Tell me your LASIK stories.

I’m thinking about it. Have yet to go to the eye Dr. to see if I’m a good candidate.

I’m 47. My eyes are quite bad, I wear contacts. I’ve worn either contacts or glasses since 3rd grade. As I age, I’m finding that I need those cheopo reading glasses for up close.

Now I don’t believe that LASIK will necessarily cure that (unless I get different focus for each eye [don’t think I want that]). But, having contacts and reading glasses is a bit of a pain.

How much did yours cost? Looks like about $2000 (US) an eye. Are you glad you did it?


I had mine done in February 2000 and it cost $3,000 total. Even if my parents hadn’t given it to me as a birthday present, it would’ve been worth every penny. I’d worn corrective lenses for close to three decades and the ease and convenience of waking up in the morning and being able to see clearly and not fumble around in a blur trying to remember where I’d left my glasses or contacts case is wonderful.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I work for an ophthalmology practice that performs LASIK. However, I wouldn’t bullshit you. :slight_smile:

enipla, what you have right now is two separate problems.

First, since you need glasses or contacts for distance vision, you’re myopic (nearsighted). This is a mechanical defect in the eye: basically, the geometry of a myopic eye is such that light (and images) coming through your cornea converge in front of your retina instead of exactly on it. LASIK does a great job of correcting myopia; it reshapes your cornea to compensate for the geometric problem, and most nearsighted people can see great after LASIK.

Second, you’re starting to need reading glasses for close work. This is presbyopia, a result of the natural aging of your eye. It happens to everyone, and it usually becomes noticeable between 45 and 55. What’s happening is that your eye’s natural lens - suspended directly behind your iris in a web of muscle and connective tissue - is growing thicker each year, much like a tree putting on rings. At the same time, the muscles holding the lens, whose job it is to flex and move that lens and allow you to focus, are losing their tone. Eventually, the lens becomes too thick for the muscles to move around, and you lose the ability to focus on near objects. (Incidentally, as the lens grows thicker, it grows more opaque as well. When it gets too opaque to see through, you have cataracts.)

There are LASIK solutions for presbyopia, but they involve trade-offs. The most popular solution is called monovision or blended vision, and you’ve already said you don’t want it. It’s the process where one eye is optimized for close work and the other eye is set up for distance work. It sounds weird (hell, it sounds dizzying), but in a high percentage of people it works well. The brain learns, over the course of a few weeks, which eye is for which, and it sort of shuts out the visual “noise.” Depth perception is never the same as it was before, but blended vision does allow most people to get my without reading glasses or bifocals. Any decent LASIK clinic will allow you to “try on” blended vision - they’ll give you a pair of glasses or contacts to simulate what the procedure will do for you, and you can see if you like it.

I hope that helps a little. I had LASIK myself and it’s one of the greatest feelings of my life, but then again I’m 34 and haven’t had to worry about presbyopia yet. I don’t know what I would do in your case. If you decide you want to at least look into it (pretty much every LASIK clinic offers free initial screenings and consultations), let me know and I’ll give you more specifics on how to pick out a good clinic - there are tons of them out there, in a broad range of prices, and they are not created equal.

My contacts were about a -7.50 diopter, so I was not able to read books except at very close range without glasses or contacts. I had lasik about 6 years ago. My eyes are still a bit dry after the surgery, I wish I could see a little better driving at night, and I feel like my eyesight may have slipped a little (like to 20/22 or something) over the last few years, so I can’t say I’m 100% satisfied.

I can say that I’m 98% satisfied and it was worth every penny. I paid about $3,500 for both eyes. If I had to do it over again, absolutely yes, I’d do it, but it was not a panacea. Close, though.

I’m 47 also, and I had Lasik three years ago. I was nearsighted and had been in glasses or contacts since I was in 6th grade.

I chose to not have one eye corrected for reading and one for distance–as you posted, I can handle reading glasses when I get there, I was just so very tired of needing glasses to even see the floor.

My total bill was about $3500 and was worth every penny. I have 20/20 vision in both eyes, and I also don’t have any of the common side effects you’ll hear about. I was concerned about having issues with dry eyes because I have always had very dry eyes, but they are no drier than they were before the Lasik.

I had a BLAST tossing al the old contact lens stuff and I gave away my glasses frames to friends who wanted them. I didn’t realize how much wearing contacts and glasses had affected me until after they were gone. No more wondering if I needed to pick up additional saline, and for the first time ever I started using eye make-up remover instead of soap and water to take off my eye make-up.

BTW the ick factor was far bigger in my head than it was in real life. It just was not that bad. The discomfort was no worse than wearing a pair of really old lenses (which I used to do a lot), and my vision was actually 20/20 the next morning.

Good luck! I hope you are a good candidate :slight_smile:

I just got LASIK’d about 7 months ago. I absolutley love the results. I now have 20/16 vision with both eyes (which is better than 20/20). I can actually see better than I ever could with contacts since I had a mild astigmatism. Then can now fix that with LASIK too.

I had had glasses since I was 5 yrs old. I got contacts when I was 14. After about 10 yrs in contacts, I just couldn’t find any that were comfortable. I tried all the new contacts and none were comfortable for more than about 6-8 hrs even fresh out of the package.

I was sick of it all so I went and got zapped. The actual procedure was pretty painless. I had to take antibiotics for a couple of days beforehand. Then the day of the procedure, I was given a mild sedative and some sleeping pills. About 15mins later I was in a big recliner and was given a teddy-bear to help relax me.

The surgery part took about 2-3 min per eye. The actual LASER was about 30 secs. When it was all done, I went home and slept for about 4 hrs. I woke up because my eyes were watering badly and I had to blink to let the water out or it would hurt. That lasted for a couple of hours, so I got up and ate supper.

Then I went back to sleep and woke up seeing almost perfectly. Things were a little hazy the first day. My eyes were dry and sensitive for about a week, but it wasn’t too bad. It mostly just felt like I had dirty contacts in. Maintence on my eyes was pretty tedious for 2 wks as well. I had to take antibiotic drops and rewetting drops and anti-inflammatory drops every couple of hours.

This may all seem like a hassle, but it really is worth it! This past summer I got to go wakeboarding and not worry about losing a contact - and I could see the whole time. Camping was so much better. I could wake up in the morning and actually see. I hated wearing glasses, so I would have to get up, find someplace to wash my hands, keep my contacts sanitary, and then maybe find a mirror to put them in. Traveling is so much better as well. Even months after I got my surgery, I would always feel like I was forgetting something when I packed my toiletries because I didn’t have to pack my glasses, glasses case, contact case, rewetting drops, saline, and contact cleaner.

It cost me a total of $3495. I could have gotten it a bit cheaper, but that price included any adjustments that may have come up, all post operative drops, and free check ups for 6 months. Best money I’ve ever spent. I’ve probably spent close to that in eye doctors and contacts/glasses in 23 yrs and would probably spend more than that in my lifetime again if I hadn’t gotten it done.

If you decide to do it, good luck!

Oh, also: when I got my own LASIK procedure, I posted about it here in some detail. Hope that helps too! :slight_smile:

Have you considered bifocal contacts? My mother is in complete love with hers. No reading glasses necessary.

I asked my doctor about LASIK. He suggested that were I to get it, with my large pupils and strong prescription, I should have it done in Canada where regulations on cutting diameter are different. If I were to have it done in the states, he said there was a high risk that I’d have night vision halo difficulty.
Another doctor enthused that I would be a great candidate for a clear lens replacement. Said he, “Of course you’ll need reading glasses for your near vision, but you’ll have great distance vision!” I don’t need reading glasses right now. I’m missing how that would be an improvement.

This is because some people’s pupils can expand to be larger than the operated-upon area. When the edges of the corrected area are inside the radius of the pupil, you get glare and haloes just like you would off a lens with rough edges. Other countries allow LASIK surgeons to work on a larger area, which can minimize the risk of haloes, but which carries more risks of its own.

I got LASIK 4 years ago at the age of 31. My vision prior was absolutely horrible. I was myopic.
I got mine for $895 for both eyes. They were having a two for one deal and my dad got it at the age of 58. He still has reading glasses but is thrilled that he no longer has to have corrective lenses all the time.

The procedure was painless. They offered me a small dose of valium before hand and of course I obliged. :wink: They put numbing drops on your eyes so you feel nothing and the procedure is easy and painless. It was over so quickly! My mom went with me and after it was over and I was walking to an exam room so they could make sure everything was ok before sending me home, I exlcaimed, “I can actually see!” I first got glasses at the age of 9 and had contacts since thae age of 14. It was a beautiful thing to not have any lenses in or on my eyes and to be able to see.

Granted, things are blurry the first day or so due to inflammation but that’s normal. I was given goggles, (they look like ski goggles) to wear and my eyes did water profusely on the way home. They were very light sensitive so I kept my eyes closed. I got home and napped for 4 hours as they suggested. This helps the healing process. I had to keep the goggles on during the nap and the rest of the day and night. My eyes were sensitive that first day after my nap so I kept my lights low and watched t.v. The next day I went in for my follow-up and was seeing 20/30 in each eye. The blurriness was much better and the light sensitivity had subsided a bit too. A week later I was seeing 20/20 and all was great!

I’d do it a hundred times over. I love having my freedom from glasses and contacts.

ETA: I’m still seeing 20/20 today. :cool:

Interesting. I was wondering about that. It’s a bit of a concern because I often drive in the dark in the morning.

Thanks everyone. Wish it wasn’t so expensive. We are still shelling out big bucks trying to get our addition finished.

I forgot to add that I did have the halos around lights at night for about a month after the surgery. That has completely gone away now. If nothing else, you should be able to go and get a free consultation. If your pupils are too big, they’ll rule you out and you won’t have to worry about it.

When I got mine done, they gave me the option of financing. Pretty reasonable rates IIRC, and I think it was no interest for the first 12 months. I had the money saved up, so I didn’t take them up on it, but it’s something to look into.

Oh that reminds me, I did mine with the medical reimbursement fund through work, so the money was pre-tax. You don’t mention when you are considering having it done but next year isn’t THAT far away. Going that route saved me a bit on taxes.

Totally. My clinics right now are inundated with people coming in for free LASIK consultations so that they know how much money to set aside for next year, since you usually have to sign up for it during your open enrollment month.

Rats! I’d hoped someday to get LASIK, but the halo problem has always scared me off. I hated hated hated contacts for this reason, and I wasn’t keen on the idea of sculpting the problem directly and permanently onto my eyes. So, I’ve worn glasses with the hope that someday I’d be able to take advantage of this cool procedure. Guess not anytime soon. Grrr.

A bit? It’s closer to 30 - 40% savings.

When I had mine done about six years ago, I used the clinic’s “Care Credit” zero-percent financing to pay for the procedure upfront, then submitted the reimbursement for me medical spending account. When that came in a couple weeks later, I paid off the Care Credit. Spread out over a whole year’s worth of pre-tax deductions, it cost me something like $75 every two weeks, which wasn’t a whole heck of a lot more than I was paying for contact lenses and the assorted potions they need.

OneCentStamp, I’d be interested in your recommendations. I live in Northern Virginia and I’ve got myopia and presbyopia ( which I plan on using reading glasses for). Price is way down the list of my priorities and I’d need a doctor who can work around my high blood pressure and dry eyes. Thanks, medstar

Lots has already been said here. I’ll just add a quick two cents worth. Lasik Rocks! $4000 total, worth it all. My vision is still 20/15 after 3 years with no side effects.

Well, haloes these days are really a problem only for those with very large pupils, and they measure you before you have the procedure. They were more of a problem a few years ago because earlier excimer lasers used a flat laser beam as opposed to the gaussian beams available today - with a flat beam working on a curved cornea, you had the effect of microscopically tiny prisms being created.

I will only speak for myself here, but I see far better at night now than I did with glasses or contacts. I had a fair amount (about a diopter) of astigmatism, and that tends to make night driving especially difficult. I don’t have haloes myself (though I did for the first two weeks), but even if I did, it would have been worth the trade-off for the increased visual acuity I have now.

Worked great for us.