Biggest regret of my life

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Biggest regret of my life

Postby peliot » Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:52 pm

I got custom wavefront Epi-LASIK on Sept. 28, 2008. I am 37 y.o., had mild astigmatism / nearsightedness and didn't like wearing glasses / contacts. I went to a big name surgeon in Beverly Hills. I didn't do enough research, several friends and family had reported great results...

I was diagnosed with Laticce Degeneration / holes prior to the surgery. They had me evaluated by a retina specialist who did PRP on both eyes as a prerequisite of the Epi-LASIK. Is it normal for them to allow people with my condition to get LASIK? I have no idea.

Three weeks later my bluriness cleared up. I was 20/20! Then the problems started - headaches, dry-eye, dizziness, floaters, halos, starbursts, ghosting, glare sensitivity, trouble reading or using the computer (which is 80% of my job) and heaps of anxiety.

I went back for an evaluation. New retinal holes / tear in the left eye which required a new PRP. A lot more anxiety when they said, "it's good you came in, this could have progressed to a retinal detachment." Mamamia. They say I am mostly out of the woods on retina issues now but have to be on the lookout for flashes / new floaters. More anxiety as I now worry intensly about further retina issues.

It has now been 10 weeks. The worst vision problem is the floaters. I think I had one or two before the surgery that I would notice once in a very blue moon in the morning looking at a white ceiling. Now I notice them all day in lots of different lights. Four big floaters dancing in my vision like flies. Agonizing and depressing. The doctors say, "there is nothing we can do, your brain will learn to tune them out." So far the ole brain hasn't figured it out.

My vision is 20/20 on the eye chart, but text still looks a bit blurry and sometimes seems to ocillate, pulsate or swirl. Doctors say, "its part of the brain adustment and healing process." They say the same for all the symptoms.

I also have a twitch that comes and goes in the lower left eyelid. I have tried cutting out caffeine, drinking more water, warm compress, taking eye vitamins, etc.

I wake up twice per night to put in refresh tears. I tried the plugs and hated those, never again. Uncomfortable and perhaps exacerbated the other symptoms?

The floaters are the most depressing because people say there is nothing I can do. I absolutely hate them. Vision at night is terrible with the usual troubles around light sources.

I am so depressed and filled with regret about getting LASIK. I would give most of my net worth to be able to go back in time and not get LASIK.

Will this really clear up in 4 months? Did anyone have anything similar that got better?

I refuse to do touch ups because I am terrified of further surgery.

signed, despondent in LA
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Slight correction

Postby peliot » Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:48 pm

I got my surgery on August 28th, not Sept. 28th. Things are a bit confusing these days :(

I would love opinions / responses to my post.

1) I am still freaked out by the retina / PRP situation. I would be very interested if it is standard practice to allow patients with lattice degeneration / holes to get the surgery. Also, if anyone else had new holes as a result of the surgery, as I did.

2) What freaks me out the most lately is that when I wake up in the morning, even before I open my eyes, I feel that swirling / pulsing in the left eye. The conventional interpretation of my sense of dizziness or oscillation when I read is that my eye is working overtime to focus, however why the heck would I have this sensation with my eyes closed when I wake up?

3) Is it normal for my visual acuity to get worse in week 10 than it was in week 6-7? I feel like the last few days my vision has been less sharp than it was a few weeks ago. This is particularly the case with distance and it is more in my right eye than my left. Maybe this is regression? Once you regress, say in week 10, can you then progress a big several weeks later? In other words is this a true fluctuation, or is it all one direction during the healing process. If so, I am headed for glasses I think.

Please share, would love any thoughts...
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My original perscription

Postby peliot » Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:36 pm

My original perscription was:

O.D. Sphere: plano; Cylinder -0.75; Axis 175
O.S. Sphere: plano; Cylinder -1.00; Axis 175
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Postby DryEye » Fri Nov 14, 2008 3:46 am

Try not to freak out and let your mind run
Seek out another opinion from a very good surgeon/corneal doc
This site is also very good at giving you information
Then give it time
In time you will find that you will start to get back to normal in your thinking and can then reevaluate on what the right thing to do is
Things will get better with time - Everyone is different in how much time it takes them
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Postby peliot » Fri Nov 14, 2008 5:26 pm

thanks Dryeye, the anxiety is brutal and I am sure things would be better if I could get it under control.
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Comment on the retina issue

Postby catnmus » Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:43 am

I don't want to downplay your anxiety inappropriately on the retina issue. I don't know much about your specific situation, or what PRP is. But I can tell you that my eyesight before Lasik was -7.00 and -7.75, which is pretty high degree of nearsightedness. I have always been told by my eye doctors, at every exam, that because of how highly nearsighted I am, I am at a higher risk of retinal detachment. I need to be on the lookout for "flashes and floaters" and if I see them to come in right away. The eye doctors (I've moved a lot so I've seen several of them and they all say the same thing) say that if something like that happens, and I come in right away (before the retina completely detaches), they can usually reattach it with no trouble. Think of it like a piece of balloon stretched in a circle and attached with glue. if the glue starts to come loose in one area, no problem, you just glue it back down. But if you wait and the whole thing comes loose, you'll never get it reattached exactly right. That's why it's important to go in right away if/when you have new symptoms like that, and not just wait and hope it goes away.

The risk of retinal detachment is something I have in the back of my mind every day, every time I have a migraine with vision symptoms, etc., but I know that as long as I see the doctor right away if I "see" anything weird or out of the ordinary, it should work out okay.

My only other comment is that if this "lattice degeneration" thing is a retina thing, then I don't think Lasik would affect it. Lasik affects the cornea, cutting from the outside of the front of the eyeball. The retina is inside the eyeball and (I think) mostly in the back.
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Postby peliot » Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:35 pm

thanks catnmus, really appreciate the comments.

It is good to know that an RD can be fixed in some cases. I scheduled a second opinion with a top retina guy in NYC for next week, so I'll get a fresh perspective on my case and ask a bunch of questions.

LASIK can indeed cause retinal tears because of the suction used during the surgery. While the laser is only on the front of the eye, the suction puts stress on the vitreous and retina. That's why they have people with Laticce do PRPs before LASIK. PRP is a prophylactic laser treatment to coterize the weak areas of the retina in order to prevent retinal detachment.

I've managed to calm down a bit recently. The night vision problems are manageable, if annoying. The only thing still really driving me crazy are the floaters.

Has anyone out there had any success with things like hypnosis, vitamins, acupuncture, etc.? I have talked to people who say that their floaters have never gone away and bothered them for years. I have heard others say "my brain tuned them out"

Any thoughts on how I can encourage my brain to tune them out. So far I still see them dancing around the computer monitor all day long.
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2nd Opinion

Postby peliot » Fri Nov 28, 2008 7:27 pm

I had my 2nd opinion from a retina guy at the [redacted] (a great place, btw, for those looking for care). Comparing it to Mr. So-and-So LASIK guy in Beverly Hills is night and day in terms of quality of care, imho.

Seems like the retina issues are under control for now, but I am definitely not going to do the "touch up" recommended in Beverly Hills. LASIK is a trauma to the eye and, knowing what I now know, is inappropriate for people with mild corrections or any kind of retina issues. The risks are not worth it in my opinion.

The Dr. I saw thought that my glare issues might subside or resolve with time. Let's hope. I am now 3 months out and the night vision stuff is about the same.

He thought the floaters were probably there before the surgery and are now bothering me because my uncorrected vision is sharper and therefore I am picking the floaters up / focusing on them more. This strikes me as correct and so my theory was right: LASIK causes floater problems.

The floaters may actually get worse as I grow older and my vitreous continues to change. The only way to deal with it is to try and relax and let your brain forget about them. It's very, very hard. I still see them dancing on the computer screen while I type this and because of this I still deeply regret getting LASIK.

The floaters issue needs to be better dealt with by LASIK doctors broadly as far as I am concerned. Law should require all LASIK doctors to not just have the issue in the fine print on a form, but to verbally explain the risk and show patients pictures of what life with floaters looks like.

Note: Post edited to remove name of facility.
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Retina Wrinkle

Postby peliot » Wed Dec 24, 2008 12:27 am

I'm four months out from LASIK.

Things had been trending well - I was feeling 20/20 and my brain was learning to tune out the floaters a bit. Dry eye still preventing me from sleeping through the night, but still the overall vision was trending better. Then - BANG, a new complication.

This morning I woke up with severe blurriness in the left eye. I went to the LASIK "Dr." I dropped 5 lines on the eye chart overnight, to 20/70 in the left eye. I have never been close to that, even prior to the surgery before glasses. My left eye vision is now as it was 2 days after the initial surgery.

As usual, they are not sure what is causing this. Could have something to do with the dry-eye, but it doesn't seem likely. They also now see a wrinkle in the epi-retinal membrane, which they say could be causing the blurriness. Basically, this is caused by scar tissue, which formed from the PRP they did to fix the retinal tear that the LASIK surgery caused.

If this is the case, the treatment is a surgery to remove the wrinkled tissue. I read just a little bit about it. It sounds like a terrifying surgery with a poor prognosis for vision improvement.

AAAAHHHHHH!!!!!! When will the LASIK nightmare end.
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Epi Retinal Membrane

Postby peliot » Sat Dec 27, 2008 10:15 pm

Does anyone know about this disease?

My left eye vision has cleared up (thank God!) on its own. But now I am diagnosed with ERM (Epi-Retinal Membrane) in the left eye.

So, to summarize my LAISK nightmare: LASIK caused a retinal tear. The retinal tear necessitated laser photocoagulation treatment (PRP). The PRP caused the Epi-Retinal Membrane (ERM).

The ERM is now an open question. It could progress and blur my vision to the point of needing yet another surgery (vitrectomy), which is a terrifying procedure that almost always causes cataract formation (another surgery) and may not even improve my vision.

Bottom line: LASIK caused serious eye disease and has made my vision a lot worse.

To anyone listening out there - NEVER GET LASIK!!!!!!!!
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Postby LasikExpert » Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:13 am

It is very, very unfortunate that you are suffering from these problems. Even if only 3% of Lasik patients have serious issues like yours, it's 100% if it happens to you.
Glenn Hagele
Volunteer Executive Director

Lasik Info &
Lasik Doctor Certification

I am not a doctor.
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Postby vj » Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:44 pm

peliot, I am really sorry to hear of your retinal tear tissue. I am surprised that your surgeon did not take this into account before surgery. This thing happens when there is a muscular degeneration on the surface of retina. This is fixed by a laser barrage treatement, which form a scar and seals it for life, and avoids further complications. My doc clearly told me to get the treatment done before the surgery to avoid the same complication which now you are facing.
The pressure which is exerted during the surgery may have caused that degeneration to eventually form into a tear. I think this is a serious issue and would suggest you to consult a retinal laser expert to get this fixed asap.
I think this is caused due to lack of precautionary measures on your surgeon's part rather than surgery itself.
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Postby peliot » Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:40 pm

for the posts guys. On the PRP, no - they did have me get PRPs in both eyes prior to getting LASIK. The problem is that even with the PRP, the LASIK caused additional tears and breaks in the left eye, which required another PRP.

The epi-retinal membrane came up recently, they say it could have formed on its own as a response to the original retinal issues, or maybe the PRP laser or subsequent tears caused the ERM. Hard to know, but I strongly suspect that the ERM is another complication arising from all of this stuff.

I cannot believe what a snowball this has all been. And Glenn you are exactly right about the 3%/100% thing. A 97% success rate is great if you are the surgeon doing 15,000 LASIK operations at several thousand dollars a pop, you can tolerate 3 bad outcomes in 100. But if you are the poor sucker who falls into the 3% it is a nightmare.

I would encourage anyone considering LASIK to stick with your glasses or contacts. They are a minor inconvenience compared to what can go wrong. It just is not worth the risk.
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Postby peliot » Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:15 pm

The Epi retinal membrane is causing some mild visual distortions. The Amsler Grid now looks funny, slightly bulging out at me ("macropsia") in the left eye. I now have different image sizes in the left and right eyes, which creates an overall sense of distortion / dizziness and when I read the text is clear and visible, but looks like a fun-house mirror in terms of bending up and down.

I desparately want to avoid the vitrectomy (sounds horrible), but that means learning to live with these wierd distortions.

5 months out from LASIK I can now say a few things for certain:

1) my vision is worse than before LASIK
2) my retinal health is much worse than before LASIK
3) my mental health is much worse than before LASIK
4) I would recommend to anyone considering LASIK to avoid it
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Postby It's Just Me » Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:12 pm

I hope to God I don't say the same thing a few months down the road. I"m still blurry 5 days out. NOT a "greasy" blurry, just like I haven't put on my glasses :(
It's Just Me
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