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Old April 28, 2006, 08:29 PM   #1
tjhands
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Just had my LASIK a few hours ago.....

As a continuation of the previous LASIK thread, I thought I'd update y'all on how well my surgery went.

Bottom line is that I CAN SEE! Even though I was supposed to come straight home and sleep for a few hours afterwards, the first thing I did when I got home was to go through my dry-firing drills for 5 minutes. It went well, and I'm looking forward to "seeing" how things have improved in the morning and the weeks to come. Right now, I'm amazed.

$3600, while perhaps sounding a tad salty, is, in my opinion, well worth it.

"Lieutenant Dan! You got new eyes!"
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Old April 28, 2006, 08:51 PM   #2
Bender711
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$3600 thats a FAL a sig 226 and a ton of ammo right there. lol.
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Old April 28, 2006, 09:32 PM   #3
Dark Wolf
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$3600.00 buys a lot of new toys, but nothing replaces beeing able to see without aid. I would be interested to hear more details about the surgery, if you do not mind.
What did the doctor recomend about shooting? I know that they say you should take several months off if you are a diver, but what about shooting?
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Old April 28, 2006, 09:47 PM   #4
Nathan03
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A guy I used to work with had his done for $4500 with life time updates as needed.

Seems like a hell of a lot of money but if you cant see, it would be worth it.
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Old April 28, 2006, 09:47 PM   #5
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I got my first pair of glasses in first grade, and eventually wound up at -10.5 diopters with a significant astigmatism. I could focus clearly on objects about three inches away from my eyes. I had to put on my glasses to make it to the bathroom and back.

I wept with joy when I stood up from the LASIK machine about five years ago.

My vision was as good as 20/15 for a few months - which was dazzling during the California summertime as the brilliant green leaves rustled in the breeze on distant trees - then finally settled out at 20/20 in one eye and 20/25 in the other, where it remains today.

It was the absolute best $3,000 I ever spent in my entire life. Looking back over the past five years, and looking at the light-warping spectacles gathering dust in the back of my closet, I would have paid $10,000 without hesitation.

The surgery itself isn't bad - they give you a nip of Valium as you're waiting, to take the edge off. The procedure itself is a bit odd - your eyelids are given the Clockwork Orange treatment, but between the Valium and the anesthetic eyedrops, it's all gooood.

The action of the microkeratome that creates the "flap" under which they do the laser correction is basically just a large darkness passing across your field of vision. It was much worse for my wife, watching the video feed in an adjacent room, than it was for me. On the machine they used for me, they had me focus on a red dot while the excimer laser does its work, which was basically just a mild flashing sensation. It was very easy to focus on the dot for the first eye, but more difficult for my right eye for some unknown reason - that could be why it's 20/25 instead of 20/20, I suppose.

When it's all finished, in a matter of minutes, and the little flap is tacked shut with a puff of air, it looks like the room is filled with smoke, and still a bit blurry - but if your myopia is as serious as mine was, and you've had it for as long as I had, even a slightly blurry smoke-filled room where you can actually see the hands on the clock is a glorious, glorious sight to behold, making you want to fall to your knees and sing praises to Basov, Danilychev and Popov.
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Old April 29, 2006, 12:39 AM   #6
woodland
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Got mine done in 2000 for $999.00 for both eyes. I had worn glasses for 12 years. It's one of the best things I have ever done.
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Old April 29, 2006, 08:17 AM   #7
AirForceShooter
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I've been wearing glasses since the 2nd grade. I'm 60 now.
I hate them and now usually wear contacts.
The thought of eye surgery scares the crap out of me.
It's not the money, it's pure fear.

AFS
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Old April 29, 2006, 09:16 AM   #8
Dean C
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AFS, I am with you there. I got smacked just above the eye with a golf ball when I was 11. When the swelling went down, I was pretty farsighted. Can't even wear contacts. The darn things would be so thick I couldn't close my eyes. Anyway, been wearin' "windshields" for the last 46 years and the thought of risking a procedure involving my eyes scares me out of my wits.
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Old April 29, 2006, 09:26 AM   #9
M1911
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Quote:
I got my first pair of glasses in first grade, and eventually wound up at -10.5 diopters with a significant astigmatism.
mvpel, I've got a similar correction - around -10 to -12 diopters. I didn't realize that lasik works at that level of correction. Hmm...

Could I ask where you got it done and which procedure was used?
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Old April 29, 2006, 09:37 AM   #10
garryc
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I had Lasik done last fall, only on my left eye because my right was 20-20. The left was about 20-75. After the surgery I couldn't hi a bull in the A## with a handgun. My left eye is better than my right. Took awhile for my brain to adjust. It's better than ever now, (brains about the same, there may be no cure for that, but the eye is great!!!)
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Old April 29, 2006, 10:45 AM   #11
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My wife had it done 3 or 4 years ago. She's someone that would probably pass out if she saw her own blood, and doesn't take pain well. She said it felt like sand in her eyes for just a little while after, but that it was "uncomfortable", but not painful. We paid $1900 for it then. She said the same thing - she would have paid $10,000 for it. We probably will have saved that much over the next 20 years between contacts, solution, eye doctor visits, etc.
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Old April 29, 2006, 01:38 PM   #12
AirForceShooter
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here's the problem for us older guys that have had glasses forever.
It was pounded into us as kids "don't screw with your eyes"
I can't seem to get past it. my wife has told me to go and do it. My neighbor had it done and swears by it.
I keep thinking of it and then back away.

AFS
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Old April 29, 2006, 03:49 PM   #13
tjhands
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Hi guys. Sorry it's taken me so long to get back on. I've been enjoying my new eyes!

I had to go back this AM to have them checked. I'm 20/15 in one eye and 20/20 in the other. This, despite a slightly blurry halo effect, which is said to wear off as time goes by.
I was -6.09 diopters in one eye beforehand and a little better in the other eye. Pretty bad!

I have to put drops in my eyes for the next week or so; an anti-bacterial and an anti-inflammatory.

The doctor said that I could resume archery immediately, but should hold off on guns for 2 weeks due to the recoil and slight risk of it disallowing the corneal flap to heal properly. I can deal with that. It's raining this weekend anyway.

I had my surgery done at Lasik Select (lasikselectvision.com) in Des Moines. I opted for the best package they had - no microkeratome instrument to cut the flap. They use a laser for that part, too, and map out your specific cornea as opposed to a more generic, one-size-fits-all procedure.

I'm seeing better every hour it seems. My eyes are dry, but the drops help. All in all, I'm VERY happy I did this. I can't say I wasn't nervous, though!
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Old April 29, 2006, 04:20 PM   #14
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Warning

follow the directions from the doc as well as you can.

The sucess of lasik is not based on the surgery, it is based on the follow up care that you have to do.

The way the cornea heals affects alot ! A WHOLE LOT . I had lasik too, its great,

So wear your eye shields at night to sleep

use the drops on time

wear protective eyewear when outdoors for now

remember, now yoru cornea is split in two, and the healing must be slow and steady, otherwise your vision will be messed up.

Dont forget yoru DROPS.
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Old April 29, 2006, 04:21 PM   #15
PinnedAndRecessed
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Before you turn on the mutual admiration switch, you fence sitters might want to peruse this:

http://www.lasikflap.com/forum/

I'm not saying it's (the surgery) not a good thing. But I think I'll wait awhile.
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Old April 29, 2006, 05:03 PM   #16
pickpocket
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Good for you, man! Congratulations and welcome to the club!!

It's no more or less risky than any other medical procedure out there; that's all I have for all the nay-sayers.

Take care of the eyes, don't forget the drops, and MAKE SURE YOU WEAR THE GOGGLES!!!!

They're stupid looking, but if you get ANYTHING in your eyes then the whole thing is pretty much down the tubes.

Nice to hear that you've had such a great outcome
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Old April 29, 2006, 07:42 PM   #17
mvpel
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AirForceShooter and Dean C - just ask them to give you two Valum instead of just one. Or ask for one at the evaluation appointment.

I definitely understand how you feel - the whole concept is queasifying. But it's worth it to bull your way through it.

M1911 - the procedure was done about 5-6 years ago at the Laser Eye Center in San Jose, California near the airport. I still have the t-shirt. It was pretty much standard LASIK with the microkeratome, nothing special or unusual about it.

As I recall, it's the non-LASIK laser surgery, which simply reshapes the outer surface of the cornea, that can't handle the higher levels of myopia.

If I'm remembering correctly I was -10.5 in one eye and -9.5 in the other.

This business of dispensing with the microkeratome is apparently a new development, as is the eye-tracking mechanism. Maybe they've streamlined the FDA approvals a bit. My brother had his surgery done in Canada maybe a year after mine where they had fast-tracked the newer-technology LASIK systems putting them about a generation or two ahead of US machines, and he's been quite happy as well.
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Old April 29, 2006, 07:59 PM   #18
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Glad to hear that the procedure went well for you. I had lasik done last october--it's made a world of difference. Just being able to wake up and see the clock without scrambling for glasses or contacts is well worth the price. You can't shoot what you can't see and no one is going to wait for you to put on your glasses if the unexpected happens.

My vision wasn't that bad--I had -3.5 in both eyes. I'm 20/20 still and have no "nighttime" effects (read: halos, stars, etc.). Keep in mind that while you may experience these things--I've heard that they go away in about three weeks (this is normal, I've been through it as well).

After lasik I also noticed that my shooting improved--my right eye somehow became "more dominant" (if that's possible). Subsequently, my trap scores have also improved--I'm breaking more in the 22/23 out of 25 rather than 19/20.

Last but not least, I was also very anxious and fearful about going "under the knife." I'd sooner lose a limb or anything else before my sight. However, when the FBI academy required you had uncorrected eyesight no worse than 20/400...that's when I manned up and just did it so I could pursue that dream.
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Old April 29, 2006, 08:11 PM   #19
mvpel
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Quote:
Before you turn on the mutual admiration switch, you fence sitters might want to peruse this:

http://www.lasikflap.com/forum/

I'm not saying it's (the surgery) not a good thing. But I think I'll wait awhile.
Pinned, if you're going to let the venting of a grand total of 121 forum participants there, out of the millions of people who have undergone the procedure over the past several years, be a deciding factor for you, that's your loss.

It's true, anyone who blows sunshine up your skirt about the procedure, or throws around cavalier assurances and guarantees is full of it. The fact is, the body is a very complex system and even 99% good outcomes inherently means 1% not-good outcomes.

My wife was disqualified for LASIK because of other health conditions that would adversely affect the healing process in her eyes.

Choosing a reputable, experienced doctor is a key part of this. Research it, don't just pick a name out of the phone book, or shop by price. I could probably have saved a few hundred bucks but I felt confident about the experience and credentials of the doctor handling my procedure, and that he wouldn't just hustle me through the line just to get a paycheck. The preop exam was comprehensive and detailed, involving a fluorocaine examination of the surface of my cornea in addition to the usual corneal mapping.

For me, I was utterly and completely dependent on my glasses, to the point where if they fell off my face to the grass, I had essentially no hope of finding them. I was handicapped by vision that without glasses would have qualified me as legally blind. So the weight of the decision fell heavily on the side of going forward, in spite of the risks.

Risk of halos and glare? I already had halos and glare thanks to my hyper-density high-tech glasses. I could look at a traffic light at night, and by turning my head, shift the glowing red circle so it was hanging in mid-air thanks to the refraction through my lenses. The green circle would shift much less significantly.

Risk of severe complications? A 1% risk, or even a 5% risk, weighed against the every single day severe complications of having -10.5 myopia wasn't hard to balance out.

It's going to be a different calculus for every person. Even though I feel like the supporting character in Luke 18:35, not everyone is going to feel that way, and if your glasses are just a mild annoyance, rather than a debilitating crutch affecting every single aspect of your life - work life, home life, sex life, ___ life - day and night, year after year, then the balance for you is going to be significantly different than it was for me.

I'm not sure I would have gone under the microkeratome for a mere 20/75 in one eye, personally, but that was GarryC's decision.

If you're content to wait, that's certainly your perogative. I waited for years, past the Radial Keratotamy procedure that was popular in the early 90's, and wound up with exceptional LASIK results in 2001 or so.
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Old April 30, 2006, 08:23 AM   #20
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AFS,
I'm like you. Wore glasses for 50 yrs. If I was awake I had to have my glasses on or contacts in. Without either I couldn't get thru a doorway. If I woke up in the middle of the night I had to put on my glasses just to read the clock next to the bed less than 2 ft away. Even my glasses wouldn't fully correct my astigmatism.
My brother had lasik done and his sight was as bad as mine. He went on and on about it. Like you, I was really apprehensive about having anything done to my eyes. Just aren't suppose to screw with them. I finally had enough of getting glasses knocked around and dirt in my eyes with contacts. So a year ago I had lasik. Wish I had it done 50 yrs ago. It was the best money I've ever spent. Before surgery I had asked my wife if she was going to have it done. Her eyes were almost as bad as mine. Nope, no surgery for her. She'd been wearing glasses/contacts for 40 yrs and she said she'd continue to put up with them. 3 months after my surgery she had hers done. Now she wishes she'd have done it sooner.
It's quick, very quick. Takes longer to tell how it's done than to do it. Mine was completely painless. My wife felt some pressure but it didn't hurt, just the sensation.
Suck it up, get it done! You won't be disappointed.
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Old April 30, 2006, 10:52 AM   #21
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I had mine done almost three months ago for 3500 but my wife's work benefits picked up 700 of it, woo hoo! I'm happy with it. No more contacts, no more (broken) glasses.

Use those artificial tears liberally even after the other drops aren't used anymore. Keep them eyes wetted down! Just in case you didn't ask the eye doc about shooting & recoil...You're dry firing for a month minimum, but it's worth it. The recoil may unseat the cornea. My doc was a shooter and we talked all about it. He said even a 223 recoil may unseat the healing cornea. He may have just been saying that to cover his butt but I decided to take his advice to cover my butt! Full healing takes a year or so.

I'm at about 90 days now and shot about 60 rounds of 45/70 yesterday, good to go.

That was the weirdest thing watching your cornea be flipped over.

I was in and out in about 15 minutes. Wish I could make money like that.
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Old April 30, 2006, 08:45 PM   #22
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ISP - have you noticed that you have trouble finding things, even if they're laying out in cluttered plain sight, or only partially concealed by something else?

My theory is that I never developed a strong set of habits and techniques for using my vision to find things. Might be just me, but at least this theory keeps my wife from mocking me too severely when I need her help to find my car keys that are sitting out on a shelf.
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Old April 30, 2006, 09:34 PM   #23
ISP2605
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"ISP - have you noticed that you have trouble finding things, even if they're laying out in cluttered plain sight, or only partially concealed by something else?"

I've always had that problem. I figured it's just part of getting old.
I do know what you mean tho. It must be similiar to those who are deaf, blind, whatever, where when one of the senses is lacking then the body relies on other senses to compensate.
I had halo for a couple of months but it eventually went away. Even the halo I had wasn't bad. Sort of like when contacts needed cleaning.
One of my people had lasik and had complications. She didn't wear the goggles the first night and knocked the flap off by rubbing her eyes that night. They put the flap back and gave her some kind of different drops for a week. She's running good now.
There are risks with any surgery, and lasik is surgery. Even going to the dentist has some risk.
You gave excellent advice about picking a doctor. I have glaucoma in my right eye and beginning in my left. My doc was at first reluctant to do lasik. Other than the glaucoma everything else indicated I was a perfect candidate. I was presistent and he did additional tests which showed that the glaucoma was controllable and wouldn't affect the surgery or outcome. If lasik wasn't an option then the next possibility was PRK. It didn't sound as quick or painfree as lasik but doc said it was actually better for those in heavy contact. He said the military usually does PRK instead of lasik for those involved in heavy ops. He said if I was going to play pro football or go back into the military in some kind of spec ops unit then he'd recommend PRK instead of lasik. Since I've already done 26+ yrs in the military I didn't figure they needed me nor that I'd be running down anytime soon to get back in. And even tho the Bears need all the help they can get, it's not likely they'll be calling. So lasik it was. Before surgery not only could I know see the big E on the chart, I couldn't even see the chart. It was just a light colored blob on the wall with absolutely no hint of letters printed on it. My astigmatism was bad enough that every doorway in my house looked like an archway. Wasn't a straight line anywhere. My vision was so poor that the doc said he probably could have hit me upside the head like a broken TV and it would have improved. A year after surgery, perfect. 20/15 in my left and 20/20 in my right, and no astigmatism. I do need reading glasses. I needed them before surgery. Comes with getting older.
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Old May 1, 2006, 07:29 AM   #24
mvpel
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Quote:
One of my people had lasik and had complications. She didn't wear the goggles the first night and knocked the flap off by rubbing her eyes that night.
I wonder how many people complaining of bad results from LASIK did something intensely stupid like this?

I was also taught "don't screw with your eyes," and while that didn't ultimately dissuade me from getting LASIK, it was what motivated me to be religious about the post-operative drops and carefully protecting my corneas during the healing process.
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Old May 1, 2006, 08:25 AM   #25
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Quote:
I wonder how many people complaining of bad results from LASIK did something intensely stupid like this?
Bingo. My brother-in-law is an opthamologist and 99% of the time when he discusses a complication, the story starts with "I told the patient not to do something, and they did it."
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