Last summer I had LASIK performed on my eyes.
I feel it would be pertinent to provide some background on my ocular health, previous medical conditions and other important information.
I'm 20 now and I was born with a torn levator muscle in my right eye. This resulted in congenital ptosis (drooping of the eyelid from birth). At the age of 5, I was operated on to have the lid lifted. The first procedure was performed in Providence, RI. The stitches failed and I had the surgery repeated in Boston at a world class institution.
My right eye lid is now permanently scarred into place with reduced movement. Post-LASIK, I tape my right eye shut at night using 3M Transpore tape to ensure no 'mesh' or callous tissue develops from sleeping with an open eye. I should have been doing this before I had LASIK.
The period with ptosis resulted in amblyopia in the right eye. Resulting from the amblyopia and a myriad of other factors, I also had surgery for strabismus on both of my eyes when I was 13 or so. At this point, I at least have partial stereo vision. I would say my eyes remain straight in primary gaze and do fairly well when tracking mobile objects.
Before having LASIK, I had uncorrected vision bordering on low vision. 20/200 - 20/400 in both eyes. I had mixed astigmatism as well. The level of mixed astigmatism in my right eye placed beyond the FDA regulation for Bladeless CUSTOM Lasik. I had Bladeless LASIK on that right eye with the option of having custom done as an enhancement the second time around if needed. The left eye was within range of the regulatory limit for Custom the first time.
The right was corrected July 31st, 2010. In case of some sort of problem, my surgeon wanted to do one at a time. He started with the already damaged eye. (Amblyopia). By the next day, this eye reached 20/100, then 20/60...at this point it rests at between 20/25 and 20/30. My surgeon and I are amazed.
My left is now 20/15 to 20/20. My heart swells with joy.
I was able to have my insurance company cover the LASIK as I made arguments to both the Rhode Island Department of Health, my insurance company, my human resources department and Federal Health and Human services that LASIK was the only way to improve my vision to the fullest potential. My prescription simply does not exist in the form of glasses. The permanent adjustment to my eye allowing for higher visual acuity has made my brain use both eyes and as a result, my binocular vision has improved even more.
Better Depth Perception
Better Eye Alignment
Less Eye Strain
In addition, my brain renders colors and light in better colors and things seem crisper or almost HD in appearance. I'm amazed.
I'm now able to consider my active interests in Tactical Law Enforcement, Military Service (Waiver for the surgery, yes I got it) or a myriad of other activities.
I can firmly say that LASIK has improved my quality of life and has brought relief to someone who thought they would never even have functional vision.
I met with my doctor on Friday. He has discharged me. The enhancement at this point is not needed as my brain still doesn't listen to the right eye enough to make use of the improvement. God forbid, if I lose the left eye, the right could be enhanced down the road.
I read this forum for months before my surgery and I have to say...for those of you who are afraid..you will be in the trusted hands of your physician. The only people qualified to answer questions about eligibility, risks and rewards are people with MD after their names. Don't let the internet scare you, and at the same time, do not allow it to give you false hope. Please, don't use what you read online to 'fact check' your surgeon. It can be easy to go but you're better off with a second opinion.
Lastly, I can recommend patience. All my eye problems required MONTHS of extra steroids, taping and a huge number of eye drops. If I can work my way through it, I know so many others can.
Take it from a guy with ocular nerve, muscle and tissue damage as well as permanent vision loss: Anything is possible.