Lasik - tell me your experiences

So - I’ve scheduled my appointment to have Lasik done - I’ve been aggervated by my glasses and eyes for a while now and have decided to give this a go -

Curious about more real world experiences from strangers - mostly recovery time - realistic expecations, etc - trying to make sure I’m not setting myself up with unrealistic expectations.

I had mine done some 18 years ago.

  • Procedure. Quite literally in and out in 20 minutes. Of which about 10 was waiting for the local to settle in. A pretty strange experience, but no pain, no discomfort. A little stressful trying to do as instructed with no “vision”. But if you just relax, it will be fine (I realize easier said than done, but just go with what they doc tells you). You definitely need someone to drive you home. Aside from your eyes/vision being whacky, you will be wearing these cheap goggles to keep you from rubbing/touching your eyes. Got home, took the vicodin, and crashed.
  • Follow up on the next morning. Still with crappy goggles, I could already see/tell a difference. I could see things in focus that I could not see without my glasses. Goggles still not the best, but felt comfortable enough to drive myself to the “next morning” appointment (better to have someone drive you if possible). Once they took the goggles off and looked at the results, I could definitely see the improvement ! So amazing. Even in the dimly lit office, I could clearly see items on the table across the room ! Unbelievable !
  • Going back to work (day +2). Driving no problem (biggest problem was needing to get non-prescription sunglasses - should have thought about that before the procedure). But I notice that working on my monitor was challenging. It seems the “focal point” was different/changing. Not so bad that I could not function, but needed larger font and also had to take breaks. Putting the required drops on schedule started out problematic (kept missing my eyes), but eventually got better at it. Notice the definite “halo” effect with night driving. But also recognize that this occurs when my pupils are dilated. So to reduce the effect, I would look at a light to get my pupils to constrict.
  • Over the next 3 months, the close range (computer monitor) vision issue would continue. Worse in the mornings, but then better after lunch. I was told this was due to fluid build up as I slept, and this fluid changed the focus point of my eyes. So as the day wore on, and gravity drained the excess fluid so the focus would improve. This steadily improved with the amount of time of focus issue getting shorter and shorter. Halos are still occurring, but I get used to dealing with them.
  • About 6 months after, my eyes have settled out. No more morning focus issues with the computer monitor. Halos still occur, but are no longer really an issue. Don’t really notice them as much. Most difficulty is in shedding old glasses habits: reaching to remove them when I 1) wash my face, 2) go to bed, etc…

From there it has been mostly just appreciating how not having glasses has improved life. No more fogging or sweat dripping when working out or hiking. No need for prescription dive mask for scuba diving. Freedom to get any sunglasses I feel like. (It’s the little things). Also getting used to people getting used to me not wearing glasses - it’s like it had become part of my “identity” or something. But they get over it.

Feel free to ask any specific questions.

I’ve never had lasik. But I saw this video, which was posted last week, where a woman described her experience with lasik.

I posted a detailed account of my surgery a few months after I had it done. That was about 11 years ago now, and I’m still pleased with the results. I’ve recently felt the need for reading glasses for very small print, but that’s pretty normal for my age. My vision is still vastly better than it was before the surgery, and I’ve never noticed any side effects.

I posted about mine back in Y2K. Thread: Gettin’ my eyes lasered….

I had mine done ~15 years ago. Any blurriness cleared up within a few days. The reason I did it was I was starting to need reading glasses. I did not want to have to mess with both readers and distance correction. I was wearing contacts at the time.

I recently had a cataract in my left eye. They put in an IOL that is multi-focal. To balance that eye, I wear one contact in my right eye that is also multi-focal. Real game changer. Don’t need reading glasses now either, just the one contact (which I can get away with not wearing if need be).

Has anybody had it done fairly recently? I tend to believe advances have been made in the last decade or so, and I am also considering having it done.

I had it done about 15 years ago in order to change careers, wearing glasses never really bothered me. Although it sounds like you’ve already booked the operation the main thing I would say is do not go for the cheap option, its your eyesight we’re talking about after all. I ‘shopped around’ for a bit and choose a surgeon who was charging about £2000 per eye but it was worth every penny.

The operation itself isn’t painful but it is unpleasant, the worst part I found was when they ‘peel back’ the cover of the eye to get to the lens and your sight goes all blurry. You can also smell the burning ‘flesh’ as the laser is used, which is a little disconcerting.

Personally the most difficult part I found was not rubbing my eyes afterwards, I had something of a habit of doing that and I had to break it. I was told not to expect miracles but I went from very poor short-sighted vision to better than 20/20 and on my most recent check-up I was informed that there has been no change in one eye and very slight worsening in the other.

Good luck! Best money I ever spent :slight_smile:

Thanks everyone - keep the experiences coming - I have yet to hear of a truly ‘bad’ experience with lasik - not sure I want to either :wink:

My vision is pretty bad(near-sighted). How much is it to get it done?

My procedure is costing about 4k - after the ‘favored provider’ discount from my insurer.

I had it years ago, in the late 80’s or early 90’s. Best thing I ever bought myself.

A few things that seldom are mentioned -

The smell. Burning eyes don’t smell good. They had good ventilation, and it wasn’t a strong smell, and it didn’t last long, but it surprised me.

Everything got close. Real close. Correction for nearsighted makes things small. After LASIK, things looked bigger, therefore closer. This includes the ground, and stairs. The easiest way to climb the stairs at home were to shut my eyes. This lasted maybe a day and a half.

Along the same line, the wind on my face. I couldn’t wear contacts, so being outside in the weather, without eye protection, for the first few days, felt strange.

I lost my superpower. Being nearsighted I was able to focuse on close objects. It was like having built in magnifying glasses. I could see small details because I could hold them so close to my eyes. For years now, I’ve needed reading glasses, and used to be able to not need glasses to read. I would probably not need readers if I didn’t have LASIK. It’s still worth it.

I had it recently!! Less than a year ago!! (Dec. 30, 2017)

And I had the worst experience of anyone that I’ve talked to about it. Now that I’m all healed up, I do love not having to worry about wearing contacts. However, the people I talked to acted like it was this unequivocally positive experience, and I wish I had been more prepared for the many pitfalls that come with it. The pitfalls, as best I can recall, are as follows:

(1) Needing to wear glasses for a long time. I had thought I only needed to start wearing glasses ten days before the surgery, but they had me wear glasses for a solid month beforehand. The earliest they could schedule me for was a month out, but they said I needed to stop wearing contacts NOW. When I questioned them about if I really needed to start wearing glasses this early, they got pretty testy and said “If your eyeballs are not the right shape then your entire operation has to be canceled. Do you want that to happen?”

(2) The cost and how to pay for it. Even if your medical insurance covers LASIK in some form, you’d still need to find a center that accepts insurance, as many places don’t. And it costs around $5,000.

(3) The medications and how to pay for them. I needed to fill prescriptions for some eye drops to help my eyes from getting too dry after the surgery. These medications were not covered by insurance, and the doctor mentioned something about a rebate online but couldn’t give me specifics, and I had trouble finding rebates on my own.

(4) Actually finding these medications. A lot of pharmacies in the area didn’t even carry the medications I was looking for, so I had to call a few different places beforehand before I found a pharmacy that had the medications I needed.

(5) The sedative they give you. They gave me Valium, I think. And I had a bad reaction to it. Valium can cause anxiety in a small portion of the people who take it. It was my first taking Valium, and I got very anxious. It made my body sluggish and slow to react, and that terrified me because I kept imagining that there would be a fire in the building, or a bomb, or something else scary and everyone would scatter and I would be incapacitated and killed. I remember sitting in the waiting room crying and repeatedly telling my husband that if anything happened, I needed him to help me.

(6) The procedure. I had thought I’d be just relaxed and let them do whatever. Maybe I would have been if I had reacted normally to the Valium. Instead, this guy kept coming at my eye with a sharp tool, and I would wince, and he would lecture me about how I have to hold still. (They put a suction cup on your eyeball, which props your eyelid open, but it doesn’t completely freeze all your muscles so you can still wince.) I felt like telling him to see how still he holds when someone tries to stab his eyeball with a sharp object.

(7) Seeing the world wrinkle and then go gray. You’re conscious. You see yourself become temporarily blinded. It’s a bit scary.

(8) The pain afterwards. The pain is short-lived, but it’s there. I got my procedure done in the morning, and I was in some good pain for the rest of the day, even though they gave me meds to manage it. Also had nightmares from the Valium.

(9) The sensitivity to light. Short-lived, but for the first few days after surgery, light that normally wouldn’t even register as uncomfortable was blinding.

(10) The dry eyes. This one lasts for a good six weeks or so, but the first few weeks are painful. You need to have eye drops with you everywhere. I forgot to bring them to work one time, and went back home to get them because I couldn’t make it through the day without my eye drops.

(11) The gunk in your eyes. You have a lot of discharge for the first week, but you’re not supposed to rub your eyes or get them wet, so it’s a bit awkward to remove the gunk that gets crusted onto your eyelashes and makes them all spikey. I used a washcloth rinsed in warm water and wrung out very thoroughly.

(12) Not working out. You’re not supposed to sweat until your eyes are healed, so if you’re a workout junkie like I am this is almost enough to make you reconsider the entire procedure.

(13) Not wearing makeup. Eye makeup is definitely out, but since you’re not supposed to wash your face or use lotions the first week, most makeup on the face is out, since it’d be hard to remove without getting water or soap near your eyes. I started a new job wearing nothing but lipstick, since that was the only thing I felt safe applying and removing.

(14) No moisturizer. I got the procedure in the winter, and I wasn’t supposed to moisturize around my face for the first few days after surgery, so my skin got uncomfortably dry.

(15) Sleeping with goggles on. I forget how long you had to do that for, maybe the first three nights or something? Certainly wasn’t comfortable.

(16) Even though it’s minor surgery, it still does feel like surgery, in the sense that you do need more sleep than usual while your body recovers, so you don’t want to plan too much for the next few days after the surgery.

Personally, I would not do lasik again if I had a choice.

15 years on, I’m getting both more nearsighted and farsighted. I’ll be in glasses the rest of my life anyway.

My eyes are much more dry and irritable than they used to be. In fact - I don’t know how this happened - but my eyes became seriously allergic to my cat after lasik. I’m talking, if I touch the cat and then touch my eyeball, it itches intensely for an hour and a big visible swelling appears.

Immediately after the surgery I got lots of stars, halos, and changes in vision. I was worried it would be like that forever, but over 2 years it evened out.

So, in summary, it was a very mixed experience for me and I probably wouldn’t do it again.

I got mine done almost 12 years ago. Posted about it at the time:

I’m still 20/20 in both eyes and don’t need reading glasses. I do go to an optometrist every other year since my family has a history of Glacoma - but things are still good.

I have absolutely no regrets and would do it again. In my situation, my eyes had become very sensitive from wearing contacts - to the point where my options were glasses or Lasik.

I react poorly to most sedatives, too. I just didn’t take a sedative; it’s not necessary for the procedure. If I’d taken one, I might have felt less silly about the teddy bear a nurse dropped on me during the “rest” period, but I wasn’t about to chance being jumpy during surgery that required my active cooperation.

My sympathies on the rough time you had with it. At least now you know that Valium causes you that kind of issue.

Thank you! It’s nice to have someone to commiserate with.

might do it myself but my one worry is what if something goes wrong? I know it’s a safe procedure that is not new but nothing is perfect.

I’ll be paying attention to this thread. I’ve been considering lasik recently, but I also recently read an article about all the people who have had their eyes ruined by the procedure. People with debilitating pain for the rest of their lives, blurry vision for years, unable to drive at night anymore, and so on…

Your eyes are so vital for daily functioning - and as an artist, my eyes and my hands are both instrumental to doing my work. I can’t really chance either of them being destroyed. I considered, for that reason, getting lasik done on just one of my eyes because one is clearly worse than the other, and I’m already used to the mismatch in ability. I currently don’t have glasses or contacts, but my eyes have definitely gotten worse in the last year that it’ll no longer be an option to go without, at least for driving. But that way, if Lasik turns out bad, it would only kill the ability of my worse eye. But what about the dry eye issue? I get migraines (or some kind of severe headache) that already feels like an ice pick being driven through my bad eye. I can’t imagine having more eye pain or even unending eye pain.

The article brought up the fact that so many optometrists that advocate for lasik wear glasses and therefore haven’t done the procedure themselves. But I have also heard that a good lasik center will turn down up to 60% of people inquiring about the procedure because their eyes aren’t conducive to it (i.e. it won’t help much, at a chance of it hurting them instead). That might answer the optometrist thing, except I’ve heard the excuse that optometrists simply aren’t willing to take the 5% chance or so that they’ll have dry eye pain or other serious issues for the rest of their life. If the experts in the field won’t even do it to themselves…

Overall, I’m very much on the fence. I’ll be seeing an optometrist in January, and will ask what they think then (I’d never take just one opinion, but I do want to know AN opinion). I really hate the idea of glasses or contacts that are needed daily/all the time if I can put it off until normal eye degeneration in old age. But I don’t know if I can chance having any issues, either. I guess the answer in case of that should always be, “never get optional surgery” but I really hate the idea of glasses that much.

There are definitely criteria that will cause a good surgeon to turn you down. During my initial evaluation, mine said that I was right on the edge of patients he would consider doing the surgery on because of the size of my pupils. (Apparently, I have freakishly oversized pupils that almost dilate past the area of lens the laser could work on.)