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Old July 24, 2012, 01:45 AM   #1
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PRK eye correction and shooting

I have worn glasses for about 25 year now and I'm started to get anoyed by them, especially when qualifying on the M16 with gas mask inserts. I know a few people who have had PRK surgery to correct the're vision most were happy and one after a year says he sees "halos" from light sources. No one I know who has had vision correction surgery are avid shooters.

I am wondering if anyone here in the shooting ocmunity has had the're vision corrected and if you were happy with it. I supose what I am worried about is even though my glasses are an anoyance I am used to it and I know what my vision is like with glasses. It would be nice to buy some shooting glasses without having to have them fit over my normal glasses but would be less than ideal if i ended up with worse close up vision or some kind of complication like that.

I suppose I could have asked this is far fewer words so I"ll just ask plainly again, has anyone here gotten there vission corrected and are you happy with the results? Thanks for any info you guy/gals can give me.
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Old July 24, 2012, 02:37 AM   #2
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I had Lasik surgery about ten years ago and it has been the best money I ever spent on myself. I had a terrible astigmatism. Although my eyes have changed some in the years since the surgery, they have not changed enough that I need to go back to glasses. The most noticeable change I have experienced is with up close vision. I have a hard time reading text if it's closer than a foot from my eyes, but that could just be because I'm 42 years old.

As far as being able to see to shoot, three months ago I qualified on the law enforcement course of fire at the Georgia Police Academy. Ten years ago I would have never been able to do that without glasses.
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Old July 24, 2012, 09:10 AM   #3
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I had "custom wavefront lasik" last fall due to vision and astigmatism...I was around 20/400 before. I never had a huge problem shooting before, but I noticed a definate improvement with the surgery. Things were not quite clear with contacts/glasses before ( alittle fuzziness around the sights/target at times) and now its about as close to perfect as I can hope for. Just my experience.

My qualification scores improved alittle, but the clarity makes shooting a bit easier.

Also, I remember from speaking with my Dr who did the procedure, that there are various options. I was told I was at the high end of the age group to where they corrected both eyes to as close to 20/20 as they could (resulting in 20/20 in one, and 20/15 in the other). Depending on age and other factors you may have different options available to you. I would discuss the various activities you enjoy with your Dr, and discuss the options.

The only thing that lasik did not help... I used to wear extended wear contacts, and over the years I got some small "floaties" in the periphial of my vision. I still have them, and there is nothing I know of to correct for that.

All in all I am happy with the procedure.
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Old July 24, 2012, 11:55 AM   #4
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Thanks for the responses, I'm pretty sure i will be getting the procedure done within the next year but wanted to get some insight from people who enjoy the same hobbies as I do. Thanks again for your input.
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Old July 24, 2012, 12:58 PM   #5
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Glad we could offer help.

When you get it done please let us know your thoughts on how it came out for you. Keep in mind though, if you are say late 30's or early 40's you may also need reading glasses at some point, or at least that is what the Dr advised me.
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Old July 24, 2012, 08:59 PM   #6
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ask your optometrist about shooting specifically. make sure they really understand shooting.

i had lasik to correct nearsightedness. it was several months before i was shooting again at my previous level. for months i could not see the front sight well. my eyesight has stabilized now and i see the front sight well enough.

i can read the eye chart at 20/20 and half of it at 20/15. don't be misled by numbers like that. they are not a complete description of your vision at all.

even though i'm 20/20 i'm getting more farsighted. i can see the target, the front sight, the rear sight a bit. but i can't see the gun sharply when it's down in front of me. i can't see the controls or markings well. i certainly can no longer read fine print.

so now i no longer wear prescription glasses. but i always have two or three pairs of magnifiers/readers with me. driving is fine, but i can't see the radio controls well. and this is "perfect" or better than perfect vision.

- - - - -
consider honestly what kind of shooter you are and what kind of results you want. shooting to qualify is a low-bar, no offense. it's not a that demanding. if you're average and you want to stay average you're probably fine. but's it possible to have a "successful correction" and not be able to perform at the level you're used to.

your age is factor, as was noted above. you're need for middle-aged reading glasses will come even with the surgery. if you're under 40, you might have many years of genuinely perfect vision before you feel it slipping.

Last edited by darkhelmet; July 24, 2012 at 09:06 PM.
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Old July 24, 2012, 09:23 PM   #7
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shooting to qualify is a low-bar, no offense.
No offence taken, was just an example of when wearing glasses is anoying. I am just a few months shy of turning 30 and im sure eventually age may decay my vision. I have heard a couple stories of people getting the procedure and needeing reading glasses after when they did not before the procedure. Maybe I am just being too paranoid about it since I have been wearing glasses since I was 5. Too some its a no brainer to ditch them but to me looking into all angles of getting the pocedure is a must.

I also of course will be talking to my ophthalmologist but wanted to also get input from people who have been on the recieving end of the procedure. Thanks again for everyones input.
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Old July 26, 2012, 09:03 AM   #8
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I was 20/400 before PRK. I had it done in 2003 at age 36. PRK was the only option for USAF aviators at the time. They got me to 20/15 and on a good day, I could hit the 20/10 line. I lost some near vision right away and within 6 years I would need reading glasses to read my checklist under a dim finger-light at night. Oddly, 2 years ago during a flight physical, I passed the near vision test without cheaters and had an unrestricted medical certificate. I still carried cheaters every flight! The last 2 years has seen a fast degradation of my near vision. I can see a computer keyboard well enough but cheaters make it more comfortable. The screen I see fine unaided. I am still 20/20 and 20/15 well rested and hydrated for far vision.

I started shooting again this year and discovered I can not focus sharply on the front site with my right eye. It is much better with my left (dominate) eye but I'm right handed. I was getting OK groups but nothing like I was used to on active duty with the M9. On day at the range, for -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED-s and giggles, I put out 3 rounds with my cheaters and got a dime sized group on the bull out of my Glock 20 at 7 yards. It works for me YMMV. I have no problem shooting effectively with both eyes open on a silhouette. Focus is on the target in that mode anyway.

Would I do it again knowing what I know now? Heck yeah! I might have waited to get Lasik instead though. PRK takes longer to heal and I had some issues in that area. One of my corneas took longer to close than it was supposed to and was very painful. Still if PRK were my only option, I would do it again. I have no halos or other artifacts. Most of my peers I fly with all have cheaters for reading so that may have been unavoidable in any case. Good luck to you and if you decide to do it, post back here with an update or two. I'm sure there are many folks who have the same type questions who just haven't asked!
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Old February 11, 2013, 07:36 PM   #9
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I started shooting again this year and discovered I can not focus sharply on the front site with my right eye.
Bringing up an old thread as it rings true for me. I am in my lower 30s and looking to get Lasik in the next few years but am nervous as the affects it may have on more precision shooting.

OP, did you have the procedure done? How is it going?
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Old February 11, 2013, 08:01 PM   #10
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In the last 25 years I have had Radial Kerotodemy, PRK and Lasik. Having been born a hair from being technically blind and wearing glasses as a child that were almost 1/4" thick I can now say at 59 years old I have 20/20 vision with no astigmatisms.
If at all possible go for Lasik first. The down time is much shorter due to the corneal flap which is repositioned after the second laser does the contouring of the eye and covers the work performed.
With PRK a corneal flap is not made and the upper layer of corneal cells are physically "brushed off" the eye. The regrowth of the cells can take up to 6 weeks for some folks.
Lasik is the preferred method for most folks and is usually only NOT performed if a persons cornea is too thin and may fragment into pieces during the formation of the corneal flap. Folks with thin corneas usually go with PRK.
Both procedures take only a few minutes per eye.
I am thrilled with my results. Read up on everything you can on Lasik and PRK before you make a decision.
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Old February 11, 2013, 10:27 PM   #11
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I got lasik about 6 yrs ago and its the best thing I have ever done. I'd say do it. Its so nice not having to deal with glasses.
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