LASIK for a particular situation - thoughts?

I’m nearsighted. I’ve worn glasses for the past 40+ years. I’ve never had any wish to have Lasik (eye correction surgery). Not for cosmetic reasons, certainly. I mean, why cut a perfectly good eyeball when glasses work just fine and involve zero risk whatsoever. And with my eyes changing every year, and presbyopia hitting, I’d still need glasses (contacts have been miserable every time I’ve tried them).

Begin TL / DR (questions later):

Then presbyopia happened.

Obvious solution: progressive lenses. Only, simply putting them on = instant headache. Every single time I’ve tried them, this has happened. Sometimes the misery has been such it seems the the only rational thing to do is snatch them off my face, throw them to the ground, and jump up and down on them screaming in rage. So far, I’ve simply returned them and had them remade. The optician’s theory is that part of this is because my eyes have such radically different prescriptions (2 full diopters between left and right).

For a while I got by with 2 pairs of glasses: one for distance (driving), one for reading / computer. Both single vision. Then they suggested I try a compromise on the progressives: room-distance. So I can see across the room, and see to read. This, oddly, seemed to work pretty well for a few years, presumably because the difference between top and bottom isn’t so great.

Until this year: The reading portion of last year’s progressives isn’t working any more so they sorted that out - and now the room-distance progressives aren’t cutting it any more. So I’m looking at just reading / computer in the progressives, and distance for everything else. So much for wearing the same pair of glasses all day and the distance ones just for driving / movies.


So the optician has several times mentioned that if my eyes weren’t so different, it might not be so difficult to get the progressives working, and (almost jokingly) that if I were to get them evened up with Lasik, that might make glasses-buying easier.

They’re actually have an information / consult session with a Lasik practitioner, in a couple of weeks (I go to an optometry practice); it’s the same surgeon who has done the eyes of at least two of the staff there including one of the optometrists. So I signed up.

OK, the questions:
Has anyone else ever had this kind of thing happen (very different scrips, causing problems with using progressive lenses)?
[li]Have you been advised that Lasik might help?[/li][li]Did you try it?[/li][li]Did it work?[/li][/ul]

For anyone with nearsightedness and presbyopia, who has had Lasik, what correction did you go for?
[li]reading (with glasses for distance)? [/li][li]distance (with glasses for reading? [/li][li]One eye for each? (this one horrifies me, I keep thinking it’d be like the progressive-lens headaches, but with NO WAY TO FIX IT).[/li][/ul]

If you’ve had Lasik and hated it, why? (aside from complications, that is).

Any chance I might be able to get insurance to kick in for some of this, since it’s not being done for cosmetic purposes?

I wonder if old-fashioned bifocals would have the same effect on you. The ones I’ve seen lately don’t have such an obvious line on the reader portion as I remember from the old days.

One thing to keep in mind with Lasik is that the distance correction will make your presbyobia much worse. I prefer to use straight reading glasses when I read in the evening, and I can’t even buy them off the shelf anymore after corrective eye surgery, my correction is so strong: +5 magnification. My sister who is 5 years older than I am only uses +2. Just be aware of that going in so it won’t be such a shock afterward.

Maybe a stupid question but why not try to replicate the one eye for distance, one eye for reading with glasses? it’s a cheap (and reversible) way to try it out, and if you like it you could get the lasik and be able to go without glasses.

My husbands second round of lasik he had this done and it’s been awesome. Took him a week or so to get used to the depth perception issues but being able to see both up close and at distance with no glasses has been great for him.

needs coffee, the optometrist actually briefly mentioned “real” bifocals though I don’t know that he thought they’d really be that much better. It’s definitely something to consider.

DvorJaques, as I understand it, they actually do make you try that out beforehand, either with glasses or contact lenses. A colleague of mine went that route and is pleased, but “glasses-free” isn’t especially a goal of mine so I doubt I’d bother. The depth perception problems Moonlitherial mentioned were something I hadn’t thought of but that’s another reason for me to not go that way - I’m clumsy enough (life-threateningly so) and don’t need anything else making me more so.

I’ve had a somewhat similar situation. I had Radial Keratotomy (sp?) done back when it was one guy with a steady hand and a sharp knife (hold real still now!).

The upshot is that 25 years later, the scars from that surgery, combined with presbyopia made it really difficult to sort out glasses that worked. The opthalmologist wanted to use the lasik laser to remove the scar tissue left over from the RK. Their plan was to correct the vision, as long as they were “in” there. The HMO actually agreed to cover the cost as it was medically necessary.

After discussing it at length with my doc and trying to extrapolate the dry eye problems I already had, I decided to forego it and just figure out a glasses combo that was workable. It seems that every time you cut someone’s cornea it somehow reduces the eye’s ability to signal for more moisture. At least I think that’s how it works (hopefully some experts will be along to clarify this)

After trying a lot of combos, I eventually settled on traditional bifocals. The progressive kind actually have a very small area in the lower section for close-up work. Trying to “aim” thru this was giving me some serious headaches. IIRC progressive glasses had a weird, almost teardrop shaped region that actually focused. The outer 2/3s really didn’t do anything (at least close-up wise).

My advice? Try out traditional bifocals before you go for the surgery. They are much easier to use for reading than the progressive lenses since the entire span can be looked thru. I keep some “computer” glasses at work, and wear my bifocals for everything else. The only place they are a problem is extended computer work (neck hurts from raising head to bring focus), hence the separate computer pair.

Again, I yield to the experts, but I believe you’ll find that there are a lot of people with dry eye problems following eye surgery. And these are likely to get worse as you age.

Best of luck.

On edit: This occurred about 5 years ago.

I actually had an introductory consult with the Lasik people tonight (the clinic that works with our optometrists’ office; the consult was actually at the optometry office).

On first glance, I appear to be a decent candidate for the procedure. My prescriptions aren’t too extreme, my corneas are thick enough that the one doctor quipped “you could share” (this was something we knew already - it makes my glaucoma screenings send up red flags until they look at the whole picture).

I am not even 20% certain I’ll go through with it, but it does no harm to do the next step of screening.

They were all saying that they typically correct for distance since that doesn’t change much, but I’d still need reading glasses. Which would be fine; I’m not doing this for appearance purposes. All else being equal, I’d actually rather have reading distance correction and wear glasses for distances, but with the reading correction changing every year that’s not the best idea.

Before I go any further I’ll discuss it with the opthalmologist, and that’s a couple months away. She may say “um not just no but HELL no”. And there’s the matter of not having 5 grand stuck under the mattress.

pullin, thanks for mentioning the bifocals; that was another suggestion the optician had made. I don’t know if that would be helpful, but I should try it at some point before proceeding. My husband tried bifocals (after failing with progressives) and found they didn’t help, but my eyes are quite different from his.

I tried my 3rd pair of glasses for the year (as in, they made them, they were awful, and now they’ve redone the lenses twice). This pair is designed for the computer. Only, the computer portion requires me to hold the laptop about a foot above my desk (makes it kinda hard to type!), or bend my neck so my chin is on my chest and look through the very top edge. So I think I’ll need to have them remade a THIRD time, dammit :(.

So, by the time I got over for the consult this evening, I was pissed and ready to do something. Ugh.

They probably already talked about this, but I know of two women in the 50+ range that got lasik and had problems. Unfortunately, both women had both eyes done at the same time, so they were really screwed. Both of these were in the 2006-2007 time frame, so maybe the technology has changed since then.

One woman had what she called a star burst effect driving at night with any lights (including head lights) and it was bad enough that she couldn’t drive at night. I don’t think she’s ever gotten that corrected.

The other woman got a bad job somehow and it left her blurry in one eye and very blurry in the other eye. I never understood what happened medically, but her original treatment was by the son of the practice owner who was probably just starting out. It took a couple more trips (and they had to be spaced at least so many weeks apart) to get back to semi normal vision. Obviously, the dad did all the follow up work, but he actually billed her for it.

So, also make sure that you research your specific doctor (and don’t let an underling be slotted in at the last minute).