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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:06 pm   

Zugg's LASIK Experience
 
Yesterday I had my yearly eye exam, and after discussion with my eye-doctor and a lot of research and thought, I have decided to get LASIK eye surgery. Reading the experience of other people has really helped me a lot, so I wanted to start this blog entry to document my experience too.

First, a bit about me. I've worn glasses since I was about 10 years old. I am highly nearsighted with a pretty severe astigmatism. I've never worn contacts because in the past the astigmatism was too bad, and later in life I just didn't want to deal with contacts and was used to wearing glasses all of the time.

Starting about 3-4 years ago, my near vision also started to degrade. This is the infamous "need reading glasses when you hit 40" problem. I am 46 now, so soon after turning 40 is when I started to need help reading (and using the computer).

At first I got a pair of "progressive-focal" glasses. These are like bifocals, except there is no "line" between the far-vision and near-vision parts of the lens. My old eye-doctor told me there was no other solution, and that this was just "part of getting old" (yeah, nice chair-side manner there...not).

Anyway, I hated these glasses. I was expecting the normal issue of needing to tilt my head up or down to see out of the proper section of the lens. But I wasn't expecting the severe lack of vision from side to side. I was limited to about a 20-degree cone in front of me for clear vision. This was terrible for driving, and terrible for computer work.

I waited a year until those glasses were paid off and then went back to get a "normal" pair of glasses again. I got 2-pairs: one for far-vision, and one for near-vision. The near-vision pair live next to the computer and I wear them all day when I'm working on the computer. The far-vision are my "everyday" glasses for driving and everything else.

This worked better than the progressive-focal, but it was still a pain. Whenever I would read a book, I'd have to go into the office to retrieve my computer glasses. And then when I went to work, I'd have to retrieve them again from the bedroom where I had been reading. It was a pain to continuously need to switch between different glasses. It was also very expensive...those two pair of glasses cost almost $2000 total.

The previous eye-doctor who I didn't really care for moved his office to the north side of Colorado Springs, 45 minutes away. So we asked some friends and neighbors for some recommendations in our neighborhood. Yesterday I went to this new doctor (Doctor Bro) and liked him much better than the previous doctor. He took the time to discuss various options with me, and didn't seem to have any bias or preference towards any particular solution.

He educated me on why near-vision tends to fade after the age of 40 due to the muscles that control the eye's focus. And he confirmed that there wasn't really anything to do about that except to get a pair of reading glasses.

However, the issue with my nearsightedness presented several options. I could a) get another pair of glasses like I already had, b) switch to contact lenses for far-vision and wear reading glasses over the contacts for near-vision, or c) get refractive surgery to correct my nearsightedness so that I could see normally, and then use reading glasses for near-vision.

Several friends have had LASIK surgery over the past couple of years, and I had considered it a couple of years ago. But I felt then that it was still a bit in its infancy and wanted to wait for better systems to get approved. Now there are systems such as WaveFront and new lasers that do a much better job than before. So I did some research on the Internet and talked to friends and family and decided it was worth going ahead with LASIK this time.

The local eye-doctor works with a very experienced eye surgeon in Denver. I will need to go to Denver for the actual surgery, but all of the pre and post visits can be done at my local doctor. The doctor in Denver is Dr Dishler, and he has a long history with LASIK and all of the latest equipment. So I feel pretty comfortable that I'm in good hands here.

Specifically, I expect to be getting the latest "IntraLASIK" procedure where they use a laser to cut the flap in the cornea, followed by the main procedure with a Carl Zeiss Mel-80 laser and the LadarVision CustomCornea with Wavefront technology to map the exact shape of the cornea.

The total cost for both eyes is about $3600. Given the current cost of my 2-pairs of glasses, this will break even in about 4 years, which is much better than I expected.

My surgery appointment is on April 9th. My expectation is that I won't be doing a lot of computer work for a couple of days after that. On April 16th we have to fly to Austin, TX for one of Chiara's sisters wedding for a few days. So I figure that there will be a 2-week interval where I won't get much programming done (which is why I decided to release CMUD v2.21 at the end of next week before the surgery). The Doctor has told me that flying a week after the surgery is no problem.

At this point, my main problem is that I'm just anxious and nervous and want to get it over with. I am trying to focus on the positive side of what it will be like to not need glasses most of the time for the first time in my adult life. I have read some of the horror stories and understand the risks, but I also know that LASIK has gotten much better in just the past couple of years. The vast majority of experiences I have read have been very positive, and those blogs have helped ease my mind about some of the details of exactly what the surgery is like.

Yesterday I already had most of the pre-op work done. They did more eye tests than I have ever had before, including something called a "OrbScan" that maps the actual front and back surfaces of my cornea. It was totally painless and rather interesting from a "geek" point of view to see this technology. The worse part was that he also used a bright light to dilate my eyes, and that made them very sensitive to light for several hours later. The eye drops that he used also left a very slight burning feeling in my eyes for a few hours, and I had a headache last night. But otherwise it was very easy.

If you have any *personal* experience with LASIK, feel free to tell me about it. But I've already read a lot of personal accounts, so what I *don't* want to hear is any second/third-hand horror stories. Also be sure to mention exactly when you had it done, since it has improved a lot over the past few years as I said.
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mr_kent
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:39 am   
 
I started wearing glasses in fifth grade and was extremly near-sighted by the time I graduated from high school. I'm 41 now and had Lasik surgery almost 10 years ago. I hated wearing glasses when it rained, when I went skiing, when it was cold outside and I then entered a warm building. I hated not being able to see when swimming or showering and when I woke up in the middle of the night.

The first time I arrived for the procedure, the currette (sp?) used to slice the corneal tissue to create the flap went part way in and then just stopped. I could tell the doctor was becoming frustrated and maybe a bit concerned, and I felt a slight tugging on my eye as he tried to free it to continue the cut. He claimed it had never occurred before. Anyway, I was sent home for six weeks to allow the small slice to heal so that the procedure could be tried again. I felt no discomfort from that cut at all and was a bit peeved that he didn't just start over.

I went back after six weeks and the doctor examined my eyes again and I had a second mapping because of the possibility of scar tissue from the first cut. Everything checked out okay and the procedure went ahead. I was extremely nervous during the procedure and I'd have been better served had I not been. I could feel my body shaking and that made it very difficult to maintain my focus on the dot I was supposed to look at. The doctor had to stop several times and tell me to just relax and focus on the dot. The assistant had given me vallium for nerves, but I was 6'1" 240 lbs. and the vallium had little, if any, effect on me. If I were to do it again, I'd ask for another dose - but if I were to do it again, I wouldn't be nervous at all - I'm that comfortable and confident of the technology and procedure.

My wife drove me home and on the way I just felt extremely uncomfortable. I couldn't get my eyes or facial muscles into a position that felt normal. It didn't feel like anything so painful as a charlie-horse or a foot that has fallen asleep, but that same sense of MAKE IT STOP was there. Once in the house, I collapsed on the bed and stayed there for most of a day.

My wife had it done a year later and she thinks that eligible people that don't have it done are mentally deficient. I wouldn't go that far but I'd do it again -myself - in a heartbeat.

Soooo.... My advice is:
Do whatever you have to do to be as calm and relaxed as possible. I'd recommend to myself several shots of whiskey about an hour before my appointment. The quantitiy of beer needed would just create problems of elimination. :(

Don't be wired and wide awake when the procedure is done. Maybe stay up later than usual the night before so that you can sleep long and well afterward.

Do be prepared to be scolded soundly and endlessly by the doctor and your wife about never rubbing your eyes.

Don't forget to use the anti-biotic solution leading up to the day of the procedure.

Don't be apprehensive or concerned when your eyes feel gritty, dry, and itchy during the first year after the procedure. It eventually goes away and even when it does happen you'll be beating yourself up mentally for not having Lasik surgery done years ago.

You might want to stuff cotton in your nose or wear plugs; the smell of cauterized tissue isn't terrible but it isn't pleasant either.

Finally, last year (age 40 - even though the doctor said it probably wouldn't happen for another 10 years) I started losing the ability to see fine detail up close. I sit almost three feet away from my monitors and don't have any problem seeing the text there - but hangnails, splinters, barcodes on letters (I work for the PO and verify business mail), and threading needles cause real problems. I bought a nice pair of reading glasses and promptly lost them. I ended up buying three cheap pairs from Wal-Mart and have them laying around where I know I'll use them. Much better solution for me than trying to keep track of one pair and moving them from spot to spot.

It's normal to be anxious and apprehensive before surgery, maybe moreso because you're awake during the whole thing, but I can confidently say that there isn't anything to be concerned about. You'll love it two months from now and even more as more years go by.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 4:25 pm   
 
Thanks very much for your post! Wow, talk about an "early adopter". My new eye-doctor had LASIK himself about 12 years ago (from the same Doctor I am going to in Denver), and he was one of the early testing groups. But your experience helps explain why I'm even more comfortable with the technology now that they can use a laser to create the flap instead of using a blade. It just sounds a lot more precise than it ever was.

My biggest worry is the "don't rub your eyes" issue. I've been paying closer attention to my habits over the past couple of days, and it seems that I rub my eyes a lot. Mostly to clean out that "eye goo" in the morning. I don't know how I will clean them when I'm not allowed to touch my eyes. I'm guessing that they will give me instructions on that along with the various eye drops.

I really like the idea of being able to use cheap reading glasses from WalMart and just keeping several pairs laying around like you said. I don't know how much you used the computer 10 years ago, but I'm kind of wondering how long after the surgery I'll have trouble using the computer. I really don't want to stop programming for 2 weeks.

Yesterday I tried an experiment. Normally I have two 19inch widescreen monitors about 12 inches from my face when I'm working. They completely cover my area of vision, and having them close makes the small font easier to see so I can put a lot of info on the screen at once. Of course, at that distance I have to wear my computer (reading) glasses. But since these flatscreen monitors are on some fancy swivel mounts, I moved them both back so they are now "arms-length" away from my face. Probably about 24 inches away now. They are in the range where I can read the screen clearly with my normal *distance* glasses on.

In theory, after surgery, I won't need any glasses at all to read the screens at this distance. Surprisingly, I have found that the small text isn't that hard to read at this distance and I'm having no trouble programming at all. In fact, it really opened up my work desk and makes me feel like I have a lot more room to work now.

Of course, the only downside is that I have to put on my reading glasses if I need to read a manual/book, and then take them off again to read the computer screen. So I haven't decided if the overall result is more or less trouble than before. But I also feel like my eyes are under less strain with this new monitor configuration, so I'm going to keep using it for a while longer.

Anyway, I'm glad to hear that you and your wife both had a positive experience, even so many years ago.
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makena
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:20 pm   
 
Good luck, Zugg. Hope all goes well!
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slicertool
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 9:22 pm   
 
I'm extremely sensitive about all of the various eye tests. It probably comes from getting glasses at a young age, but it is virtually impossible for them to do several of the eye tests on me. I can't force myself to keep my eyes open and when I even -think- about the glaucoma test, I shudder.

However, I really need to get Lasik if I'm eligible. I'm just getting too frustrated with all of the hassle I go through dealing with my glasses. I like to swim and I can partially get around eyesight problems there, because Speedo now makes goggles in various prescriptions for like $12. My other problem is I also like fencing. Dealing with glasses under a fencing mask in the southern heat/humidity is horrible, because my glasses are constantly fogging up and they keep trying to slide down my nose while fighting.

I've thought about getting Lasik for a while, but I'm a wuss where it comes to eye tests. I'd like to know what all types of eye tests and what restrictions you run into after the surgery until you get healed up.
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mr_kent
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 5:30 am   
 
Zugg wrote:
Thanks very much for your post! Wow, talk about an "early adopter". My new eye-doctor had LASIK himself about 12 years ago (from the same Doctor I am going to in Denver), and he was one of the early testing groups. But your experience helps explain why I'm even more comfortable with the technology now that they can use a laser to create the flap instead of using a blade. It just sounds a lot more precise than it ever was.


Wow! They can do that now? That is awesome. A friend of mine had a procedure done somewhere around 1988 where a laser was used to carve directly on the surface of his corneas. When the grooves healed, his eyesight was perfect. He says that at night, streetlights and car headlights have - not coronas... but radials - or rays that... well they look like asterisks. I asked him if he regretted not waiting for Lasik and his response was that he'd put up with a lot more than what he does now just to be rid of his glasses.

Zugg wrote:
My biggest worry is the "don't rub your eyes" issue. I've been paying closer attention to my habits over the past couple of days, and it seems that I rub my eyes a lot. Mostly to clean out that "eye goo" in the morning. I don't know how I will clean them when I'm not allowed to touch my eyes. I'm guessing that they will give me instructions on that along with the various eye drops.


They'll tell you to blot your eyes with a tissue - IT DOESN'T WORK! I started using my fingernails to dig the goo out of the corners and I've never really stopped rubbing my eyes. For the first year or so, I made sure to only rub my eyes from the top down. My flaps hung and I figured that the real concern is that the flap might roll up. I could be totally mistaken about that. I DIG my eyes with my knuckles now, even though I know I'm not supposed to.

Zugg wrote:
I really like the idea of being able to use cheap reading glasses from WalMart and just keeping several pairs laying around like you said. I don't know how much you used the computer 10 years ago, but I'm kind of wondering how long after the surgery I'll have trouble using the computer. I really don't want to stop programming for 2 weeks.


You're not going to want to hear this...
From what I remember of that time, I'd say that you'll sit down and do email on the second day after the surgery and think that you're going to be just fine. You'll realize that you're sitting in front of the computer and decide it's time for a walk outside in the fresh air. Once outside, you'll be bedazzled with how sharp and crisp everything appears. You'll just want to look around and go gaa gaa. Chiara will coax you along in the late afternoon to go eat/workout/do something together.

The next day you'll get the email stuff knocked out, wonder again at how everything is so much more in focus than even when wearing glasses and finally you'll mentally commit to start cracking on the new webpage code. After two hours, your eyes will start to get itchy and after three hours, you'll decide that you can't continue focusing on the monitors.

Basically, I think you'll be able to code everyday starting on the second day after the procedure, but ten hour sessions won't be happening for several months or more. The eyedrops my doctor gave me had some kind of lubricant in them that was just wonderful. My eyes would start to burn after being awake for awhile, not a harsh burn but definitely an unrelenting discomfort. That lubricant in the drops was heavenly - the discomfort would go away for four hours or so after using the drops. When they ran out I tried all the different kinds/brands of eyedrops I could find at the store but none of them worked as well as the ones from the doctor. You might want to ask the doctor about getting more if and when you do run out.

On the other hand, my wife used her drops until they were gone and never really had an issue after that, so maybe your experience will be different and much better.

Zugg wrote:
Of course, the only downside is that I have to put on my reading glasses if I need to read a manual/book, and then take them off again to read the computer screen. So I haven't decided if the overall result is more or less trouble than before. But I also feel like my eyes are under less strain with this new monitor configuration, so I'm going to keep using it for a while longer.


Yeah, that distance seems to be easier on my eyes than anything closer, as well. As for the books, I can't stand to read text from a book after reading text on the monitor. I usually lay down on the sofa to read. Looking up information that I've already read isn't a big issue yet, I just move the book farther away too. As clownish as they look, those granny half-glasses that people wear on a chain are teh bomb when it comes to doing what you're talking about. Just get the smallest lensed ones you can find and let them sit on the end of your nose. It takes very little time to realize why people use them - just don't leave the office with them on. ;)

Finally, I'm getting very excited for you, Zugg! I know what a difference Lasik made for me and I know I couldn't fully appreciate what it's like after half-a-lifetime of wearing glasses. I hadn't thought about it in quite awhile, but your post has reminded me again of all the hassles of prescription glasses.

slicertool wrote:
I've thought about getting Lasik for a while, but I'm a wuss where it comes to eye tests. I'd like to know what all types of eye tests and what restrictions you run into after the surgery until you get healed up.


From what I remember the tests were all, well..., there wasn't anything to them. Basically, the doctor put a numbing solution in my eyes making the glaucoma test a non-event. The old puff of air test was much worse than how it's done now. As for the other tests, I think I just had to stare at a dot without blinking while the machine measured my corneas. Lasted for all of a minute for each eye.

No swimming, boxing, pugilizing, skydiving, demolition derbying, or EYE RUBBING!!!, etc. for several months after the procedure. Anything that is likely to jar your body or causes molecules to speed past your eyes is off-limits. From what I remember, the big concern is that the flap of corneal tissue needs to heal and fuse back in place before you do something that causes it to rip off or fold up.
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Fang Xianfu
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 8:59 am   
 
Actually, the US Navy reckons you shouldn't skydive at all after LASIK - they did tests with bunnies (aww Sad ) simulating ejection from an aircraft and the flap often survived, but not always. So the Navy doesn't allow LASIK but does allow LASEK, PRK and Epi-LASIK. Which is pants if you like to skydive, I guess.
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Dumas
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:54 pm   
 
My best advice is to take every bit of advice your doctor gives you for post-surgery. I had PRK done a few years back and they gave me several bottles of eye drops. They were a godsend. I tried to go a little bit with using a minimum, but my eyes were always itchy and dry. Once I used them a little more liberally, I had very few problems. My recovery time was only a couple days, and LASIK/LASEK is a much shorter recovery period.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:13 am   
 
So, tomorrow is the big day.

I had my last pre-op visit yesterday. He did another orb scan (which involves sitting in front of a moving/flashing set of lights for a few seconds). Then he did another standard eye prescription test to make sure nothing had changed. Then he dabbed a bit of dye into my eye to check for dry-eye condition (also easy...nothing like eye drops or anything like that).

None of these tests are anything like the "puff of air" test. Totally easy stuff. He answered any questions that I had about the procedure or anything else. He has been really great about answering anything...I never feel like I'm being rushed out the door or anything.

I got a prescription for the antibiotic eye drops that I'll be using starting tomorrow night. The Dr's office in Denver where I'll be having the procedure done called to confirm appointments and let me know that I'm free to eat normally before the visit.

Tomorrow I'm supposed to keep my eyes closed for several hours after the surgery, so I probably won't post anything. On Thursday I have my first post-op visit with my local Doctor and I'll probably post after that to let you know how I'm doing. But I'm currently excited and ready to go!
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Tarn
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:32 pm   
 
Zugg wrote:
So, tomorrow is the big day.
...
On Thursday I have my first post-op visit with my local Doctor and I'll probably post after that to let you know how I'm doing. But I'm currently excited and ready to go!


Good luck!

-Tarn
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Chiara
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 10:29 pm   
 
He's home safe and sound and everything went very well. He can already tell there is a huge improvement.

He'll post in a few days.
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Taz
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 11:20 pm   
 
That is excellent news and amazing that he is able to see an improvement already. I'm very happy for you Zugg. Great stuff!!! Very Happy
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Tech
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:39 am   
 
Congrats Zugg!!! Keep us posted. You've actually got me considering it myself. I'd written off the possibility some years ago.
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shalimar
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:06 am   
 
Glad to hear its a success, I have been considering this for myself recently as well.
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ralgith
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:15 pm   
 
Way to go Zugg!!!
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:07 pm   
 
Summary
If you don't want to read all of the details, here is the summary so far: I feel great and my distance vision is already 20/20! My near-vision is blurry, but that will gradually improve. In several weeks I can get a prescription for computer glasses. Until then I am using a cheap pair of magnifying glasses from Walmart. Good enough for doing this post, but I won't be able to do hours and hours of programming for a while.

Day of Surgery (recap)
Skip to the next section if you are squeamish.

Yesterday we drove to Denver for the surgery. First we turned in the paperwork where I had to initial all of the scary sections like "I understand that I can go blind" and all of the "cover your ass" legal stuff like that. Then we paid for the surgery, and I was taken back to a room with the Orb Scanner machine. This is the same scanner that I have used twice at the local Dr's office. You just hold your eyes open for about 5 seconds and watch the blinking lights, and it makes a contour map of the front and back surfaces of your eyes. Then I had another test, which was new. I had to look into another machine while in a dark room. I could see kind of a blurry green cross. You keep your eyes open for a few seconds and it goes in and out of focus. It is similar to the machine that they use to measure your basic eye prescription, except that it is measuring your night-vision I think.

Then we went into a normal eye exam room and they measure my prescription again (for about the 4th time in 2 weeks). They said it was perfectly stable and exactly the same in all four tests. Having stable eyes is one of the requirements. For example, if you wear contact lenses, then you have to leave them out for several weeks before surgery to let your eyes stabilize.

Next she put some colagin plugs into the tear duct drains in the corner of my eyes. They dissolve in 6-8 days and help keep the tears in the eye to help keep the eye from drying out. I was a bit nervous about this, but it didn't hurt or anything. For a few minutes it felt like I had something in the corner of my eye (I did!) but then it went away and they felt fine.

Next, I met with a nurse who took my blood pressure and asked a couple of medical history questions (allergies, etc). She then explained all of the various eye drops that are in the kit to take home and how to put the drops in my eye. She went over the post-op restrictions (like no swimming, skiing, heavy exercise, etc. And absolutely no rubbing/touching the eye!). Then she gave me some Demeral and Vallium to relax me.

I was taken to another waiting area with nice comfy recliners. There were 2 other people in the other recliners also waiting for their surgery. There was a TV to watch music videos while we were waiting. And they came and put various drops in my eyes. I think one was antibiotic and one was a healing drop of some kind. After about 10 minutes, I was led into the first laser room.

Lasik involves two main steps: first, you cut a "flap" on the eye. Then you flip this flap out of the way and let the laser shape the inner part of the eye. Then the flap is replaced and allowed to heal. In the past, this flap was cut manually with a knife. The procedure I was having is a newer procedure called "IntraLase" where the flap itself is created with a laser. The laser is turned to create a spiral pattern of small bubbles just below the surface of the eye. Then, at the edges, the bubbles come to the surface to open the flap. The top part is left uncut as a "hinge". This process is much more accurate than the old knife method, and creates a contoured flap with bevelled edges that heals more easily.

So, in the first room was the laser to create the flap. They put some numbing drops in my eyes and then explained the procedure step by step. They then inserted something to keep one eye open and moved the laser down close to the eye. So I couldn't really even see any colored beam or anything. It was just sort of gray and dark. The first eye took about 20 seconds or so, then they moved the laser out of the way. I could tell my vision in that eye was now very foggy. They moved to the other eye and put in the ring to hold the eye steady and 20 seconds later it was done too. The device used to hold the eye in place was a bit uncomfortable, but really not bad at all. It was over very quickly.

They told me to close my eyes and then wheeled me into the next room where the other laser was. Again, they explained the procedure so that I would know what was going on. They said they don't like to talk much during the procedure because they don't want to distract me and cause me to move my eyes much. This time, the Doctor raises the flap that was just created and lets the laser shape the eye, then he replaces the flap.

There was no discomfort at all in this step. They put more numbing drops in the eye, and there is this small red light for you to look at. When he moves the flap out of the way, you can't really see anything. The red light moves around a bit, kind of like the world is tilting. Then the red light becomes a large red blur that covers the entire range of vision. When they turn the laser on, it starts pulsating a bit, and I could see both red and green shades of light. There is a slight smell from either the laser or the tissue being removed, but it wasn't bad at all. Each eye lasted for about 30 seconds or so.

That was it. I could already see the analog clock on the wall. I couldn't read the numbers, but I could still tell what time it was. They helped me sit up and guided me to the recovery room where there were more recliners. First I sat in front of one of the eye exam "scopes" that the Dr uses to look at your eye. The Dr checked to make sure the flaps were in the right place...all looked good. Then they gave me a pair of sunglasses and had me sit in the recliner and drink some Gatorade for a few minutes. Then they took me out where my wife was waiting and she drove me home. I put on my iPod and closed my eyes and apparently slept most of the way home (and missed the horrible rain storm and all of the work traffic that Chiara had to drive through).

At home I could already see improvement in vision. But I was told to keep my eyes closed most of the day, so I went downstairs and listened to more music with my eyes closed and dozed for a few hours. Six hours after the surgery I could already see well enough to watch some TV, although my vision was still a bit cloudy. My eyes were not sore or burning or anything like that. I still put drops in my eyes every hour or so as instructed to keep them moist.

First day after surgery
The hardest part about sleeping last night was that you have to wear this goggle eye shield. Fortunately, they no longer give you the kind that you have to tape on. This one has a set of straps and you just put it on like regular goggles. Unfortunately, it sticks out a bit on the sides, and I like to sleep on my side. Sleeping on my side caused the goggles to distort, and I was worried that it might be bad. So I tried to sleep on my back all night, and didn't get much sleep.

This morning I could already see a huge improvement in vision. And throughout the day I could see continued gradual improvement. I watched a movie downstairs and listened to more music. I had my first post-op exam this afternoon. My local Dr did a normal eye test and told me that me left eye was already 20/20, and my right eye was 20/25, with a combined vision of 20/20...after just one day!! I can tell that my vision still isn't quite as sharp as it was with glasses, but he told me that it should still continue to improve for several days and the eyes stop swelling.

As expected, I lost my near-vision. In the past, without glasses, I could focus on text about 5 inches from my eyes (like reading a menu at a restaurant). That is gone now. I can't quite focus at arm's length yet, but that will also improve with time. The far vision gets stable before the near vision. So it can take days/weeks for the near vision to stop changing. I'll always need a pair of reading glasses/computer glasses. That is an effect from the muscles in the eye and not the surface of the eye, and it's normal as you get older.

But I'm perfectly happy with that. As Mr_Kent predicted, I'm mainly going around the house going "Wow, look at that!". Unfortunately, it is raining/snowing today, so there isn't much chance of going outside to see any scenery for a couple of days.

DISCLAIMER: Just because I had an excellent experience with LASIK doesn't mean you will necessarily achieve the same results. If you are considering eye surgery, be sure to work with a qualified Doctor that you trust and be sure to understand the risks/benefits involved.

However, with my Disclaimer out of the way, I agree with some of the past posters. If you qualify for LASIK, I can highly recommend it. Now that they can perform the entire procedure with lasers with no manual cutting involved, and now that the laser can scan the eye as it is cutting to create a contour of the eye and correct second-order affects, I think the technology has improved significantly over the last couple of years. Yes, there are definitely still risks, but I am *very* glad that I had this done.

Overall, this was one of the quickest and easiest procedures that I have ever had done. I didn't experience any discomfort, and I have been amazed at the rapid improvement of my eye-sight. Before LASIK, my eye-sight was so bad it could hardly be measured. You know the big "E" at the top of the eye chart? I couldn't even see that "E" without my glasses before...it was just a big gray blob. To walk into a room for 15 minutes and then walk out with improved eyesight, and then be near 20/20 the very next day is just amazing to me. Truly a modern miracle of science/technology.

My biggest joy so far is what I called "wide-screen vision". For most of my life I have worn glasses. So there have always been the frames of the glasses around the edges of my vision. And beyond those frames, it was always blurry. So I only had good vision in about a +/- 40-degree cone in front of me. Without glasses, I have regained all of my peripheral vision. And it's *all* clear. So it's like getting a wide-screen TV and seeing stuff that you never noticed before. Not to mention the clarity that improves by not looking through a sheet of glass/plastic with dirt, smudges, etc on it all the time. Everything is just clearer and cleaner.

The only downside so far is the short-range vision. With my old regular distance glasses, I could still focus on the computer screen at arm's distance from me. Now I can't. This might improve over the next few days/weeks, and I'll definitely report about that. Going into this I knew that I'd always continue to need a pair of glasses for reading/computer work. So this wasn't a surprise. But it's still a habit to hold something up close to my eyes to try and read it, which doesn't work any more of course.

I'll continue to post updates over the coming days and weeks as I notice changes in my vision. But I am *very* happy about how it is going!
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Fang Xianfu
GURU


Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 5155
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:55 pm   
 
On the topic of widescreen vision: I bought some new glasses last weekend. Not sure if I mentioned that or not, forgive me if I did.

My old frames were very small. They barely came past the edges of my eyes, and having to turn my head to see stuff was really, really annoying, so my new frames are very wide - apparently I look pretty weird in them (I like to think it's a bit Louis Theroux :P), but I'm loving the new wider frames and not having to turn my head so much. I have a 24" and a 19" monitor and I couldn't see the whole desktop at once unless I sat right back, which I don't like doing when I'm gaming. I can only imagine what it's like having real live peripheral vision!

Only downside of having such wide frames is how thick they are. My prescription is -6.75/-7.25, which is apparently very very blind. The opticians I got these glasses from has three levels of "thinned downness" in addition to not bothering, and each level costs about 50. I had my pairs thinned twice and thought I'd been a bit thick to spend that much - far from it. They're still well over 5mm thick at the edge, probably closer to 7 or 8mm. Imagine what they'd be like if I hadn't bothered! D:

Also, one benefit you're probably going to see more of in the coming months: sunglasses. One of my new pairs of glasses has reaction lenses, purely because I'm tired of having to squint my way through the summer. And you feel pretty badass wearing nothing but sunglasses, which is always a plus :P

It's surprising just how many of us wear or wore glasses and not just for getting-oldness. Guess we conform to some stereotypes :P

In closing, it's great to hear that you've had such good results and that everything's going so well. Best wishes for the coming weeks.
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mr_kent
Enchanter


Joined: 10 Oct 2000
Posts: 698

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:09 am   
 
Excellent rundown of the events. Although the lasers may have changed, your experience sounds nearly identical to what mine was nine years ago. Great news!

Now, how about a current, sans specs mug .png for the blog page?
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 4:19 pm   
 
Day Two
On the second day, I still felt fine. No burning or itchy or dry eye or anything like that. I can tell that my distance vision has improved a bit more. I'll have to wait until my Dr appointment on Monday to get the actual measurement numbers. But there are details in things that I didn't notice before, even with my glasses. Also, colors seem sharper. The improved colors is possibly just because I am no longer looking through a smudged/dirty pair of glasses.

My short range vision is also improving. I was able to read the computer monitor a bit better, although not enough to post without my temporary reading glasses. At night I checked my vision with a bright street light. Covering my left eye I can see a blur/haze from the 8-oclock position and the 2-oclock position. With my right eye covered, the haze/blur is from the 4-oclock position and 11-oclock position. So with both eyes I see somewhat of a star pattern of blurring.

I'm still very happy because I feel that my distance vision is now as good as when I had glasses, if not a bit better. And the short vision is still improving.

Day Three
Today I am actually posting this on the computer without my reading glasses. It is still a bit blurry, and I couldn't program like this yet, but it is still a definite improvement over yesterday. I also think that my distance vision has improved slightly again. It's really exciting to see these small improvements each day. Today is the first day that it is sunny (it's been raining/snowing and very overcast the past few days). So I think we are going to drive over to Garden of the Gods and walk around a bit.

The night vision also changed. The 8-oclock and 4-oclock haze is much less now. I'm going to keep checking it each night to see how it changes. From what I have read, the night-glare is the part of the vision that takes the longest to improve. I'm not sure I'd want to drive at night yet.

Still no discomfort. I don't even seem to really need the moisture drops very much, although I still keep using them to follow the Dr's orders. But they really feel fine, and just as good as from before the surgery. Just without the pressure of the glasses on my nose :)
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 4:26 am   
 
Day Four
My short vision is continuing to improve. Once again I have been posting without glasses today. If this improves for another couple more days, then I might not need glasses to program. I'm really looking forward to what the Dr has to say tomorrow. It does give me a headache if I use the computer too long though, so it is still straining my eyes. Night vision has not changed much from the past couple of days. Tomorrow I have my next post-op visit, so I'll post the official results from that, along with any other tests that get done.
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:30 am   
 
Day Five
Today was my next post-op exam/visit with my local Dr. He did another eye test. My right eye is slightly worse than it was last week...20/25-minus. My left eye is slightly better than last week...20/20-plus. According to my Dr, this will continue to fluctuate over the next couple of *weeks*. He even said that it's possible for my right eye to get better than my left, so not to worry yet. He said my eyes are still somewhat swollen and that was normal. I should continue to take my eye drops as directed, both the antibiotic and the steroid drops.

He told me that mainly this visit was to look for any post-surgery complications, such as infection, etc. He told me that I have no signs of any infection, and that the flaps on my eyes are perfectly smooth and healing very nicely. So he was very upbeat and positive.

Since my left eye is my dominant eye, I am seeing 20/20 just fine. I have hopes that my right eye will improve a bit more. But even if it doesn't I'm still very happy with the result.

I picked up a better pair of reading glasses today (1.5 instead of 2.0) and they are working much better for the computer. I think I could actually program with these glasses. They should definitely work fine until I can get a prescription pair of computer glasses in a month or so.

So, I'm feeling great and doing fine. I'm back to work today, configuring my new laptop for our trip to Austin, TX this week. Hopefully I can get everything working on the laptop while I'm in Texas so that I'll be ready to get back to work on CMUD and MyMuds.com on Monday.

I'll continue to post to this thread as time goes on, but this will be my last *daily* post. I hope this thread helps anyone else who is thinking of getting LASIK. I know that when I first started thinking about it, I was pretty freaked out about the whole procedure. But it was truly one of the easiest procedures I have ever done, and I think it is really one of the best decisions of my entire life. Good luck to everyone else...I hope you have a positive experience too.
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Seb
Wizard


Joined: 14 Aug 2004
Posts: 1241

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 12:57 pm   
 
Very interesting, Zugg, and I'm glad it's has gone so well for you. Very Happy

At the risk of going off on a tanjent, Garden of the Gods looks amazing! I bet it looked even better with your new found peripheral vision!
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:56 pm   
 
Week Two
We traveled to Austin, TX this past week for a wedding. My eyes didn't give me much trouble at all. Certainly no problem with the airplane. I took extra moisture drops just in case the drier air in the plane was a problem, but it wasn't.

I had one problem with light sensitivity. During the wedding reception, the photographer was going crazy taking hundreds of pictures (the advantage of digital cameras). When people started dancing they dimmed the lights in the ballroom and he started circling the dance floor with his strobe light bouncing off the ceiling and taking pictures as fast as the strobe would recharge (about once a second). This really started to affect me. I got a pounding headache and had to leave the room and go sit somewhere dark and quiet.

It's very possible that it was a combination of effects (being over-tired because of not sleeping very well on the hotel bed all week, too much family interaction, music too loud, then add the strobe light). But I think I'm definitely still a bit sensitive to bright lights.

I *did* drive home from the airport in the dark and didn't have any trouble at all with night driving. The oncoming headlights still have a bit of glare, but it's really not much worse than what I had with my regular glasses before surgery.

I'm still using reading glasses for most computer work. My eyes seem to get better later in the day and I can read the forums then. But right now in the morning they are still a bit hard to read. I'm still very happy with the results.

Edited: Oh, I almost forgot...I also got to play golf for the first time without glasses. It was really great. I was actually hitting the ball better than normal. The only weird part that I associate with the Lasik was that the greens don't look "flat" yet. The world still seems a bit curved around the edges of my vision (getting rid of 40 yrs of distortion makes things a bit strange). So when putting, I had a bit more trouble reading the greens than I used to. But I expect this to get better quickly. It's just like adjusting to a new glasses prescription where the edges look distorted for a few days.
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 1:04 am   
 
One Month
Just had my one-month post-op visit. Everything is still looking great! I'm 20/20+ in the left eye, and 20/20- in the right eye. With 20/20+ with both eyes. I'm still using moisturizing drops as needed, which isn't very often. My eyes really feel just as good as before the surgery...still no dryness.

Still using reading glasses for the computer. Some nights I can play WoW without glasses, but for programming it's just too much strain without using the reading glasses. I have another appointment in another month to see about prescription computer glasses.
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ralgith
Sorcerer


Joined: 13 Jan 2006
Posts: 715

PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 5:57 pm   
 
Great to hear!
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