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Medicine Shark

Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later 550

gunner_von_diamond (3461783) happened upon Ask Slashdot: Experiences with Laser Eye Surgery from ten years ago, and asks: I was just reading a story on /. from 10 years ago about Lasik Eye Surgery. Personally, I've had Lasik done and loved every single part of the surgery. I went from wearing contacts/glasses every day to having 20/15 vision! In the older post, everyone seemed to be cautious about it, waiting for technical advances before having the surgery. Today, the surgery is fairly inexpensive [even for a programmer :) ], takes about 10-15 minutes, and I recovered from the surgery that same day. So my question is: what is holding everyone else back from freeing themselves from contacts and glasses?
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Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

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  • by popoutman ( 189497 ) * on Thursday July 24, 2014 @03:42PM (#47524625) Journal
    Given that I have a few telescopes and I have been stargazing for ~30 years, I really value my night sight. Knowing that the majority of the laser surgeries have a significant proportion of post-operation aberrations that would directly affect my stargazing abilities is a real hindrance to my taking up the eye surgery.
    Halos and diffraction spikes around bright objects, increased glare at night, are all relatively common issues to be dealt with afterwards. Most people aren't bothered by this as they rarely come across the situations where these aberrations would show up (exception being night-time driving).
    If the surgeries were able to correct higher-order aberrations and a proper wavefront restoration across a portion of the eye that would be larger than the relaxed iris, then it might be a possibility for me. However, the tech is not yet mature for this, for my use cases.
    • by BStroms ( 1875462 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @03:54PM (#47524763)

      Also the fact that it won't prevent future changes to vision. I'm thirty now, and my vision still continues to slowly get worse. I fear I'd be paying for a 5 year reprieve from glasses and then be back to wearing them with side effects I also have to live with for the rest of my life.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 24, 2014 @04:12PM (#47524935)

        Yes, the older cheaper version of lasik did result in halos and star bursts at night, however for many years now the newer version of lasik does correct for higher order aberrations. I believe it is called 3d wavefront technology. They perform a 3d scan of the eye prior to the surgery and thus can correct for higher order aberrations. The older and significantly cheaper lasik was only a 2d scan. I had lasik done with the newer technology 8 years ago and still have 20/10 vision with no degradation thus far and no post operation issues. I'm fairly certain the percentage of people who have post operation problems is at most a few percent.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 24, 2014 @05:41PM (#47525883)

          I'm waiting for the 4D revision so I'll be able to see through time.

        • by modemboy ( 233342 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @07:25PM (#47526619)

          Halos are caused by the correction area being smaller that the dilated pupil size, has nothing to do with the type of LASIK.
          More info: http://www.usaeyes.org/lasik/f... [usaeyes.org]

          The most common post LASIK problem is actually dry eyes, 50% of patients.

          It is certainly not a perfected surgery IMHO.

        • PRK was what resulted in halos and starbursts. Early LASIK didn't have a large enough flap cut so in extreme darkness a pupil could dilate out past the corrected area. I don't think they cut as often now and instead use ablative procedures that remove material from the surface after first mapping the eye's surface. After the surgery you could have some dryness that can take some time to go away, use drops.

          If you're prescription is stable I HIGHLY recommend the procedure. I went from 20:70 20:90 to 20:20 20:

          • by Rei ( 128717 )

            Sounds like my case. Increasing couldn't get wear contacts any more without problems, hated all of the problems of glasses, was scared of the surgery... and it was just nothing. Seriously, how can instantly improved vision not be at the top of your to-do list?

      • One common technique for people who are close to or have age-induced presbyopia is to perform the surgery on only one eye, or, depending on the prescription, to apply it in different amounts. The idea is to get one eye which is good for near vision and one that is good for far vision. Sort of the same notion as bifocals, but applied directly to the eyes. Apparently the brain adjusts quickly and effectively to this and you end up feeling as though you have good vision at all ranges as long as both eyes are open.

        I'm considering doing that. I'm 45 and my eyes have just begun to change. I'm still generally myopic, but so far the change just requires me to take my glasses off when doing close work. I'm going to give it a couple more years to be sure my eyes have more or less settled, then get surgery on one or both, in whatever degrees will give me the best overall visual acuity and flexibility.

        If your eyes haven't actually changed yet, then it's something of a crapshoot. The idea is to adjust your vision based on guesses as to how they're going to change. That said, my optometrist says that they can make very good guesses. The only reason he's recommended that I wait is because I'm not far from the point where guessing won't be required, based on my history of general visual stability and current rate of change.

        • I'm considering doing that. I'm 45 and my eyes have just begun to change. I'm still generally myopic, but so far the change just requires me to take my glasses off when doing close work.

          I'm also 45 and I'm experiencing the same thing. I am overdue for a new set of glasses anyway, but I've noticed my new farsightedness the most when doing work on the test bench. I've had to start using a set of head-mounted magnifying lenses regularly for close-up work. If I was to consider some sort of corrective procedure, I'd need something that's compatible with close-up hands-on work, staring at a computer screen most of the time, and shooting which requires both close-up vision (to see the signs) and

          • by David_Hart ( 1184661 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @04:55PM (#47525431)

            I'm considering doing that. I'm 45 and my eyes have just begun to change. I'm still generally myopic, but so far the change just requires me to take my glasses off when doing close work.

            I'm also 45 and I'm experiencing the same thing. I am overdue for a new set of glasses anyway, but I've noticed my new farsightedness the most when doing work on the test bench. I've had to start using a set of head-mounted magnifying lenses regularly for close-up work. If I was to consider some sort of corrective procedure, I'd need something that's compatible with close-up hands-on work, staring at a computer screen most of the time, and shooting which requires both close-up vision (to see the signs) and long range vision (to see the target). I haven't researched yet whether any of the existing procedures would be a good option for a person of my age with my vision and range of activities.

            I'm 45 too, am near-sighted, and have the same concerns (reminds me that I also need to get my annual checkup). I make my living off of my eye sight (network engineer), drive a lot for both work and play in all kinds of conditions, am a bit of a armature photographer, like downhill skiing, and one of my passions is movies. All of which could be screwed up if things went badly. When I am at work I wear glasses and when I play I wear contacts. Both of these are easy and cheap to fix and replace, unlike my eyes.

        • by JanneM ( 7445 )

          I'm 45 and I've had presbyopia for five years, bad enough that I always need separate glasses when reading or working in front of a screen, or even using my phone. I still went ahead with surgery last winter. And I'm very happy I did.

          I had pronounced astigmatism in addition to nearsightedness. When you add presbyopia it becomes almost impossible to get a pair of lenses that will correct all of it anywhere but right in the center of vision. In practice I had to movemy head instead of my eyes when reading, pl

      • by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @05:07PM (#47525579)

        That's what happened to me. I got the surgery when I was around 23 or 24, and yeah I had 20/15 vision for at least a year, but my eyes kept changing. After about 7 years I went back for glasses and to talk about doing the surgery again. I was advised that 7 years between surgeries is risky, because the original cut portion would have healed and they would need to cut it back again. Additionally, the possibility of complications had risen, I had something like a 20% chance of things going wrong like my lens collapsing from being too thin after 2 surgeries, things that would be fairly serious for my vision. 20% is a fairly low chance, but I considered it unacceptably high when dealing with my vision. My doctor also said that, as my eyes are now, I won't need reading glasses when I'm older. I opted to just get contacts and glasses again. I went back for contacts again recently and my eyes had only barely changed from the previous prescription. If I had waited until around 32 or 34 to get it done the first time then it probably would have stuck around a lot longer. It was really great while it lasted though.

        • Additionally, the possibility of complications had risen, I had something like a 20% chance of things going wrong like my lens collapsing from being too thin after 2 surgeries, things that would be fairly serious for my vision.

          Look into http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photorefractive_keratectomy [wikipedia.org] (PRK)

          PRK came before LASIK and doesn't involve cutting the cornea.
          The recovery time is several days and, like LASIK, it takes months to see the maximum benefit.

      • by fluffy99 ( 870997 ) on Friday July 25, 2014 @12:07AM (#47528473)

        Also the fact that it won't prevent future changes to vision. I'm thirty now, and my vision still continues to slowly get worse. I fear I'd be paying for a 5 year reprieve from glasses and then be back to wearing them with side effects I also have to live with for the rest of my life.

        I had PRK since I had too much correct to do normal lasik. Its essentially lasik but they don't cut a flap first, has a longer recovery time, but is actually more accurate than lasik. I went from a -10.5 diopter prescription with contacts (pretty thick if I wore glasses) to 15/20 vision without. The only noticeable side effect was a very slight halo effect around bright objects at night. This is caused by the edges of the laser correction area becoming visible when the iris is fully dilated. For heavier corrections the max diameter of the correction area depends on the prescription and how much material they can take off in the center of the correction area, and for lasik how big they can cut the flap.

        I made it about 10 years without glasses after that and now use very light prescription glasses mostly for driving and reading. I still don't need glasses for most things, and its awesome to see the alarm clock in the middle of the night without having to fumble for glasses first. I also don't worry about losing a contact and having to drive home with very impaired vision. I don't regret the decision at all even though I'm back to wearing glasses.

    • Pretty much this for me too... I'm a photographer, and those side effects would directly affect my ability to shoot. Not worth it.

    • by cheddarlump ( 834186 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @04:34PM (#47525163)
      As many who have replied to you have already noted, they do full remapping and correct for 2nd and 3rd order abberations. It's amazing tech now. If you can, go in for the free scan where they do a 3d surface map of your eyes, the detail and resolution of the mapping machine is just pure nerd-porn, especially if you're an optics guy. I've done both eyes, and would like to share my story: I've been extremely near-sighted with astigmatism my whole life. I'm now in my late 30s, and my eyes stopped changing in any real fashion about 5 years ago -- they stabilized around -8.75 diopters of correction needed. I'd always worn disposable contacts, but hated being blind at night when they were out. When I was 5 or so, I walked into a branch that left a scar on my left cornea that previously excluded me from lasik -- UNTIL the new 3d wave mapping came out. They did have to use the blade to cut the flap on my left eye (as opposed to the ilasik cutter on the right eye), but I can now see at 20/25 out of my left eye for the first time since I was 5. Previously it was correctable to a best of 20/40. They actually almost totally removed the scar tissue automagically while at the same time corrected for the extreme nearsightedness. I'm a believer. If you are worried about the night vision effects, those are truly present in the first couple of months. Those that say they're not are the same people that don't notice the low bitrate on satellite radio.. ;) After about a year, however, I personally have zero effects, starbursts, rings, hazing, or lack of contrast anymore. It takes a while for the lens to heal up, but it did for me. Negatives: I now need UV protection in the sun. I didn't realize that my contacts previously provided UV blocking, and the sun is annoying now without sunglasses.. :)
      • I'm in my mid 30s and had -8.00 with another -1.00 astigmatism and I just had custom waveform Lasik done this month. The double and triple vision around bright objects is still very annoying after 3 weeks, even if my eyesight is 20/20 now. It's particularly bad in PuTTY or anything else that uses white text on a black background. I seriously hope it goes away within the next few months.

    • This is the one main gripe I have about the outcome of my surgery. I went in to it knowing that I was susceptible to worse night vision, due to having pupils that dilate larger than the corrected area. At night time, seeing bright objects in an otherwise dark area causes a weird sort of blur or ghost that is hard to describe. It makes visual astronomy more difficult. However despite that negative side effect, my night time vision is still better than it was with glasses - just not 100% perfect. The benefits

    • I will consider doing the surgery once I see ophthalmologists doing it to themselves. For whatever reason most of them choose not to do the surgery.

  • Uncertainty/fear? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by robinsonne ( 952701 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @03:44PM (#47524641)
    Maybe it's just silly, but I'm really scared of someone shooting a laser into my eye. I don't want to be that 0.01% of cases that has something horrible happen.
    • I'm not sure that this is still true, but don't you go blind for a few minutes while the procedure is going on? That's what frightens me - the thought that I might go blind and not have my sight come back.

      • Re:Uncertainty/fear? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Nkwe ( 604125 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @03:57PM (#47524805)

        I'm not sure that this is still true, but don't you go blind for a few minutes while the procedure is going on? That's what frightens me - the thought that I might go blind and not have my sight come back.

        Yes you do (but it is seconds, not minutes). The part of the procedure they don't really tell you about in advance is that they basically use a vacuum cleaner to suck your eyeball out of your head while they do the procedure. Actually they use suction to slightly pull on your eyeball and hold it still while the laser is doing it's work; while this is happening, you can't see out of the eye -- it all goes dark. This part of the procedure (which really only lasts for a few seconds on each eye) is fairly unpleasant and is probably the reason they give you Valium.

        • Re:Uncertainty/fear? (Score:4, Informative)

          by danbert8 ( 1024253 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @04:09PM (#47524917)

          It depends on the specific procedure. I had PRK done and I could actually see the LED target get clearer with each shot of the laser during the actual surgery. But yes, take the valium... It's extremely stressful to be immobilized for such a long period of time and having your eyelids clamped open.

        • Re:Uncertainty/fear? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Matheus ( 586080 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @04:13PM (#47524945) Homepage

          Not sure where you went but my procedure involved nothing of the sort... ?

          Full disclosure: I had PRK not LASIK. PRK is the older tech that I was forced to have because of a severe case of GPC. The difference at least in simple terms is as follows: With LASIK they use a laser or a blade to slice a flap off of your eye. They do the correction then the flap is repositioned. This results in extremely quick healing because it resembles a paper cut. With PRK they remove the front covering of your eye. Do (seemed like) the exact same correction procedure but then let the surface of your eye grow back from 'scratch'. Healing is significantly longer in duration and discomfort BUT they can use this method where LASIK isn't good (in my case severe risk of hemorrhage) AND they are able to do a better job at repair as well with less of the side effects (my night vision was completely unhindered).

          I was fully conscious and had full eyesight for the entire procedure. It's actually kind of surreal as the whole thing is going on then (with PRK) they place a "band-aid" contact on the eyes while they do their initial healing. 5 days later those come off and you enter the "OCD with 5 different kinds of eyedrops" phase for about a month. After the 5 days tho I was fully functional just my comfort and vision improved as the days passed. Completely normal by about 3 months. Immediately after the procedure I tested 20/10 but settled out to about 20/15 as the healing progressed.

          Honestly it's the best money I've ever spent. Yes there is the probability that my vision will slip over time but 6 years in with no complications or slide yet and I'm happy with the investment. Eventually as I get older this doesn't stop the tendency towards presbyopia either but I'll take readers over my old vision any day!

        • by dargaud ( 518470 )
          They'd have to shoot me in order to do that... As someone who's in pain when an eyelash touches my eye but won't even notice a broken ankle for 3 days...
        • Re:Uncertainty/fear? (Score:5, Informative)

          by jammer170 ( 895458 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @04:48PM (#47525323)

          That's not entirely accurate, and to me is high on the scare-factor. As someone who has had LASIK, here is the full procudure:

          They have you come in and lie down on a table. They then use a very small device, really nothing more than just a couple of wires, to prop your eyelid open. Next, they do use a very tiny bit of suction to pull on the eyeball (I couldn't really feel it, but your mileage may vary), to ensure you can't move it very much during the operation (the eye does still move slightly, but the laser can track the movement and compensates or cuts off - it does the same if you twitch your head). They then use a laser to cut a very tiny flap in the front part of the eye, and the device causes it to flip open. This is the moment you go "blind". The reason is because once that flap has been moved, the normal refraction of light onto your retina no longer occurs. They used to use a very small blade, but from my understanding the laser is cleaner, has basically zero risk for contamination/infection, and creates a more precise cut. At this point, they shoot the laser onto your eye. This is probably the most frightening moment, because while you don't see or feel anything (even with the eye not currently being operated on), you can smell what is happening. However, it really does not last very long, 60 seconds in my case, and the doctor counted down the time for me (your mileage may vary on this). Once he was done, he put the flap back, removed everything, put on a contact lens used as a "band-aid" on the eye and told me to go home and take a nap. I had a follow-up in the afternoon, and I had something like 20/40 or 20/50 vision. The contact lens came off, and I could do things that day. By the next morning, I was back to normal. I ended up with 20/30 vision at the end.

          Personally, I never was given anything to help me relax. The closest thing was a small animal-shaped pillow to keep my hands busy and out of the doctor's way. If a person is really nervous, they may give them a Valium, but that is a case-by-case/doctor-by-doctor thing, not standard procedure. Frankly, it was one of the easiest doctor visits I have ever had. At most, it is about fifteen minutes of being slightly uncomfortable, pretty much all of it a mental thing, and then your done.

          • Re:Uncertainty/fear? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Ark42 ( 522144 ) <slashdot@morpheu ... t ['ftw' in gap]> on Thursday July 24, 2014 @05:00PM (#47525509) Homepage

            Where I went, everybody got 1 Valium and they gave you a stress ball to squeeze while everything was going on. Everything else sounds the same, except I didn't get a band-aid of any sort, they just put the flap back and I went home. Drove myself to the follow up the next morning at 8am.
            Agree that you can smell the laser burning your eye away. That's one thing they never said up front. You can't feel or see anything other than a blurry blinking red spot, and you hear some clicking as the laser pulses, but that was all expected.

            • by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @05:15PM (#47525663)

              I actually fainted during the initial exam, prior to surgery. My doctor was using a little yellow tool to poke my eye, and every time he poked it my vision went blurry and a machine went "BING!" I don't know why, maybe I was just holding my breath, but I went right out. Woke up to my doctor laughing.

              The surgery itself was no problem, I was more interested than nervous. I could see the laser getting closer and shooting a purple beam. They sucked my eye out and I could see the vision slowly fade to black as the blood drained, and then watch it return then they were done. It was an interesting experience, I wasn't scared at all by it.

              That little yellow thing though, that thing got me. Another in the list of amusing times when I've fainted.

        • I had it done in Japan, and instead of giving you Valium they have a young female nurse hold your hands :)

          The actual procedure was interesting, but I was nervous about accidentally moving my eye to look at the interesting pattern of flashes (although I know it compensates for movement).

          My vision was amaaazing for about a week, but then I started to get really dry eyes.
          Now 3 years later my vision is apparently good in focus, but it is usually blurry because my eyes are so dry.
          Drops only help for about 5sec.


    • Maybe it's just silly, but I'm really scared of someone shooting a laser into my eye. I don't want to be that 0.01% of cases that has something horrible happen.

      It's not silly, just very unlikely. I've had the surgery and I won't kid you that the idea of someone cutting my eye still makes me a bit squeamish even today. That said I still consider my lasik procedure to be the best money I've ever spent. One of the partners in our company had it too and feels similarly.

      As with any surgery it is 100% appropriate to be cautious and ask a lot of questions. If you still are uncomfortable with the idea it's ok not to get the surgery. I'm fairly active and it helps wit

      • by Hamsterdan ( 815291 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @09:44PM (#47527667)

        " but if you aren't bothered by glasses and they don't cause you problems then there is no need to get the procedure."

        THIS -^

        I've never felt the need to have it done (-1.00 and -1.25). I can pretty much function without glasses (reading, computer, taking a walk). Besides, I'm 43 and it would be a waste of money since in a couple of years I'll probably need reading glasses anyway. And, I only have one set of eyes, I won't risk losing one of them...

        The *only* advantage of having it done would be I could wear different sunglasses every day (girls have shoes, I have sunglasses :)

    • by k6mfw ( 1182893 )
      I second that. Yes, lots of people say it's safe, it's great, etc. but being one of the 0.01% is a chance I don't want to take.

      There was PBS documentary about Mt Everest climbers, one of them went blind at altitude because his laser-surgery eyes deformed because of decreased pressure. Losing eyesight on that mountain is superbad because everyone else is struggling and leading another adds more difficultly and danger. He managed to get to lower elevations and eyesight came back. I don't know about other m
  • Cost (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nimey ( 114278 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @03:46PM (#47524659) Homepage Journal

    I can get glasses that last for 5+ years for a couple hundred dollars, vs. lots more for surgery with its inherent risks. My glasses are generally only annoying when I work outside & get sweaty.

    • Re:Cost (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @03:51PM (#47524739)

      Also, having worn glasses for so long I've gotten used to the built in "objects flying at my eye" protection they offer. My glasses have caught more than a few flying objects and/or children's fingers.

      Then there's reality:
      1) Something might go wrong
      2) My eyes are unbelievably important to what i do for a living and how I entertain myself, I'm not sure I'd want to live without them
      3) I don't like the idea of being concious while someone/thing is cutting on me, especially my eyes

      • Re:Cost (Score:5, Funny)

        by dfn5 ( 524972 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @04:03PM (#47524863) Journal

        Also, having worn glasses for so long I've gotten used to the built in "objects flying at my eye" protection they offer.

        You can still wear glasses. You'll just be doing it ironically.

      • Re:Cost (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @04:08PM (#47524907) Journal

        Quite frankly, and this sounds stupid, but I'm emotionally attached to my glasses. I'm 42 now, and I've been wearing glasses since I was six. Frankly I don't even remember what it was like without them. I freely admit it's an irrational and emotional response, but I like my glasses.

        • Re:Cost (Score:5, Interesting)

          by twistedcubic ( 577194 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @04:18PM (#47524997)
          I'm 41, and I've also been wearing glasses since I was 6. However, I don't like them, even though I always wear them. The recent invention of soft toric contacts saved me from ever having to consider Lasik, though.
        • +1 to emotionally attached. I briefly tried contacts about twenty years ago and discovered that (a) I feel undressed without glasses on, (b) I put my finger into my eye more often than I like to admit while trying to push my (non-existent) glasses up, and (c) I *like* not being able to see things -- not all the time, mind you, but there are occasions when I'm pretty happy when the world's a giant blur.

          Plus "elective surgery on a vital organ" is like "jumping out of a perfectly good airplane" ... fine for o

      • Re:Cost (Score:5, Funny)

        by danbert8 ( 1024253 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @04:10PM (#47524925)

        It was weird for me after the surgery when in the winter I was all like, "what the hell is this shit pelting me in the eyeballs?"

    • I agree with your points, with the exception that I especially like wearing my glasses outside. Walking down an overgrown trail, I have less concern that a bush will whip into my eye.

      Also, whenever I am using a hammer or skill saw, I have more eye protection that someone not wearing glasses. No, they are not a full replacement, but then again I am only referring to "around the home" situations.
    • by SQLGuru ( 980662 )

      I get mine from Zenni Optical for a lot less than that.

      But yes. Glasses only bother me when I'm sweaty (but I avoid that as much as I can). I like wearing glasses and like the way I look in glasses. I could go with non-corrective lenses for the look, but I think at less than $100 every few years, the ROI isn't really there.

  • Last I looked, you couldn't become an astronaut if you had laser eye surgery?

    • Re:NASA (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 24, 2014 @03:51PM (#47524741)

      Yeah, that probably explains the vast majority of the cases.

    • No you can't if you had laser eye surgery that involved cutting of the cornea. You can if you have LASEK which does not involved any cutting of tissue, as the integrity of the eye is maintained with this surgery (since there is no cut made creating a weak point). However, the recovery from this is much longer and much more painful as the outer layer that is cut in LASIK is moved aside (the layer is separated using an alcohol solution and spun aside). Because this entire layer is moved, the healing is more p
  • by jzarling ( 600712 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @03:47PM (#47524681)
    ...my astigmatism is too great for lasik.
    • Mine was, too. I ended up having ICL implants [visianinfo.com], instead of laser surgery. The process wasn't exactly fun, it's basically cataract surgery, but instead of replacing your lens, they effectively add a contact lens behind your iris. The first eye they did, I was blind in for about 2 weeks due to swelling in the eye. The second eye, I could see clearly out of in about 5 mins after surgery. It's been about 4 years since I've had it done, and I don't regret it once.
      • I had ICLs implanted in 1997, I'm severely myopic, -22 diopters in each eye and my VA still 20/200 without glasses now since the operation. I also had the swelling in one eye because of the procedure but fortunately I was rushed back to hospital (OMG the pain of eye swelling.. ech!) but everything is OK now so far about 17 years later, mostly except that I'm developing cataracts (I'm 34 now) and have to get that treated but as a severely myopic person I'm at a high risk for retinal detachments, whee! WE M

  • by Serenissima ( 1210562 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @03:48PM (#47524701)
    My eyes don't line up in the exact same place when I look at things. I had surgery when I was 15 to correct it, after 20 years, it's coming back a little (although to a much less significant degree). Fortunately, it's small enough that I can use lenses to correct it - I have to wear bifocals now - but that also means that Lasik will never work for me to improve my vision. I could have better than perfect vision in each eye and I'd still need corrective lenses. :|
  • Has anyone ever done a comparison of color vision before and after laser eye surgery?

  • not a good candidate (Score:5, Interesting)

    by forgottenusername ( 1495209 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @03:49PM (#47524711)

    I don't have enough material in my cornea. If they mess it up, there's not much they can do for adjustments.

    As long as your eyeball remains parabolic, they can correct your vision more or less indefinetly assuming there's no other issues going on. Once you get lasik, your cornea becomes flattened so they can't really correct stuff with optics so well anymore.

    I'd rather be safe and be able to have my vision correctable by contacts and glasses than take a chance at having really terrible vision that is then uncorrectable.

    I feel like that's something people need to be made more aware of - lasik flattens your cornea so corrective lenses won't really work as well.

  • not a permanent fix (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hguorbray ( 967940 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @03:49PM (#47524713)
    my gf got it about 7-8 years ago and is very annoyed that it has 'worn out' (of course that's just macular degeneration or whatever) and assuming it could be done again it would still cost her another few thousand

    I don't know if they didn't know how long the Lasik would last, but they certainly didn't tell her that it could wear off in less than a decade....

    So now she has gone back to wearing glasses, which are covered by healthcare

    -I'm just sayin'
    • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

      Is it the same long-distance vision issue?
      Lasik only fixes long-distance vision, but doesn't affect whether you'll need reading glasses to look at near objects. The short-distance vision issue is just something that will happen with age, independently of whether you have lasik surgery or not.

    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      This is why most surgeons won't do the surgery unless your eyes have been stable for a couple of years already. The Lasik didn't wear-off, her eyes just hadn't stabilized before it was done, so they continued to degrade afterwards.
      I had the surgery approximately 10 years ago, and my vision now is 20/15, exactly the same as it was a week after the surgery.

  • by Erioll ( 229536 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @03:50PM (#47524721)

    I'm not a candidate because my eyes never stop changing. So if I had it, in a year or two I'd just need glasses again.

    When the figure out a way to "stabilize" the eye itself, or whatever's affecting things, then great. But until then, glasses/contacts for me.

  • Keratoconus (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I have keratoconus, which means it can't be done, otherwise I would have jumped on board a long time ago.

    There is actually a treatment available for it, which Europe has been doing since 1998 with great results (something like 90% of their patients see improved eyesight with 9% having progression of the disease stopped, and 1% experiencing any negative effects which usually are temporary,) but our glorious FDA overlords still won't approve of the operation in the US. Meanwhile those who do have the disease

  • Fear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tempest_2084 ( 605915 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @03:52PM (#47524751)
    Plain old fear and nothing more. My contacts are rarely a hassle and I've been told that I look really good in my glasses, so I'm loathe to do anything to my eye that could harm it in any way. I still wonder what the long term (30 years+) consequences are and if a better procedure will eventually be developed. Until I can't wear my contacts anymore, I'm inclined to wait.
  • I've had a few flare-ups of iritis (it really sucks) and I'd be afraid of it coming back due to the trauma associated with the surgery.

    Interestingly enough I stopped having problems once I started eating more collard greens.
    • I also have recurring iritis/uveitis. I grew up eating collard/turnip/mustard greens, but now eat them infrequently from laziness. Might as well give this healthy choice a try.
  • by Faizdog ( 243703 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @03:54PM (#47524767)

    The thing that's holding me back is what are the long term effects? The technology really hasn't been around for a long time. I'm in my early 30s; I could maybe live for another 50 years! What will be the effects when I'm in my 80s?

    I've heard that people who get the surgery may need to have it redone in 10-15 years. What happens after the 3rd or 4th redo? Can one even see? Are there other potential sideeffects?

    That's really the only thing holding me back. My vision, present and future, is too important to risk. Glasses get the job done just fine.

  • by MouseR ( 3264 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @03:55PM (#47524785) Homepage

    I'm missing part of a finger, but I can manage.
    I could live with a limp.
    But eyesight is a pretty big gamble. Yeah its small. But still higher than lottery.

    That's why I opted for orthokeratology [wikipedia.org]. I put my lens for one night, once every 7-ish days, and have 30/20 vision for the first 24h and then 20/20 for the rest of the week.

    • by cyberchondriac ( 456626 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @09:12PM (#47527387) Journal

      I'm missing part of a finger, but I can manage. I could live with a limp. But eyesight is a pretty big gamble. Yeah its small. But still higher than lottery.

      That's why I opted for orthokeratology [wikipedia.org]. I put my lens for one night, once every 7-ish days, and have 30/20 vision for the first 24h and then 20/20 for the rest of the week.

      I used to do this. It's surprising how many people have never heard of this. The downside is of course, discomfort. It's a tad hard to sleep with a hard lens in your eye, at least, it was for me. Also, I find contacts to be a lot of hassle; including the fact that washing my hands so much leads to cracks in my fingertips in wintertime.

      Still, I think maybe more people should give it a shot. If you miss a night or two, it's no big deal, which is a nice plus. If you stop wearing them at night altogether, it takes your eyes about 2 weeks to go back to their natural state.

  • Because (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @03:56PM (#47524787) Homepage

    In Britain the DVLA are looking at their policies.

    Drivers who have had eye surgery are generally marked as never requiring corrective lenses. But the DVLA have found numerous instances of drivers eyesight falling below minimum standards after laser eye surgery.

    This laser eye surgery is not, in all people at least, permanent.

    Obviously, in the DVLA's case, their answer is "We don't care... if you're below minimum standard - whatever the reason - you need to report it to us and wear some kind of corrective lens until you can prove otherwise". Which is sensible.

    As a glasses wearer all my life, my eyes have stabilised. But laser-eye surgery is not only vastly oversold by marketers posing as doctors, but also not permanent. I could spend several thousand pounds and risk my eyesight (no surgery is without risk) in order to get out of a habit I've been in for the last 20 years that doesn't actually affect my life often at all (my prescription is unchanged for 10+ years, I've had the same three sets of glasses - including sunglasses - for 10+ years, I rarely break things like that, and the microsecond it takes to put them on in the morning and take them off at night is negligible).

    That's why.

  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @03:56PM (#47524791) Journal
    He had Lasik and they messed up, but it was partly due to a pre-existing issue he had with his eyes. Now he has to take some medicine & eye drops every day.
    • I had lasik about 1.5 years ago, they didn't mess it up, but I do need to use eye drops every day or every other day. My eyes don't get uncomfortably dry or irradiated, but they get kind of sticky which makes my vision less sharp. So I use eye drops to wash them out basically.

  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @04:01PM (#47524837)

    That's how a friend's father, an eye surgeon, put it.

    It doesn't always go right, and (yes, rarely) it goes very wrong. There are no take-backs with the laser surgeries.

    If you must, do the surgery that is reversible - they insert a small piece of plastic that corrects the lens shape.

    • by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @07:01PM (#47526479) Homepage Journal

      If you must, do the surgery that is reversible - they insert a small piece of plastic that corrects the lens shape.

      Do you have a name, link or any other information on this? I'm seriously interested, because I would love to get rid of my glasses (haven't had them for very long, so I'm still getting used and I don't really want to), but even without medical advice I understand that irreversible surgery on an eye is not a good idea.

  • That said, it was a fairly terrifying experience at the time. Head strapped down and being told repeatedly not to move. Then there was the smell of burning eyeball. That was the worst part.

    But not needing to wear glasses under my motorcycle helmet has made up for all of that. From the people I've talked to they say they're use to glasses / contacts and they don't feel it's worth the risk / expense.

  • Bodies vary. No two surgical procedures are the same.

    People are always saying something like "a hernia repair is nothing," when what they mean is "MY hernia repair was nothing."

    Even if YOUR LASIK went well... ...even if MOST LASIKs so well... ...even if ALMOST ALL LASIKs go well... ...you have to multiply the probability by the consequences.

    First, start thinking about what a 1% chance means. For example, I've had blood drawn literally hundreds of times, and donated blood dozens of times. The phlebotomists a

  • My eyes are actually beyond sensitive, an eye phobia is probably a better way to describe it. When I go to my ophthalmologist they occasionally have to bring in additional people to hold my eyes open so I can take the dilation drops (even though I do that every year and have for decades).

    So no, I am not a candidate for Lasik. Not now, and likely not ever.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I Lasik on both my eyes 7 years ago, and it was the best $4000 I ever spent. Went from 20/50 and 20/200 to 20/15 and it hasn't changed since. My big concern was dry eyes. Mine were dry frequently at first but after about 6 months it went away and now it's like I had good vision from the start, I don't have to take any extra care than average. I don't have any haloes or night vision problems either. Sometimes at night I still marvel at how crisp all the neon lights look from a distance.

    My advice on the

  • by Oligonicella ( 659917 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @04:15PM (#47524957)
    My contacts cost me $70 for a one year supply. That's about thirty years in comparison. If my contacts become micro-scratched, I throw them away. If lasik gives me halos, I'm screwed. No contest.
  • I like the way Clash of Clan looks on my iPhone 5 three inches from my face while reality fades to a soft and silky blur. (Nearsighted)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I had it done about 11 years ago. The day after I had it done, one of the flaps came loose (left eye) and I had to go back to have it re-seated. Then the day after that it came loose again, so I had to have it reseated (again). The day after that it came loose AGAIN, so they put a contact on it and left it there over the weekend, and even after all that, one of the edges of the flap became wrinkled, which makes that eye see more blurry in low-light conditions.

    About a month later, my right eye had a sharp pa

  • I'm fifty-five years old and my vision is still 20-20.
  • Risk - Odds are everything will go fine but my eyes are pretty important to me. Is it that big of an inconvenience wearing contacts? Not for me. Been wearing them for over 25 years with no issues. If I couldn't wear contacts though, laser surgery would have been more tempting. I don't like the narrow field of vision and other visual aberrations you get with glasses.

    Age - I talked about laser surgery with my eye doctor when I was in my mid-to-early-30's. He said don't bother because you will need glass

  • by CharlyFoxtrot ( 1607527 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @04:20PM (#47525029)

    I have a condition called Keratoconus, a weakening of the structure of the cornea. I cannot have LASIK done. Unfortunately this condition is often asymptomatic until you are in your 20's, for some it will stay asymptomatic (correctable with glasses) but they still risk serious damage to already weakened corneas if they undergo LASIK. So have it done, sure, but please get your eyes examined by a professional beforehand.

  • iLASIK is done with all lasers, one to make the flap that was previously done by blade, and the usual LASIK after that. Fewer reported complications than with the older blade style. At my six month checkup I was seeing 20/10 from my left eye and 20/15 from my right. I'm 48 and previously wore progressive lenses. They adjusted my right for a closer focal distance.

    It all just works, I love it.
  • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @05:10PM (#47525617)

    Somewhere around 10-15 years back, I was in the Robonaut lab at Johnson Space Center (a friend of mine was being promoted to full colonel, and because she helped oversee the Robonaut lab, they were having Robonaut pin her insignia on her; side note: having to pin it was absolutely terrifying the operator, since Robonaut had no sense of touch, and he was petrified that he'd stab his boss with her own insignia pin). From what I could see, Robonaut's head at the time was a seamless, translucent, amber-colored, resin material that was visibly hollow on the inside. I asked one of the engineers how they managed to do that, since I wasn't aware of any manufacturing techniques to make a solid object that was both seamless and hollow. As I recall it, he basically explained something along the lines of a liquid resin bath with multiple lasers shining into it, and where they intersected, the resin hardened. Basically, a form of 3D printing using lasers.

    Why do I bring that up? I bring it up to illustrate the fact that what we're doing with lasers is advancing all the time. Likewise, the hardware, software, and techniques for laser eye surgery are constantly getting better. Yet despite that, they have yet to address the fundamental source of most complications: the creation of the flap so that the laser has a surface onto which to do its work.

    But Robonaut's resin head tells me that the technology should be possible to not need that flap at all. I figure it's just a matter of a few more years before we have better imaging of the cornea or new techniques for using the lasers, meaning we can make the necessary adjustments to skip the flap. And if we did that, it'd mean that the halos from shallow flaps, dry eyes from cut nerves, or flaps getting detached years later after traumatic impact will all be things of the past. Moreover, it also means that if in a few more years something even better comes around, I won't have a giant incision that never fully heals that might exclude me from being a candidate for that procedure.

    If I was confident that the current state of LASIK was as good as it'd ever get, I'd go for it immediately, since it's already "good enough"...the rate of serious complications is remarkably low with modern techniques. But with better stuff almost certainly around the corner (just look at where laser eye surgery was in the '90s compared to today and the trajectory will be apparent), why risk missing out on it by permanently damaging my eye now?

  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @05:11PM (#47525625)

    Especially for those of us who aren't blind without them, what's wrong with putting a pair of glasses on for certain tasks?

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