Lasik Results - Week by Week

Research your concerns in this forum or post your questions if you have had Lasik, IntraLasik, PRK, LASEK, Epi-Lasik, RLE, or P-IOL within the past three months.

my observations

Postby catnmus » Mon Apr 14, 2008 4:38 am

I'm not sure where you read about using so few drops so as to not wash away natural tears. I use mine pretty much constantly, even though I don't feel like I need them, on my eye doc's instructions. I probably use the drops every half hour or so, sometimes more frequently, sometimes less. The fact that it seemed better in Florida (where it's more humid) makes me think that you do need more drops.

I've also found that all the different brands are different. Tears Free Naturale are very thin and watery. I like to use those first thing in the morning to "flush" my eyes (they also have a coupon inside the box for any Systane product, which helps). Systane is thicker and coats better, and seems to be the "gold standard" that everyone has heard of. I also have Refresh Celluvisc, which is a thicker gel, that I'm using at night now (I have a dry spot on the first eye I had done with Epi-Lasik, possibly from not lubricating enough at night - after a week of this intense therapy it seems to be getting better). This one definitely causes a lot of crustiness, and I'm also using the eyelid scrubs to clean that off in the morning. Each one of these drops has different active ingredients, and there are other kinds of drops as well.

I'd have to say, definitely ask about enhancements, and about the drops (using more of them might help, even this "late in the game"). From what I hear, most docs won't (and shouldn't) plan any sort of enhancement until your vision is stable, meaning the same prescription reading, one month apart. But I've also heard of some disreputable doctors basically saying "wait and see" until past the date where they would do the enhancement for free (included in your original surgery price - mine is one year). So keep that in mind too.
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Postby Remander » Sat Apr 19, 2008 5:55 pm

Your experience sounds very similar to mine. I posted a history much like yours at http://www.usaeyes.org/ask-lasik-expert ... .php?t=820

I had enhancement 3.5 months out, and it all worked out fine. It took some time for sure, but it is great now at 15 months since original Lasik.

Good luck!
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Postby Mike_in_VT » Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:16 pm

Had my three month checkup yesterday. The results were surprising - supposedly I am now "close to 20/20" in each eye, which the doc said was a huge improvement over my one month checkup.

This news is really all just sinking in...Have I been fooling myself into thinking my vision remained worse than it actually is? Why do some things remain fuzzy, even at close distances? Why can't I cook over the stove without a light on?

Anyway, I guess the point is that so much of this is pure mind games-- trying to remember what your "old" vision was like; what "perfect" vision should look like without glasses; how good my reading vision was pre-Lasik; etc.

I think part of it is that there's much more to vision than just reading letters off a chart: the dryness issue; crispness, changes in vision under different kinds/intensities of light, and so on. All these things still seem to bother me somewhat, even if I can make out some of the letters on the 20/20 line.

So I guess the lesson of this posting is what most of us knew all along - over time things definitely improve for most people (me included) but the changes often come so slow that you don't actually notice any improvement.

I guess what's next for me (since enhancement no longer seems necessary) is seeing if the secondary issues (dryness/crispness/lighting) improve in the weeks and months ahead. So while I don't consider my case a "success" just yet, I'm definitely more optimistic than I was just a few days ago.

I'll check in again in a month or two and let you know how things are going.
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Astigmatism? Reading glasses?

Postby catnmus » Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:10 pm

You could have an astigmatism, and that could be making things not as crisp as you'd like. You can be 20/20 but still have an astigmatism. Does the fuzziness seem to go away if you squint? Is it mostly the up-close that bothers you?

I look at it this way. I'm 43. I'm going to be needing reading glasses soon anyway. So if I get reading glasses with astigmatism correction or ones without, what's the difference? (I guess the cheap price and easy availablility of reading glasses in the stores. But those would be the same power in each eye and that might not be the best either. Plus I don't like the cheap plastic they use, either.) At least I won't need bifocals!
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Postby Mike_in_VT » Tue Sep 16, 2008 6:28 pm

It's now been 9 months since my LASIK surgery. After many ups and downs (as evidenced by this thread) I feel like I can draw some conclusions on my experience. They are:

1. The eye doctor tests show healthy eyes with 20/20 vision and no astigmatism. This definitely puts me into the "success" category as far as the LASIK industry is concerned.

HOWEVER, if given the chance to do it all over again, I probably wouldn't do it because:

1. My vision in low light has definitely been compromised. I find myself turning on lights earlier in the day and requiring more light to do basic tasks like reading or cooking.

2. In spite of what the LASIK people tell you, the surgery definitely compromised my reading vision. I know that most people will need reading glasses once they hit their 40s (I'm 39), but I went from crystal clear reading vision to occasionally blurry reading vision, especially in low light. I'm not wearing reading glasses just yet, but I sure spend a lot more time focusing when I'm looking at things close up. I can't not believe this wasn't a result of the surgery and not my age.

3. Nine months out I'm still using drops almost daily, especially at night. By 9 pm or so I'm definitely reaching for the bottle (of drops, that is).

4. The comfort level of my eyes is approaching what it feels like to have comfortable contacts (sometimes blurry, sometimes scratchy) but it's nothing like the comfort I had when I wore glasses. Prior to LASIK I never thought about my eyes much. Even though I wore glasses, they just "worked," much like a person with good hearing doesn't think about their ears. Not anymore.

5. I don't feel especially liberated by NOT wearing glasses. I had worn glasses for over 30 years, and I thought it would be a great relief to not wear them, especially running and in the pool. But compared to the discomforts I have now with no glasses (see 1-4, above) I'd much rather wear glasses knowing my eyes were comfortable and healthy.

The punchline here? If you want perfect vision and expect to have no side effects, chances are that's not going to happen with LASIK. If you're even remotely hesitant about getting the procedure done, then my advice would be to save your money and keep your glasses.
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I feel your pain

Postby peliot » Fri Nov 14, 2008 5:51 pm

Hey Mike, your feelings sound just like mine. I had my Epi-LASIK ten weeks ago. I am 37, had a very mild astigmatism and didn't like how I looked in glasses. I had heard all of these miracle stories about LASIK and so went in to a fancy Beverly Hills doctor to get screened. The next thing I knew it was, "so, when should we schedule you?" I truly feel like the world's biggest sucker for not doing more research and taking a more skeptical approach.

I now have three nasty floaters dancing in front of my face at all times. My reading is uncomfortable. My night vision is terrible. I get headaches, dry-eye, glare sensitivity, halos, starbursts, ghosting, dizziness, blurriness, etc, etc. I also had the pleasure of the surgery causing a retinal tear that required a follow-up emergency procedure.

Bottom line, I have not once thought, "yes, I'm not wearing glasses." Instead all I have thought is that I would give everything I have to go back in time and have my old vision and my old glasses back.

I too am 20/20 (or near it) on the visual actuity chart, but as you rightly point out, this is only one measure of visual happiness.

I am totally depressed and filled with regret about LASIK
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Postby Mike_in_VT » Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:28 pm

Peliot, I don't know if this helps any, but things do get better. I'm still not thrilled with the procedure, especially in the dim light of late fall, but I'm much better now that I was at 10 weeks. you will probably still see some improvement in the weeks and months ahead. Hang in there!
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many thanks Mike

Postby peliot » Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:29 pm

Many thanks Mike, appreciate the words of support. Frankly it has been hard to get up in the mornings...
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All things clear now

Postby veryblurry » Fri Feb 06, 2009 6:25 pm

I posted a question some weeks back, but got no reply, much to my chagrin. At the time, I was a bit confused. As it turns out, I was overcorrected and became Hyperopic, resulting in decent (at best) distance eyesight, and a feeling that I had vaseline in my eyes, up close. At first, the surgeon thought that it was a question of adjustment, but after 9 weeks it became apparent that it was simply overcorrection. (Had I followed my instincts, I would have requested a new round of exams, topography, etc, much earlier). He did a 'touch up operation' and now, all is well. 20/20 in both eyes. As expected, reading glasses are now necessary. Before submitting to a second operation, I consulted with another doctor (eminent ophtalmologist in Canada) who put it simply: most new vehicles work perfectly but occasionally one car will have some problems, even though the same materials and machinery was used to build it. In most cases, the problem can be remedied. This gave me more confidence to face the inevitable and necessary second operation.
In my desperate state, after the first operation (Lasik Wavefront), I read many postings in this and another site, and could sympathize with people whose situation seemed even worse than mine. There seemed to be very few success stories, which must certainly be the envy of all those whose condition appears so dire. I consider myself quite lucky to have gone from Bad to Worse, to All is Fine.
May this message bring hope for recovery to all those who need it.
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Postby It's Just Me » Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:21 am

so...Mike? How is it now?

How is everyone else doing?


My left eye is still blurry, almost like I didn't have lasik, but when I put my old glasses on, and try to see out of the left lens, it's OBVIOUSLY too strong, so something was done :P I think I might be getting used to the blurriness, or my right eye is compensating for my left, because it seems clearer than before. Except for dim light, it's ok. Frustrating in dark places (theater, etc)
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Postby Rock » Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:50 am

Hey guys, did your ghosting ever get better? I don't mind having to wear glasses to correct it, but pre-enhancement they didn't work. The doctor wants me to wait until the 3 month mark before trying anything else, ie. glasses or a contact. I am just scared they won't work again. I am afraid I might have an irregular astigmatism that was induced by surgery.
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One year later...

Postby Mike_in_VT » Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:45 am

It's now been 13 months since my LASIK surgery. Since my last posting four months ago, I've actually seen some improvement:

- Vision in low light is better than in September, but probably not as good as it was pre-lasik. (How will you ever know?)

- I'm coming through as 20/20 on my most recent eye tests (Jan 09). Not bad.

- I still think that LASIK compromised my reading vision. I'm not wearing reading glasses just yet, but I sure spend a lot more time focusing when I'm looking at things close up. I can't not believe this wasn't a result of the surgery and not my age.

- one major change since September is I rarely use drops any more - Probably no more than 3-4 times a week. That is the biggest difference I've noticed, and it's much appreciated. My eyes still get that "dirty contacts" feel from time to time, but it's significantly less than before.

Would I do it again? Probably not. But I no longer feel like I made a mistake by getting LASIK done. Overall the vision is pretty good, and the side effects have been reduced to minor annoyances.

Hopefully that day of tempered satisfaction will come for everyone else out there. In my case, it was just a matter of time, which seems to drag on forever. But slow as they may be, changes do come - for me it was really that period between 9-12 months where I found that most of the worst side effects dissappeared.

So hang in there! We've all heard it time and time again, but unless there's really something serious going on (and each patient decides what that is), you really need to give the process about a year before you can draw any firm conclusions about LASIK.
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Re: One year later...

Postby It's Just Me » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:25 pm

Thank you for coming back and "reporting in" :)
I am still blurry 5 weeks out. I sure HOPE it improves. I can't go on for months not being able to see really. I have an appointment next week for my "one month" checkup, and will tell them "I just want to put on glasses!" because it really is blurry.

I read this the other day, and might explain what you're going through with your reading....was very helpful to me...

===============================

It is important to remember that there are two ways to describe myopia. One is that you cannot see things far away very well, the other is that you can see things close very well. Reading glasses are actually regular spectacles designed to make the wearer more myopic. If you are naturally myopic and presbyopic, it is probably possible to just remove your glasses to see objects near. Even with glasses on, myopia provides a mechanical advantage and can “mask” the effects of presbyopia.

If you have Lasik or similar refractive surgery and remove your myopia, you remove any advantage that myopia provided for near vision and are suddenly hit with the full effects of presbyopia. We call this “sudden presbyopia” and it catches Lasik patients in their early 40’s off guard all too often. Before surgery seeing things close was not much of a problem, now they need reading glasses to see objects near.

In addition to removing any advantage myopia may have provided, refractive surgery changes the range of accommodation and convergence necessary to see objects near. For the sake of demonstration (and these numbers are only for demonstration) let's say that the range of focus of your eyes is 1-10. The range 1-3 is for near focus, like your computer. Range 4-7 is for mid-range, like your TV, and 8-10 is for distance vision. In the 8-10 range your eyes are almost or totally relaxed with no accommodation and no convergence. To achieve clear vision in the 4-7 range, you must accommodate. To achieve clear vision in the 1-3 range, you must accommodate and converge.


Mike_in_VT wrote:It's now been 13 months since my LASIK surgery. Since my last posting four months ago, I've actually seen some improvement:- Vision in low light is better than in September, but probably not as good as it was pre-lasik. (How will you ever know?) - I'm coming through as 20/20 on my most recent eye tests (Jan 09). Not bad. - I still think that LASIK compromised my reading vision. I'm not wearing reading glasses just yet, but I sure spend a lot more time focusing when I'm looking at things close up. I can't not believe this wasn't a result of the surgery and not my age. - one major change since September is I rarely use drops any more - Probably no more than 3-4 times a week. That is the biggest difference I've noticed, and it's much appreciated. My eyes still get that "dirty contacts" feel from time to time, but it's significantly less than before. Would I do it again? Probably not. But I no longer feel like I made a mistake by getting LASIK done. Overall the vision is pretty good, and the side effects have been reduced to minor annoyances. Hopefully that day of tempered satisfaction will come for everyone else out there. In my case, it was just a matter of time, which seems to drag on forever. But slow as they may be, changes do come - for me it was really that period between 9-12 months where I found that most of the worst side effects dissappeared. So hang in there! We've all heard it time and time again, but unless there's really something serious going on (and each patient decides what that is), you really need to give the process about a year before you can draw any firm conclusions about LASIK.
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