My Experience with All Laser Lasik

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My Experience with All Laser Lasik

Postby EMS_Pilot » Mon Oct 08, 2007 5:43 am

I just had Intralase Lasik with a very reputable Laser Vision center in Greensboro NC (the chain who did Tiger) - The Doctor and staff were amazing and I chose this particular doctor after doing months of research and deciding against three surgeons from the NYC area (the area I Live in)

The decision to have lasik done was not something that weighed lightly with me. I'm a Medevac helicopter pilot and rely on my vision for my career. Prior to having the procedure done, I was 20/15 corrected with contacts with a prescription of -2.75 or so per eye with very mild astigmatism (.5) in the left eye.

I visited 3 different doctors in NYC. After a LOT of research, I decided the best combination appeared to be the Allegretto Wavelight and the Intralase Femto laser for the creation of the flap. I thought the latest technology Microkeratome would likely yield similar results, however, I wanted the best chance of success. My studies also found that it appeared the Wavelight Allegretto created the smoothest surface, the best chance for great night vision, and the best uncorrected visual acuity. Since i didn't have any High Order aberrations (according to the topography scan), it appeared custom lasik wouldn't do much of anything for me.

Last week I had my procedure done in North Carolina (about 10 days ago). The staff was great as was the two doctors. I'll admit, the suction applied during the Intralase portion was a bit unnerving. After the intralase portion was complete, i went to the next room for the actual Wavelight Allegretto laser. The left eye was done in a matter of minutes. Since the laser does about 1 diopter per 4 seconds, my procedure was done in about 10 seconds. Next the right eye...Done without any complication.

Both flaps were closed and my eyes became pretty sensitive to light. I went back to a really nice hotel with my friend who flew down with me. I was wearing the shields to protect me from disturbing the flap, took a pill prescribed for sleep, and went to sleep.

About 4 hours later, I woke up. HOLY CRAP! I could see...there was quite a bit of glare with EVERYTHING i looked at. One of the side-effects I learned of with the Intralase in SOME people is a bit of glare. I'm not quite sure if people who undergo the microkeratome procedure have the safe experience.

I woke up the next morning and could see 20/15 from each eye...however, i noticed my left eye was a bit sharper than the right...not from blurriness, but from something else. I noticed that I had a slight ghosting in the right eye that was above and a little to the left of everything I looked at. I figure this was probably normal.

I went to the Doctor, he tested my vision, looked at me with the slit lamp, and sent me home on my way! On the plane ride back, I kept checking between my two eyes and still noticed a slight ghost image in the right eye. I also noticed there was some redness in the upper left hand corener of the Sclera.

The next few days were a bit challenging. There was glare with everything I looked at! During the day, every light seemed to have glare...every white object i looked at had glare. At night, there was glare/ haze / and SOME starbursts. I thought to myself, What on earth did I get myself involved with. But most disturbing was that I had a ghost image in my right eye that extended above and to the left of everything. At night, this effect was even greater.

I called my doctor who immediately called me back. He indicated it was probably dryness and recommended that I religiously use the Refresh tears 4x a day and use the other drops as needed...in addition to the antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drops.

The days were going on but there was absolutely NO improvement with the ghosting.

7 Days post op, I went to the affiliated center closer to my home in NJ. The doctor didn't seem to be worried about the ghosting I was seeing. He was very kind and cordial, but it still didn't give me the reassurance i needed given what i was seeing. I was also disappointed that i was seeing 20/20 and not better since I was accustomed to seeing that my entire life.

I sent another email to my doctor and explained the ghosting wasn't getting better. He again told me to continue with drops and so I did.

I DID realize something very important 1 or 2 nights ago. The Area in my eye where the Redness was (in the white portion even hitting the iris (colored portion) of the eye Exactly coincided with the location of the ghosting i was seeing (the same angle or axis). In other words, I was seeing a slight ghost image at the 11 o'clock of my vision, and while looking in the mirror, I saw the redness in the 11 o'clock of my eye as well. I surmised "what is the chance the ghosting would be directly inline with the irritation in my eye (which was probably some edema/swelling too ). I though about it logically and said it was PROBABLY the cause of the ghosting.

Today I had a pretty nice breakthrough. I Realized that since the surgery, I was putting the drops in the BOTTOM of my eye thinking that they were making their way to the top of my eye where the redness is How wrong i was!!

I put a drop directly onto the red area and PRESTO! The ghosting was almost completely gone. I was very careful to not let the applicator get too close to the eye so I would touch it, but made sure I looked DOWN when I put the drops in the eyes so that the drops would go right into the area where the redness was. I felt an immediate soothing sensation in that area as if it was parched for days. I IMMEDIATELY saw the ghosting subside almost completely. I can't tell you how happy I was. I was wondering whether my eyes were reacting properly to the laser or if something else had happened during the surgery. I kept discounting surgical error simply because the person who did the procedure has an impeccable reputation , is a perfectionist, and is highly regarded. I was a very simple case and thought it was likely something else that was the problem.

At the end of the day, my surgeon was correct that DRY EYES was the culprit in my ghost images in the right eye. It's amazing how a simple change of just applying drops differently in the eye can make so much of a difference.

I still have some night glare and halos with some very very minor starbursting which is getting less every night ... and will likely subside in the coming weeks or months.

The only thing I can say about anyone getting eye surgery done is as follows:

Make sure you DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Don't take anyone's word as gospel. I did MONTHS of research to make sure I got what i believed was the best technology with the best surgical hands I could fine. Sure, I have the luxury of being able to fly where I want, but even if I didn't, I would not for two seconds hesitate to by an airline seat to fly somewhere outside my area to get a procedure done which will affect the rest of my life.

Sure, some people will have good results at the 399 per eye laser centers. I just didn't want to risk MY eyes and future on an unknown. Good luck to all who elect to have this procedure.
EMS_Pilot
 
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Postby LasikExpert » Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:46 am

A great post with information many need.

I'm very familiar with the surgeon you selected. He has an excellent reputation in the industry. He's not certified by us (I'll forgive him!), but I'm certain he would pass our 50 Tough Questions For Your Lasik Doctor with flying colors.
Glenn Hagele
Volunteer Executive Director
USAEyes

Lasik Info &
Lasik Doctor Certification

I am not a doctor.
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Postby DorsalPhin » Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:17 am

Congrats on the great outcome! I also had my surgery done through the same company - just different location, and it was done with the same machines as you.

Honestly, I never thought about where to apply the drops either - I put mine in the corner of my eyes and it goes directly to the bottom of my eyelid. Then blinking, I figured it spread onto the surface of the eye. While I haven't had any problems since my surgery (Oct 4, 2007), I have noticed that after putting in the refresh drops, my dry eye doesn't seem to go away. I am going to have to try what you said, and change the location of where I am putting the drops! Thanks for the insight!

I hope you have an awesome outcome with yours and you continue to have the scrip you need to be a pilot. I'm sure you are just like me and can't help but recommend the place you had the surgery done! :)
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