Had LASIK on August 7th and regretting it

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Had LASIK on August 7th and regretting it

Postby TestType » Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:34 am

Dear all,

I had LASIK done last week and thought I had done my homework on the procedure prior... I live in Iceland, a small country in the Northern Atlantic with a population of only 300.000 people. My biggest mistake was to rely almost exclusively on Icelandic sources on corrective eye surgery, mostly written by LASIK surgeons. Also, I put great faith in info and statistics presented on the website of the company I had business with, a fatal mistake. I simply trusted my doctor to enlighten me and give me a truthful diagnostic.

I met my doctor only once before the operation and didn't bother with a second opinion since I'm poor and couldn't afford it (even affording the procedure was a stretch). He declared me an ideal candidate for surgery and didn't mention anything negative except for the fact that I had unusually large pupils. He mentioned however that it was not a problem in any way, it only meant they would have to treat a larger area of the eye. I mentioned I believed I had blepharitis and that I had a very hard time tolerating contact lenses because how easily my eyes dry up and that my contact intolerance was one of many reasons I wanted the procedure.

After my surgery, I started reading up more on LASIK specifically and learned to my horror about the possible complications the surgery can very well involve. More specifically, I learned that I was at an unusually high risk of the most common and life-destroying side effects, namely permanent dry eye and poor night-vision because I have chronic blepharitis and dry-eye pre-op as well as extremely large pupils. My doctor did not give me any of my diagnosis results pre-op but the last time I saw him mentioned my pupils were 9mm, either that or that my treated area is 9mm, I'm not completely sure. I was shocked to hear this as I've only read about people with 8mm, and even that is considered very large and very risky because of glare, halos and night-vision problems I have learned. I also e-mailed him about it later, asking if my night-vision might get worse and he responded by saying it might but [b]only[/b] temporarily. I was also under the impression judging by what I had read and the information booklet I received from my doctor that dry eye and most of the other complications were strictly temporary while my eyes were adjusting. I now know this to be untrue in many cases.

Also, I always thought the flap they cut would grow back. I was horrified to learn that it would never become part of my eye again and that it was the main culprit for the majority of side effects. This was never mentioned and even many sources online claim that flap "heals", yet it never does. I have now talked to a number of people in person that have had this operation and none of them were aware that the flap did not grow back, that with enough force it could come loose or that it would exclude them from certain activities.

My doctor also never asked me my profession, my lifestyle, what I study or what I intend to do in the future. I now know that LASIK has now excluded me from activities such as boxing or flying a fighter jet and that I should avoid contact-sports from now on. I had no knowledge of this prior. Also, I'm starting a university degree in computer science this winter. With the fact that eyelid blinking decreases 30% when looking at a computer screen combined with the fact that computer environments are generally dry will also greatly increase chances I will suffer from dry eye for the rest of my life. Another huge concern is the fact that because Iceland is a very northern country with extremes in daylight conditions. 9 months of the year the majority of the day is completely dark, and I do mean completely dark. At some point in the winter only three hours in 24 have any sunlight at all. And we don't have a daylight saving system. If my night-vision turns out horrible, this will be major, life-changing disability.

My vision has not improved at all since I had my operation. Sure, my distance vision is very good, I can read the doctors chart very well, but my quality of vision is horrible. I was prepared and informed it could take a little time for my eyes to stabilize but since learning more about all of the complications I have had panic-attack and cannot tolerate my blurry and glary vision. Granted it's only been just over a week from my operation, but I also did not expect my vision to still be this horribly poor by at this time. Also, my eyelids and the pockets under my eyes are very red and swollen, is that normal?

I've been very upset with this and saw my doctor the day before yesterday to inform him of my concerns, that I regretted having the operation because of things I had read and that I was unhappy that he trivialized huge warning signs that I should not consider this operation, or at very least be very aware of possible risks due to my pupil-size and blepharitis. I felt that he should have informed of this and to consider this carefully because of the possible complications. I also mentioned that the flap never heals and that nerves in the eye will never recover from being severed, something I had no idea about.
This completely baffled him, he said everything was normal, that my vision measured excellent and that I was another success story. I told him I could read his chart fine but my vision quality was still horrible. I then asked him if he would be willing to flip through some papers I had printed out about LASIK complications and harmful effects of it. At this point he completely lost it, screamed at me to get the hell out of his office and to find another doctor, because he would [b]never[/b] see me again.

I left immediately in a complete state of shock. I was upset and depressed before but this almost sent me over the edge.

This has become a terribly long post and I'm grateful for anybody that has had enough patience to read it through. I don't know what I want you people to say. I guess I'm looking for reassurance as I feel like I've very likely ruined my life by subjecting my only pair of eyes to a harmful operation that can never be taken back.
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Postby Ol Blue Eyes » Thu Aug 16, 2007 6:44 pm

Dear TestType;

I feel so bad for you - I too wish I had seen this site and read some of the possibilities beforehand. My eyes completely regressed and initially I had asked how long it takes the flap to heal and the assistant (not the surgeon) said that eyes were the fastest healing organs in the body and that it's healed the next day etc. then when I asked her about the enhancement possiblitity I told her I did not want to wait the full 6 months because I did not want them to have to cut a new flap and she said "Oh, you can still lift the flap after a year" so obviously it does not heal the next day.

The only advice I can give is to go try glasses for night driving - my eyes are bad and I borrowed my sisters glasses just to drive on the highway safely and suddenly I could see perfectly - no halos, glowing or anything so the last time I went there (my one month check up) I asked for a eye exam that does the (what's better - one or two?) and I have a prescription to get glasses until I can decide if I want to risk an enhancement. My brother in law got PRK and he did it mostly to keep the original strengh of his total eye and he thinks everyone should go back to doing that instead. Try getting glasses for the night driving especially and drink lots of water for your eyes to be as hydrated as possible. Don't forget - your result may improve as time goes by - he should have warned you but now that it's done try to watch for small improvements. (although mine have just been getting worse but maybe my eyes are less healthy than others)

Sorry again for what has happened so far to you - especially the doctor throwing everything back in your face like that - get a copy of your files in case of any future litigation due to his bad behavior.

Ol Blue Eyes
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Postby JPD » Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:26 am

I wouldn't stress to much over the flap. It actually does "heal", it just doesn't heal back to one piece like your skin would if you cut your finger. It's true, it will alwayd be two seperate pieces but they do heal together, almost fuse together. And it would take serious eye trauma to dislodge a well healed flat. So it's not something you should dwell on. That and the fact you can't go back a change the past. What's done is done, so don't dwell on it.

Lasik isn't your problem. The fact you were not a suitable lasik candidate and your doctor did the procedure anyway is your problem. Your doctor is at fault and not Lasik itself. Lasik is a safe procedure if performed correctly and the patient is a good candidate.

I also feel for you very much. Your doctor was incompetent, and you are the one who will have to live with his misguided mistakes for the rest of your life. I am sorry about that. I know you stated you were poor, but if at all possible I suggest you visit a very good corneal specialist to see if anything can be done to help you. Even if it means travel to another country in Europe.
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Postby music » Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:03 am

I am so sorry that your doctor was such a jerk. I would ask Glenn if he could recommend someone else in Iceland that you could maybe go see for your follow-ups. I think that he would tell you that you're very early in the healing process and that as long as you have a competent compassionate doctor to go to, then you'll probably be fine. You might have to pool your resources for money, but you have to realize that it's the proper healing of your eyes you're talking about.
If nothing else, just make an appointment with an ophthamologist there, and ask them to check-out your eyes to see how they look like they're doing. Perhaps they could do your follow-ups and if you need an enhancement down the road recommend someone. Someone other than your Lasik guy.
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Is this person for real or disinformation..

Postby nallarano » Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:50 am

I see a pattern of several well written anti eye surgery posts here.Just my opinion.
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Postby TestType » Sat Aug 18, 2007 5:51 pm

Thanks for all the replies, much appreciated.

I have contacted the only other clinic in Iceland that does corrective eye surgery and they have agreed to take over my post-op therapy. But it will cost me extra of course.
My former doctor called me later that day and expressed that he strongly recommended I would see the other surgeon at his clinic since my trust in himself was broken. I firmly rejected this suggestion and told him his behavior had been completely unprofessional and unforgivable and that I would not be stepping foot in his clinic again if I could help it. He on the other hand expressed that he felt that my behavior had been rude and that he would offer no apology for his actions. On the phone he displayed a calmness and levelheadedness he should have had earlier that day, but it was too late at that point.
I'm looking into taking further action against him.

I'm also going to get an appointment with a normal optician/cornea specialist that does not have a stake in the surgery business to examine me.

I feel like I still have some astigmatism, I feel like I have to concentrate in order to see clearly. Also, if I close one eye at a time I can see that lines that are straight in my right eye are slightly diagonal in my left eye. Is this a normal part of the adjusting phase?
Also, what's going on in the adjusting/healing phase? Is it waiting for tissue regenerating in the eye? Or just waiting for my brain to adjust to the change? I feel like either one of my eyes is looking slightly crooked to make up for the astigmatism, but maybe it's just my imagination.
My contrast sucks and mid-range vision is bad, I hope this can and will improve in time. Any thoughts on this are greatly appreciated.

I have managed to calm down a bit, I realize it's early on and there is little I can do at this point except to be positive and hopeful. Just never expected my vision would be this poor and frustrating for so long, even though it's only been 1.5 weeks. I'm trying not to think about this or read any more up on it as it only serves to dig my own hole further.
Positive thinking might bring positive results is my motto right now, although I have to keep reminding myself of it.

Meanwhile, school starts on Monday and I only hope my eyes won't be too distracting to do the massive reading I'm expecting to have in store in the next few weeks and months.
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Postby jessicar » Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:46 am

Hi, I'm sorry that you have gone through and I understand some of what you're going through. I myself had it done 8 days ago and believe me so far I regret it. I see very blurry with cloudiness. I work at night therefore I have to drive 25 miles to work, boy it's horrible. It's like a nightmare for me right now. But I went to see my regular eye doctor and he put me at ease a bit, says that IT will get better in time. He did say if an enhancement has to be made it will take about 6 months. I wish you luck and will keep you in my prayers.
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Postby TestType » Mon Sep 03, 2007 7:26 pm

jessicar, thanks for your reply, I appreciate the kind thought.
I've been unable to concentrate on my university studies for the last two weeks because I can't seem to be able to focus on readings or classes because of my distracting and weird eyesight as well as depression.

I've been reading your posts as well and I'm so sorry you have to go through something like that. I hope you have someone close to you, whether it be someone in your family or a significant other, that can give you support in times like these. I know I would feel worse right now if not for my supportive and understanding mother. We will have to stay hopeful and positive that things will improve.
I wish you luck too and will keep you in my prayers.
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Postby jessicar » Tue Sep 04, 2007 2:49 am

Thanks TT.

At moments I feel so sad and hopeless at everything but I keep remembering what the doc said, "give it time". I have no support from no one, no family or partner other than co workers and they are the ones that give their postive input although most of the ones that had Lasik say they could see clear right the next day. But as many say, everyone is different and everyone will heal differently. Still being patient.

Keep letting us know how you're doing and of any progression.
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Hope you are doing better

Postby staypostivie » Sun Sep 09, 2007 8:23 pm

Hello TestType. I had Lasik on August 7, also. I am doing OK, but I am having the same anxiety about the procedure. My only problem currently is DRY EYE, I am on Restasis and it seems to be getting better...if I stay indoors. My sister had Lasik and acts like her life is great, I have decided that I miss my glasses.
I hope you are doing OK. It helps talking to others that are going though this lasik experience. I just thought that I would write to you because you and I share the same surgery date.
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Postby TestType » Tue Sep 11, 2007 3:11 pm

Thanks for posting staypositive, I very much appreciate it.
I agree, it helps to talk with others going through the same thing. I hope your dry eye improves real soon, please update us on your progress if you feel like it.

As for myself, I have been happy so far with my new doctor who is handling my post-op therapy. The time he takes for my check-ups and to address all my concerns is a major contrast to my surgeon who seemed constantly on a rush to finish as soon as possible. For my 4 week check-up he measured improvement in my left eye since my last visit, but my right eye has stayed the same. He had told me before that the surgeon overshot so I have some farsightedness now, which has now improved a lot in my left eye. Being farsighted now has contributed to my eyestrain though.
Dry eye has improved dramatically, most days I don't use the drops any more. I hope this will improve even more, although my doctor warned me I might start to feel dry as winter comes. However, halos and starbursts have not improved much. I used to enjoy cityscapes at night and watching the stars, I hope I will be able to do that in the same way I used to someday.

My next visit to the doctor is in three weeks time, we're hoping to see the vision in my right eye improved at that point, if it remains stable since the last visit it may not improve at all he said. He also mentioned the possibility of enhancement if my farsightedness does not fully correct itself, but I told him I would not go through surgery again and would rather just put on some glasses again if need be.
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Postby LasikExpert » Tue Sep 11, 2007 4:58 pm

It is so very early in the healing process that you really cannot make any decision on your final outcome. Your eyes have just had microsurgery and need some time to heal. Even a small amount of refractive error (in your case hyperopia) can cause halos, and dry eye commonly exacerbates the problem.

Please keep us informed of your progress. It's good to see that you have a doctor who is attentive.
Glenn Hagele
Volunteer Executive Director

Lasik Info &
Lasik Doctor Certification

I am not a doctor.
Site Admin
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