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Old March 26, 2006, 01:59 PM   #1
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Laser surgery & shooting

Several years ago, I had laser surgery for vision correction. I'm sure over the years, the surgery has probably improved. But wanted to share my situation and ask how others that have had the surgery have fared.
My Dr. offered three options. Excellent vision up close, but I'd need glasses for distance. Option two was the opposite, Excellent at distance, lousy up close & needing glasses for that. Or option three a blended correction. One eye not quite perfect for close, and the other not quite perfect for distance. But an overall improvement for both situations. I went option three. It took some time to adjust, and it's much better than when I was wearing glasses. But, some things are not quite right. An example is when I open my gun safe. If I use reading glasses to see the dial, I line the digits up perfectly & the safe opens. If I do it without the glasses, the safe won't open. I've learned that if I position the combo to what appears to be a full digit off ( when not using glasses ), the safe opens. This same problem is magnified at the range. Because the correction was a compromise, the target is never in a clear focus. And I'm always having to adjust to what appears to be an on target aim, but is actually an aim that is off to one side.

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Old March 26, 2006, 02:14 PM   #2
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I think alot of it depends on what your vision was like before you had the procedure. This probably won't help you but for me it didn't really make a difference. I have never had an issue seeing up close. My eyes do tire after reading for a while or sitting infront of a computer but I think that is normal. I have known others in your situation and they opted not to have the surgery. I wouldn't have done had insurance not covered it. I would also have not done it had it not been possible to make it seem like I was "wearing contacts all the time". My night vision has been affected slightly. The halos are annoying sometimes. I generally wear sunglasses when outside for sun protection and wind protection. My left eye is slightly better than my right which can cause a few problems since I am right eye dominant. Well I could ramble on forever about the pro's and con's and my experiences. I'm 99% happy.
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Old March 26, 2006, 04:05 PM   #3
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I had mine done several years ago. I was near-sighted which I was told tends to give one poorer night vision (which I found to be true) so the slight loss due to the surgery wasn't that big of a deal. The halos get old.

I can now still see crisply in both eyes at any distance, like I only could when the contacts were lined up "just so". The ability to wake up and see without putting anything on or in and not having to worry about keeping either kind of lenses clean made the remainder of my military service much easier.

I'm a big fan.
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Old March 27, 2006, 07:35 AM   #4
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I had Laser surgery about 8 years ago to correct nearsightedness. It was a point in my life that I was going to need bifocals. The same options were presented to me. I opted to correct both eyes so I could see clearly at distances. Since I spend a great deal of time outdoors, the surgery has been a godsend. I still have 20/20 vision after 8 years. Reading is another story. In dim light I must wear reading glasses to read 10 pt type. In bright sunlight or florescent light I can read 8 pt type without glasses. Shooting at an indoor range with low lighting it’s difficult to line up the sites on some handguns. The ones with night sights seem to be easier for me to focus on. I have opted for laser sites (CT) on one of my Kimbers and it make a huge difference in accuracy. I hated wearing glasses outdoors and contacts were almost as bad. If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.
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Old March 27, 2006, 01:58 PM   #5
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laser surgery almos made the most talented shooter I know blind. He still is in serious trouble but keeps his (bad) eyesight.
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Old March 27, 2006, 03:48 PM   #6
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Well that's bloody great. I'm getting LASIK done in a month. I'd be lying if I said I'm not worried about being able to shoot as well afterwards.
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Old March 27, 2006, 05:20 PM   #7
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Well that's bloody great. I'm getting LASIK done in a month. I'd be lying if I said I'm not worried about being able to shoot as well afterwords.
TJ, I seriously considered LASIK at one time, and I spent months looking for the best ophthalmologist in the business that did NOT offer LASIK. I wanted a professional, unbiased opinion. After all, it was my sight that was at risk, and short of my life, that's the most precious thing I have.

He was pretty evasive about the risks, but I pinned him down with this question: "Doc, would you have this done on your own kids?" Hesitation, and then "No."

I don't know how old you are, but I suspect you're no kid. Find a damned good doc and have a frank, heart to heart sit-down. It's a serious decision, and there ARE risks. Find out the risks for YOU personally.

As for me, the deciding factor not to have it done was in my age, and the fact that I'll probably have to deal with cataracts in a decade or so.
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Old March 27, 2006, 10:10 PM   #8
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Consider the risks but don't be a prisoner of your fears. It's worked great for 10's of thousands and gets safer and more refined every year.
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Old March 27, 2006, 10:17 PM   #9
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I had LASIK done last year. Yes, the halos do get old, but I had those with contacts so it was nothing new. I'm 24 and very happy. It hasn't altered my shooting for the worse. In fact, it might be better.
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Old March 27, 2006, 10:58 PM   #10
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1000% Unhappy!

It blew out vision in every way - Snellen with glasses is about 20/60, extreme low contrast, massive flare-halos, multiple images, freq epithelial erosions, etc. Ruined a good career and lots of outdoor stuff and travel and reading etc.

You wouldn't believe me if I told you about the dufus doc, but since it's been in the courts for several years and still is, I shouldn't and won't.

Do it if it is what you want but be careful of dufus docs...they're out there and THE SYSTEM as it is really is doesn't weed them out.... at least not until after a few peoples' lives are ruined.
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Old March 28, 2006, 01:27 AM   #11
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That's the kind of thing that makes Old Testament eye-for-an-eye seem like the height of moderation.

Any chance a good doctor can repair it somehow?
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Old March 28, 2006, 03:15 AM   #12
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I agree with some of the above posts that you have to weigh your options carefully. Age, current vision, etc. Also, be sure to find the best doc that you can. I had mine done about 3 years ago now. Overall I am quite happy with mine.

Before I had it done, my vision was pretty horrible. I had astigmatism very bad which complicates the surgery, and my uncorrected vision was 20/400. Which is the big E at the top of the charts I believe. Also, my vision had been in a fairly steady state of decline over the years requiring me to upgrade my prescription every few years. Corrected, I can't recall but it wasn't 20/20, probably 20/40 or so. They told me that I would be very lucky to come out with perfect vision considering my (then) current state. So, I knew that going in. I was also well aware of the risks and horror stories. Ultimately though, I decided to go ahead with the procedure. I was just tired of wearing glasses and still not be able to see that well, and with my astigmatism being so bad, contacts were tricky.

So, I went ahead with it. They told me that they were going to have to laser me longer than normal and that my recovery time would likely be slow. Indeed it was. At the regular post-op check-ups I saw people that had it done the same day as me who were almost fully recovered. Me? It looked to me like I was underwater, everything was horribly blurry and I couldn't focus nor did I have much depth perception. As time went on, I started to really worry. It took me about three weeks to start seeing significant improvement. However, I did. Now, my uncorrected vision is 20/30 out of one eye and 20/35-40 out of the other. Corrected I am 20/20 perhaps even better. I rarely wear glasses now however, as I see better now than I ever did with them before.

I too experience the halos at night, and sometimes they can be annoying, but I knew going in that they were likely and for most part it isn't a big deal to me. I have also invested in several pairs of high quality sunglasses as bright lights can give me headaches. This problem has went away considerably though, and I find myself not wearing the shades as much as I (and everyone really) should anymore. Another problem that I've had which has lessened some over time is that if I go on VERY little sleep (which I'm prone to doing from time to time) that my vision begins to blur. This too is a problem that people generally experience anyway, but especially at first, after the surgery it was more prenounced.

For me, I am happy I did it. I like not having to worry with glasses and having to wear them from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed. Would I do it again? Yes. Will I get a "touch up" if I need it down the road? Probably. However, it is a very, very difficult decision to make. As I am sure you're aware of. Again, my advice to anyone who is considering it is: look at your particular situation and find a doctor you trust to talk it over with. It is a bit of a gamble though no matter what I would say, but the odds are better now than they were in the past with the newer technology.
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Old March 28, 2006, 09:26 AM   #13
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Choose Wisely

I too asked myself many of the questions posted here, but two years ago I chose to have Lasik Surgery. Without a doubt it was a wise choice for me. I see better, drive better (particularly at night), and shoot well. The single most important choice in this matter is your choice of doctor. I paid over twice what I could have had it done for in one of the "Lasik Clinic's", but mine was done by the most reputable ophthalmology group in the region. I also had my eyes "laser mapped " for a more accurate adjustment of the cornea. I am very satisfied with my surgery. The only issue is I have to wear reading glasses. This issue was fully explained to me before my surgery and I opted for the single, long distance vision because my doctor advised it as "better" for shooting. Like most things, you get what you pay for. Don't scrimp on your eyesight, do it right or don't do it.
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Old March 28, 2006, 10:41 AM   #14
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Recall I said you will not believe me.

The doc identified a preexisting contra indication condition which he said was not a problem WHEN I ASKED ABOUT IT!!!!! He did not mention or even know that it was it appears.

That condition precludes another attempt by lasix -- would only make it even worse. No to contacts too--many tries. New Wave technology we thought for a while might improve (not fix) it even tho it would be done 'off line' -- that is done outside the normal parameters for the technology. Bad luck there too - can't do it.

Only option left is bilateral cornea transplants(both eyes) --- scary stuff cuz failure there = being blind.
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Old March 28, 2006, 12:24 PM   #15
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I had mine done about six years ago, and it was one of the best things I have ever done. I did a LOT of looking around and studying and research before doing it. I was near sighted. Not really really bad, but enough to be required to wear glasses for driving, etc. And I could not shoot beyond anything at indoor range worth a darn. Now my vision is 20/15. I have no night vision problems, or halos.

It is a risk, but for me it paid off, and I would do it again. Just do your home work and make sure you look into all the factors.
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Old March 30, 2006, 08:43 PM   #16
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Better Solution to Laser Surgery.

I had been legally blind in my right eye, to the extent that I could not see my hand in front of my face for the then 19 years of my life. My left had degraded over time to the extent where my left was expected to reach the degree of difficulty of my right. By my 20TH BIRTHDAY, I was told I would be for all self-reliant and independant purposes blind . I.E....No driving...No walking across the walking down stairs...basically I was about to become a 20 yr. old Stevie Wonder, without the piano. (Doctor's words, not mine.)

That was until I had a procedure called the Versieye performed...(Yaldo Eye Center) Now one year later I can do everything...although a life time of only using one eye has it's mind never developed the ability to use both now I have to think about it before I can use both...

Long story short: 20/25 vision in both eyes!
Not bad at all considering at the beginning my right didn't even register on the for lack of the correct term "eye scale" and my left was one year from the same fate.

If anyone wants more detailed information, just contact me...I will be more than happy to help.
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Old March 30, 2006, 09:22 PM   #17
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The stories I hear are all over the map. I've heard horror stories and I've heard stories of disbelief. Before I deployed to Iraq, I decided that I wasn't going with contacts or I went to get my eyes fixed!

Personally, I spent over a month with the opthamologist that did my eyes. I went through a battery of tests that determined whether I was a good candidate, what kind of surgery I could have, and a ball-park figure of the eyesight I would have post-surgery.

My mom had gotten Lasik done about 5 years ago and she loved it - with the exception of her decreased night-vision. Halos and star patterns (I forget the technical term) coming off of light sources after dark...headlights, streetlights, etc...

The doc I went to explained that there was a procedure (he called it CustomView) that would help smooth out the imperfections in my eye that caused halos and stars. This was done in addition to the Lasik procedure and required that I took even more tests. They took like a hundred pictures of my eyes to determine whether I was even a candidate for the customeview procedure, and once that was established they used the crazy computers they have to create a 3-D view of my eyes to feed the laser computer for surgery.

The doc gave me the standard "risks" talk, but didn't hesitate when I asked him if he would put his friends or family through that helped. They told me that I'd be lucky if I got 20/20, but that was much better than I off we went.

The surgery was quick and painless...and for you wierdos out there (like me) who always want to watch what's going on....well you see the whole show.

I went in and couldn't see...and by the time I stood up 5 minutes later I could see. The doc said to sleep it off the rest of the day to give the incisions in my eyes time to seal back I slept.

For my one day checkup I was sitting at around 20/20 - SWEET! At my one week checkup I was at 20/15 - even SWEETER!
The awesome part is that by my one month checkup - I was 20/10!!!! And that's where I've been for two years. It was - by FAR - the best money I've ever spent. Oh, and I have minimal halos and zero star patterns at night. The extra procedure cost about $500, but was totally worth it.

This guy's in Houston, so won't be much use to many of you - but he's AWESOME. And, the website has tons of useful info.

He does military at cost, even better! Every little bit helps!
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Old March 31, 2006, 05:41 PM   #18
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I've very recently had my surgery. A little under 2 months ago. So far my vision is 20/16 or better. I go back for another eye check up next week and hopefully everything is still good then.

I did however do research for about a year and finally decided on a doctor. Picking a doctor is probably the most important part of deciding. You don't want to get the walmart special for your eyes. The doctor I went to was one of the top docs in the country and as a result I'm extremley happy with my better than 20/20 vision. LASIK may not be for everyone, but it's awesome that i no longer have to rely on contacts to see. I love it.
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Old April 2, 2006, 02:32 AM   #19
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best thing i ever did.

I did for a selfish reason. My wife hated to be with me when i was wearing glasses. But without I could not see her even when she was just a foot or two away... glasses get hooked in her long hair etc. anyway. I did it for that. BUT i did some major research. I went to three docs and asked them. then I called in some favors and asked some people who were involved with pro sports teams who did the eyes of they players. Found out a guy near me had done something like 240 pro ballplayers, seeral pro tour golfers and some others. Went to see him, three visits of tests, and then he said yup you will do nicely.

third day post op i was tested at 20/15 and got about half way thru the 20 10 line. prior to that I had been a 7.5/9.0 diopter correction. the Big E on the wall was just a lighter grey square. never mind the E i just saw the light.

now four years post, i have receded a little to needed readers to correct a little astigmatism that has crept back but only for low light or fine type situations. i can read the newspaper on the kitchen table in daylight just fine. At night i have a pair of glasses for driving that just correct the astigmatism and really cut down on the glare. this really kills all the halos.

The biggest one is research. see how many cases the doc has. what is his complication rate. A good one will tell you up front they are proud of that number. If you live in a university town or a pro sports town, ask the medical director of the sport for a recommendation. MAKE SURE HE IS BOARD CERTIFIED.

Do not buy on price. mine cost double what the going rate seemed to be, but itwas all up, no cost for followups ever. I paid more but I got a good job. My daughter had it done, same guy did hers, no contacts, no glasses, can see the pixels on the tv Doc says she is now 20/5 says that will recede a bit as she matures, but she went from hitting .240 in high school softball to hitting .375 I think the sight makes it better

for the first time ever i get to see my wife at night, (and yes that is a good thing) I can walk to the door at night and not fumble for glasses.

I have not missed a deer since the operation with fogged up lenses.
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Old April 2, 2006, 06:57 AM   #20
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The Army is providing laser vision correction to Soldiers now, completely free of charge. I've know at least 8 Soldiers who've had it, they ranged from moderately bad to one Lieutenant with cokebottle glasses.

In those cases where a choice has to be made, like the orig poster, the Army opts for distance vision, but I've only known one guy... LT Cokebottle, who's eyes were so bad they had to do that.

Every single Soldier said that the surgery was the best thing ever. After 3-5 days in quarters for their eyes to recover every single one said that there was vast improvement.

It's kinda funny because a few yearfs ago the military wouldn't take people who had LASIK, now they're beating the bushes to find people who need it. Iraq and Afghanistan are tough on glasses, and contacts are impossible.
I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told, and I win where I fight."

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Old April 4, 2006, 01:13 AM   #21
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my experiences

well im 27.5 years old and i had the surgery 7.5 years ago on my 20th birthday. that was my 3000$ bday present to myself not long after lasik came out. i have nothing but great things to say about it, best 3k i ever spent. that doesnt mean my eyes wont fall out when im 50 but for now im happy with the outcome.

now i know how the guys in iraq feel with the sand and all, at the time and up until a few months ago, i worked in a very dirty, dusty place where contacts were not an option. and working outdoors in and out with foggy glasses wasnt much fun during the winter months and all so i bit the bullet, so to speak. that and i just wanted to wear sunglasses.

as far as my condition, i couldnt see far away, but it had gotten so bad to the piont where i couldnt read a book without the glasses. i think i was offically blind as a bat lol. the day after the surgery got me to somewhere around 20/35 20/40, i believe. i honestly dont know cause i havent gone to an eye doctor since then. my eyesite hasnt changed much in those 7.5 years yet that i can tell. so far so good. i have my days when my vision is a bit blurry but that has to do more with fatique than anything else. when i drive at night i can stare dead into most vehicles headlights on bright and not even squint. i dont know why, it wasnt like that before, so it must be the surgery. NOW the only bad thing i can say about how my eye sight ended up is a VERY VERY SUPER SENSITIVITY TO SUNLIGHT. the sun blinds me almost all times of day, im constantly looking for some shade to protect them if i dont have my glasses on me. other than that no halos or scratches or otherwise that really bother me, i dont go out of my way looking for them either.

as far as shooting goes, i dont have any problems that i know of. im still new to shooting so that may change, but i can see the sites and focus on the target, im happy lol. and if i cant my new crimson trace grips will take care of that problem too lol

now to sum up, i think everyone that can afford it (and has the right vision problems to fix) should have the surgery. it could have only gotten better in the last 7 years. i think the biggest thing is finding the right doctor to do it.

thats about all i can remember and think of to say at the moment, ill edit if anything more pops into my head...

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Old April 4, 2006, 10:00 AM   #22
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Riverkeeper, Capt Charlie
I don't know when the incidents you describe occurred, but it is my understanding that A LOT has changed in recent years.

My mother was born legally blind. About a year ago, my dad and I treated her to LASIK surgery. It came highly recommended by people in our church and doctors (I live in Houston, we have some of the best Doctors in the world...and, if I remember right, that is especially true of eye doctors). We were told and shown (video) how the quality had improved and this risks diminished from 10-15 years ago. The technology used to be used only by astronauts in space 20-30 years ago. Among the testimony was former astronaut (I can't remember which one) used the same technology that he and others used to repair his vision. Local radio host Dan Patrick also personally testified to the quality of his vision. A number of other local Texas people personally testified to the quality of LASIK. Granted it sounds like a commercial coming from what some might call "celebrities" but still, they are well known people who have walked away from it and can see clearly.
The risks in part do depend on your condition, but they give you a thorough examination to determine what they are and if they can help you.
It takes only seconds to complete the surgury (they don't have to put you under either) with about a day or so of recovery for your eyes.
By the blessing of God, my mother can see clearly for the first time in her life without the use of glasses. The only thing she needs glasses for is reading (she is over 40). She did have some issues after the surgery with her vision being a tad blurred in one eye, but this was resolved upon some adustment.
I am seriously considering doing it myself in a year or so.
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Old April 5, 2006, 08:37 PM   #23
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One of the lucky ones

I guess I'm one of the lucky ones - I had my laser surgery done in 1991 in the FDA case study program to get this procedure approved. I had a lot of the problems listed earlier; vision was 20/450 at age 21 and only getting worse. I was having a lot of problems with eyeglasses and contacts also, and was constantly worried about losing contacts under water when I would scuba dive.

My opthamologist in Kentucky referred me into the program, and they carefully explained the risks. I did realize that they could possibly destroy my corneas, and I would have to have a transplant. Luckily, none of that happened - and I got the proceedure for free.

That's not to say it was a cake walk. These days, they tell me the proceedure is pretty pain-free. Back then, they were giving people injections, almost like epidurals, behind the eye. Then, they figured out the after effects of the injection were worse than using a more simple pain blocker. Live and learn, I guess. And they didn't have things down to an exact science. In total, I have had the surgery five times in an 18-month period (three on the right eye, two on the left). They were pretty conservative in how much they "shaved" off each time, but it ended up in a pretty good job.

Bottom line is that things worked out great. It's been 15 years, and after moving a couple of times I've moved back into the area and saw the same opthamologist that originally referred me into the program for an exam last month. He is amazed that my vision is STILL 20/20. Halos are minimal, and light sensitivity and dry eyes have not been too much of a problem.

All in all, I recommend the proceedure. But everybody should do their homework and find a reputable doc to do the proceedure. If anyone is in the Kentucky-Ohio-West Virginia region and want to know more about the doc who did my surgery, or have any questions, feel free to message me.
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Old April 5, 2006, 09:46 PM   #24
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had my LASIC half a year ago. I paid a good amount for a good doctor. I am a young pup who was nearsighted with a slight astygmatism. my vision is now better than 20/20 I can shoot great without worring about finding my glasses or worring about them falling off.

If you want to research LASIC on the web go for it, but there are probably better websites for that than tfl
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Old April 6, 2006, 01:33 PM   #25
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One thing i noticed was that I became much more aware of protecting my eyes after I had the surgery. Always wearing safety glasses or goggles. making sure I had safety glasses in the car, on the boat, on the four wheeler. My kids used ot give me crap when I would walk in from the shop and still have my glasses on. last summer I was running the boat on the River and got a June bug smack in the eye. Had I not be wearing safety glasses, I would have lost the eye. As it was, I was still cut by the edge of the glasss from eh impact but my eye was good. Another lesson do not drive 75MPH at dusk 3 feet from the surface of the river.
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