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Old 05-06-2008, 12:46 AM   #1
Jeremy Lamplough
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Anyone had laser eye surgery?

Hi all,

Was wondering if anyone here had had laser eye surgery? If so, any thoughts or recommendations? I'm starting to do my research but would be interested in anyone else's experiences,

Thanks in advance,
Jeremy
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Old 05-06-2008, 03:08 AM   #2
Robert D Taylor Jr
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Re: Anyone had laser eye surgery?

Yep,
PRK 4 years ago courtesy of the USN. It was painful for the first couple of days, but my vision went from 20/400 to 20/15 and has settled at 20/20.
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Old 05-06-2008, 03:20 AM   #3
Camille Lore
 
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Re: Anyone had laser eye surgery?

I took a friend of mine to get it and actually watched the surgery. Her eyesight has been perfect since the healing period of the surgery.
This was about 7 years ago. She's getting to the point now where she needs reading glasses, but otherwise vision is fine.
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Old 05-06-2008, 03:52 AM   #4
Jeremy Lamplough
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Re: Anyone had laser eye surgery?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Camille Lore View Post
I took a friend of mine to get it and actually watched the surgery. Her eyesight has been perfect since the healing period of the surgery.
This was about 7 years ago. She's getting to the point now where she needs reading glasses, but otherwise vision is fine.
Is the need for reading glasses due to the surgery? Or would it have happened anyway?

Cheers,
Jeremy
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Old 05-06-2008, 05:05 AM   #5
Robert Pierce
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Re: Anyone had laser eye surgery?

I had Lasik 4 years ago, and I'm 20/15 and 20/20. There is a little persistent "starburst" effect at night, around things like headlights, for example...minor. It is my understanding that some technique improvements have reduced this problem. No reading glasses needed.
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Old 05-06-2008, 05:08 AM   #6
Michael Thornton
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Re: Anyone had laser eye surgery?

I had lasik in 2001, my wife a few years after that. Many of my friends and relatives have also had lasik.

I love it, zero complaints. Same goes for my wife and everybody else I know. Plan on a couple of days rest and be careful to not let anything rub your eye for a while so it can heal properly.

After the healing was done I has 20/13 if I remember correctly. I am not sure what my vision is now, but it is still very good 7 years later. I expect I may have degraded over the years down to 20/20.
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Old 05-06-2008, 05:44 AM   #7
Cal Jones
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Re: Anyone had laser eye surgery?

Reading glasses are an age-related thing (presbyopia) - and yes, if you stay short-sighted, you most likely won't need them. However, I'm 40 (41 in June) and had lasik two years ago, and my near sight is still good. There is also a relatively new treatment that can help, in any case. It involves tightening the eye muscles using radio waves (I guess it's not unlike thermage for the face) so it's compatible with lasik/lasek. I had my lasik done with Ultralase, a UK company. You can read about the treatments here: http://www.ultralase.com/vites/treatment-choices (w/f safe) including the new radiowave treatment. I am sure there are Aus companies that offer this if that's where you're from.

OK, so laser eye surgery. Generally there are two types. Lasik involves cutting a flap from the cornea, zapping your eye with a laser and then replacing the flap, which attaches almost instantly. It does need to heal and there is to be absolutely no rubbing of the eyes for a few weeks, but in general terms, it's fairly unlikely to come off.
Lasik is suitable for people with fairly thick corneas. It is the faster healing of the two options available and thus preferable for most people. This is what I had.

The other option is Lasek. This is designed for people who have thin corneas, or people who do contact sports. There is a small chance a blow to the eye can dislodge the corneal flap. For post people (say someone who takes a kick boxing class once or twice a week) you're probably going to be fine with lasik, but if you're a professional boxer or MMA guy, you may want to talk to your optometrist about the risks, and make a decision based on that.
With Lasek, there is no cutting - instead the upper cells are rubbed away using an alcohol solution. Healing times are much slower, and it may take several months before your vision is as good as it is for someone who had lasik. Longterm results should be the same.

PRK is an old treatment and not often offered. It has a slower heal time, though in some special cases it may be more suited to the patient. Most people just have the choice of Lasik or Lasek.

Other options
Regarding Lasik, there are now two methods of producing a corneal flap. One involves a blade, or microkeratome. The other is Intralase, where the whole process is done using lasers.
Intralase is the newer treatment but that doesn't necessarily make it better. There are pros and cons to both.
I had mine done with the microkeratome and all was fine. Sometimes, though, things can go a little wrong and the blade can remove the flap completely rather than just making a flap that can be flipped up and then replaced. This sounds dreadful but in fact it is not quite as bad as it sounds, and is also very rare. Essentially you will just need to go let the eye heal before going back to try again some months later.
Intralase appears more desirable on the surface of it, but it does take longer - something to bear in mind if you are easily stressed (and let's face it, having someone slice and fry your eyeballs isn't the most relaxing thing in the world).
To create the corneal flap, they have to clamp open and your eye and then use a suction divide to pull the cornea forward so it can be cut. This takes much longer with Intralase and although you'll have anaesthetic eyedrops in place, it's not all that comfortable. (Then again, Intralase may become standard so you may not be able to choose, depending on where you have it done).

The process
I'll be upfront and say this is one of the scariest things I've ever done, but also one of the most rewarding.
The actual treatment takes about 15 minutes. Be aware that although the cutting and lasering parts are pain free, the clamping and suction can hurt a little, depending on how gentle the person doing it is.
When the process was initially described to me, I had visions of some crazed doctor coming at my clamped open eyeball with a scalpel and me being unable to look away or blink. The stuff of nightmares!
It's actually nothing like that. If you have it done with a microkeratome, it's more of a little widget that sits on your eye and is far too close for you to focus on. Once the cornea is peeled back you can see very little, so don't worry about that.
The laser does, however, create quite a smell - I walk past a riding school on my way to and from work and it is almost exactly the same as the smell of a horse being shod. If you don't know what that smells like, imagine burning hair x 100. It's not nice, but most people aren't prepared for it and are a bit taken aback. So I'm warning you now.
Now if you've seen programmes like Extreme Makeover, the people who have had lasik can always see brilliantly straight away. That wasn't true for me so don't expect it to be true for you. My sight was blurred - after all, my eyes had been through trauma!
The absolute best thing you can do once released from the clinic is go home and sleep. Once the anaesthetic wears off it hurts, I won't lie. It's like someone squirted shampoo direct into your eye. I made the mistake of going for coffee with my boyfriend after and as a result it started wearing off on the way home. When your eyes sting like that, they start watering and closing, so you will need someone to escort or drive you home. Trust me on that.

However, after a nice sleep, you wake up and wow you can see! (Well, at least with Lasik...Lasek people generally take longer as the process requires more healing time). The acuity will go up and down for a couple of months because the process dries the eyes out and this can blur vision. However it does settle after a while.

For me, it's one of the best things I've done. My vision is better than 20/20 and it's like I never wore glasses (it still surprises me if I see a photo of me wearing them - but then I didn't get short sighted until 16 and wore contacts from 18 - 26 before my computer work made it too uncomfortable. I did wear glasses for about 12 years but my mental image of myself is as someone who doesn't wear them...anyway I digress).
The only real con is that I now have some floaters in my right eye. It's not really a major thing but I'm aware of them. I would rather have perfect vision and a few floaters than be short sighted.

Starbursts can happen - this can be minimised if you have Wavefront laser treatment. It's basically the difference between buying a made to measure suit and a suit off the peg. It costs more but I figure you only have one pair of eyes.
I do get starbursts but I had them before treatment and thought everyone had them until I was advised otherwise. They are probably no worse now than before, and may even be a bit better (hard to tell as dirty glasses made them worse anyway!)

Any questions, feel free to drop me a PM.

Last edited by Cal Jones : 05-06-2008 at 05:50 AM.
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Old 05-06-2008, 07:00 AM   #8
Emma Wheeler
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Re: Anyone had laser eye surgery?

Hi,

Great answer Cal, sums up my experience, I had LASIK (Intralase plus with Wavefront) with the same company, Ultralase, 10 days ago. Apart from the initial pain afterwards (like cutting onions x 10), I've had no pain, irritation or anything bad. No glare, starburst, dry eyes etc. My vision is at least as good as with my contact lenses, and should improve as the healing continues. Although it wasn't a particularly nice experience, I knew exactly what to expect and it wasn't too stressful.

I don't know if all approaches are the same, but I had to put antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops in each eye every 2 hours for 48 hours, then every 4 hours for the next 5 days (during the day, not during normal sleeping hours). I also have to wear plastic eye shields at night for 2 weeks, no sport for 2 weeks, no water in your eyes for 2 weeks (which makes washing hair a bit tricky). No swimming for 4 weeks, no contact sports for 2 months.

I'm very happy I've had it done, wish I could have afforded it earlier...

best wishes,
Emma
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Old 05-06-2008, 07:09 AM   #9
Camille Lore
 
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Re: Anyone had laser eye surgery?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy Lamplough View Post
Is the need for reading glasses due to the surgery? Or would it have happened anyway?

Cheers,
Jeremy
She didn't find the need to buy some until about 6 years later. She is 47, so my guess is that it would have happened eventually on its own.
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Old 05-06-2008, 07:35 AM   #10
Bryan McWilliams
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Re: Anyone had laser eye surgery?

I have posted this before.

There is an alternative to the laser; I chose Corneal Refractive Therapy (crt).

CRT involves wearing rigid contact lenses will you sleep. They gently re-shape the cornea over night. In the morning I have 20/20. The effect is temporary. You must wear the lenses nightly.

It costs about 1/4 the cost of surgery. There is no surgical risk. If it doesn't work, your eyes are back to "normal" in 72 hours. My optometrist uses CRT. His wife (also an optometrist) does post LASIK care in a lasik clinic. She also chooses CRT.

For me, the risk of surgery is scary. Yes, the majority of outcomes are great. But I know two people for whom it went wrong. You must deal with a reputable provider, who will tell you if you are a poor/high risk candidate.

There is no question that successful surgery is a better lifestyle than CRT. I have to deal with the lenses nightly. But nothing gets in the contacts when your eyes are closed..

That being said, I am thrilled with CRT; every bit as happy as the folks that have posted their experience here.

To learn more about lasik risk w/f/s http://www.visionsurgeryrehab.org/

To learn more about CRT w/f/s www.paragoncrt.com
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