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Lasik and PRK

I'm likely a candidate for LASIK surgery if I ever wanted it I've never felt the need. Why let someone cut my eye when wearing glasses and contacts don't bother me? There's too much risk for the upside.

A friend of mine recently had PRK ((Photorefractive Keratectomy)), a procedure that doesn't involve cutting the eye, and I'd even be hesitant to get that. There doesn't seem to be nearly as much downside (just an increase in cost) or risk, but I'm not even certain that a week of recovery time is worth the upside of "no more contacts or glasses."

How do you feel? Have you had either surgery? Are glasses/contacts a big pain to you?

18 Responses to "Lasik and PRK"

  1. It really is all about who your surgeon is. My wife had LASIK performed by a surgeon who has been performing the procedure for over 10 years and is a recognized teaching doctor in the field. It went smoothly, no complications, and my wife was gushing about the results to anybody who wanted to know.

    ...and of coarse, he has a website:

  2. I had PRK surgery about 18 months ago, and have been extremely happy with the results.

    VERY happy never to have to deal with contacts again.

  3. [quote comment="51594"]It really is all about who your surgeon is.[/quote]

    Something tells me it's about a bit more than who the surgeon is, though undoubtedly the surgeon plays a big part. I've heard of people who still see rings of light when driving at night, and from yet more people who, years later, have that flap of their cornea torn off or ripped or dislodged because it hadn't truly healed back to "seamless."

    The rings at night might no longer be an issue, but I doubt differences in surgeons can account for everything dealing with the seamless healing of that flap. Right?

  4. I started wearing glasses at 10 or 11 years old... I got LASIK (Wavefront, custom, yadda yadda) at 30 (four years ago)... It was the best money I ever spent. I had terrible vision (-5.75 with 1 astigmatism in my GOOD eye). Now I see better than anyone I know. It really changes you being able to wake up in the morning and see, and not having to take contacts out at night.

    Recommendation.... Learn all you can about the procedure. The actual procedure takes like 10-15 minutes and is easier (albeit a bit weirder) than getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist. Get checked out by several (3+) local LASIK doctors. It will be the best money you ever spend. Paying a little more for a doctor you feel more confident with is worth it.

    Oh... here's a link to my doc...

  5. The statistical likelihood of the flap coming up is pretty damn low. You and I surely take more probable/deadly risks daily (riding in automobiles [ok I live in NYC, so *I* don't]).

    My father and I consider Lasik the best thing we both ever did for ourselves. My vision is improved much much beyond what I experienced even with contacts. Do it.

    Google around for negative outcome %ages & realize that most negative outcomes aren't the dramatic stories that you talk about.

    I do have some "bloom" at night, but I don't find it problematic.

  6. Glasses don't bother me. I'll stick with them for now. 🙂

  7. I had Lasik surgery 2 years ago and was also the best money I ever spent. Take in account I live in Ecuador and had the surgery done here and it went smoothly, i've never had any complications since.

    Hope you get the surgery, believe me it's worth it. In 1 month you won't even remembered you wore glasses.

  8. I've had LASIK. As far as halos go, wavefront greatly reduces the risk of getting that (doesn't eliminate it). Everyone in my immediate family had it done about 5 years ago (I was just mentioning that fact to a friend a couple days ago). I can't say enough good about having it done. I, like Johnathan Parel, had pretty bad vision (-5.75 in one eye and -5.25 in the other with some serious astigmatism). After wearing glasses for a very long time, and then contacts for almost as long, I love the fact that I don't have to worry about it anymore.

  9. I'm a surgeon. I had LASIK about 11 years ago. I'm not an Ophthalmologist but I find it interesting that PRK is still being done. I thought at the time LASIK was the next generation procedure. Upshot is that I had about 8 years of glasses free time. My correction now however is minimal. I can still drive legally without glasses.

    Bottom line: Once you've had it done you can't possibly believe you waited so long. Like the Nike commercials, Just Do It!

  10. I had LASIK in March of 2006. As I was over 40 I opted for the mono vision option, which would give me one eye "tuned" for distance vision and the other "tuned" for up close work like reading and using a computer.

    The up close eye healed "too strong" in the doctor's words. It had a focal length of roughly 2-8 inches. Beyond that distance it was useless. I wore magnifying reading glasses for 3 months waiting for the eye to heal enough for a second procedure.

    The second procedure also failed to produce the results I wanted, although it did allow me to shed the glasses for the next 18 months.

    I now wear tri-focals. I fear that the surgery has accelerated the natural deterioration of my eyes.

    I would get at least a second opinion, and seriously consider not having the procedure. Losing your vision isn't worth the vanity gain of not wearing glasses or the lack of maintenance by not wearing contacts.

    I've written several postings on my site about my experience, including a submission of my issues to the FDA.

  11. I went with PRK, despite qualifying for lasik, after having two different doctors tell me stories about how 2+ years after having lasik, some people's flaps still hadn't healed and were torn open when the people got knocked in the eye. One of the doctors is a guy who only does prk/lasik out of his office, too. The other doesn't offer lasik b/c of his safety concerns.
    An hour after surgery, my eyes really hurt. I took a 4h nap and woke up with almost no pain. Less than a week later, I was using my computer and driving at night. Two weeks later, I've had very little pain (my eyes have burned a little the past few days), see quite well in my left eye, and see almost as well in my right eye. I have some halos at night, but it's no worse than when I wore my glasses or when my contacts were dry. So far I'm happy!

  12. I generally agree with everything good that people say about LASIK. Simply put if you enjoy outdoor activities, i.e. ocean swimming, biking/motorcyclying, running, etc, you know how difficult life is with contacts and/or glasses and LASIK will make you life better. I had the surgery in Erie and am very happy with the surgeon (believe it or not). Can give you a reference if interested. The "rings" at night are not a big deal (way better than the occasional contact lens flare-up, if you know what I mean). The only thing that seems to be different is that after the surgery I lost what I would call the ability to see things at an extreme close-up that I could when I took off my glasses and for instance wanted to really zoom in on some intricate piece of machinery e.g. the mechanics of a watch. But now it does not bother me so much. I do not know of a single person who had the surgery and wished that they hadn't. Hope this helps

  13. I have worn corrective lenses for 27 years, and I can't stand them. For most of that time, it has been glasses, but I also had contact lenses for a while. I can no longer wear contact lenses (my right eye rejects them) so I am now forced to wear glasses. I hate them and would love to have a corrective procedure, and am a candidate.

    But I just don't have the money for it. And, even if I did, I value my eyesight so much (what little I have - my eyes are 20/400) that I don't know that I would have a procedure done.

  14. Last I really heard about this stuff, you had to get it redone once every few years.

    Surgery scares the bejeezus out of me, so I don't know that I could do this - and yeah, glasses aren't a hassle, really. I think I look better without glasses, but that's probably the case with most people.

  15. I'm 38 and had LASIK performed just almost exactly three years ago and it's true that there was a pretty strong halo or sparkle on bright point sources of light, especially in the red wavelengths common to brake lights on cars. It looked kinda like the way a HeNe laser refracts across crystal or foil.

    That lasted for a while and the severity of the issue followed a bit of a bell curve... shortly after the surgery it wasn't so bad, but then by about 4 months it was strong enough that I didn't like night-driving (it wasn't ever unsafe, it was just annoying and would cause undue eye-strain). It began tapering off after about 6 months and by the end of the first year, it was hardly noticeable.

    Maybe I've gotten completely used to it, but I've made a concerted effort to try and "see" the halo and it's just not there.

    I would call that a temporary (although somewhat long-lasting) side effect and it was something the doc had said might happen.

    But other than that, I've had no other side effects and it's been incredible. I can wear cheap sunglasses. I can fall asleep where I want and not be afraid of leaving my contacts in. I don't have to keep track of my frames (which were ungodly expensive). Wrestling with the kids is way less fraught with peril. I could go on...

    A friend had PRK and he loves his as well. The week of visual downtime is what put me off (I think it'd drive me insane).

    I would do it again in a heartbeat. It has truly been an amazing improvement in QoL.

  16. I had surgery done on my eyes. Whether you get LASIK or PRK depends on your eye, not you.

    I have perfect close in vision, and I need it for my work. I had hit 40, and my eyes weren't going nowhere (your vision changes up until you hit 35 or so).

    But I did not want to carry around reading glasses either.

    My surgeon just did ONE eye. The Left one, my "master eye".

    Now I see just fine... and when I need to look close up, I close my left eye and look at it with my right eye.

    Best decision I ever made.

  17. Great post. PRK actually came before LASIK. LASIK was invented to decrease the pain and slower visual recovery associated with PRK. Recent advancements such as all laser LASIK (Intralase) and Custom or Wavefront LASIK has improved our results. However, in the past few years, PRK has made a comeback. This is because PRK is often a more conservative treatment than LASIK. Some patients who are not candidates for LASIK may be candidates for PRK. It is really best to talk to your surgeon to see what will be the best alternative for you. Good luck.

  18. I had LASIK done in December 2001. I was a bit nearsighted before, and the surgery did a great job. Within a few weeks all the halos and other issues from the surgery were completely gone. Last time I had my eyes checked the doctor said he couldn't even tell that I ever had it done.

    I was warned that the surgery wouldn't stop my eyes from aging normally, and unfortunately, that's starting to happen. "40 year-old eyes" are hitting, and where I was nearsighted before I'm finding it's not as easy to see small print close up as it used to be. Nowhere near the need for glasses again, but still annoying. I'm sure all the knitting and iPhone reading I'm doing doesn't help.