Thinking About LASIK

I’ve worn contacts or glasses since I was in high school and have been passively following the laser eye surgery arena ever since. The idea of a permanent solution to my moderate nearsightedness has always been appealing but as I watch new procedures come into fashion every few years, I’ve always told myself that the longer I wait, the safer and better the procedures will be. For instance, can you imagine getting radial kerototomy ten years ago only to find that more modern procedures such as LASIK can give you better vision with fewer side effects? When is the procedure that causes zero side effects and gives you 20/10 vision going to come out? Next year? In 20 years? Who knows.

Although much of it could very well be marketing, it does seem like laser surgery may have reached a point where it’s accurate and safe enough to really be worth it now. They’ve got the procedure down to about 15 seconds per eye, zero pain, and a healing period of less than a week. Additionally (again, could be marketing), they are able to map your eyes much more exactly than ever before, resulting in a much better chance of 20/20 or better vision after surgery.

Following is a list of considerations that I’m personally weighing:


  • Surgery seems safer and more accurate than ever before.
  • I’ve heard that when done well, surgery can actually give you better eyesight than you’ve ever had in your life.
  • From a marginal benefit standpoint, the longer in your life you wait, the less the total benefit will be.
  • My vision is one step away from where my current contacts can no longer be used. I wear CIBA Night & Days and keep them in for a month at a time. They are great, but they do not correct for astigmatism.
  • Every time I keep my contacts in extensively, I feel like I am somehow doing damage to my eyes, even if slightly.
  • When giving my eyes a rest from contacts, wearing glasses can be a pain. Also, I need new ones.


  • Surgery is still not 100% safe and it likely never will be.
  • My buddy Smadden said his surgery went perfectly but as a result of his super clear vision, he now sees floaters. Apparently, most people get floaters at some time in their life, but the clearer your vision is, the more noticeable they can be. That sounds weird.
  • Wearing glasses can be a benefit sometimes… like on first dates or job interviews/meetings.
  • You have to wonder if this field will keep progressing and when the next big breakthrough will be. If the next big breakthrough is great and it’s very soon, better to keep waiting.

I’m curious to hear if any readers have had refractive eye surgery performed and what their experiences have been like. What specific procedure did you have and what’s your vision like now? Any side effects like halos, floaters, etc?

Or did you decide not to get surgery for a specific reason? I’m looking for both positive and negative information here.

95 comments on “Thinking About LASIK”. Leave your own?
  1. paul haine says:

    “Wearing glasses can be a benefit sometimes… like on first dates or job interviews/meetings.”

    Then just get a pair of glasses that only have regular glass in them. Sorted.

  2. Dave Simon says:

    I had LASIK on August 15, 1996. Along with my wedding day, it’s one date that I remember to celebrate every year. It’s one of the best things that ever happened to me.

    I whole-heartedly recommend the surgery. I went from Coke-bottle glasses or contacts to better than 20/20 vision.

    Other benefits:

    • Less sensitivity when it comes to my allergies
    • Wake up every morning ready to go!
    • No more saline solution and other contact-related expenses

    It truly is as close to a miracle I have ever experienced. Don’t debate too long, do it, you won’t regret!

  3. John August says:

    I’m in the same boat, though I only recently started wearing contacts full-time.

    One item you didn’t have on your checklist is the very real possibility that in correcting for distance vision, you’ll be pushed into reading glasses sooner. One solution is monovision, but after a test-run, I found that less than satisfying.

    ps. Thanks again for your MySpace layout.

  4. Eric Blair says:

    How bad is your vision? The worse it is, a) the lesser the degree your vision can be improved and b) the increase in potential side effects.

    My vision is horrible (for a few years, I wore contacts with out-of-date perscriptions because nobody made disposables any stronger). When I went to get tested for LASIK, I was told I couldn’t get the customized LASIK (the newer variant) because there wasn’t enough cornea to shave, I would probably still need to wear corrective lenses with a mild perscription, and my night vision would probably be shot. I decided to pass.

    This was a few years ago. At that point, the next thing down the tube was having a lens implanted in your eye. I believe its supposed to be an outpatient procedure (don’t quote me on that, tho), and the lense can be removed or updated. It should be available to a greater number of people than LASIK, since it doesn’t seem to be dependant on having sufficient corneal thickness. I’m waiting a bit for the procedure to become more common.

  5. PanMan says:

    I have tough about it, but haven’t done it yet. I do still feel they are improving much, and it could be much better next year (or years). I think my eyes are too important too mess up. Also I have read ant-lasik sites, and altho the chances of those horror stories happening to you might be very small, they are still real. (sites easily found on google).
    I have read that many people have some side effects, like reduced night vision. But my main reason not to do it is that a good friend of my family is a eye surgeon, and he strongly recommended against it. It’s still a fairly new technique, and there is not much experience with the long term effects.

    So I decided to stick with the contacts and glases, for now. Maybe I’ll reconsider in a couple of years.
    On your list of negatives: you could always wear glasses without corrective lenses, if you think that would make you look smarter on your dates :).

  6. miri says:

    I had LASIK surgery last year – and boy am I glad I did. I had to wait for the blade-less procedure to get a little more common as my cornea was too thin for the blade procedure. The procedure was quick and the only thing that bothered me was when they put the device on your eye that keeps it from moving. (My post about the procedure.)

    Before LASIK, I was legally blind without correction – worse than 20/800. I was able to drive myself to the doctor the next day! I had quite a bit of trouble with dry eyes after my surgery. It was a real pain at first, but slowly eased up. My eyes still tend to be a bit drier than pre-LASIK, but not enough that I’m sad I had it done.

  7. I’m also considering LASIK, although I’m likely going to wait until I’m out of college. I don’t know enough about the surgery, but my only concern is that my vision would continue to degrade and I’d need the surgery again in a few more years (I’m getting bumped up -0.5 every two years it seems).

    Also, on your list of negatives – you’ll never be able to fly for the Air Force or join the Navy Seals (They only allow the surgery to be performed by their own doctors apparently). So LASIK closes off that career option.

    It makes some sense that the clearer your vision the more likely you’ll see floaters. I believe floaters are caused by very small bits of protein or clumps of stuff inside your eye – small enough that unless you have eagle eyes it’s not noticible.

  8. Bradley says:

    I wear contacts at -3.00, -3.25, which is not too incredibly bad. But I have always seen floaters, back as far as I can remember. They drive me crazy sometimes.

    I believe that floaters can be corrected by another, different laser surgery. You learn to ignore them over time, but really, I’d rather have corrective surgery for the floaters than for my overall sight.

    Contacts are no big deal for me… but the floaters never go away. Ask some people about how bad the floater thing is post-surgery, because I’ll bet it will be seriously noticable if you’ve never noticed them before.

    That being said, laser surgery seems to be much cheaper, safer, and has better recovery times. No time like the present.

  9. Michael says:

    I went to a consultation by the same doctor that did Tiger Woods procedure. Unfortunately, the surgery is still far from perfect as in my case they could fix my distance vision but I would still have to wear reading glasses for computer work.

    Or, they offered to correct one eye for distance and one eye for reading. WTF? They admitted that some people experience vertigo and depth perception problems with each eye corrected differently but “most people get used to it and are not affected”.

    I’d say do it if you don’t have to wear glasses at all. Another reason I wanted LASIK is I hate dealing with the sunglasses switch/clip-on/Transitions to deal with when you wear glasses.

  10. My dad is an optometrist, and so as a marketing tool the eye surgery firm he works with, Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute offers extremely discounted surgeries to it’s referral doctors and their immediate family. I happen to be the only one in my family with perfect vision, but my sister seems to have been given a double blessing. Being a minus 7 in one eye and minus 8 in the other, she was in the same boat as Mr. Blair above, too little cornea. She’s planning on doing the implantable contact, which IS an out patient procedure.

    Anyway, if you have a high prescription, like around or above a 6 or 7, then LASIK might not be available, but check into the implantable contacts. Good luck!

  11. John says:

    I had the LASIK about 5 years ago. Best thing I’ve ever done with $2500. For the first year, I had some problems with dry eyes, which caused some haloing at night. But since then, my vision has stayed 20/20, and I don’t notice any side effects, in fact, I’ve even elminated a headache problem that I used to get from wearing glasses and contacts.

    Before I could get LASIK, I had to go without contacts for 2 years. Wearing contacts had damaged my eyes, and it took that long for them to repair themselves. I figure if they get the procedure to perfection, they will also be able to correct any side effects that you might get now from LASIK.

    I’d get it soon, just pick a good doctor, and you’ll be fine.

  12. Bill Brown says:

    Had LASIK about seven years ago and it’s been spectacular. I could have driven myself home if I wanted; my vision was nearly perfect right away. My vision prior was awful: nearly blind with astigmatism. At the time, they said I was right on the cusp of even being able to have it done. Each eye took about twice as long as all the other patients (according to my wife, who watched all the patients in my group).

    At the time, they were awaiting FDA approval of the intraocular lens. That’s basically where they replace your lens with a contact lens (of sorts) and then it becomes your new lens. In 20 years, if your vision deteriorates or more advanced lenses are developed, they can go in and replace it. I would have taken that route in a heartbeat because I really don’t have any more lens surface left to make future corrections.

  13. Jon E. says:

    Any consideration about the (rumored|confirmed) sight degression in the years to follow the surgery? I’ve heard LASIK can sometimes even result to worse sight than before as soon as 5 years later? Of course, you could argue that your sight may just revert back to what it would have been (pre-LASIK plus <insert time since LASIK> years of interest accrued), but wouldn’t you just need it again?

    I’m a little in the dark as to the side effects and lifespan of LASIK surgery, but from what I’ve heard from a friend of mine, his eyesight is back to what it was pre-LASIK here three years later.

    Is LASIK really worth it yet?

  14. Karl Guertin says:

    I never knew other people didn’t see floaters. I come from a family with good eyesight and I’ve seen them as long as I can remember, but don’t notice them unless I’m looking at a light, solid background.

  15. Shaun Inman says:

    I see someone has unsubscribed from SVN. ;D Big long thread over there posing the same question. Me? I’d rather be 4-eyed than risk–no matter how small–losing it all.

  16. Mike D. says:

    paul: Yeah, I suppose one could get zero-prescription glasses for those situations, but that’s probably a little over the top for me. :)

    John: I wasn’t aware that correcting for distance vision can inhibit your reading vision at all. Is that true?

    Eric: My prescription is -2.25/-2.5 so it’s not that bad. I would think that would be correctable down to zero, but of course I am not a doctor so we’ll see. I’ve heard about the lens implants as well. They sound interesting.

    Jon E.: Yeah, I’m trying to find out about degradation issues. In particular, what is the biological function which causes your eyes to degrade in the first place? Are your eyes constantly growing or changing shape? And if so, does surgery basically stop this? My vision is relatively stable, only getting a new prescription every 5 or so years, but it would be good to know it surgery has any effect on the pace.

    Shaun: Yep, unsubscribed about a year ago. :) Thanks for the pointer to the thread though. Lots of good comments in there.

  17. Eric Meyer says:

    For the first thirty years of my life, I had unmeasurably sharp vision– probably around 20/10, but apparently most doctors don’t try to make accurate measurements beyond 20/15. Even though I wear glasses now, my vision isn’t too terrible; maybe 20/30 or so.

    The point of this being I’ve been able to see floaters my whole life, though generally only against bright solid backgrounds, as Karl described, like a cloudless daytime sky. It’s actually kind of cool, in my opinion–they look like small multicellular organisms that move around based on your eye movements. Hell, maybe they are. But they’re generally very easy to ignore, even with bright backgrounds. Against mottled backgrounds, or in dim-light situations, they’re basically impossible to see.

    So I wouldn’t let that hold you back. There are other reasons to avoid LASIK, maybe, but I wouldn’t put that one high on the list. (Oh, and a good friend of mine had LASIK a year or two back, and has never regretted it.)

  18. I had LASIK surgery 5 years ago and it was the best $2000 I ever spent. I went from being about -5 in both eyes to having perfect eyesight. I’ve never had any problems and couldn’t imagine wearing contacts again.

    I can only imagine that the technology has improved considerably since then and that it is even safer.

    If you’re tired of wearing contacts, to me, this one is pretty much a no-brainer.

    PS: If you’re squeamish, don’t watch any videos that show exactly what happens during the procedure. Sometimes, a little ignorance is bliss!

  19. There was the UKs leading eye consultant on the radio the other day. His opinion is, that if a member of his family came to ask his advice, that he would tell them NOT to do it. Apparently there is still a high percentage of cases resulting in poorer vision and sometimes blindness.

    It sounds fabulous, and I will have it done eventually but I completely understand your concerns. Would I do it now – No, because Ihave been blind once in my lifetime already! See my blog

  20. Matt Smith says:

    I had LASIK in January on my left eye at Dell Laser Consultants. Apparently Michael isn’t the only one in the family making a lot of money. I specifically chose their center because everyone I talked to said that he/they were the best and that their doctor was actually trained by Dr. Dell. I paid a premium to see him, but this is one thing that I wasn’t shopping for a discount on.

    Why one eye? My right eye isn’t too bad and has always had what I thought was really good vision. However, even though I’ve worn glasses for 15 years, I really didn’t know what excellent vision was until I started looking out my left eye. Early on, I kept comparing the two and eventually decided that I wanted to get my right eye done so that they could be the same, but, like a good doctor should, they actually told me they wouldn’t do it. The potential benefit would not be the risk.

    I would highly recommend seeking out the most reputable doctor in your area and going in for a consultation. Without that consultation, you are really wasting your energy pondering the question. For all you know, you may finally psych yourself up to do it, only to be told you aren’t a good candidate. And on the flip side, if you are still uneasy, they can help set your mind at ease by telling you about your specific issues and options.

    As far as side-effects, since I only had one eye done, my situation is a little different, but I definitely had to adjust to the change in my close-up vision. It wasn’t something I had thought to measure or quantify before going in, but it seemed like I had issues focusing on things that were close up. However, I’m 35 so it just might be time for that kind of stuff to start going.

    I would definitely recommend that you go in and get a professional opinion before putting too much effort into the decision. The inititial consultation should be free. Go find out now and then get everything squared away for January with your health savings account. That’s what I did.

  21. The procedure you seek has been around for ages, and by your own account, you already use it.

    I prefer glasses, but contacts work, too, if you’re into all the extra maintenance and waste. (Disposable contacts strike me as incredibly ridiculous.)

    One of the side effects of glasses that comes to mind for me is looking dead sexy.

  22. Joe says:

    I had LASIK just over 2 weeks ago, on Friday the 8th of September. The initial exam I had two weeks previous took about 2 hours or so, but the surgery itself only took a total of about 15 minutes for everything. I had my surgery at the Emory Vision Clinic in Atlanta (associated with Emory University), and my surgeon was Dr. Diane Song.

    The surgery itself was not painful, but it was a little scary. The worst part was when they cut the corneal flap. When they do that, your vision fades to black for a few seconds, as they’re putting pressure on your eyeball, but they use numbing drops in your eyes, so you don’t actually feel the instruments doing the cutting. It felt like they were pulling my eyeballs out of the sockets for about ten seconds, and then it was over.

    After the corneal flaps were moved aside, the actual burning took about a minute or so. It smells a little like eggs frying. This part doesn’t hurt at all. I didn’t feel anything at all, actually.

    The discomfort started afterward. I was hitting myself with eyedrops (an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory four times a day, and regular tear substitutes about every 10 minutes or so) for the first 24 hours or so. The pain felt like it does when you have really crunchy contacts in, or when you’ve trapped an eyelash under your lens when you put it in. As a contact lens wearer, I’m sure you’re familiar with this pain. I desparately wanted to rub my eyes, but had been warned that if I so much as touched my eyes for the first day, I would run the risk of dislodging the corneal flap, which would mean going on the table again to have them repositioned, and I really, really didn’t want to go through that again. When they ask you if you want a Valium to stay calm, take it.

    I had a follow-up appointment the next morning, and read the 20/15 line on the chart with no problem. The doctor told me that my eyes were healing very nicely, and that while I should continue the full run of antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops for the first week, I could move back to just using the re-wetting drops when my eyes felt dry. I was using them probably ten times a day for the first 4 or 5 days, and since then, have been using them maybe once or twice a day, as needed (usually when I wake up).

    I still see haloes around lights at night, but Dr. Song said this was normal, and that, due to the size of my pupils, this would probably take a month or so to fade. The haloes are improving all the time, and were only really bad for the first week or so.

    My surgery cost $4800, plus the cost of the antibiotic eye drops, and is the best investment I have ever made in my whole life. I would strongly encourage anyone who is able to do it to get this surgery. I wish I had done this years ago. At any rate, it’s worth going to get a consultation, as they’re usually offered for free. At least get an opinion on how much they think they’ll be able to correct you.

    The most important thing, to me, is to do your homework on the doctor ahead of time. Try to find some people who have had the surgery at your clinic of choice and find out how they felt about the doctor and the staff. If you were in Atlanta, I would strongly recommend Emory Vision for your surgery. The people there were extremely professional, and very friendly.

    If you have any questions for me, feel free to e-mail me.


  23. Reece says:

    I did it over 10 years ago and it changed my life! No more foggy glasses… no more squinting when I’m swimming… go for it!

  24. Miguel says:

    Yeah, friend of mine did it years ago and has never regretted it either.

  25. gb says:

    My brother (who has better vision than me, but apparently some other eye maladies I’m not afflicted with) went to have the whole lasik thing done a few years ago. Everything was great up until the day of the procedure, they decided to run one final test on his eyes. They abruptly called off the procedure, gave him his money back and said sorry. Apparently, he has something wrong with his cornea that would cause serious problems: the surgery would be successful for about a year, and then he’d go blind.

    He took the money and bought himself a copy of Adobe CS premium. haha.

  26. Tinfoiled says:

    Just thought I’d add my perspective — just an anecdote from someone a little bit less enthusiastic about the results…

    I had the Intralase procedure (bladeless LASIK) done about eighteen months ago, at a pretty well-known (and well-regarded) clinic. All I’d heard were the “no pain, no regrets!” stories from all of my aquaintances who’d had it done.

    The surgery was terrifying. It wasn’t just “look into the light bzzt bzzt done.” My stomach felt like it was turning inside out, and the Ativan wasn’t doing a damn thing (so I guess I can check that off my list of Things To Do). The squishy balls they gave me to squeeze were far more effective.

    At the post-operation check-up, they wanted me to see the surgeon again. Things were looking pretty good, but he was concerned about microwrinkles in my cornea. My vision was slightly blurry, certainly not as good as it used to be (with glasses). The surgeon repositioned the corneal flap on both eyes. The next day, he tried again on my left eye.

    In the end, I visited the surgeon eleven times, although without any more interventions (the visits were just to monitor and control). The problem was with the aforementioned microwrinkles interfering with the clarity of my cornea. The eyes were correctly reshaped, but the outer layer of the cornea was loose. This is apparently something that just happens with some eyes (I had this independently confirmed with a specialist) and is one of the reasons eye surgery is 99% effective instead of 100%.

    Just thought you might like to hear from one of the 1%.

    In the end, I’m fine — it took a few weeks before I could read or use the computer without strain or double vision (although apparently I had sufficient vision to legally drive). I never did suffer from dry eyes, either. I have haloes at night, but they aren’t too distracting. My distance vision seems alright, and the optometrist says it’s all good. But I still feel a bit like I could *see* better back when I had glasses. Maybe I just had super (corrected) vision back then…

    Even with the problems, I was really impressed with the care and attention at the clinic, however.

  27. Ian Lloyd says:

    I’m a big fan of beer goggles, myself. They work just fine :-)

  28. Ian Lloyd says:

    Joe said: “It felt like they were pulling my eyeballs out of the sockets for about ten seconds, and then it was over.”

    Yep, that would be the deciding factor for me. Ten seconds of eyeball gouging is roughly 9.99999 seconds too many, I would wager :-D

  29. Lorene says:

    I’ve always wanted to get lasik, but I keep thinking of that Simpsons episode where they are in the future and Flanders is blind because he got laser eye surgery 20 years ago.

  30. Jonathan E says:

    Mike, my wife had LASIK done on her eyes about 2 years ago now and is very thankful that she did. She had worn glasses and/or contacts since the age of 3 and after the surgery she has 20/20 vision. She hasn’t had any side-effects from the surgery such as halos, floaters, etc.

    It’s true that if you wait longer to get the surgery you’ll receive less benefit long term. That’s the first thing they told us when she went in for her consultation. It will improve your vision, but eventually everyone gets old and their focal muscles wear out, and then reading glasses come into play. I’m not quite sure that that should be a selling feature of when to get the surgery or not – I guess it all comes down to when the patient is comfortable having the surgery done. You really don’t want to mess around when it comes to your vision.

    I’ve talked to a few other people who have had LASIK done in the past, and they also are very pleased with the results. LASIK seems to be the standard these days and (from what I’ve read) has the best track record. And hey… Tiger Woods had it done – so it must be right ;)

  31. Micheal says:

    Yeah, I’m trying to find out about degradation issues.


    Vision typically goes bad because ones eye muscles weaken or become lazy. The eye changes its shape to focus. If the eye muscle becomes weak, it has a difficult time changing shape to the exact size needed to have clear vision, thus resulting in blurred vision.

    Have you ever wondered why it takes optometrist so long to find the correct prescription lenses? It’s because if one wears prescription lenses slightly stronger than what is needed, the eye will become lazy because it doesn’t have to work as hard to focus light – hence worsening your vision.

    What LASIK does is shave your cornea into a shape which makes it easier for your eye to focus light, much like how eye glasses work.

  32. nick says:

    Does anyone know anything about alternative remedies for poor eyesight? As Michael writes above, if blurry vision stems from your eye muscle becoming too weak are there exercises or certain measures to counter that? If indeed your eye gets lazy, could you not exercise it by doing focusing techniques (near/far/near/far; or focusing in on a small object)? I think I heard a story about Ted Williams (read: great eyes) that said he used to exercise his eyes by focusing on a candle flame in a dark room. I’m not saying that this is an answer in lieu of corrective lenses/surgery, but it seems to me that in all my years of bad eye-sight (15+) the answer is always to slap a bigger band-aid on it. Why is there never a mention of preventative exercises? Why are we never instructed to eat more carrots, fish and omega-3 fatty acids? Why are we never told that for every hour we read a book or stare at the computer we should spend an equal hour focusing on something far away? Does any of this even matter? I don’t know, but it seems to me that a combination of preventative measures (diet and exercise) along with the band-aids (glasses/contacts/surgery) will lead to a better, healthier eye than just slapping on the latest technology. With all that said, I have always pondered having LASIK done. R/K was too damn scary. But LASIK is still intrusive in that they still have to cut on your eye, albeit minimally. I want to say that I will wait for a procedure that is truly non-intrusive, but who knows if that will ever come along. I just don’t want to go blind! But hell we all know that in the future we’ll be able to get eye implants that will allow us to see in infrared, nightvision and more! So at least we that going for us…

  33. Matt Rhoton says:

    I had the surgery myself almost 4 years ago for $2995 and place this decision at the top of my list. To wake up and see the time on the alarm clock is the best!

    I say go for it!! You can always get glasses with fake lenses.

  34. My husband pretty much insisted I get Lasik 4 years ago. He gave it to me for my birthday. He was sick and tired of me fighting with my hard contact lenses (I was near-sighted with strong astigmatism). Everytime I went mountain biking I would spend half an hour on the side of the trail messing with my lenses.

    I was terrified to get the surgery. But a close friend is an eye doc, so I asked him how to evaluate doctors. He told me that the most important thing was to make sure they measure the amount of correction you need properly.

    He also made me understand that this was not a procedure you should try to save money on. It’s worth it to pay to go to the doc with most experience and the best reputation in the area.

    Since I was in hard lenses (they change the shape of the eye’s lens) to get a proper measurement they made me leave my lenses out for a month prior to the surgery. They measured me no less than 6 times during that month (and twice in the 24 hours prior to surgery). Once they were sure my measurments were stable we scheduled surgery.

    The procedure was scary, but very short. And the doc showed me several videos which explained the procedure so I was as comfortable and knowledgable as I was going to get when I had the procedure done.

    Afterwards my eyes were red for 3 days. I saw halos at night for about 6 months. I lived in Colorado then and my eyes were very dry for a year. Now (after 4 years) I do see some floaters, but they only bug me when I’m staring at white big white area on the computer screen (an empty Word doc usually). And to be honest I’ve always seen floaters, but I do have more now than before (though it’s normal to get them as you get older anyway).

    But getting Lasik was the best thing I could have done for myself. I have no regrets. I get up and am ready to go. I can just see. No expensive bottles of solution, no messing with my lenses, no problems mountain biking. And I think I hold less tension in my face now too, because my eyes don’t bug me anymore.

    Just find a doc you trust and do it, you won’t regret it!

  35. Don says:

    One guy writes from the 90’s near the top. My concern is the long term consequences. You ask the question and I would like to see more on that. I have held back because I (hope) figure I could only be middle aged or less … after all we’ll make 100 right? … and what will happen down the road. I am concerned that there is no long term study group to know what negative effect if any there will be.

    Many, many of my friends and co-workers have undergone eye improvement surgeries and most all of them have been successful. Local radio and tv people have done it publicly and again no really bad thing happens, so the short run result is positive in almost all cases I am aware of. It is the long term that concerns me …

    It may be nothing, but then again my glasses aren’t all that bad. I finally got progressive lenses this past year (from regular to bifocal).

  36. Tim Murtaugh says:

    Every time I keep my contacts in extensively, I feel like I am somehow doing damage to my eyes, even if slightly.

    I wear my contacts extensively as well. At my last trip to the eye doctor, she told me she thought I was wearing them too much. She could tell because the blood vessels under the contacts had expanded slightly, in an attempt to reach more oxygen.

    If they break the surface, it’s minor trouble, but I’m not si sure that there is such a thing as minor trouble with oyur eyes.

  37. Julie says:

    My boss had it done and now he can’t read as well. He has to move the paper or screen further away.

    I wear contacts during the day. I got heavier ones and they actually help correct a slight astigmatism in one eye. I take them out about an hour before bed to give my eyes some real breathing time and since I can read without glasses that isn’t a problem.

    I can’t get surgery because I have a very slight cataract on one eye [any opacity at all is a cataract and you can have them and not notice – mine didn’t evidence during a vision field test a few years back]. Surgery aggravates cataracts and apparently not all doctors are considering that. My eye doctor has done 500 cataract surgeries in the past few years on patients who had corrective eye surgery and then their cataracts got worse.

  38. Kent says:

    I have considered LASIK in the past, and since I am a medical scientist, I did extensive research in medical journals about the negative side effects. I ultimately decided against it because all the articles point to the fact that although corrective surgery has been successful, longer term studies (>20 years or more) have not yet been done so degredation effects or plaque-like formations around the treated area may take place in the long run, blinding patients in the future. If you don’t mind contacts or glasses for a few years, I would wait.

    Also once you get married, you won’t have to worry about looking smart on dates. As for job interviews, I’m sure that’s a non-issue for you, Mike.

  39. Brian says:

    I had Wavefront Lasik about a year ago and more times than not, I forget that vision was ever an issue for me. My vision wasn’t too bad to begin with, but I didn’t feel “safe” going about my day without contacts or glasses prior to the surgery. What really nailed it for me was the fatigue I experiencing staring down a monitor all day.

    The surgery was painless, albeit uncomfortable if you think about what they’re doing to you while it’s happening. Dryness was an issue for about a month or so after the procedure, but that slowly went away. My close-up vision probably is ever-so-slightly worse now, but that was inevitable at my age and my optometrist confirmed that prior to even discussing Lasik.

    All it takes is a nice clear day and a beautiful vista to confirm that it was all worth it. It’s a little surreal at first. I felt like I was using my Photoshop sharpen filter the first few days.

  40. Amit says:

    Glasses on a first date? Hmmm, maybe that’s the probem! J/K. Not really sure it matters either way for women. This could be a whole new post in and of itself. LOL.

  41. Amit says:

    By the way, I was referring to myself in my previous post, not you Mike. Just wanted to clear that up before I get an all out public lynching. lol.

  42. james says:

    Awsome comments guys, surprisingly I am in exactly the same position as mike here, hell im even in the same profession! Anyway its great to hear about these positive comments, and I have yet to hear something negative about the surgury so I think they have come along way, ill be doing it in about a year as its 4k NZD, thats alot for 30 minutes lazer therapy.

  43. Yaron says:

    I’ve no personal experience with LASIK, so no comment on that.

    But I did work with my father, an ophthalmologist, in his clinic for a few years, and really want to clarify some of the points raised here about the problems with near vision, deterioration, etc…

    Very roughly, your eyes work by taking the light that comes in, and using the lens to bring it to focus on the retina (the back of the eyes). Other parts of the eye take part, of course, but the lens is the thing the muscles control.
    If the lens can’t bring the light to focus on the retina, you use glasses to supplement the power of the lens (Or reduce it, as the case may be with most distance vision problems).

    And you have two separate problems. The light can come to focus either before the retina, or after the retina. Statistically, for distance vision, the focus is before the retina. This is also why the number keeps growing. As the eye grows, the distance from the lens to the retina grows.
    The lens doesn’t do more than the minimum here, since it can’t push the focus back, just forward. You relax the lens when you look far away.
    This usually stabilizes, however, when people are about 24-26 years old. Because at that age range you stop growing. You don’t grow, then the eye doesn’t change.
    This is why doing something like LASIK surgery is not recommended until you’re past that. Otherwise you shape the cornea to work with the lens to bright light to exact focus, and then the eye grows and you need glasses again, or a repeat surgery.

    The second problem starts at around 40 years old, with near vision. The closer the object, the further back the focus is, and the lens has to work harder to bring it to focus.
    The muscles may be weaker. And the lens material itself becomes less flexible over time. And so you can’t focus. Then you need reading glasses, to add power to the lens, and push the focus further forward.

    If, however, you’re using glasses for distance, with – numbers, then taking them off is similar to being with good distance vision, and adding the + numbers lenses for a reading glasses. In effect taking off the distance glasses becomes putting on reading glasses of the same strength. It’s not a perfect fit, of course, but many people with small numbers, like in your range, can use this technique to delay the time until they need reading glasses.

    And this is important. Using distance glasses does not weaken the eyes. It does not make them deteriorate further.
    But using reading glasses does, because it is like a crutch for the muscles. They don’t work, and so can push the lens less and less. So once you use reading glasses, the need for them increases, and the numbers increase faster.

    Now, in your specific case, if you’re using contacts, then you’re not taking them off for reading anyway. In this case you’d need the reading glasses just as much, and in the same time, whether you’re correcting your vision using contacts or using the LASIK. Simply expect problems with near vision at around age 40+.

    “Lazy eye”, which micheal mentioned, is a very specific medical term which has nothing to do with this. He probably didn’t refer to it, just used the word lazy and the word eyes, but I felt the need to make the distinction if someone with the problem happen to read this.

    It’s hard work finding an exact match when making a prescription because it’s complex. The damage for wrong number, for distance vision, is either that the person won’t see as well as they can, or that their eyes will hurt (if the lens has to work all the time. Imagine reading non-stop, without taking your eyes off the page to rest).
    Plus, things like astigmatism complicates the matter, because you have a different number at a different axis (this, BTW, rarelly changes with age, since it’s because of the shape of the cornea. The cornea and lens are not totally symmetrical).
    Not to mention that glasses are made in jumps on 0.25 numbers. If you need something between that, you either under-correct, or over-correct.
    Finding the right number is considered more art than science. Not to mention that if your optometrist gets it wrong, you go back to him to complain, and he may need to replace the glasses/contacts on his own expense. That tends to make people double-check everything. ;)

    For the practical issue, the most important thing, though, is to find a good ophthalmologist, one who is not doing LASIK surgeries and so has nothing to gain from recommending it. And and ask him/her about everything. The procedures improves, the possible side-effects (and there are side-effects) become less pronounced, and the chance for perfect vision after the surgery increases, but it’s still important to know where you stand now, with today’s technique.
    For example, a few years ago ending up needing -0.75 correction on each eye would have been considered a success. And it’s an improvement if you’re starting half-blind, but not if you need small correction anyway.
    So find out everything about the possible procedures you may take now, from a professional source. Not from blog comments.

  44. Gary Watson says:

    I had custom wavefront LASIK done on both my eyes a month ago, but only after interrogating at least 25 people who had the procedure to see if they would recommend it. All did. Many people told me I was a moron for not having it done years ago. I’m an engineer, and have been watching the technology march forward for over 10 years now, and it was my judgement that the risk is so low that it is less risk than wearing contacts, and a helluva lot more comfortable. The biggest risk is if you rub or touch your eyes for a few days after the procedure, so do whatever it takes to follow this warning. For example, I had a BBQ two days after the procedure and to be on the safe side I wore safety goggles when grilling, just to be damn sure nothing got into my eyes. Some people experience dryness and need drops, but I haven’t noticed this at all.

    When choosing a doctor, I was taking no chances. I wanted someone who is a rockstar in this field, with the latest gear, and whom other doctors trust with their own eye surgery. Thus I chose Alan Berg of Berg-Feinfield Vision Correction in Sherman Oaks, CA. I also decided to have the flap cut with the laser (I forget what that’s called), which cost some extra bucks, because of the fractional reduction of risk of vision artifacts during night vision.

    Because I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to my eyes, I insisted on and received a dose of Valium before and after the procedure. The procedure isn’t too bad as you are quite numb and can’t really see what’s happening. In any case it’s over in fifteen minutes and you can see immediately, albeit with a haze which clears up in a day.

    Because I’m in my mid-40’s, I expected to lose my reading vision so I bought reading glasses in advance. Didn’t really need to do this, as the only time I need them is when I’m reading tiny print or trying to read 10 point print or less in low light conditions. Don’t need them to read my tiny laptop screen, or when reading books or magazines.

    The good thing about the wavefront system is that the doctor can tell you with a high degree of certainty how good a candidate you are for surgery.

    My vision is better than 20/20, and significantly better than my vision was with eyeglasses.

    Now I can buy ordinary sunglasses, use a camera viewfinder, wear goggles comfortably, look through a telescope or binoculars, see what’s going on while in a swimming pool, and respond quickly to urgent situations without having to fumble about looking for my glasses.

    I don’t miss the glasses at all — on one vacation I lost them in the ocean while riding a SeaDoo, and on a business trip they broke in the middle before I was to give a PowerPoint presentation. I forgot to bring any contacts along for either trip, so it was a disaster.

    The economics are pretty good — even choosing the best doctor at the best clinic with the best gear, it only cost me $4500 for both eyes. I signed up for a payment plan so in the short run it’s cheaper than buying a new round of prescription glasses, sunglasses, and contacts which I was overdue for.

    I suggest you at least go in for a consulation, to see if you are a good candidate for the procedure. You have nothing to loose but the relentless hassle of spectacles.

  45. Rupert says:

    @Gary Watson

    Good information. Thanks!


    If I was you, I wouldn’t be linking to your web site on a blog which consists primarily of web designers.

  46. Gary Watson says:


    What, you don’t like the free templates which come with FrontPage?


  47. Chris Hester says:

    Great timing Mike. I’ve been looking into LASIK recently, but was put off applying after reading the full facts about the procedure on a company’s forum. Apparently you have to wear protective contacts for a week afterwards while the cornea heals. There is also a risk of infection. I am still considering it though!

    My main concern now is with floaters. I’ve had these for a while and had gotten completely used to them. But very recently, a new batch appeared which have badly affected me. Using computer screens (or even TV) is awful as the monitor screen is always so bright, so I see the floaters dropping into view. I have turned down the brightness to try and cope.

    Some floaters are small blobs and some are strings. One is a really noticeable dark blob half-way along a string. I can deal with the others, but not this one. Though my optician assures me I will get used to them.

    I went for an eye test because a sudden increase in floaters can be a sign of a detaching retina.

    I then hit the net in search of help, and found two potential cures! One is laser treatment to blast the floaters away from the strings so they drop to the sides of the eyes. (Some people have huge blobs of them blocking their vision.) Another cure is to have the vitreous fluid in your eye replaced completely. This is quite scary, but could be worth it for no more floaters!

    They are bits of protein that come loose over time. Both times I have seen an increase in them, I was straining my eyes too much. I guess the last time it was a wake up call to get to bed and stop using the computer so much! It’s also made me re-evaluate my life. Who wants to use a computer all day and all evening anyway?

    My main question now is that I’ve read that LASIK can cause an increase in floaters, due to particles left over from the surgery. Can anyone confirm or deny this? Any increase in floaters would put me off completely from having LASIK done. Otherwise it does seem to be the ideal solution to correcting your vision!

    Lastly, I find floaters less noticeable with glasses, as my eyes are focused more on other things. I just have to avoid bright walls and surfaces!

  48. Guido says:

    I had my Lasik correction for astigmatism about 10 years ago.. and I’ve never regretted it once.

    The key is finding the best doctor possible. I got my procedure done through TLC, which at the time was the most respected “team”.

    Any surgury has side-effects, and like anything sometimes bad things will happen, but you cant let that scare you off.

  49. Chad says:

    I had lasik done two days ago. It was really easy, painless, and you are on your way in no time. I wouldn’t sweat the procedure. However, I’m still not seeing very well for distances over 10 ft, and my vision was only -2.25 to begin with. It seems like everyone else is having immediate results. I’m not sure if my expectations are too high or if the quality was too low. If so, I definitely wish that I had been made aware of this beforehand, as now my glasses don’t work but I still can’t see well. Comments?

  50. Steve Bryant says:

    Wearing glasses on a first date is a good thing? Oy vey.

  51. Jim Moran says:

    Hi Mike, and everyone else for that matter,

    Well, having consulted my other half, who is an Optometrist, she tells me the following…

    @Chris Hester – The increase in floaters is not as a result of particles left over from surgery. Floaters are in the vitreous chamber of the eye, which is not affected by the LASIK treatment. Any increase is likely due to increased detection thanks to better eyesight.

    @Mike. Yaron has it spot on. Consult your Optometrist/Opthalmologist – ideally someone with no reason to refer you for LASIK.

    The other main side effect of LASIK can be a halo at night around lights, which others have mentioned.

    Hope that helps Mike.


  52. Eric says:

    Coming back to echo what others have said – if you get LASIK, don’t skimp. Like Adam, my dad’s also an optometrist. He made a decision to partner with one of the top LASIK centers in the area because he wasn’t comfortable with the quality of some of the places which did the procedure at a lower price point (yes, he’s also financially compensated for the partnership, but he really feels that this partnership is in the best interest of his patients).

    He’s definitely seen issues where people try to save a few bucks and, as such, I always cringe when I hear people say they were able to get the procedure done by for like $500 by getting it done outside the country.

  53. Yaron says:

    @Guido – You had LASIK to remove astigmatism 10 years ago? I’m pretty sure that so long ago the technology wasn’t really recommended for more than basic myopia.
    And it was certainly still at the stage where it was defined by the FDA as still experimental, and probably only approved to be performed on a single eye (Though you didn’t say you did it in the US)… Maybe there were some approved PRK treatments there, but back then these should have been just for myopia as well.

    @Chris Hester – Also, straining your eyes, and excessive/incorrect computer use, while causing some problems, have no effect on floaters.
    And, as Jim Moran said, the LASIK treatment does not cause floaters as well. There is, of course, a small risk of corneal scarring (like in any tissue which is being hacked and cut), which may sometimes look similar to how a floater would. But the risk for that is extremely small these days.

    @Chad – First of all, you probably have an appointment with your doctor for a follow-up exam a little after the surgery. So raise all your concerns then, and listen to what he/she has to say. If it’s only been two days, don’t worry too much yet. Recovering from surgery can take a little longer.
    Second, there is a percentage of people who don’t have their eyesight corrected all the way to 20/20. Sometimes a repeat procedure is possible, sometimes not. But in this case your old glasses will not help, just as you describe, since you’d probably need a smaller number.

  54. One thing I did not mention in my previous comment was that my doc told me that after having Lasik I could no longer do any mountaineering (something about pressure in the eye, I think??). I’m not a mountaineer anyway, but now I CAN’T go climb Kilimanjaro if I decide to (it’s a walk-up). There were other sports ruled out as well, like heli-skiing (I think?) and sky-diving. Check into this if you do any sports involving altitude.

    The other thing my doc did was to aim for a slight under-correction so that, if needed, he could go back and re-do the procedure to perfect the prescription. I did not need this “touch-up” correction, and the vast majority of people I know who went to this guy did not either. But I did have one friend whose vision was not corrected enough and she did have the touch-up surgery and is now happy.

    My doc participated in the FDA trials for the procedure and has written extensively on his studies. Definitely and expert in his field. His name is Dr. Craig Beyer, in Boulder, CO ( HTH

  55. Gary Watson says:


    It’s actually OK to climb mountains after LASIK. What can happen, however, is after extended periods at high altitudes, some climbers report that they become somewhat nearsighted until they return to a lower elevation. As a precaution, you could carry glasses with a mild prescription (your doctor should be able to estimate the value for you). Note also that if you suffer dry eyes, the high altitude, wind, and sub-zero temperatures will make things worse and eye drops might be problematic. You can confirm all this by doing a few Google searches.

  56. Reed says:

    (Without reading any comments.)


    Do it. But do it right. Spend the moola.

    Procedures vary per individual, so I won’t get into that here.

    I had LASIK a few years ago in Denver at the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute under Dr. Taravella.

    Dr. T is one of the best in the country, and I’m not just saying that – he really is. In the medical community, he is considered one of the best in the nation, and has been performing LASIK since the “early days.” AND, he’s a real humanitarian – he travels to Third World countries and performs LASIK on those less fortunate.

    It’s the best $3K I’ve ever spent on myself. (I think the price has gone up.) I have recommended him to a number of my friends who have all had great experiences as well.

    I, too, had been wearing glasses since eight grade. Now 31, it is still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

    20/20 vision.

    I had my procedure video taped. I’d be happy to send it to you so you can see what you’re getting into. Then again, after watching it, you might have second thoughts.

    Either way.

    – Reed

    PS – Keep up the good work, and keep an eye out for Wall Street on Demand.

  57. Ironic, I have a doctor’s appointment next week with the eye doctor debating this – I have a nasty astigmatism, I can only purchase one pair of contacts now, and there’s about a 1% in my left eye that can’t be accounted for. My glasses choke up to a huge expense – so I’m thinking it’s time. I’d like to work out in the mornigns or walk around san francisco and not be annoyed that my contacts are drying out and shifting – or just be able to see in at night without popping on the glasses… hell, even if it requires just a little bit of the occassional glasses I view it as a huge improvement.

    The only debate now is if it shifts again. At the moment my prescription hasn’t changed much at all in a decade, so I should be marginally fine – though I think it’s jst my paranoia, I’d hate to have it fully reversed in time… but what can you do, worth the gamble I think.

  58. XINERGY says:

    From one of my defunct blogs:

    Thursday May 20, 2004


    “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way…”

    Shhhh… Computer is supposed to be off limits, but I am bored to death. Been sleeping all day today after the surgery. It went well.

    I arrived a little after 8 AM at the doctor’s office this morning. (J drove me, and he will be driving me again tomorrow.) The staff briefed me on procedure and prepared me for surgery. I was given a hair cover (shower cap type thingy), booties over my sneakers, 3 tablets of ibuprofen and a tablet of valium. Then I got a body massage for relaxation — that was great. I had never taken valium before, but between that and the massage, I fell asleep in the waiting room.

    They finally called me in to the OR, where the temparature is kept cool for the laser and other equipment. I spent only a few minutes in there. The entire procedure was quick, as I have read during my research. I have to admit, it was a little challenging to stare at the blinking red light, when it seems to move about. You’re not supposed to move your eyes, but they tend to follow the light. You’re supposed to stare beyond the light. Part of the reason the light seemed to move was because you’ve got hands over your eyes, instruments and such, that block your view.

    Then of course, there’s the flap.

    Yeah, some folks will never go thru LASIK just because of the flap. They slice — yes, slice — the top layer of your cornea and flip it over to create a flap. Then they laser out however much of the underlayer of your cornea that they need to reshape. Then flip over the flap to cover where they lasered away. This, apparently, helps the healing to quicken. Whereas in other procedures, where they laser away without the flap, the eyes tend to heal slower. And I believe, that would require one to wear protective contact lenses to cover the lasered surface while it healed. I looked at my eyes, and I could not see any cuts, nor distinguish where the flap was.

    It wasn’t a big deal. I couldn’t feel anything, since they’ve given me numbing drops. They did the right eye first, then the left eye. Before I knew it, the whole thing was over.

    Oh, did I forget to tell you that I was holding on to a plush elephant under the warm blanket that they gave me to help me relax and focus? Yep. I was hoping I get to keep it, but I guess not. Besides, they did instruct me not to wear anything fuzzy today. “No fuzzies.”

    So, I’m wearing these goggles that look like something one would wear skiing, or flying in a biplane. It’s intrusive, but keeps me protected from foreign objects randomly flying into my eyes, or my own damn fingers from scratching. I am not to touch my eyes (or face), nor to wash my face or hair tomorrow before I see the doctor for my 24-hour follow-up. Thank goodness for baby wipes.

    When I got home after the surgery, my instructions were to sleep. So, a vicadin and sleeping pill later, I was off to bed. Woke up a couple of times in the evening, already noticing the leaves of the trees outside. But, once in a while, they’re blurry. Fluctuation is normal, and as I type this, I notice the changes.

    Well, I better wrap this up and get me to bed. I’ll try to sleep on my own, but if that doesn’t work, I’ll be taking the pills again.

    Tomorrow, I get to wear these Terminator shades.

    By the way, I wasn’t the first to make the comment about playing Beethoven in the room during the surgery.

    Follow-up Update:
    Better Than Perfect Vision
    Yes. It’s better than perfect.

    Halos, blurs, floaters lasted only a few weeks for me. Your brain and “new” eyes need time to recalibrate, so to speak, to process the lights and images. I noticed that dusk was the most challenging time for me, especially when I go outside after having spent an entire day at the office. The sun goes down, street lights come on, and your eyes need to adjust. It was at that time that the halos and blurs were most noticable.

    More than 2 years later, I still have 20/15 vision. And, I love not having to wear contact lenses or glasses anymore.

    If you are a highly eligible candidate, I say go for it.

  59. XINERGY says:


    – I used to wear extended wear contacts, until they gave me an infection one day. That was when I decided to find out, if I was a good candidate for LASIK.

    – Before the surgery I had astigmatism

    – I opted for the custom LASIK procedure. They have to perform extra tests, get more specific measurements. I only have one pair of eyes to live with, I wasn’t going to go for the “one size fits all” option.

    – Some links:

  60. Chris Hester says:

    “Halos, blurs, floaters lasted only a few weeks for me.”

    Can you say more about the floaters?

  61. Sam says:

    I had LASIK treatment in November 2002, which means I’m coming up to the point where my surgery has paid for itself!! I would’ve spent more money paying for contacts in the last 4 years than i spent on the treatment, and as far as i’m concerned – it’s the best money I’ve ever spent.

    The procedure itself i found, not scary or painful, but very uncomfortable. Lying on a table with your eye clamped open, staring into a ridiculously bright light is bad enough, but then the procedure starts and you can feel a burning sensation and i could definitely smell burning. Three or four minutes later and i was glad it was all over, but then the other eye was still to do, arghhh.

    My procedure was done late afternoon, and within 3 hours, i could see better out of my right eye than i had for years. I was told not to use my eyes that nite but the excitement of being able to see things from distance was too great! My left eye was slightly slower to heal, i had that gritty contact/trapped eyelash feeling until the following day.

    As for negative effects – i never had a problem with haloes, and i do now have floaters but then i had them before the surgery too. My main worry these days is that my eyesight has started to deteriorate again – i never want to go back to relying on contacts!

    All in all, the op was a very unpleasant experience and not one i would like to go through again. However, as i said at the start of my post – it was then, and still is, the best money i have ever spent :)

  62. Gary says:

    I had lasik 2 months ago and am now seriously farsighted. I did it with the best doctor you can get ($5000) but I still ended up like this and Im now extreamly unhappy. The doctor says I will need enhancements at the three month mark. This ordeal is going to take up to a year to resolve if it ever does. Meanwhile Im have to work and drive and take care of children… I have dry eye, distortions, starbursts, night driving is difficult and just seeing clear faces in a low lit room is difficult. Its bull crap. I miss the crispness and versitility of glasses. And even if the doc gets it right, it is temporary and in 5 years Im going to need glasses again anyways. DONT DO LASIK! I’m so mad at myself for having made the decision to do it. I cant believe I fell for the hype that man-made gizmos could do such a miracle. If anyone reading is thinking about Lasik. Please dont!!!

  63. Judi Sohn says:

    In the Fall of 2001, my husband and I both went for a LASIK consultation. I was mildly nearsighted (around -2 in both eyes), my husband is very farsighted (around +9 in both eyes). I was told that I was a perfect candidate for the surgery, my husband was not. Right away, I liked the fact that one of us was turned down. That told me that they didn’t just take everyone to make an easy buck. I had the surgery in December 2001. My vision has been 20/15 ever since. For the first few months or so I had floaters and halos and extremely dry eyes, but that cleared up and now I have to remind myself that I ever wore glasses.

  64. Ben Buchanan says:

    I read about it shortly after I got my first pair of glasses. Basically the same thing has kept me from the procedure ever since: the small risk of screwing it up.

    A couple of years back, the risk was still something like 20% chance of ending up with worse sight and requiring further surgery. Of that group, there was still an unacceptably high proportion of people with permanently degraded eyesight.

    I don’t much care if it’s 1%, that’s 1 out of every 100 people and there are thousands getting it done! :)

    That and I have heard – not read, though – that many people who get emergency eye surgery have serious problems after 20-25 years. Since laser eye surgery is also stuffing about with your eyes, I’m waiting until lots of lasik/etc patients have had it for 20 years and more.

    It probably helps that my girl loves me even with the glasses ;)

    Sure, the whole sunglass swap thing is a massive pain in the arse, but still it’s not letting someone loose on your eyeball with a laser…

  65. Faruk Ateş says:

    There are three main factors for deteriorating eyes, AFAIK:

    1) heritage (eyesight is affected by genetics)
    2) age
    3) the level of “challenging” use of the eyes

    What’s #3 about? Well, we all know that CRT’s were bad for the eyes, but deterioration largely comes from using the eyes on a fixed focal length for long periods of time without changing that. This can be a computer screen, a TV, a book, gameboy… anything that keeps your eyes fixed at one focal length consistently will reduce your vision.

    To combat that, it’s recommended to very regularly look beyond your screen (in our cases) and observe people and objects that are far away, somewhat far off, nearby, then look at something very close (your own belly for instance), focus away again at something far off, and then continue working. Hell, if you’re typing, you can do all this while typing — providing you can type blind, which I’m sure that most people here can do.

    The eyes are muscles: when not used, they will deteriorate just like any other muscles in your body.

    Unfortunately, exercise can’t really make your eyes better than they are right now. It can possibly improve your vision a little bit, but it’s by no means a solution like LASIK.

    On the subject of LASIK, if you’re really serious about getting it done very well, you should look into Turkish LASIK plans. I don’t think you’ll find many in the US, but they’re very popular in Europe.

    Turkey is currently the world leader in eye surgery and LASIK, simply because they haven’t been slowed down in new technologies through EU or US regulations, and have thus been working with them for much, much longer than EU and US hospitals, giving them much more experience.

    In Europe, or at least the Netherlands, there is currently a big trend regarding LASIK: go to Turkey for a week, get your eyes lasered and then have a little vacation to let them heal while you’re still near the hospital. It’s a package deal — LASIK and a small vacation. Tons of people are doing it, and there are various eye consultants in the Netherlands who will do the preliminary examination and tests to see if you’re a suitable candidate, so that you don’t have to fly over there only to find out they won’t operate on you. :-)

  66. Marcalans says:

    I had CustomVue LASIK on August 1, 2006. My surgeon considered it a success, even though I was left with some residual astigmatism in the left eye and I see halos and starbursts, despite my small pupils. My surgeon had LASIK himself and so did four other very prominent surgeons that I researched. Well, I think my doctor as well as the four others are idiots! This was the worst decision of my life and I would advise anyone considering this barbaric practice of permanently scarring the corneas to do very extensive research through the medical literature.

    LASIK, even the newer custom treatments, will always induce high-order aberrations. Most people with “successful” results will not notice them except when the eye is very dilated, but they are there. Some people do not mind the halos and starbursts but, to me, they have been devastating. What’s more devastating is the unknown future outcome. Here are just some facts that the doctors will never tell you.

    – Typical animations or descriptions of the procedure explain that a flap is created, folded back, the cornea treated, and the flap replaced. They don’t tell you that a suction ring is applied to the eye, creating a vacuum that increases intraocular pressure to between 50mm and 80mm HG, pulls violently on the the optic nerve and retina, and can cause detachment, not only of the retina, but of pieces of the macula, resulting in floaters. Some people notice an increase in floaters after LASIK, but they convince themselves that they were always there and their doctors will not reveal the real reason for their sudden appearance. Many doctors will usually say something inane like, “Some people just get floaters after LASIK and some people don’t. We really don’t understand why.” Bullsh@t!

    – They don’t tell you that the cornea is PERMANENTLY weaked by more than two-thirds the strength of a normal cornea, so that the tensile strength of the flap area is left at only 2.4% the strength of the center of a normal cornea and the periphery, along the flap, is only 28% the strength of a normal cornea. This means that you are much more susceptible to eye injury due to trauma.

    – They don’t tell you that, after the nerves of the cornea are severed during the making of the flap, they will normally take two years to regenerate back to 90% of their original density and then will degenerate in the third year and will remain at only 60% of their original density from then on. This permanently increases susceptibility to dry eye complications, blepharitis, cornea erosion, and infection.

    – They don’t tell you that the steepness of the central cornea after LASIK increases in EVERY LASIK patient. This means that the cornea is bulging in every person that has LASIK. If you look at a post-LASIK Orbscan, you will see this as an orange-red or darker area in the center of the posterior float image. Surgeons may tell you that this is simply an artifact of the Orbscan because they don’t want to alarm you, but it really means that your cornea is weakened and is bulging due to intraocular pressure.

    – Why do some patients regress after LASIK? LASIK surgeons won’t tell you the real reason why. They just will suggest an “enhancement.” The real reason why is that the focal point of the light reaching the back of the retina changes — NOT because the eyeball is getting longer, but because the cornea is bulging out further, thus increasing the distance of the path light must take to reach the back of the retina. This bulging of the cornea can lead to very, very serious consequences in the future, such as ectasia.

    – Surgeons won’t tell you that LASIK might have serious consequences on future cataract or lens-implantation surgery and on detection of glaucoma. LASIK results in inaccurate intraocular pressure readings that are always underestimated.

    – Surgeons won’t tell you that the effectiveness and safety of LASIK has not been established on the VISX Star 4 laser for people with pupils that are less than 6mm or that a VISX CustomVue scan is not accurate for pupils that are smaller than 5.5mm. Surgeons usually only mention complications associated with large pupils, not small ones.

    – Surgeons won’t tell you that the wavescans involved in custom LASIK are temperamental and depend on the current condition of the entire visual system, not just the eyeball itself. If your eyes are even temporarily dry (for example, if you did not sleep well the night before the wavescan) or if your tear film is poor on the day of the scan, or if you have some minor irritation in your eye the day of the scan, or if you accommodate too much during the scan, or if you are overly anxious or agitated, the scan will not be accurate and the inaccuracies will be permanently burned into your corneas.

    – Surgeons will not tell you that, since the debilitating effects of LASIK are better understood then they were 3-10 years ago, substatially fewer myopic ophthalmologists are having the procedure done to themselves when, prior to this time, the rate of myopic ophthalmologists who had LASIK was 60% greater than that of the normal population.

    None of these consequences are considered complications and, the sad thing is, most people who consider their LASIK procedures successful never look into these issues. These are just some of the routine, “normal” effects LASIK has on the eye and why no one should undergo this procedure unless, for some reason, it is medically necessary.

  67. Chris Hester says:

    Well that’s it then. No LASIK for me. I knew I was right to worry about the floaters.

  68. gary says:

    My lasik was on the same day as yours. I too completely regret it. But your astigmaitsm and halos and starbursts may still go away as we are only 2.5 months along. My doc said they will go away by 6 months. Did you have interlase? I had the microkaratome and dont remember the suction ring. I have noticed floaters tho. My biggest problem is being +1 diopter overcorrected in the left eye. The doc says Im having trouble getting used to the temp glasses because of being myopic all these years. The bend of the glass is different and very disorienting. I spend much of my day popping +.025/+0.5/+1.0 glasses in and out for best clarity. I get real depressed when I think I’ve lost the crispness of my old glasses. But since Im so overcorrected and the doc’s wont give me astigmatism correction yet (they say Im still fluctuating) I dont know if I lost the crispness yet or not. Email me with your email address. I’d like to compare stories.

  69. Marcalans says:

    My surgeon also said that my halos, starbursts, vision, and dry eye would improve as healing continues. So far, everything that he’s told me regarding my healing has been a farce. Astigmatism in my left eye is back to where it was before the surgery (-1.25), the dry eye and pain has increased over time, and the halos and starbursts have not changed one iota.

    I insisted that my surgeon perform another wavescan so that I could compare pre-op and post-op high-order aberrations. To maximize accuracy, and for purposes of comparison, I had multiple scans on both the Alcon LadarWave and VISX CustomVue systems. Wow! The so-called “custom-LASIK” destroyed the surface regularity of my corneas and more than doubled the amount of coma and spherical aberration — just the opposite of what custom-LASIK is supposed to do. I had a beautiful round point spread map before the surgery in both eyes and the post-op scans revealed an extremely deformed point spread with large amounts of induced coma. If I didn’t have small pupils, I literally would not be able to see.

    I took my scans to a second opinion (a very well-known expert who has much experience with repairs) and he told me that the halos and starbursts would not go away unless the aberrations were eliminated. He said it may be possible to decrease the amount of aberrations with another treatment, but such therapy is not approved (in fact, no “enhnacements” are FDA approved), no official studies on such problems have been performed, and chances of success can not be estimated because the anecdotal reports are very unreliable.

    I obtained a third opinion who basically told me the same thing and also diagnosed me with blepharitis and very poor tear film. I am now on Restasis, doxycycline, and tons of eye drops. Eight days earlier, my surgeon had told me that I had good tear film and did not even mention blepharitis, even though it was obvious that the undersides of my eyelids were red. He told me that dry eye is not a long-term issue in males and as the corneal nerves regenerate, the dry eye will improve and disappear. This claim is not supported by my own research, which indicates that females are more susceptible to chronic dry eye due to menopausal changes, but not that males do not suffer chronic dry eye. In fact, until the age of female menopause, males suffer dry eye at just about the same rate as females.

    Gary, I would be glad to share my e-mail or phone number with you, but I don’t see your e-mail address on the site. Is there a way that we can provide such information without it being displayed to everyone in the blog?

  70. Marcalans says:


    I forgot to mention that my flaps were created with the Intralase laser. Both the microkaratome and Intralase procedures require suction to hold the eyeball steady while the flap is cut. Most people feel this as increased pressure on the eyeball during the cut, although there is really no pain.

  71. Gary says:


    My email is temporarily on pg. 7 of the memberlist of, same name. Speaking of pressure when the flap is cut, I have 3 theories why my left eye is so far overcorrected. When the doc was doin the microkaratome, there was so much pressure I saw flashes of light, maybe something was damaged. The second is that I remember the nurse didn’t get the dialation drop completely in, and I wonder if I had the wavefront measurement without dialated eyes so the muscle did compensation. Third is when the nurse did the wavefront measurement she told me to blink and took the sample before my eyes had been forward.

    I actually had a good day today. Far from perfect. But today I took out the right glass from the temp glasses and just had a 0.5 in the left eye. I had moments of surprising clarity, although the eyes are constantly adjusting and go blurry often. Its like everything I look at starts out blurry and takes a few seconds to come in focus. It also makes me dizzy to have one lense in and one out. Im also a mess after working on the computer. The eyes focus on the computer and stay there even when I’m done and trying to see distance.

    Is restasis thicker than normal drops? Systane is like putting oil in my eyes and leaves me hazy for hours. I switched to Refresh, which is better.

  72. Mike White says:

    I did it. Best decision of my life. Just take it easy on your eyes when you’re done, dude. I had one friend — this loon — who went out for a long drive the next day. Talk about eye strain!

  73. Yaron says:

    Marcalans, you obviously had a pretty bad experience.
    And while a lot of what you say make sense, and is (obviously) quite possible, some seems a little unclear to me.

    1. Blepharitis is an infection/inflammation of the eyelids. Sometimes there’s a chronic cause, but in many cases it just happens like any other small infection and then goes away after some time and care. There are various potential causes. Why do you think your case is related to the LASIK surgery? And why are you so sure it started immediately after it, and that the exam done these eight days before it was found was faulty? It sounds kind of like complaining that your doctor found you had a sore throat but you were examined two weeks before and nobody said anything about a sore throat…

    2. Many people have similar side-effects of the halos, etc, after the surgery, and usually they do improve. Did the doctor tell you it should improve, or did he tell you that it certainly would (as is implied by what you wrote) ? If the latter, that was very unprofessional and unethical. If the former, then while it didn’t happen in your case it’s still not exactly a “farce”.

    3. The surgery involves cutting the cornea, and scraping parts of it. If you weren’t told that, sue the doctor, now. Assuming you were, since it’s about the basic point about the surgery, it seems a bit strong to say that nobody told you that the cornea may get a little damaged and weakened.

    4. Males certainly do suffer from chronic dry eye. You fell on a strange doctor there. Or one that oversimplifies things too much, and used the entirely wrong way to tell you he thinks it’s not chronic in your case.
    While there are plenty of conditions that have different likelihoods for men and women, the only medical conditions that women has, and men never do, are those related to organs us men just don’t have ;)

    5. -1.25DD in astigmatism is not good, but is within the range of what these surgeries still consider a success, yes. I didn’t understand from you if this was all the correction you needed before the surgery, or if this was the cylinder but you had a higher number for myopia which the surgery did remove. If the former, the doctor really should have warned you in advance that it’s possible you won’t get a noticeable improvement.

    6. Retinal detachment, whether on the macula or around it, will cause a much much much more severe symptoms than floaters. Not related.
    If the cornea is pushed on during the surgery, then it could temporarily increase the intra-ocular pressure, sure. I don’t know how far. But it’s very temporary. And again, retinal detachment shouldn’t follow. In people with high glaucoma, you see loss of peripheral vision over time, because of the pressure on nerves and blood vessels. But no increase in detachments, or at least it’s not considered a risk factor.
    And I’ve seen glaucoma patients with 50mmHg before they were treated. All you had are the usual side-effects, and this is for people who probably went with it for years before noticing they’re half-blind. But not floaters, and no retinal detachments.

    7. Why would LASIK prevent proper measurement of intra-ocular pressure? You push a meter against the cornea, and see how hard it pushes back until the cornea surface get pressed. Since what pushes back is the internal pressure, that’s your measurement. Unless the treatment makes the cornea noticeably tougher and less elastic, it shouldn’t make a difference. And in these cases, if that happens, I’d expect the measurement to be skewed up, not down, since you have more resistance. Do you have any source on this you can provide a link or reference for?

    8. A doctor will not tell you he doesn’t know the reason for a problem, if he does. Someone trying to cover-up after a screwup might, but not as a general practice. There is no large sinister cabal of doctors trying to hide facts from the public. Some doctors may know less than others, or be less experienced than others. But there’s a big difference between malice and lack of competence.

    9. I don’t know the figures for nerve damage in the cornea, so it’s possible the numbers you quote are true. But the increased susceptibility to damage is indirect. You’re less likely to feel a small problem, so you may not automatically blink faster to clean some foreign object, or go to a doctor as fast because of the irritation. But, while problematical, it’s not a direct cause of damage, and should not cause these problems to appear just by itself.

    10. I’d also like to see the statistics about ophthalmologists doing these surgeries compared to the rest of the population. These studies are always easier to do wrong than right, since there are many other factors. Basically the surgery is considered more and more safe, so this reason should go the other way (If assuming the lack of a sinister cabal of lying doctors)… Who did this study, and when? Do you have a reference for that research?

  74. Steve says:

    I have 20/10 vision (or better…I can read the bottom line on vision tests without stuttering…none seem to go any smaller)…never needed LASIK, but I will note I’ve seen floaters for some time. In fact, I didn’t actually realize I still have them until a few minutes ago when the article mentioned them. I’ll look to my side, and I can see the little buggers follow slowly behind the movement of my eyes…honestly, after awhile you stop noticing them. Truthfully, I’d much rather be able to notice the floaters and surprise people by reading tiny text than have blurry vision and not notice my not-so-annoying floating friends.

  75. Marcalans says:


    I never before had blepharitis or dry eye discomfort prior to LASIK. The specialist who diagnosed my blepharitis said that it could be a complication of the dry eye. In other words, the lids of dry eyes are more susceptible to infection and inflammation. This specialist also said that I had poor tear film, which did not appear all of a sudden after LASIK. He explained that poor tear film is a contraindication to LASIK and could adversely affect the accuracy of wavescans. My surgeon probably either knew that I had poor tear film or he was too incompetent to diagnose it. What I do know for a fact is that the surgeon knew my tear production was far below normal, but he discarded the information and never informed me about it. Why do the test if you’re not going to use the data?

    My surgeon constantly changed his diagnosis and prognosis regarding the halos and starbursts, which have not improved in the three months since surgery. This leads me to believe that he has little understanding of the problem. First, he said that they were due to temporary corneal edema, that everyone has them initially, and that they would go away within a week or two. When they didn’t go away within a month, he told me that they were due to residual astigmatism and could probably be corrected with lenses. New lenses did not help. My post-op wavescans show that a large amount of corneal high-order aberrations were induced by the surgery. A second opinion told me that the aberrations are the likely cause of the halos and starbursts. In addition, he told me that my post-op topography map indicates that I may have had a slightly decentered ablation, which would also contribute to halos and starbursts. He suggested doing a difference map because there was conflicting image information regarding the decentered ablation. My surgeon remains skeptical and is not interested in doing a difference map, so I will need to go to another specialist to have it done. My surgeon is pushing me to let him do an enhancement, which he claims may help with the halos and starbursts, but he seems to have no understanding about what is causing them in the first place.

    Yes, my surgeon did indicate on his consent form that the cornea will be weakened for up to one year and to avoid activities that involve trauma to the head area. I read, however, that the cornea is weakened permanently; not for just one year, and this is something that he did not tell me ( .

    Yes, my surgeon did tell me that chronic dry eye is not an issue with males. He said that he has only had one male patient that suffered dry eye beyond six months and it turned out that this patient had Parkinson’s disease. Nothing that I’ve read supports his claim.

    The surgery did improve my myopia, but I was left with residual astigmatism (-1.25 cyl), which is what I had prior to surgery. My surgeon told me that CustomVue guided surgery was especially effective in treating astigmatism, extremely accurate, and made standard LASIK obsolete. I have since learned that custom-LASIK has significant benefit over standard LASIK in only 5-10% of cases. This information is posted on the UCLA Jules Stein refractive surgery Web site (

    Studies have shown that LASIK may be associated with retinal detachment in highly myopic eyes ( A cause and effect relationship has not yet been established. Floaters are tiny bits of retina or vitreous that are floating around inside the eye. They can occur naturally and are also known to occur as the result of trauma. During suction, the eye is pulled up and the pressure is raised to abnormal levels, which can exacerbate existing floaters or cause new ones to occur. The warning about floaters was included on my surgeon’s consent form.

    Intraocular pressure measurements after LASIK for the correction of myopia are inaccurate as a consequence of changes in CCT, corneal curvature, and corneal flap stability. After LASIK, the measured IOP must be mathematically corrected to avoid false low IOP readings ( . There’s lots of research on this.

    Research indicates that corneal nerves never regenerate back to their original density ( My surgeon told me that nerves will fully regenerate by six months.

    The information regarding the percentage of health care workers who undergo LASIK came from a quote by Glenn Hagle of

    What disturbs me the most is that my surgeon told me that all of my test results were good and consistent and that there was nothing to consider that would contraindicate LASIK. There were two important pieces of information of which I was not informed and which may have played key roles in producing the debilitating results that I have experienced. One was my low Schirmer’s test result (4mm), which indicated poor tear production. Even if the Shirmer’s test is considered a weak indicator, as it is by many ophthalmologists, it was a “red flag,” which warranted further investigation and, at the very least, I should have been informed. Second, I later discovered that, according to the guidelines published by the VISX Corporation, the use of the Star 4 excimer laser was not appropriate for my small pupil size. This, too, the surgeon did not tell me, even though the guidelines clearly state that every patient MUST receive a copy of the VISX publication before undergoing a LASIK procedure.

    One should remember that LASIK is a very lucrative and competitive business — so much so, in fact, that many surgeons have based entire practices on performing nothing but LASIK surgery. Surgeons have great incentive to keep patients once they enter the doctor’s office and are likely to avoid saying anything that might scare a potential patient off. Unfortunately, these doctors have become more entrepreneurs than physicians, which has led to unethical practices.

  76. Galen says:

    I see many of you have said you hade extremely bad vision. Were any of you hyperopic with astigmatism? I’m +5.25 in both eyes with astigmatism of varying amounts in both eyes. I’m right on the boarder of being acceptable for LASIK.

  77. Daniel Reytan says:

    I had lasik 4 days ago and apart from freaking out about the lasers touching and pressuring my eyes I would do it all over again in a second! The next day my follow-up visit tested me as 20/20 in one eye and 20/15 in the other even though I had just used milky drops that tend to blur your vision! This is truly a miraculous surgery ONLY when you are sure you’re going to a very experienced doctor who will screen you as completely as possible and that this doctor has the latest technology. Believe me, you don’t want to save a few hundred dollars and then have recurring problems with your vision. Also I performed a background check on my first doctor and I already had the appointment set up for surgery. The background check for this doctor showed he mixed charts and corrected a patients eyes with the prescription of another!!! I finally settled with the doctor I knew had excessive experience, the latest equipment and lastest technology and it’s been like a magical procedure!
    He used on me:
    CUSTOM VUE for mapping irregularities on the cornea
    INTRALASE LASER for laser corneal flap creation, and
    VISX STAR S4 for vision correction
    My night vision from day one after surgery is also great and I’ve driven during day and night the next day after the procedure. I see a slight hazing around lights but that’s so minimal it does not at all get in the way of driving. Unless you opt for monvision or mini-monovision (undercorrection for later use of preservation of near vision) in one eye your night vision should be fine. As a matter of fact in many ways my vision is sometimes better than with contacts; no discomfort, HEAVEN to fall asleep watching tv or reading without having to take contacts out. No need to clean glasses or having them fall off. I for one LOVE my both eyes to be corrected for far vision since I love the movies, long walks, jogging, night driving. If you do decide to have this procedure do yourself a favor and do your homework having to do with your doctor. You will not regret it at all!

  78. Kay Kim says:

    I had Lasik 6 weeks ago. First 2-3 weeks, it was okay. And then I started to feel dizzy. For last 2 weeks, I have been feeling dizzy and some headache. Sometimes, I feel like I am falling down. My doctor told me these are temporary and it would go away soon. But I am worried.

    Anyone has the same problem? or Anyone knows what causes it?

  79. Joe says:

    I had lasiks about a month ago. And for all of you who whole heartedly recommend it and telling people they won’t regret it, you can’t possibly know that will be the case.

    I regret having had it done. My night time vision sucks. Can barely read signs now. Its not just night time. If I put on sun glasses I notice my vision will turn blurry. If I go indoors and its not brightly lit, the same problem. And I have to think its not that uncommon to have these symptoms since I have found dozens of postings online where people describe the exact same thing. In fact, my friends who had it done and are happy will eventually say something like “oh yeah that happens to me too sometimes”.

    The stats varies from 1-2% of lasiks patients having this problem. So ask yourself how lucky do you feel. I now need to wear glasses in the dark. Makes me wonder why I spent all that money to go back to wearing glasses even if its part time.

  80. Mike says:

    I had the procedure 2 weeks ago , 20/20 in my right eye , my left eye’s so blurry its barely better than before the operation . Unless I wear an eye patch my vision still sucks . For $3500. dollars I’m not happy . If my left eye was as good as my right it would be a different story though . They say it will improve over time , but waiting is very depressing . Dont drive at night after you get the operation , at least for a while .

  81. Joe says:

    After my previous posting, its now Mid April and I went back to my doctor for a follow up. The decision was to go for a second procedure on my right eye which is causing my blurry night time vision.

    Unfortunately, we now cannot do that because my vision has regressed again. In fact, both eyes have regressed instead of just my right eye. So a second procedure is now not acceptable.

    I asked my doctor why I am regressing. He threw his hands up in the air and said he doesn’t know and told me to wait and be patient.

    Now I have to ask myself, how fast am I going to regress. Because at this rate I will need glasses full time by the end of the year. I also have to ask myself what if the regression gets out of control and I go beyond my original prescription. I recently spoke to a woman who had lasiks done 2 years ago. She is still regressing.

    There is no test a doctor can perform to predict your chances of regression. A whole lot of people could have regressed and don’t even know about it because its so gradual. In fact, I would not have known I regressed if the doctor didn’t see it in the tests because right now the regression is minor.

  82. Galen says:

    I just had Hyperopic or farsighted LASIK yesterday afternoon. My pre-LASIK RX was OD +5.25 – 1.25 X 031; OS +5.25 – 1.75 X 145 (Bifocals +2.00). I have worn glasses since I was 7 yrs old. With-out my glasses everything was just a blur. The Dr. used the Alcon LADAR system. My treatment was standard and not custom due to my RX being outside the FDA approved range for custom treatment.
    Once it was over they led me out to the examining room where I waited about 10 minutes for the Dr. The first thing I noticed after a few minutes was that I could see and read the “ALCON” logo on the side of one of the pieces of equipment about 3 feet away. It was a little hazy but clear other than that (it would have been a blur before). The Dr. came in, checked my eyes again with a bright light and gave me my marching orders of what to and not to do for the weekend until I go back in on Monday for my first post-LASIK follow-up exam.
    I’ve been using all the various drops as directed and the Systaine lubricants about every two hours. My eyes haven’t felt abnormally dry but from everything I’ve read, the more the better on the eye lubricant drops. I can see extremely clear from about a foot to about 10 feet. My distance past that is a little fuzzy to blurry the further you get. I can drive with no problems. Large objects like vehicles, motorcycles are still pretty clear, just not their liscense plates. My night driving is ok too. The headlights have a little glare but then they did with my glasses too. No halos or starbursts yet. I know I have possibly 6 months or longer of healing where my eyes will fluctuate to some degree. So I know it is too soon to say I’m totally satisfied but the beginning is quite amazing to me. If I had to guess where I’m at right now, I’d say 20/40 with just a slight bit of astigmatism left.
    I had my first check 2 days ago. The doctor explained that my great close vision will slightly subside and that my distant vision will improve in the near future. I am 50 yrs old and was pretty much fully presbiopic. I have worn bi-focals since I was 32.
    My current Rx is blurry 20/20 in the right eye and a blurry 20/30 in the left eye. They have said my astigmatism is aproximately nill. I have no night time driving problem, low light problems, or excessive light sensitivity. The sun does seem a little brighter with out sun glasses though. I’m still using the antibiotic and steroid drops 4 times a day till both run out. I use systaine drops every 2 hours whether I feel dry or not and most of the time they don’t.
    I know I probably will have fluctuations and changes in my eye sight for the next several months, possibly longer. So with that in mind my “GREAT” description is a little reserved. But it sure is nice to be able to see my tooth brush in the morning when I put tooth paste on it instead of just feeling it and groping around.

  83. Gary says:

    Yes lasik improves spherical and cylindrical imperfections in your vision that made it difficult to see without glasses. But before lasik, with glasses, your vision was fully correctable. Lasik introduces higher order aberations that ARE NOT CORRECTABLE. Also the doctors dont tell you, but everyone gets microscopic strea and flap interface imperfections and scarring that reduces your BEST CORRECTED VISION at least one line from where it was with correction before lasik. LASIK is aweful and should not be performed on humans. It has left thousands of people with horrible vision. If you end up with poor vision… Nobody cares. The doctor made his money and if you sue him, his band of top lawyers will ensure you lose.

  84. John says:

    I had the procedure about a month ago. I have in my right eye 20/15 and better than 20/15 in my left. I was -6.5 in both eyes so for me the results have been amazing. I have some minor halos at night but that doesn’t really matter to me considering that I couldn’t even read the biggest letter on the vision chart until after the proceedure.

  85. Susie says:

    I had Lasik in early 2007, and I wish to god I’d never done it. Despite talking me into the more costly (less risky) “intra-lase” procedure, they screwed up both eyes. The left one has a (rare) decentered ablation that none of the doctors in this group – (same gang that did a famous young black golfer’s surgery) – has any idea how it happened. They aren’t even sure how to fix it. Odds of it happening are less than 1%. In fact, they are now talking about sending me to Canada to have it fixed. The right eye was undercorrected, but I see pretty well with it with the exception of all the floaters. Annoying. Light really bothers me too. Driving at night is a nightmare. The halos are horrible. And because of the decentered ablation, I can’t read street signs or highway signs. I wish I could turn the clock back in time and reverse this terrible decision I made. Like you, 99% of the people I know who had refractive surgery called it a huge success. Just my rotten luck, I guess….

  86. Tennyson says:

    My procedure was done in August 1999 using the VISX S2 laser. My results were generally good with the only objectionable thing being the halos visible at night around light sources, particularly point source lights such as LEDs. While I had near 20/20 vision shortly after the procedure, it has deteriorated substantially since then. Most recently, my left eye is slightly below 20/40 and my right around 20/30. Combined vision is still decent though I wonder if my vision will continue to deteriorate in the coming years. There’s a writeup about my lasik experience on my website at

  87. LasikExpert says:

    The wide range of responses to your consideration of Lasik represents the wide range of results, but this is a skewed representation. I work for a Lasik patient advocacy organization. We don’t provide Lasik, just Lasik information and we certify Lasik doctors’ patient outcomes.

    Our organization reviewed several published Lasik studies, the FDA clinical trial information, and thousands of patient outcomes to determine that about 3% of refractive surgery patients (all types of surgery, all types of patients) have some sort of unresolved complication at six months postop, with 0.5% requiring extensive management or invasive correction.

    There is no such thing as perfect surgery, a perfect surgeon, or a perfect patient, for that matter. The most you can expect from Lasik is the convenience of a reduced need for corrective lenses, and to achieve that convenience you must accept some risk.

    The single most important factor regarding Lasik success is the selection of surgeon. It is the surgeon who will determine if you are or are not an appropriate candidate, who will review your ocular health history, and who will analyze all those diagnostic tests. There is no amount of technology that can compensate for an inferior surgeon.

    If you decide to proceed with Lasik, I highly recommend you consider a surgeon certified by our organization, or use our 50 Tough Questions For Your Lasik Doctor to help evaluate any potential Lasik doctor.

    Glenn Hagele
    Council for Refractive Surgery Quality Assurance

    I am not a doctor.

  88. You may want to research Mr. Glenn Hagele before you take any of his advice.

  89. Freddy says:


    I had LASIK almost 2 years ago now…..had dry eyes from time to time which tear but use the drops, usually at night but lets say once a month or more (not big deal)…usually increses if I use computer (which I do 8hrs per day at work) and the watch tv, play my psp, read and others…so can do soem at weekend now.

    I have experienced floaters 2 months ago, thought it is related to HIV…but tested negative and went for dilated retina exam and vision was 20/20 and all good….so dunno

    Read taht they are side effects of Lasik and drs confirmed so since any surgery weakens teh eye just like aging…so yes LASIK causes them…..they depress me especially when playing tennis…but better than having glasses honestly….wore them for 14 yrs or so..annoying.

    Anyway take care all…..
    See ya

  90. LasikExpert says:

    You may be misinformed about your personal floaters-Lasik connection.

    Floaters are small pieces of tissue that have dislodged within the eye and are floating in the liquid gel-like substance inside of the eye. Floaters happen naturally and do not require Lasik. Floaters may be related to higher levels of myopia (nearsighted/shortsighted) vision. Myopia means that the eye is elongated and this can create stresses on the vitreous and retina that can contribute to floaters. Remember that even though you had Lasik, your eye’s shape is the same. Inside your eye you are still myopic.

    During the Lasik process a device is used to create a thin flap of corneal tissue. This device is affixed to the eye with suction. This was when your vision went black for a few seconds during the surgery.

    The increase in pressure inside the eye during the flap creation can redistribute or “stir up” existing floaters. It is suspected – but not fully proven – that the pressure can dislodge tissue and create floaters, however any floater activity that is related to the Lasik would undoubtedly present immediately after Lasik, not month or years later.

    As for weakening the eye, only the cornea (clear front of the eye) is affected during Lasik, not the inside where floaters exist. Lasik involves removal of corneal tissue to change the refractive error. About six decades of practical experience has shown that as long as at least 250 microns of corneal tissue remains untouched (more is always better), the cornea will remain stable.

    Glenn Hagele
    Council for Refractive Surgery Quality Assurance

    I am not a doctor.

  91. You may want to research Mr. Glenn Hagele before you take any of his advice.

  92. LasikExpert says:

    A handful of people who had a bad Lasik outcome have decided to direct their ire toward me. Their attacks include lying about my financial history, insulting my wife, publishing my personal identity including Social Security number, bank account numbers, credit card numbers on their bulletin boards, defamation, trademark infringement, listing doctors we have not certified as recommended, harassing those who fund and govern our nonprofit organization, and often doing this while hiding behind false identities and multiple aliases.

    Considering the work I do to advocate for Lasik patients and the nonprofit patient advocacy I founded, their acts seem to have no logic or reason. Even stranger is the fact that these people did not seek our information before surgery and did not use doctors certified by our organization, but you can’t use logic and reason on illogical and unreasonable people.

    The outrageous accusations, manipulations, half-truths, outright lies, false complaints, and attacks on me and others by these anti-Lasik zealots have caused them some serious trouble.

    One recently had the FBI show up at his door investigating an alleged extortion attempt against his former surgeon and had previously been charged with felony use of false identity and resisting arrest.

    Another is being sued in North Carolina Superior Court for publicizing my personal identity including Social Security number on her website. Her employer is investigating how her access to federal secure computer systems was used to publish defamation on the Internet, and she uses so many aliases it is hard to keep up.

    And one has a permanent restraining order against him for threatening Dallas Lasik doctor William Boothe, MD with physical violence, has been sued for defamation, lost, found in contempt of court and sentenced to jail, is in bankruptcy, and I’m personally suing him for defamation and invasion of privacy in California Superior Court where another restraining order has been issued against him.

    USAEyes is a trademark of the Council for Refractive Surgery Quality Assurance ( The use of usaeyes.INFO, usaeyes.BIZ, usaeyes.NET, usaeyes.US, and other use of USAEyes by any other person is not approved by Council for Refractive Surgery Quality Assurance. Arbitration under the authority of the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) found use of the USAEyes trademark inappropriate and ordered the domains usaeyes.INFO, usaeyes.BIZ, usaeyes.NET transferred to the Council for Refractive Surgery Quality Assurance.

    See http://www.usaeyes.INFO

    For those who would like to form their own opinion about the work I do and the organization I founded, visit our website and/or our Lasik Patient Forum.

    Glenn Hagele
    Council for Refractive Surgery Quality Assurance

    I am not a doctor.

  93. C Barker says:

    I’ve seen TV ads of Lasik First in California which charges $299 per eye using microkaratome. I’d sure like to get rid of the glasses I’ve worn for 40 years and can’t afford thousands on it. Anybody have experience with these folks?


  94. marcalans says:

    I know a business office manager at a nursing home who went to LASIK First and they really screwed up her eyes. The microkaratome got stuck half way through the left eye and they had to abort the procedure and seal the partial flap so that they could resume the procedure at a later date. The right eye was undercorrected and she had an enhancement, but she was left with only 250 microns of corneal tissue and she cannot have further treatments in that eye. She is also now at higher risk for ectasia in that eye. She suffers from severe dry eye and had to have all four tear ducts plugged. She also sees halos and starbursts around lights. She was a -9 diopter myope in both eyes before the procedure.

    If you are considering LASIK, my advice is to wait. There are much better technologies on the horizon that will make creation of a flap obsolete (within 3-5 yrs in USA). Creation of a flap is an inherently flawed procedure and should be avoided at all costs. There are a growing number of ophthalmologists, such as Dr. Cynthia Mackay of New York Presbyterian Hospital – Columbia University Medical Center, who are speaking out against LASIK as a routine elective procedure.

  95. Laila says:

    My vision used to be -3.75/-3.25, so I decided to do lasik surgery in 2001 when I was 27yrs. I was so excited and happy about the results, my new vision was 20/20 after the lasik surgery, but, unfortunately after 7 years of perfect vision 20/20, I am now back wearing glasses and my vision now is -1.0/-0.75, although I eat very healthy and take a lot of vitamins!!!

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