My Lasik experience

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My Lasik experience

Postby Copperhead » Tue Apr 29, 2008 4:10 pm

I had Lasik intralase (all laser) surgery on March 13, 2008. I thought I would share my experiences to see if a few things occur. First and foremost, I hope this helps me and others.

I am 48 years old and have worn glasses most of my life - the latest ones were progressives.

Before I had the surgery I did a ton of reading and thought I was very well informed and prepared. I have since discovered that I could have been more informed and more prepared for what I would experience. I find that one of my biggest challenges has been with what I call change management.

Pre-surgery I had what I now call phenomenal vision with my glasses on. Night vision was unbelievable (but I thought my night vision was the same as everyones). Traffic lights were crisp and round.

My surgery went very well. The first night my eyes felt like someone had placed a cut, raw spanish onion in them. They watered non-stop. I had trouble sleeping and took a few T-3's to help with the pain. Since I live alone I called a couple times to my father for re-assurance that I was experiencing exactly what they told me I might. I finally got some sleep that night.

Next day I went in for my first post-lasik checkup. Vision was clear and really quite good. Left eye was 20/10 and right eye was 20/15. I went home feeling good about things.

One week later I was back to have my next post-op visit. Vision was nice and clear, flap is good, no floaters and still quite good with the chart. I did note to the Doctor that I was feeling wierd - like things just weren't focussed and I was squinting. I had been doing the "lasik salute" not knowing that was the name for it and found that my left eye was noticably better than my right. They told me I had some monovision and my eyes and brain would probably sort it out. I felt uneasy about it but they told me that if necessary they could eventually enhance the right eye. I can't say that this reassured me much.

I was using the drops as instructed but I was finding that my eyes were real dry and I was waking in the night needing to moisten them (something that I still do). Then one morning I woke and could barely see out of my right eye. Instant panic but I was able to put drops in the eye and my vision cleared....but the panic existed.

Then in the next few days came what I now look back on as pure hell. I started to get headaches. I work on a computer for my job and was unable to concentrate. I called the surgeon's office and they had me come in and took a look at my eyes. They said I did have some dry eye and to use more drops. Otherwise my vision was clear. I still had the headache and was told to take some ibuprofen or tylenol for it.

Well, when I was sitting on my couch at home alone after eating ibuprofen like candy and I had to hold my head in my hands just begging for the pain to stop the anxiety hit. This was like the terrible twosome. Crushing headache and the horrible feeling that I had made the worst mistake of my life. I saw my family doctor the next day (with the headache still intact) and they gave me some heavy duty migraine pills. These did take the edge off the headache but I was totally out of it the next day. I felt like I had a bad hangover. The anxiety persisted and still does to some extent.

The good news. I have now been tylenol/ibuprofen free for 3 days but I do have a ringing in my ears. I am thinking that what I experienced was nothing to do with my eyes and was simply a bad virus. It lasted a couple weeks and I was at my wits end. I still have some lingering effects that I hope will subside. My night vision is okay but I have starburst around lights. Not too bad I guess but nothing like it used to be. I can drive on dark highways at night so I should be happy.

I could go on...but I will put more updates on this later. I will, however, let you all know what I have learned and continue to learn.

1. There is no substitute for reading and learning
2. This is a long term recovery with tons of variables along the way
3. Anxiety and feelings of doom are not "normal" but do occur. I think of this as my "what the hell did I do to myself" feelings.
4. Getting used to needing reading glasses for up close work is very difficult. I get a bit of nausea if I suddenly look up from the close thing (if not using the reader). I think this is my eye re-focussing.
5. I need to keep telling myself that it will be okay and not panic (even though I sometimes do).

A couple weeks ago I would have given anything to go back to my glasses and the "normal" vision I had. I think in time this will fade as it has a bit already. I do see clearly and seem to have no vision issues.

I have change management issues primarily. I don't know how someone can not be hyper-sensitive to the change in vision and how your body feels - and I am unsure as to what is real versus what I imagine because of the hyper-sensitivity.

I guess what I am learning is that it is best to go forward and try to be positive.

I am glad I did the research I did but I feel I could/should have done more.

I will post more as it occurs. (I'm currently at work on the computer without sunglasses on and no medication in my system other than eye drops).
Copperhead
 
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Postby Copperhead » Fri May 09, 2008 7:33 pm

An update. This week I noticed that my night vision worsened and my distance vision did too. I use a clock on the wall at work as my "guage" for my vision. I used to see the numbers on it clearly and now I do not really see them at all but I can see the hands on the clock.

I had an appt scheduled for May 8 with the eye doctor and I damn sure kept it. He tested my eyes again and found that now both of them still were somewhat undercorrected. He didn't say how much and in hindsight I should have asked. He stated that I may need an enhancement for both eyes. Since the original surgery was March 13 it would appear that the earliest would be 3 months post surgery to have the enhancement done.

I have a question on this. For those that had to have an enhancement done how long after the original surgery did they do it and did it make any difference?

I'm still experiencing eye strain - now more so because of the lack of distance vision. I get headaches from this. I can drive during the day no problem though night is a bit of a challenge.

Frustration man....frustration.
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Postby LauraD » Sun May 11, 2008 4:17 am

I had my lasik on March 8th and I'm back in glasses. My distance is not good and my last check resulted in possible enhancement. I know I need it but I have an appointment on the 25th to fully determine that. That will be just under the 3 month mark and I do no anticipate my eyes miraculously seeing clear like I do with glassess by then. I'm sure I was undercorrected. I'm pissed that I have to get this done again. Just when my dry eye was pretty much gone. Fun times to be had!
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Postby Copperhead » Wed May 14, 2008 5:05 pm

Well...I am trying to be patient (pun intended) with all this. I find when I try to focus on things off in the distance that it actually makes me feel naseous. I have to force myself to not try to see it clearly. During the day this is nowhere near as bad as night. At night....I have to be real careful. I ride a motorcycle, which sometimes worries me.

I get to see the surgeon again on May 28 to determine if they can do an enhancement and if they can do it at 3 months...don't know if this is advisable or not. I have many frustrating moments where all I think is back to the days when I could see clearly with glasses...no eye drops, no concerns about night, easy to work on the computer (my job) and no headaches. I hope the enhancement can fix things up...I hate thinking that I go through this for the rest of my life.

Most days I have one thought that runs through my head....and that is...if I could go back in time with todays knowledge I would not have done this. It has not made my quality of life better, it has made it worse.
Copperhead
 
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have felt the same

Postby lisaew54 » Thu May 15, 2008 4:15 pm

Hi copperhead, I had my surgery on mar. 6 and I have had the same feelings you had. I'm wondering if I did the right thing. I went in a week after surgery and my vision was 20/25 and 20/30 and I thought Oh Wow! This is great! I go back a month later and its 20/40 and 20/50 and now 2 months since surgery and I can't see where its any better. I go back in June and I know I will have to have enhancements. I can't drive at night at all. It is very frustrating and I think I spent all this money and I still can't see as well as I was told I would see. Ok, better than before I had it, but there are things that really bother me. I now have to use reading glasses and yes, I have to be careful about where I look too. Not driving at night, not being able to see far off as well as I had hoped. The dry eyes are a pain too. And when they get dry they ache. Maybe my expectations were unrealistic, but I was told I would be able to see at least at 20/25.
Grrr. I am 45 so I knew I would need reading glasses but that didn't really bother me. I was going to need them one way or the other. Its just been really fast for that part to get worse and really slow for the distance seeing to get better.
I am also trying to be patient, but it has been hard and sometimes really, really frustrating. I don't know if this will help but at least we know we're not alone in this. Good luck to you.
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Postby vyper005 » Tue May 20, 2008 1:11 am

Copperhead,
If I'm not mistaken,I believe your eyes have to stabilize for 6 months prior to an enhancement...Anybody ??
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Postby Pappy » Tue May 20, 2008 5:05 am

vyper005 wrote:Copperhead,
If I'm not mistaken,I believe your eyes have to stabilize for 6 months prior to an enhancement...Anybody ??


Some docs will do it at 3 others at 6. Some people say wait a year.

This is a hard thing to gauge since regression is per person. Personally I would wait a year and see how it settled but I know that could be hell for some one as well.
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Postby Copperhead » Wed May 21, 2008 9:06 pm

Well...I'm not going to take any undue risks...seems I've already done that.

Worst part for me is that I work on a computer and go home with headaches every day.

I still wish I had never ever heard of Lasik eye surgery.

I don't like the possibility of being the Lasik eye surgery poster boy.
Copperhead
 
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Postby reetts » Fri May 23, 2008 4:55 pm

Copperhead: please tell me what state are you in? I sure don't
want to end up at that doc office.
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Postby LasikExpert » Sat May 24, 2008 6:19 am

Lasik regressionis relatively common for virtually all who were hyperopic (farsighted, longsighted) and those who were highly myopic (nearsighted, shortsighted). If you read the linked article you will see that sometimes it is much safer to enhance expected regression than to try to initially overcorrect and hope regression brings you back to the target.

You are probably nearsighted enough that you need glasses at night. Lights will likely have halos around them and you may even have a bit of ghosting if you have any residual astigmatism. Glasses will make you - and everyone else on the road - safer.

Enhancements are normally performed between three and six months, but can be sooner or later. It all depends upon the individual patient's situation.
Last edited by LasikExpert on Mon May 26, 2008 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Copperhead » Mon May 26, 2008 3:03 pm

Glenn,

You didn't link the article...and I would like to read it. Thanks for the help/feedback.

Reets,

I am in Canada. I don't think it is the doctor at fault with my situation - it's just the way it is for me. This doctor is highly recommended and has had lasik done on himself in his own clinic so that in itself says something.

I wouldn't want to slander the doctor. I am just very frustrated right now. I think the problem for me is that with my old eyes I could see real well with glasses and no headaches, no light sensitivity, no eye drops, and no real fears about my sight in the future. Now...well...all those things exist. I feel much like I have traded one crutch that was somewhat annoying and bothersome (glasses) for some completely different problems. It's not what I thought it would be. I will wait until after I know what are the next steps before I pass final judgment.

Ironically, everyone I spoke with that had it done...is immensely happy with their results. Wouldn't you know it that old paranoid hyper sensitive me is the one with problems....
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Postby LasikExpert » Mon May 26, 2008 8:51 pm

I fixed the link to our Lasik regressionarticle.

If your problems are just refractive error, then you should seek a pair of glasses to give you full correction. They will get you by until you are ready/willing/able to have enhancement surgery to resolve the regressed effect.
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Postby Copperhead » Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:02 pm

Well. I went in last Friday and had enhancement done on only one eye. This gives me a form of monovision. Much to my surprise I got up on Saturday and could see quite well. The distance eye is my dominant eye and I was able to drive in the dark without any problems. Now it is the regular healing and stuff....but with any luck this is how things will stay.

Time will tell. I will keep you updated. Anyone that experiences anything like I did (and am) if you want anyone to share with...let me know.
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