful i'd still need glasses again probably before age 50. Not worth it.
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:59 PM   #8
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I had worn glasses from about the age of 12 and had extreme astigmatism. I had lasik about 8 years ago and would do it again!

While I do not know exactly what my vision is (20/20 etc) I do not need glasses for ANYTHING...I have recently passed the vision test for driving....I sit at the computer all day (uhhh...ok...not ALLLL day), I read without peepers of any kind! No glasses falling off of my nose when I'm out in the garden....I can still remember having to wear them while I was in the pool IF I wanted to see

Up until the surgery, I needed glasses to see....to drive....to read....everything....

I can still remember the morning after the surgery....waking up and looking across the room and being able to read the clock WITHOUT my glasses....and everything was crystal clear....NICE!!

I find that even now I occassionally reach to adjust my glasses even when I'm not wearing any...oh yeah....there is a "halo" effect on lights at night....I noticed it mostly immediately after the surgery but not so much anymore!

I lucked out and chose a doctor who had also had the surgery AND had also had astigmatism so I felt that he was being honest with all that he was telling me.....we had discussed the "one eye for distance and one eye for close up" option but I chose the "both eyes for distance" option.....and lucked out (I guess) 'cause I can see all but things that are less than a foot from my face

All in all....as I stated previously....I'd do it again!!

Forgot to say that I am 55 now....so was about 47'ish.....
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Old 06-17-2010, 03:12 PM   #9
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I had it done about 5 years ago. Went very well. Had to get a (free) correction done in one eye about a year after the initial surgery.

I think I was 20/200 or 20/400 before surgery (uncorrected). During eye exams, I couldn't see the letter chart at all without my glasses or contacts. I couldn't see the alarm clock while laying in bed - had to get within 6-8 inches. Definitely couldn't drive. Everything was a blur without glasses. Beach time, sports, swimming, chores, etc - all a hassle with glasses and I was blind otherwise.

Just be aware of the risks and understand those before making a decision. IIRC as of 5 years ago 1-3% of patients experienced no improvement in vision, diminution in vision, and/or moderate to serious side effects. I think I paid around $2000 or so after funneling the expenses through my FSA and getting Uncle Sam to help with the expenses via tax deduction. Worth every penny in quality of life improvement.
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Old 06-17-2010, 03:13 PM   #10
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I looked into having it done a few years ago but was told that I have "dry eyes". I thought this would disqualify me but the surgeon said they could easily fix that by putting in "artificial tear ducts". I said thanks but no thanks and ran the other way.

First of all, anything "artificial" in my eyeball doesn't sound so great; and second, my private eye doctor told me she's seen so many patients who had Lasik (who also needed the artificial tear ducts due to dry eyes) come back to her time and time again because the artificial tear ducts keep popping out! Ewwww......
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:04 PM   #11
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I did get dry eyes for a while but that is gone now 99% of the time. Definitely not as bad as contacts at night or in a moderately dusty situation. Eyedrops were a simple quick fix but haven't used those for years. I think dry eyes is the most common side effect of the surgery.
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:34 PM   #12
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I asked my eye doctor about Lasik, and she felt I was an excellent candidate. However, I would go from needing glasses for driving, TV watching and distance to needing them for reading and close work(which I currently do not). I have had a little very mild trouble with dry eyes recently...use drops when I remember them. I think I will continue just as I am.
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:41 PM   #13
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Just be aware of the risks and understand those before making a decision.

I think this says it all. I know people who have had it done and were thrilled. Others, not so much....because they had problems.

I went for a "qualifying" appointment a few years ago and the doctor advised against it, as my pupils were too large and he said I would be subject to hallowing, especially at night. Apparently there is a range your pupils are suppose to in.

He told me he had no doubt I could find a "laser jockey" somewhere who would do it for me, if I really wanted - but he thought it was a bad idea. I assured him I didnt want anything that bad. I dont mind glasses that much. So, if nothing else, be sure you find a good non-biased doctor to assess you first.
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Old 06-18-2010, 12:15 AM   #14
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Has anyone had Lasik surgery (or any other type) for vision correction - not for cataracts? All the people I know who had it are much younger. I am quite myopic and have significant astigmatism.
I've worn glasses since I was 7. I can't wear contacts all the time any more - my eyes are too dry (welcome to older age... -I'm 62). Also if they correct for distance, I can't read - I tried many types of lenses a few years ago but none worked well.
A couple lived across the street from us two years ago. They're both in their 60s and they both had the surgery the same week. They really set themselves up for a crisis but it worked out "OK".

She did fine. He had one eye come out with a "dirty window" effect and had to go back in for another try. I think he ended up with monovision but I no longer remember the details. At the time I wondered if his poor initial result was due to being 50 pounds overweight with high blood pressure.

I wore glasses from the time I was three years old until my 30s, and then started again with reading glasses in my 40s. My left eye is strongly dominant but luckily it's 20/15. Despite my presbyopic sniveling and whining, monovision with a multifocal soft disposable lens in my right (nearsighted) eye is working. The more/longer I wear the lens, the better my right eye gets at doing the close work. I usually don't bother with the contact lens around the house but I'll wear it whenever I go out (so that I can see the car's dashboard).

Tomorrow I'm going to go back to the optometrist to trade in my 2.00 contact lenses for some 2.50s...
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Old 06-18-2010, 04:06 AM   #15
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I had mine done about 9 or 10 years ago when I was 40 or 41. I had the surgery so that one eye was near and the other far sighted so when I got into my late 40s I wouldn't need reading glasses The first 7 years were great I saw better than I ever did with contact or glasses. The last two or three years my vision has definitely deteriorated. I was told that any many cases you'll need reading glasses in your late 40s or 50s, so that wasn't a big shock. What was a shock was that I failed the drivers license eye exam with one eye last year. I passed with the other but it was not a piece of cake.

The prices have dropped I think roughly in 1/2 now so I think it is money well spent if this next correction can permanently fix it. If on the other hand I am looking at once every 8 years or so to do the surgery I am not so sure.
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Old 06-19-2010, 04:35 PM   #16
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I had it done in my early 40's and would do it again without hesitation. As others have stated, most of us will need reading glasses as we approach 50 and Lasik will not change that need.
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Old 06-19-2010, 04:44 PM   #17
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Thanks for all the advice. Since I am 62... it is different doing it at my age than if I were younger. I seem to have no choice but glasses, curse it! My distance vision has actually improved significantly as I got more presbyopia (is that right? needed stronger reading glasses...) But I'm still really myopic.

Yeah, I know people who swear by it, and also have heard of the problems. If I were 20 I'd do it. But... not. Open to more feedback. I assume the technique keeps improving with time.
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Old 06-19-2010, 05:54 PM   #18
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I had LASIK done 12 years ago. Other than marriage and family, it was the best thing I ever had done. I was one of those people who was extremely nearsighted. If I woke up during the night I would put on glasses to go to the restroom. If I had no glasses on and I was looking at someone 20 feet away and didn't already know who it was I wouldn't recognize them. Swimming was always difficult. Without contacts or glasses I couldn't see. I tried prescription goggles but they gave me a headache. I got tired of feeling my activities were limited.

I am extremely risk averse to deciding to do LASIK was a big issue for me. I did a huge amount of research on LASIK. When I ultimately did it I put out an online diary of my experience and had a web site devoted to LASIK and the risks and how to decide and who to limit risk. This was before Google when the Yahoo directory was the main way to search. For a long time when people searched on LASIK my webpage was in the first few listings. I got tons of traffic and got emails from lots of people having LASIK with their results good and bad. After a few years I really had nothing more to say since my vision was stable.

Anyway a few comments.

1. Someone said that results from LASIK don't last. This is not exactly accurate. Results from LASIK do last. However, LASIK does not prevent future changes in vision. If someone's vision is not stable and is continuing to deterioriate LASIK won't stop future deterioration. In my case, my vision after LASIK was about 20/25 and over a period of a few years did change to 20/20.

2. Having to wear reading glasses (LASIK doesn't prevent that) is way less onerous than being nearsighted.

3. I did a ton of research on surgeons. When I was looking in my area there were clinics that advertised low cost on the radio, etc. I didn't go to any of them. I found that one of the premier LASIK surgeons in the world lived in my area. More to the point, he had done LASIK on my other physicians, including an astounding number of opthamalogists. I asked physicians that I knew who to go to and they all recommended him. He didn't advertise extensively and was more expensive. I went to him anyway.

4. I chose to do each eye on separate days. Many people thought that was ridiculous of me. I am still glad I did it. I had one eye done, made sure vision was stable in it, and then had the second eye done.

5. I did have astigmatism, although not terribly severe. I was still able to do LASIK. Someone with astigmatism needs to be evaluated to determine
whether LASIK is appropriate.

6. People with negative experiences are way more vocal than those who had a great experience. I kept my web page up for a few years after having surgery but eventually took it down because I had nothing more to say and I wasn't researching LASIK any more. If I had had a bad experience it would probably still be up....

6. To the original poster -- each situation is different. I suggest that you research and find a good surgeon and get evaluated.
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Old 06-22-2010, 01:48 PM   #19
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I had LASIK done 12 years ago. Other than marriage and family, it was the best thing I ever had done. I was one of those people who was extremely nearsighted. If I woke up during the night I would put on glasses to go to the restroom. If I had no glasses on and I was looking at someone 20 feet away and didn't already know who it was I wouldn't recognize them. Swimming was always difficult. Without contacts or glasses I couldn't see. I tried prescription goggles but they gave me a headache. I got tired of feeling my activities were limited.

I am extremely risk averse to deciding to do LASIK was a big issue for me. I did a huge amount of research on LASIK. When I ultimately did it I put out an online diary of my experience and had a web site devoted to LASIK and the risks and how to decide and who to limit risk. This was before Google when the Yahoo directory was the main way to search. For a long time when people searched on LASIK my webpage was in the first few listings. I got tons of traffic and got emails from lots of people having LASIK with their results good and bad. After a few years I really had nothing more to say since my vision was stable.

Anyway a few comments.

1. Someone said that results from LASIK don't last. This is not exactly accurate. Results from LASIK do last. However, LASIK does not prevent future changes in vision. If someone's vision is not stable and is continuing to deterioriate LASIK won't stop future deterioration. In my case, my vision after LASIK was about 20/25 and over a period of a few years did change to 20/20.

2. Having to wear reading glasses (LASIK doesn't prevent that) is way less onerous than being nearsighted.

3. I did a ton of research on surgeons. When I was looking in my area there were clinics that advertised low cost on the radio, etc. I didn't go to any of them. I found that one of the premier LASIK surgeons in the world lived in my area. More to the point, he had done LASIK on my other physicians, including an astounding number of opthamalogists. I asked physicians that I knew who to go to and they all recommended him. He didn't advertise extensively and was more expensive. I went to him anyway.

4. I chose to do each eye on separate days. Many people thought that was ridiculous of me. I am still glad I did it. I had one eye done, made sure vision was stable in it, and then had the second eye done.

5. I did have astigmatism, although not terribly severe. I was still able to do LASIK. Someone with astigmatism needs to be evaluated to determine
whether LASIK is appropriate.

6. People with negative experiences are way more vocal than those who had a great experience. I kept my web page up for a few years after having surgery but eventually took it down because I had nothing more to say and I wasn't researching LASIK any more. If I had had a bad experience it would probably still be up....

6. To the original poster -- each situation is different. I suggest that you research and find a good surgeon and get evaluated.
Thanks, very much. Your summary is a great help. I'm still pondering whether to get evaluated etc. I know we have some excellent surgeons here (for LASIK). How did you find out who was good?

I have large pupils and astigmatism and my prescription keeps changing which sounds like it might affect this as an option. But it would be so nice to only need glasses for reading!

Thanks again.
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Old 06-22-2010, 05:36 PM   #20
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I have large pupils and astigmatism and my prescription keeps changing which sounds like it might affect this as an option. But it would be so nice to only need glasses for reading!

Thanks again.

It will be interesting to see if they mention your pupils. My constricted pupils were larger than the guidelines recommended for maximum dilated pupil in the dark. So the measurement in the dark was way over. I doubt I would ever have it done now, but I am sure the surgery has advanced since then - so I will be interested to hear if they even mention your pupils.
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