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Thoughts on laser eye surgery?

By johnzo in Technology
Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 07:50:24 PM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)

I'm just another nearsighted geek whose been stuck with heavy glasses all his life. With the price of laser eye surgery falling, though, I'm sorely tempted to get my eyes zapped.

Trouble is, I'm not sure where to go for advocacy on this process. My eye doctor (whose clinic performs the procedure) has an obvious conflict of interest, so I don't fully trust his word. So I thought I'd take it to the street and ask K5 --Do any of you have experience with laser surgery? I'd sure appreciate any input -- horror stories, happy endings, pitfalls, surprises -- that y'all could offer.


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Thoughts on laser eye surgery? | 49 comments (49 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
You've only got one pair of eyes (4.12 / 8) (#1)
by TuxNugget on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 05:18:24 PM EST

There is a minority, of perhaps several percent, who get fubared by this procedure. I saw something about this on one of the tv news shows, maybe dateline. It was over a year ago, though.

Also, only a little bit is known about what happens 20 years down the road.

To me, this suggests caution.

Besides, glasses keep crap out of your eyes.

Don't necessarily believe the pro-surgery people. (3.66 / 3) (#8)
by SIGFPE on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 06:41:37 PM EST

This procedure is fairly expensive bit in dollars (which you can get more of) and eyes (of which we most have two). As a result, for basic psychological reasons, it is difficult for people who have undergone the surgery to admit there are problems even if problems do exist - and of course you can't see through other people's eyes to verify what they claim. I get the impression that permanent flare from the lens of the eye with a halo around every bright light source. As this is quite subjective it's hard to find out if it is bad without undergoing the surgery yourself. However, if it's your life's goal to take up surfing and glasses prevent you doing it then this is a small price to pay...
[ Parent ]
if it's your life's goal to... (4.00 / 3) (#39)
by Chakotay on Sun Oct 29, 2000 at 07:11:41 PM EST

A good friend of mine wanted desperately to become a fighter pilot, but didn't have the eyes to do it, she had about -1.5, which isn't very much, but enough to get disqualified. She had this surgery done, and came out with actually better than average vision, qualifying her for the airforce. Right now she's in the US training to fly F16s, and in a few months she'll be transfering to the training squadron in Twente, Netherlands, which is incidentally only a few miles from where I live. She'll be routinely flying over my head then :)

Hmmm, I've seen a lot of success stories, but no horror stories...

Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

[ Parent ]

fighter pilot eyes (3.00 / 1) (#43)
by inri on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 12:46:54 AM EST

Interesting contrast: in the US, you are not allowed to fly fighter planes if you've had corrective eye surgery, b/c they are not sure about longer term effects or what happens if your post-op eyes are exposed to lots of Gs. However, you now only need 20/20 corrected vision to fly, i.e., you can have contacts and still fly -- but not eye surgery.

[ Parent ]
Surfing and my general experience with contacts (none / 0) (#47)
by TinCanFury on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 08:02:48 PM EST

I surf and wear contacts. My eye doc gives me those week-wear lenses. They usually last me a month worth of surfing. Since I go to school at RPI my only surfing time is summers and winter break so its not too bad. For the most part I close my eyes if I have to go under water (in socal you can't see underwater anyway). I have had the misfortune of biting a few big waves (6' ish) that in the sheer shock and fear have kept my eyes open under water. None of these times have I lost a lens. Strange if you ask me. I've also never lost them the few times I've been thrown into a pool with my regular contacts in.

My eye doc says the water pressure in the ocean and in a pool prevent the contacts from coming off(that and the curved nature of your eye and the contacts he says).

So, you CAN still surf with contacts.

On another note, I got contacts about 5 years ago(in H.S.). I was also really scared of the whole touching my eye thing. Now I have no problems with it, but it took me about a month to get comfortable putting them in and taking them out. So to those of you not getting them for this reason, my advice is to just do it. Live with it for like a month and see if it gets easier. Its tough to start, but I say go for it!

I still can't stand the thought of something other than my finger touching my eye(suction cups, needles!!! AHHH!!!) but so far I've managed to stay away from that.
--- -Steven Adeff
[ Parent ]
Right on! (2.33 / 3) (#9)
by ramses0 on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 06:46:04 PM EST

Glasses *do* keep crap out of your eyes... and as dirty as mine get through the course of a day, I'm almost scared to go for contacts/laser surgery.

[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

Ah, but don't forget... (2.25 / 4) (#13)
by _cbj on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 08:03:34 PM EST

Eye lashes are pretty useful too, in this respect. And now I take a closer look, most of the detritus on my spectacle lenses is on the inside. So eye lashes actually reflect dirt! Or I'm just real greasy. Ah.

[ Parent ]
Eyes Actually Are Dirty (3.75 / 4) (#29)
by sigwinch on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 04:32:03 PM EST

FWIW, I was told by someone in the hard drive business (the naked disks are ultrasensitive to dust) that eyes are a *tremendous* source of dust.  Apparently tears dry up and flake off at an astonishing rate, and thus glasses are usually dirtier on the inside.

I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Contacts do too, sort of. (3.00 / 1) (#49)
by stompro on Thu Nov 02, 2000 at 05:14:18 AM EST

I was almost going to have the Lasik surgery on Wed, but I was not able to. One of the things I would have missed the most about my contacts is that they protect my eyes from smoke. I can remember being in boyscouts and sitting around the fire on a still day when the wind would change directions often. It was fun trying to stay out of the way of the smoke, because it would make my eyes burn. When I got contacts, smoke didn't bother my eyes anymore. And thats all I have to say about that.

[ Parent ]
BSOD. (1.16 / 6) (#2)
by www.sorehands.com on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 05:58:28 PM EST

What operating system does the equiptment run?

Who wrote this software, and how well was it tested?

Did the doctor have to disclaim everything before booting the system?

Mattel, SLAPP terrorists intent on destroying free speech.

unexpected consequence of surgery: reading glasses (4.28 / 7) (#3)
by mercenary on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 06:05:04 PM EST

The WSJ recently (10/20/2000, Health Journal) wrote about some of the unexpected consequences of successful eye surgery for people in their 30s-40s.

Apparently, as you get into your 50s, many people get "presbyopia", where your lenses become more rigid, and can't change from near to distance sight as easily. For most 20/20 people, the lens jams in the distance position, which is why many older people need reading glasses.

However, if you are nearsighted, you may never need reading glasses at all, because you're lens will jam in the near position. (The other group that avoids reading glasses are tall people; they have longer arms so they are able to hold reading material out far enough.)

If you're nearsighted and you get surgery, you may very well end up with 20/20 vision for a few years, but when you get older you'll need reading glasses -- which you wouldn't have needed otherwise.

If you get the surgery in your late 30s, you may end up wearing glasses for more years instead of less. In your 20s, it's a toss-up.

or bifocals (3.00 / 1) (#27)
by gclef on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 10:44:58 AM EST

Most older folks I know who were nearsighted had a *very* short period where they were 20/20, then they needed bifocals, since they couldn't do either distance or close in well. I'll take needing reading glasses when I'm old over bifocals any day.

[ Parent ]
Do some research first (3.62 / 8) (#4)
by scheme on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 06:16:26 PM EST

Getting elective surgery is a pretty major decision and it would be wise to get some research done first. Check out Eye Know for some information on the procedure and possible complications. Although it may not be entirely objective, it seems like a reasonably balanced discussion of the benefits and drawbacks of getting laser surgery. Basically it comes down to the fact fact that a significant minority of patients develop complications and require corrective surgery after the first surgical procedure.

"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity." --Albert Einstein

Time Magazine articles (4.50 / 6) (#5)
by Greyjack on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 06:17:03 PM EST

There was an excellent article on this in Time Magazine a few months back, along with a cautionary tale that certainly made me inclined to think twice before having this done.

I'll stick with glasses, thanks.

They also had a more general article on using lasers for cosmetic surgery.

Here is my philosophy: Everything changes (the word "everything" has just changed as the word "change" has: it now means "no change") --Ron Padgett

Using computers (2.66 / 6) (#6)
by darthaya on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 06:18:12 PM EST

If your job is computer related, then forget about it. Because after the surgery, you can't stare at computer(or TV) for 3 months straight. Well, you can always find a parttime in your local dominos. :)

Nonsense (3.66 / 3) (#26)
by gclef on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 10:42:06 AM EST

I was back to work, adminning & coding, 4 days after I had the operation. I even asked the doctors about it, they said it didn't matter.

[ Parent ]
Maybe... (2.33 / 3) (#7)
by pb on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 06:29:55 PM EST

If your vision is *really* bad, then think about doing it.

I remember that many people have much vision improvement, some people turn out around the same, and a few end up with worse vision; also, it tends to destroy whatever night vision you had before.

But I just did a little research on it a while back, so please post info, guys! :)
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
Hi pb! (offtopic) (1.00 / 2) (#12)
by Potatoswatter on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 06:53:04 PM EST

Hey, remember me? We did some sid=whatever discussion on /. a while back.

I just started using this site - it's cool to see familiar ppl.

myQuotient = myDividend/*myDivisorPtr; For multiple languages in the same function, see Upper/Mute in my diary! */;
[ Parent ]

Cool! (1.00 / 2) (#17)
by pb on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 02:54:55 AM EST

Not offhand, but we don't get enough traffic on the hidden sid's.

So refresh my memory, either on my sid here, or on slashdot.

(they're each available from the respective user info page. :)

P.S. I'll forgive you for your use of PPC Asm, and you can tell me why it's SO cool. ;)
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
your sid= here? (1.00 / 2) (#32)
by Potatoswatter on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 09:09:47 PM EST

Those don't seem to work. It sez "story not found." Is there a trick to it?

myQuotient = myDividend/*myDivisorPtr; For multiple languages in the same function, see Upper/Mute in my diary! */;
[ Parent ]
alt.lasik-eyes (4.00 / 4) (#10)
by loner on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 06:49:45 PM EST

If you haven't yet, check out this newsgroup as well. You can browse older articles through deja.com or equivalent. And if you do decide to get surgery, ask that newsgroup for comments and experiences on the particular doctor and center you're going to use.

Contacts? (3.00 / 3) (#11)
by joeyo on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 06:50:46 PM EST

Can you wear contacts? I wore glasses for many years and I was considering getting laser eye surgery but it was suggested that I get contacts first. And I'm happy that I did because contacts solved most of the problems I had with glasses (ie they're always getting dirty, it's harder to play sports, it's more complicated to kiss girls :). Contacts also gave me A LOT more periphery vision than i had with glasses.

So if you can wear contacts I'd suggest giving them a shot first. Plus that way, you can always go back to the spectacled look if you want

"Give me enough variables to work with, and I can probably do away with the notion of human free will." -- demi

surgery and contacts (3.40 / 5) (#14)
by janra on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 08:53:07 PM EST

Well, I looked briefly at laser eye surgery a few years back and two things (primarily) made me decide not to do it.

1) Because of the way the lasers cut the surface of your cornea, if you get the surgery done you'll never have the option of wearing contacts - they just won't stay on.

2) (and this one may have improved a bit, I don't know) your eye tends to drift back towards being short-sighted (myopia?) for a couple of weeks after the surgery, so they deliberately overshoot a bit and hope they got it just right. And if they're a little bit off you may be a bit short or long sighted afterwards and maybe still need glasses.

Then the next pair of glasses I got, I paid extra for the high refractive index plastic lenses and I finally have nice light glasses, and contacts for doing sports and scuba diving and the like.

Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
[ Parent ]
My Eye Surgery Experience (4.54 / 11) (#15)
by shawnpitz on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 12:46:47 AM EST

I had LASIK corrective surgery on both of my eyes this past May. It was suggested by my mom who had it done in december. I was 20 years old, had been wearing contacts since I started highschool, glasses since 4th grade. At the time of the surgery, my vision had been steady for over a year at a -3.25

I had the surgery done by a doctor that worked under the direction of <a href="http://www.tlcvision.com">TLC Laser Eye Centers . They're based out of somewhere in Canada, although the place where I got the surgery is just outside of baltimore.

I did a slightly unusual preop exam schedule, just cause of the way things worked out, but here's what happened. The day after I came home from school for the summer, I went in so they could look at my eyes. They said my eyes were perfectly healthy for the surgery, and it was scheduled for two days later. It's a bit unusual for them to do the surgery so soon after the initial checkup, but that's what we did. They also asked me if I'd mind doing the surgery at night, and letting prospective customers watch the procedure. I had no objections to that, so it all worked out nicely.

I had to get to the place like an hour and a half before the surgery took place. They put drops and stuff in my eyes and did some measurements. One of the measuring devices was the worst part of the whole procedure. It involved staring at this weird thing with all these patterns on it, and it flashed a bright light repeatedly. I'm a wuss when it comes to bright light, so I kept blinking and ruining it and it took forever but finally we got it. That machine apparently produces a three dimensional map of your cornea. The computer driving the machine ran Windows, which I found mildy discomforting, but the surgeon assured me that the actual operation would be controlled by him, and not by some MS software ;)

Anyways, now to the good part. The actual surgery. They put one of those silly hospital hair net type things, and took me into the little operating room. I laid back into the chair, the doc put numbing drops in my eyes, let them soak for about a minute, and set to work. Right eye first, he put a little thing that kept my eyelids open on, and threw a few more drops in there. A big machine arm swings over and sorta lowers down onto the eye. It lowers some sort of ring or something onto your eyeball, you can't feel it, but you can see it, it's kind of cool. Then it uses suction to hold your eyeball still. This was the only part of the actual surgery that was uncomfortable. I couldn't really feel the contact it was having against my eye, but the suction sorta felt like it was squeezing my eyeball. Not unbareable, but not fun either. Then you hear this scary sound that sounds like a circular saw. That startled me, but the doc told me to calm down, so I guess I did. While my eye was being held in place by the suction, everything goes dark so I couldn't see as that machine cut a thin layer of my cornea almost off, just like a little flap. The suction stopped, and the arm moved away. Then the doc lifted the flap up and over, and everything got really blurry. It was kind of neat. Then another arm moved over my eye, and it had a little red light on it that I was told to stare at. As I stared at it, the laser went to work, flashing on my eye for 24 seconds. It started to smell quite bad, apparently burned off eye particles aren't particularly pleasant scent-wise. I couldn't feel it at all though. After that, the doc flipped the cornea flap back over, and started pushing a little on it with a q-tip looking thing. It was really kind of neat being able to see this guy poking my eye with something, and not feeling it at all. I asked him to make sure "Are you poking my eye?" And he replied that he wouldn't exactly call it poking, but yeah, he was. I found that amusing. Anyways repeat all of that for the other eye, and it's done. Total time in the operating room: Just under 12 minutes.

Immediately after the surgery my eyes sorta felt like there was an eyelash in them or something. I could see, but everything looked like I was staring through some milky half translucent glass or something. They took me out to a dark room and had me lie there with my eyes closed for 15 minutes. Then I went home. It actually worked out really nice that I had the surgery done at night, cause it was dark out and easy on my eyes, and I went right to bed when I got home.

The post-op stuff isn't too complicated. The biggest concern is rubbing your eyes, because you don't want that cornea flap to come loose or rip off or anything. The basic rule is don't rub your eyes for about a month. They gave me little plastic eye shields that I had to tape to my face whenever I slept for the first 4 days after the surgery. Also for the first few days, you need to put eyedrops in, something that I absolutely hate. I did have an awesome friend taking care of me, and she was kind enough to administer the drops, and yell at me whenever it looked like I might be thinking about rubbing my eyes. The morning after the surgery, I woke up, jumped out of bed, and could see great. My eyes still felt a little irritated, but my vision was super improved. I had these super big goofy looking sunglasses that day just cause my eyes were extra sensitive to light, but no big deal. I had a check up the day after, and my left eye was already 20/25 and my right was 20/35. At my three week after check up, my vision had improved to a better than average 20/15. By my three month checkup, my corneas had completely healed, and I'm good to go.

While everything worked out super perfect for me, from what I was told by the doctor and the staff there, LASIK has an extremely low side effect rate, and noone's ever gone blind from it or anything. I'm extremely happy with my eyes, I'm so glad that I did do it. It's fairly expensive, but good sight is something worth paying for. (besides, my mom covered it ;). And while it's true that they're unsure of the long term effects, I figure if 20-30 years from now it does have some sort of complication, there will be technology to deal with that by then. Oh, and also, TLC has a system where if anywhere down the road, if you eyes change, and your vision becomes blurred again, they'll do the surgery again for you for free, as long as you've kept up with your normal eye exams and all that. Not a bad deal if you ask me.

I would definately suggest giving it a shot if your eyes are up to it. Apparently they can do eyes as bad as -12 or maybe even -13, and they do around -8 pretty routinely. I'd also strongly reccommend TLC, they've got offices all over the place, I've been extremely satisfied with how it all went, and if my eyes go bad again, they'll fix them for free. They cost a little more than some places, but you get what you pay for, and the eyes are a worthy cause.

A warning would have been nice... (3.00 / 2) (#16)
by dead_penguin on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 01:35:01 AM EST

I'm really sensitive about my eyes. My vision is good, so I don't even have to consider having this done to me, but this was more than enough to freak me out a bit. Watching open heart surgery on TV-- no problem. Watching a room-mate put in contact lenses... --shudder-- I don't know what it is, but I just can't handle the thought of *anything* touching or being done to my eyes. If I ever had to go through a procedure like this, they'd have to put me out compeletely (something I'm also afraid of in a way...)

[ Parent ]
Doing stuff to eyes (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by djabji on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 06:08:35 AM EST

My Dad has had both his retinas detach and be corrected. In that procedure, they actually inject something into your eye. I just cant imagine trying to keep my eye open as a doctor slowly lowers a needle towards my eye.

I, too am quite protective of my eyes. I couldnt wear contacts and using eye drops is nearly impossible (I cant keep my eye open to receive the drop). They say that the tendancy for detached retinas is hereditary, so I guess I'd better get used to the idea :(

Oh, and my Dad can barely see well enough to drive now wearing super-strong-imported-from-Germany-cause-they-dont-make-lenses-that-strong-in-northamerica glasses.(scary).

--brent nelson

[ Parent ]

eye drops (3.00 / 1) (#28)
by spacedood on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 01:29:56 PM EST

i've been wearing gas-permeable contact lenses for close to two and a half years, and while i can't use any bleaches to 'get the red out' (e.g. visine), i do occasionally have to use some re-lubricating drops. What i do is slightly squeeze the bottle while very close (like 1mm) to the tear duct on the inner portion of each eye. While i can't venture to the effectiveness of this technique on everyone, it has given me considerable ease in administering eye drops, without the horrible 'drop' there.

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wiseman knows himself to be a fool. - Shakespeare
[ Parent ]
elguapo's eyedrop procedure for ANYONE (5.00 / 3) (#35)
by el_guapo on Sun Oct 29, 2000 at 04:28:35 PM EST

Here's a way for ANYONE to be able to do the eyedrop thing. Trust me, I'm as bad as anyone when it comes to putting eyedrops in: Turn your head sideways, with one ear pointing down (ie: lean your head to the left or the right, depending on which eyeball you need to get a drop into). So, if you want a drop in your LEFT eye, lean your head to the right, then, look "down" (which is actually to the right), or the direction your head is leaning, the eyeball of interest (the left one in this example)is now looking at your nose. Place the eyedropper tip gently on the leftmost part of your left eye, away from the nose, and gently squeeze out the drops. They will slowly, and easily, cascade across the eye, aided by gravity. Works like a champ, and since that eyeball is looking AWAY from the eyedropper, you don't "see" the thing looming over your eye.....HTH One caveat - since the bottle touches your eye, you probably should pay attention from a sanitary sense (Don't share eyedroppers, and don't reuse one if you had pink eye or something...)
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
This isn't Slashdot (1.27 / 11) (#19)
by rekcufrehtom on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 05:35:19 AM EST

You don't have to mention hating Windows to get people to listen to you.

[ Parent ]
Oh dear (1.18 / 11) (#18)
by Holloway on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 02:59:40 AM EST

Things round here are just getting worse and worse, I submitted this last year!

== Human's wear pants, if they don't wear pants they stand out in a crowd. But if a monkey didn't wear pants it would be anonymous

Do you have good night vision? (4.60 / 5) (#20)
by bgarcia on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 06:00:39 AM EST

I had laser eye surgery done a couple of years ago, and overall I'm happy with the results. I had the PRK procedure done, and the post-op procedures were easier than what shawnpitz went through. I was probably in more pain the first 24 hours though (felt like you kept your eyes open in a sandstorm), but they give you some pretty good pain killers for the first day. No plastic eye shields to wear to bed. No little circular saw touching your eye.

Anyway, I forget exactly how bad my vision was (I couldn't even make out the largest letter on an eye chart). I wore contact lenses for years, and they were great at first, but apparently I started wearing them for too long. They started to actually bother me all the time. If you haven't tried contact lenses yet, then I strongly suggest that you try them before considering surgery. Especially with the throw-away ones they have nowadays, it seems pretty convenient, and more importantly, reversible.

So after the surgery, my vision is 20/15 (yep, better than "normal"). I'm pretty happy about that. However, I used to have excellent night vision. I could walk around my house in the pitch dark, when my wife would swear that she wasn't able to see a thing. Well, the surgery shot that little advantage straight to hell. Not only is my night vision worse, but I actually get a little diffusion pattern around bright objects. It looks like my pupils open wide enough that they allow in some light that passes through the untreated portion of my eyes. It makes driving at night a bitch, although I'm used to it now.

So would I do it again? Well, it's still better than glasses, but I think I would have tried every type of contact lense made before deciding on having the surgery done again.

Well... (2.66 / 3) (#22)
by josh_staiger on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 09:21:16 AM EST

When the those performing this surgery start getting it done on themselves and recommending it to their families then I'll go for it. Right now my eye doctor still has glasses...

partner doctors doing it to each other (3.00 / 2) (#33)
by mercenary on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 09:17:54 PM EST

Near my hometown, an opthamologist group made some human interest headlines when two of the doctors performed the surgery on each other. It was good PR -- but I have no idea if it went well or badly for them.

[ Parent ]
MLP (3.75 / 4) (#23)
by bgdarnel on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 09:46:57 AM EST

Surgicaleyes.org has a fairly deep look at the potential downsides to eye surgery. In a nutshell, they're not saying that the procedure is necessarily dangerous (although detrimental side effects are more common than the surgery's promoters would like you to believe), but that it has been heavily promoted to the public without sufficient study of the long-term effects (which include, for instance a more severe need for reading glasses at an earlier age).

LASIK (4.00 / 5) (#24)
by gclef on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 10:24:38 AM EST

Like shawnpitz, I had LASIK done a few months ago. (4 months ago, to be exact.) I'm *very* happy with it. I was -6 & -6.5, with some pretty severe astigmatism, and have been for over 20 years, so the idea of living, driving, etc with glasses was just too tempting.

There are some side effects that I've experienced that shawnpitz didn't mention (maybe he didn't experience them...lucky bastard): at night, all small light sources (like headlights & distant street lamps) have little starbursts around them. Basically, it's a similar effect to looking through a slightly dirty camera lens, where there are streaks coming from light sources. It not enough to distract from driving, but it is noticable. The place I had it done told me that this should go away around 6 months after the operation. Write me in a couple months, I'll let you know.

One early piece of advice: I paid a fair amount for this...you should expect to also....to paraphrase one interview I read: This is surgery, not buying toothpaste. The best deal is not necessarily the best idea.

Good luck.

duh (3.00 / 1) (#25)
by gclef on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 10:25:40 AM EST

Sorry, that should be *without* glasses....sorry.

[ Parent ]
starbursts (not the candy =P) (3.50 / 2) (#31)
by Delirium on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 07:29:36 PM EST

As for those little starbursts, I see those with my contact lenses usually...you get used to them pretty quickly and they don't bother me anymore.

[ Parent ]
re: starbursts (3.00 / 1) (#38)
by Chakotay on Sun Oct 29, 2000 at 06:51:31 PM EST

I get those too, and I have glasses. Seems to be a pretty standard thing that many people have.

Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

[ Parent ]
Why risk it? (4.40 / 5) (#30)
by Robby on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 05:58:18 PM EST

The concept of going through laser eye surgery fluttered through my mind _very_ slightly in the last year. I've been wearing glasses since I was 6 - that makes over 14 years. not many memories of me without glasses.

Frankly, they don't bother me - it's instinctive to reach for the specs upon wakeup, and drop them down just before bedtime. it's a "set and forget" procedure. But anyway, lets tackle the issues with glasses.

  • Discomfort/weight? Well, The weight issue is pretty moot, as far i'm concerned. I'm a -5 in both eyes (if you don't know what that means, why are you even reading this topic?) and my glasses weigh a puny 35 grams. They're made out of titanium (expensive, but worth it. besides, most other metals are allergic to me!) , and lenses are some ungodly high index (1.66) . Yep, they weren't cheap, but honestly, i'd still rather avoid getting anyh part of me burned. So this argument is gone. As for cleaning, wash glasses with the right type of cloth, and it's not a problem. the deal is most clothes generate static on your glasses, and so of course your glasses will dust up within seconds. good cloth = slow dirt.
  • Sport? Ok, so these little fashionable 35 gram glasses probably aren't that great for sport. I've got a pair of sports 'goggles' - they cost me $30 Australian for the frame, and then your standard lens deal. Great padding around the place, comfortable, etc. the important thing is that it scares the opposition away :)
  • Contact lenses? See my next point, too, by the way. I've never been a contacts guy. the problem is that people are so used to me with glasses, I'm almost irrecognisable without them.
  • Girls? Someone raised this topic, I think. Anyway, heres a little secret that the other team tries to hide: Some of them actually prefer bespectacled men ;) Seriously (any female kuro5hin readers out there wanna comment?). So have a think of it this way, you can have a 'niche' feature :) Anyway, enough on this, it hasn't troubled me.
In essence, why go the surgery when you have so many possible negative variables: no nightvision (I love seeing stuff at night, maybe it's a feature of shortsightedness?), possible serious damage, long term variables. it's just not worth it, in my opinion. But do tell us how it goes.

actually... (3.50 / 2) (#37)
by Chakotay on Sun Oct 29, 2000 at 06:44:44 PM EST

I'm a guy who likes bespectacled women. IMHO many (if not most) women look a lot more attractive with properly chosen glasses. For example, I think Scary Spice is hot, but she's a lot more attractive with those glasses she wares sometimes. Incidentally, I do have a black girlfriend, but she doesn't have glasses :)

Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

[ Parent ]
As requested... (4.00 / 1) (#41)
by rainbowfyre on Mon Oct 30, 2000 at 11:40:26 PM EST

I do hold a bit of a soft spot for the sophiticated spectacle, but it has to be done properly. A guy cannot simply wear glasses, and expect to become handsome.
As a part of a whole image, OTOH, it works. Quite well

Vericon is coming!
[ Parent ]
As requested... (none / 0) (#42)
by rainbowfyre on Mon Oct 30, 2000 at 11:40:52 PM EST

I do hold a bit of a soft spot for the sophiticated spectacle, but it has to be done properly. A guy cannot simply wear glasses, and expect to become handsome.
As a part of a whole image, OTOH, it works. Quite well

Vericon is coming!
[ Parent ]
My boss... (1.14 / 7) (#34)
by k5er on Sun Oct 29, 2000 at 01:22:14 AM EST

My boss got laser eye surgery and thought it was PhAt! Hope that helps you with the desicion.
Long live k5, down with CNN.
If if ain't broken ... (2.66 / 3) (#36)
by Chakotay on Sun Oct 29, 2000 at 05:07:13 PM EST

If you feel comfortable with glasses, don't go for something else. If you want to get rid of those glasses, try lenses first, and once you get sick of lenses, go for that laser surgery :)

If you're just tired of those big heavy glasses, why not try a more modern, smaller frame and plastic glasses (nice paradox), or one of those frames without metal around the glasses? I bought glasses like that a few months ago. They look good on almost anybody - actually, I think many people look better with properly chosen glasses, kinda like jewelry in a way. The glasses I put in them are extra-thin extra-hard extra-demirrored (is that the correct English term?). It's like you're not wearing any glasses at all because they're simply so light and clear.

Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

Laser eye surgery (3.00 / 3) (#40)
by pkej on Mon Oct 30, 2000 at 04:30:48 AM EST

First you need to concider this, as you age the muscles in the eye get more flabby, thus you'll get more and more far sighted. So, if you're near sighted now and do that eye surgery, you will probably need correction for far sightedness.

When it comes to big heavy glasses I will just say: titanium. I've got a frame from Air of Denmark, they hardly weight anything. Then you just have to select the apropriate glass/plastics for the lenses.

You could also try contacts, I myself don't care for them, to cumbersome to insert, and I can only see with one eye and I don't want to risk anything at all with that eye.

All that said, I know a couple of people who have elected to go for the laser eye surgery, and they seem very happy with their choice.

my PRK experience (4.00 / 2) (#44)
by inri on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 02:33:40 AM EST

I had PRK surgery at TLC in Winsor, Canada, in Fall 1996 (age 18). I had a good experience, though some cautions.

  • Canada is a few years ahead of the US in eye surgery, and will remain so (the FDA requires that lasers be used in other countries for several years before allowing them in the US)
  • Go to an experienced place
  • Bring a companion/driver: a parent or close friend
  • Expect to spend the whole day at the eye center, and one week recovering -- take it easy
  • Wait -- you should be 25+ to get it, and as with computers, eye surgery gets better every year (and we're currently just out of the ENIAC age -- think multics/PDP), and eyes are harder to upgrade

Prior to surgery, I had used contacts for 4 years, and glasses for ~7 years before that. My surgery was a sucess: I have 20/15 vision in one eye, 20/20 in the other, and the only vision problem I've had is some `starring' -- when driving at night, headlights/street lights appear as starbursts (think of the pictures of the Star over bethlehem in all those 3 wise kings pictures); this is a bit distracting, but of very limited annoyance, and night driving wasn't much fun with contacts/glasses either. I would strongly recommend TLC for surgery: they have a lot of experience, and are very professional; most all laser eye surgery runs ~$2000/eye, and you really don't want to skimp on this. Surgery consisted of going in to a TLC center (er, redundant?), going through pre-op procedures (prep'ing the eye, and getting relaxed), a short time under the laser, and a bit of post-op (= here's what eye-drops to take and when); this was not hurried, but I wasn't sitting around (I'm forgetting details). Recovery consisted of lying on the couch for a few days, and spending one week inside with pulled curtains, and going for a check-up to make sure everything was okay, while taking regular eye drops. Then it required eye drops 3x/day for 1 month, 2x/day next month, 1x/day last month. Not at all inconvenient, esp. if you're used to contacts. And my vision is....fine! I was a bit photo-phobic for a few months, but this was basically an excuse to get some nice sunglasses. Recently my mother (50) got LASIK at TLC, as did our eye doctor, and they are both very satisfied (ecstatic) about the result. I would recommend that anyone with eye problems consider PRK/LASIK at TLC.

Concerns: the TLC folk were very cautionary about possible problems (check out their page -- it has extensive details about problems, with statistics) -- this was not a hard sell. I do not know anyone who has had a problem with this surgery, but there are cases of problems, esp. with shadier doctors; seeing ads for LASER EYE SURGERY does not inspire confidence in the quality of these procedures. Stability was a concern for me; this procedure hasn't been around very long (~13 years), so longitudinal studies haven't been possible. However, RK has been around for ~30 years, and there have been no stability problems with that, despite it being much much more invasive than laser surgery. Also, I don't have statistics but it seems that there is non-trivial risk in wearing contacts for decades -- you might leave them in when you go to sleep, you touch your eye a lot and there's a risk of infection, etc. -- so I weighed this in my decision. Basically, PRK/LASIK is not 100% safe, but it's very safe for surgery. At the risk of making a terrible analogy: the risks/rewards associated to laser eye surgery are similar to sex: for most people, it's a really wonderful experience and they recommend that all their friends try it, but for a significant minority, it's a horrible, earth-shattering affair. I recommend it, but be careful. If you ever feel uncomfortable about anything, feel free to leave/consult other doctors.

Oh, and sorry about this sounding a bit like a TLC ad -- I had a really good experience, and would like others to have similar experiences, and not get dicked over by quacks/frauds.

An alternative surgery (3.00 / 1) (#45)
by chroma on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 02:54:16 AM EST

One alternative to laser surgery that hasn't been mentioned is Intacs. They're a small implant that goes into your eye.

One great advantage is that this procedure is reversible, unlike laser surgery. Your cornea is left intact, whereas PRK or LASIK leave you with less cornea than you had before.

Check it out.

Time Magazine Article (3.00 / 1) (#46)
by trax on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 03:27:22 PM EST

There has been an informative article in Time Magazine of October 1999 about LASIK. It's worth a read.

I almost had the sugery today :) (none / 0) (#48)
by stompro on Thu Nov 02, 2000 at 05:01:24 AM EST

I was all set to have the lasik surgery on wed this week, but when I went in on monday for the exam they told me that I was not a canidate because my pupils are too large :) and my cornea is to thin :(. I guess it does not bug my all that much, I am very happy that they are so ready to turn people away, in fact the doctor that saw me had to turn away 2 people before me. I think that shows that they are not just in it for the fast bucks, they really care what is best for thier patients. I would really recommend the place I went to, it's in downtown Winnipeg, MB, CA. It was only going to cost me 950$us(compaired to the 3000$ from the place in Fargo). I would not worry about any conflict's of interest, these people would be ruined if even a couple of people were vocal about their bad experiences. I am just going to stick with contacts, Sucks for water Skiing, but works great for everything else.

Thoughts on laser eye surgery? | 49 comments (49 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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