LASIK advice? Jason 11 Apr 2006

138 comments Latest by Convinced Against Lasik

My eyesight is horrible (-5.25 and -6.25). I used to wear contacts, but switched to glasses last year. I like wearing glasses, but I don’t like not being able to see anything when they are off. So I’m considering LASIK.

Has anyone had any real experience with LASIK they want to share? Were you happy you did it? Not? What is the experience really like?

Thanks in advance.

138 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Freddy 11 Apr 06

I wouldn’t let anyone shoot laser beams into my eyes. Unless they were mounted on the head of a shark.

I’ve heard plenty of positive stories regarding LASIK. However, a coworker was partially blinded during a botched LASIK procedure performed at Duke last year. Be sure to do your research and double-check what the surgeon recommends, regardless of where you have it done.

Lisa 11 Apr 06

My husband had it done last year and is THRILLED with his eyesight. The only issue he’s had is that sometimes at night there’s a little blurriness in his left eye. That’s it. He was told he would have to wear reading glasses (he’s 41) but so far there’s been no need.

Drew Pickard 11 Apr 06

Friend of mine had LASIK and has no complaints at all.
He said it was absolutely worth the money.

Me - I’ve got better-than-average eyesight.

Chuck 11 Apr 06

Shooting lasers into your eyes Jason?

Why trust someone else, when you can do it yourself!

“It’s the same surgery … without the unecessary equipment and surgeons.”

On an anecdotal note, I have a good friend who had lasik for poor eyesight and a “lazy” eye. His eyes were red and puffy for months after the procedure, but now 2 years later, he has had no issues and is very glad he did it.

Joel Berman 11 Apr 06

Lasik At Home

Jeff Lewis 11 Apr 06

It looks like I’m the first commenter to say that I’ve actually done it - as opposed to a friend.

I love it. I can see, even in the middle of the night and first thing in the morning. I could even buy cool sunglasses - though I like “cheap sunglasses” — ZZ top.

It has been over a year and I have had zero problems.

Just remember that it is just another bunch of programmers that wrote the code to control the laser. Hopefully they didn’t do the less is more thing with safeguards… ;-)

Eoghan McCabe 11 Apr 06

That LASIK@Home site’s got to be a joke. Right? Who the hell is going to try perform laser eye-surgery on themselves?!

Adam Hinchliffe 11 Apr 06

My mum needed to see an eye surgeon a few months back for an unrelated problem, interested in having LASIK done she happened to ask the surgeon what he thought of LASIK and his opinion was not to do it. He was the person that dealt with the patients when laser eye surgery went wrong so his opinion might be a touch skewed. There are a number of risks and as you only have one pair of eyes is it really worth it??

Freddy 11 Apr 06

I tried ordering a SCAL-PAL (tm) just now. I can’t wait to get rid of my specs and start my archery and fine art classes.

(In reality, the site is bogus and the HTTP POST failed on the order.)

David Barrett 11 Apr 06

That’s almost exactly my prescription (-6.50, -5.25). I’ve been thinking about this myself.

A friend of mine got it done a few years ago; she had some problems: her tear ducts stopped working for a while (treated with eye drops) and when she sneezed snot came out of her eyes (yep). Both of these problems cleared up relatively quickly, and she’s very glad she had it done.

I have astigmatism in my worse (left) eye. Anyone know if this has any bearing on Lasik?

Mike Orren 11 Apr 06

I had it two years ago— best decision I ever made.

My advice, after hearing of various disaster stories from others, is this:

Don’t go to a “lasik factory.” Find an eye surgeon that does reconstructive and emergency surgeries as his primary line of work, but who does lasik as part of the repetoire.

Jan Garcia 11 Apr 06

Well, I don’t have experience with the actual LASIK procedure, but I do have experience with the whole evaluation process. I’ve done free evals at two different offices. My eyes are a bit worse (-9.25,-8.75 w/ astigmatism) and they said that there is a 20% chance that they will get worse after corrective surgery because of how bad they are. So I decided not to go for it. I’m stuck w/ specs and contacts. Good luck with the whole process.

Lea 11 Apr 06

This is insane. I was thinking about this exactly (you almost have the exact same prescription I have, too!) and not less than ten minutes ago was visiting a local LASIK clinic’s website to find out more. Also, prices for the procedure has gone down significantly — from what I hear, it may be $600/eye.

I’ll be watching this thread carefully. For anyone who has any experience, what is a reasonable cost for having it done?

Tony Clark 11 Apr 06

I had it done a couple of years ago and it’s been awesome. I had astigmatism and the day after surgery I had 20/20 vision. A week later I had 20/15! I could never wear contacts (they drove me crazy) so the LASIK was the best option. I’ve actually recommend it to a couple of clients and some friends and they’ve all had great success with it.

The comment from Jeff Lewis is funny to me as one of the reasons I listed for getting it done was to be able to buy cheap sunglasses.

Wilson Miner 11 Apr 06

Now it comes out: the real reason Web 2.0 font sizes are so big.

Velvet 11 Apr 06

I had the surgery done just over a year ago and I am absolutely thrilled with the results. I was at -6.25 & -5.25. The recovery time was very quick too. I even hosted a birthday party for my 3 year old the very next day.

Even better - the restriction on my license was lifted since I no longer needed glasses/contacts! :-)

Definitely worth it.

Carmen 11 Apr 06

if you havent, check out the latest revision of silicon-hydrogen contact-lense technology, like the OASYS that came out a few months ago. theyve really progressed quite a bit since the irritating slabs of plastic of the past. i’d go as far as saying you dont even notice theyre there..if your problem is dryness, zapping your tissue with a laser is not going to help..

Splashman 11 Apr 06

Every form of Refractive Surgery (RS) — such as LASIK, LASEK, PRK, Wavefront, etc — is a crap shoot. Even the most virulent RS promoters acknowledge that RS involves a certain amount of unavoidable risk. They will correctly point out that proper screening and a good surgeon will reduce the risk, but it remains a crap shoot nonetheless. Shit happens. No matter how carefully you are screened, no matter how good your doctor is, no matter how flawlessly the laser performs, it is still a crap shoot. You will find various figures thrown around, usually in the 3-6% range, of how many RS patients still have lifestyle-altering complications after six months, but if it happens to you, the average risk will be very little comfort, no matter how low it is. Thousands of people just like you either didn�t know the odds, were misinformed about the odds, or thought they could beat the odds — and rolled a six.

There are many different motivations for wanting RS. You may hate how your glasses make you look. Cleaning your contact lenses may be a real nuisance, or maybe you can�t wear contacts at all. Maybe glasses keep you from playing a sport, or maybe your lack of good peripheral vision is a professional limitation. Whatever your motivation is, consider this: Is the promised convenience worth the risk of permanent, lifestyle-altering damage? Even if the risk is only 0.1%, is it worth the risk?

How would it be to not be able to drive at night? What if you couldn�t see your child�s expression from more than three feet away, even with glasses? What if you couldn�t go outside in the sunlight without dark goggles on? What if you couldn’t focus on a computer screen for more than a half-hour at a time? What if your eyes became so dry that you couldn�t blink without intense pain? What if the moment-by-moment condition of your eyes determined where you could go, and what you could do, and how you would feel?

For many thousands of people in the U.S., these kinds of �complications� are reality. And virtually all of them thought the same thing as you: �It won�t happen to me.�

When your friend or your doctor tells you that modern RS is much, much safer than ten or fifteen years ago, they are correct. Screening procedures are better; the newer lasers are better; the docs are better. As a prominent RS-industry advocate likes to say, �RS is always improving.� What that really means is, �the surgeons have to learn on someone.� Will they learn on you? Twenty years ago, Radial Keratotamy (RK) was deemed safe and effective; today it is generally considered dangerous by the same surgeons who performed it. Even five years ago, surgeons were performing RS on patients they wouldn�t dare touch today, and those patients were told the same thing you will be told today: �We know what we�re doing; this is the latest greatest laser; your chart looks good; the risk is real but minimal; sign here.�

You are not an average. You are an individual, with an absolutely unique pair of eyes. Your surgeon will have never, ever operated on a pair of eyes like yours, and that is what makes RS a crap shoot. The surgeon will take into consideration every factor he knows about, and do his very best. Five years from now, he will know even more factors to take into consideration, thanks to patients he works on today. Are you willing to contribute your eyes to this ongoing improvement process? If so, God bless you. Future patients will thank you.

Dave Simon 11 Apr 06

I had LASIK almost 10 years ago (it’ll be 10 years in August, so maybe almost is pushing it.)

I’m sure the technology is even better now, but I was a -8 in both eyes and came out 20/10. Meaning I can see BETTER than 20/20. It’s awesome.

I’ve heard they now even use a laser for cutting the flap, which is the one place where the surgery could have gone wrong.

I got into the chair and looked at the clock on the wall, not being able to read it at all. It was a blurry blob.

The hardest part was to have my eyes “propped” open for the surgery. It as a little scary after the flap was cut and I couldn’t see anything. It was just black.

After 15 minutes or so in the chair, I stood up and could read the clock on the wall. Amazing.

The three days of healing weren’t painful and they weren’t very difficult. The hardest part for me was to not read newspapers and so on, as instructed. When you aren’t used to being able to see, you want to read EVERYTHING.

It is truly a life changing experience.

tina g 11 Apr 06

LASIK was a great decision for me. My whole family did it before me so they were my guinea pigs. They all are happy except for my perfectionist sister who thinks that she sees too many halos out of one eye. (You will get the halo effect, almost everyone does.)

Most of all, it’s scary how quickly you adjust to being glasses and contacts free.

Do your research on your doctor. You may even want to schedule a few meetings to talk to them yourself. You will have to watch a scary video that talks about cornea transplants. Take some Xanax before the surgery.

I spent the 3 days after the surgery curled up with the first 3 Harry Potter books. Not doctor recommended but my eyesight is great.

Good luck!

Dave 11 Apr 06

I had it done back in 2001. My eyesite was worse than yours (-8, -8.10). The procedure went fine. My recovery took a while - about 2 months for things to not be blurry. I got pretty depressed thinking I’d have blurry eyes for the rest of my life. But, 5 years later, I can’t even imagine life with contacts/glasses again. Among other things, water sports and water slides are actually enjoyable for the first time.
Like someone else said, it is truly a life changing experience.

Brad Balfour 11 Apr 06

I also had it done a few years ago. To me, it is the closest thing I’ve ever seen to a true medical miracle. My eyes were bad (-7.5, -9 ish). When I laid down on the bench I could barely tell that there was a clock on the wall. A few minutes later when I got up I could see the clock. A-f-ing-mazing.

I did it on a Friday and was feeling fine the next day and back to normal by Sunday/Monday.

The fact that when I wake up in the middle of the night I can actually see where I am going is still the most amazing thing.

Definitely do a lot of research on what doctor to use. I found that all the people I knew and the local articles I read all pointed to the same doctor. So that gave me a lot of confidence. But this is no time to choose a low cost solution.

Also, if you have a flex spending plan, set aside the money on that and it’ll save you ~30%.

Go in for the free eval. You’ll be amazed.

Marc Hedlund 11 Apr 06

I’ve never even thought about it, but I sat in on a conversation with several doctors, who noted that not one of their optometrist/opthamologist friends had done it. That was enough for them to decide against it.

Robert Williger 11 Apr 06

I did LASIK back in 1999 and I LOVE IT. With the exception of some dry eye problems (staring at a screen all day doesn’t help) I have had no issues.

Brandon Eley 11 Apr 06

Wow, I know Jason was looking for responses for his own benefit but I have also been seriously considering Lasik and have really had my eyes opened (no pun intended) by the comments here.

I’m afriad of the potential problems, but I am definitely going to talk to my optometrist about Lasik at my next appointment (this month). My eyes have been constantly changing (for the worse) until about 2 years ago and they leveled off. I’m a -5.5 and -5.25 I think.

I wear contacts most of the time and can’t keep my eyes watered enough if I have eyedrops in my hand 24/7. Every 5 minutes… so it couldn’t be much worse in that respect. I understand there could be some major complications but choosing your doctor carefully, and seriously answering all the screening questions, etc. will help with that.

let us know if you have the surgery done… I’m really interested to know if it works out for you.

topper 11 Apr 06

i had it done and everything that was white is now a pale shade of green. Unless people are lying to me. I say ixnay on the aziklay.

Steve 11 Apr 06

I have only had my initial screening thus far, so I don’t have much first-person experience. I don’t really know what my prescription is, because I forget every time they tell me. I know it’s pretty mild though, and just barely bad enough to require a restriction on my licence.

My first hand experience is limited to the inital screening, so I’ll share some of the things I learned.

The $499 advertisments are pretty much just to get you in the door, they are for people that have pretty low prescriptions and no astigmatism.

They don’t take off a lot of cornea. Silly as it sounds, my greatest fear before I asked the doctor, was that my cornea was going to be much thinner, and might rupture when I’m at the gym or playing a contact sport. For my eyes, they are removing about 2.5% of the thickness of my cornea, so I’m not worried at all about this anymore.

I’m still a little worried about the surgery itself. I usually can’t put eyedrops in my eyes, and haven’t even attempted contacts for this reason. I’m hoping they can drug me up sufficiently and put some of those clamps that look like a torture device on my eyes.

I found the following to be a pretty decent read on one guy’s experience going through the process. It’s got 10 parts, and takes you through the whole pre and post procedure steps.


Heidi 11 Apr 06

My husband had Lasik over 5 1/2 years ago and has regretted it every day since then. He’s had various complications from dry eyes to daily headaches from doing anything where he has to focus his eyes (like say reading on a computer monitor). Since his original procedure, he was easily spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars researching his problems on the web and visiting doctors across the country. He has had two follow up Lasik operations from �top doctors�, tried numerous types of contact lenses to correct his vision and reduce the headaches, and even gone for eye physical therapy. None of these have helped reduce his vision problems and pain. I once went to a meeting with him of other people who had complications after having various kinds of refractive surgery and it was scary how minor his problems seemed in comparison. There were people who had permanent vision loss, had to have cornea transplants, and various other problems. To fully understand the risks of Lasik, I would recommend visiting this web site - which offers a wealth of information about Lasik and possible complications. While Lasik may seem like a wonderful medical invention, you are basically having cosmetic surgery performed on one of your most important organs. Is it worth risking damaging or losing one of your most important senses just to avoid having to wear glasses all the time?

topper 11 Apr 06

i had it done and everything that was white is now a pale shade of green. Unless people are lying to me. I say ixnay on the aziklay.

Dave Bobak 11 Apr 06

I have bad eye site and astigmatism in both eyes. I went for an evaluation to see if I could get the procedure done. Having an astigmatism usually makes you a BETTER candidate.

HOWEVER, I was NOT a candidate for laser surgery. It turns out that my corneas were too thin. This was a variable that I never considered as a possibility.

Your best bet is to get an evaluation and see if you are a candidate before you get your heart set on it.

Splashman 11 Apr 06

Top 10 reasons to get LASIK right now!

10. If God didn’t want us to vaporize our corneas, he wouldn’t have made us smart enough to make lasers.

9. It sounds pretty darn cool when you describe it to everyone you know. Say it right now, and feel how nifty it sounds rolling off the tongue: “I got … LASIK!” Sort of like, “I got … NIKES!”, but even better.

8. They’re only eyes, fer cryin’ out loud. It’s not like they’re something important, like global warming.

7. Two words: Goggles rock!

6. If your eyesight suffered from an iron deficiency … well, it won’t any more.

5. “Lifting your flap” and “showing your stroma” is a great way to pick up chicks.

4. You won’t get thirsty as often, since your eyes won’t be wasting all that moisture in tear production. (If you’re a woman, you should probably be crying less anyway. If you’re a man, you shouldn’t be crying at all. This so-called “dry eye syndrome” that so many people whine about is actually a value-added feature!)

3. Two more words: Free enhancements!

2. If you thought the buzz you got with the post-orthodontia codeine was good, wait ‘till you try Restasis!

And now (drum roll), the #1 reason to get LASIK right now:
1. Hey, you never know — it just might work!

Joe 11 Apr 06

My wife had it done at 30, because contacts and glasses interfered with traithlons. She’s now 34 and has had no problems or side-effects, can see great and is glasses/contact free.

Jemaleddin 11 Apr 06

I don’t think this is the kind of thing that you can expect to get good advice from the internet for. Anecdotes about how happy/screwed up somebody is after LASIK is certainly interesting, but the statistics are probably more important. When I was considering it a few years ago, they were saying that *only* 5% of patients had complications, starbursts, or night-blindess, but that’s 1 in 20. I’m sure it’s improved but you’re better off knowing the numbers than somebody’s FOAF story.

And really, your best bet is to get a recommendation for a good and honest doctor who will give you an idea of how good or bad of a candidate you are for the procedure. The people who have problems, from what I’ve heard, were usually told that they might have those problems going in (because of age, pecularities of their eyes, or whatever). A good doctor will make sure that you know those risks.

Wait, what am I thinking, I’m an internet troll! Have the surgery! Burn your eyes out! The worst case scenario is that 37Signals’ web-apps all get great accessibility solutions. =-)

Larry 11 Apr 06

I’m exceedingly pleased with the results for me — I had LASIK done about two years ago, similar vision to what you describe, and minor astigmatism, and now see completely clearly, slightly better than 20/20.

The surgery was ‘awkward’ but not painful at all. Recovery was pretty much one evening. Next few days was partly blurry but I was back on the computer very quickly.

I went for the top doctor in the area, rather than the cheapest or highest volume shop, and have no regrets whatsoever. (I’m at the age where reading glasses will likely be needed within the next 10 years, but that’s life)

YMMV of course, give it proper thought and homework, but count me in the ‘one of the best decisions I’ve made this decade’ category :)

brad 11 Apr 06

I’ve heard too many horror stories, some of them from my girlfriend who works for a lawyer who has some clients suing LASIK surgeons (reputable ones) after they were partially or completely blinded. And every opthalmologist I’ve seen has warned me against it.

Besides, my glasses have protected my eyes a few times over the years (I’ve been hit in the eye by pebbles shot up from lawnmowers, as well as by wasps and other large insects while riding my bike), so I’m quite happy to stick with specs.

ed fladung 11 Apr 06

I have no direct experience with Lasik, but here’s what a good friend’s world-class optometrist father had to say, when I asked him about Lasik:

Essentially, Lasik removes part of the structure of your iris. Your vision may improve, but the process is also untested in the long term and as your body gets older and starts to work less as it was intended, your eyes can lose their shape. He summed it up in a “door” metaphor, if your eye structure is the frame of a door, Lasik removes the top portion. It may allow you to see, now, but as you age, the weight of the wall above the door will eventually cause problems with your eyes, since the structure has been compromised.

I hope that made sense. I feel you, I’d like Lasik as well, but the though of really screwing up my vision scares me.

Jerry Glover 11 Apr 06

I had my LASIK just over 3 years ago (and an enhancement 8 months later, more on that in a sec). My contact lens prescription was L-8, R -8.5, which is worse than yours and basically means that without contacts or glasses, I couldn’t see clearly beyond a few inches in front of my face. Having LASIK was a life-changing (good) experience. Before, putting in my contacts was the first thing I did getting out of bed and taking them out was the last thing I did before bed. Playing sports, traveling (not having to have a spare pair of contacts), etc, are all so much easier.

Given the high degree of correction, my doctor warned me going in that I’d probably need an enhancement (additional procedure, but included in the cost) to reach 20/20 and that was the case. The first procedure was virtually painfree, but the second there was a bit of discomfort following. The enhancment sharpened the vision just a bit more and corrected the small amount of haloing I had following the first. Now, the only time I see any starburst is from a point light source (LED) in a very dark setting.

The center I used, InView in Atlanta, might be considered a “LASIK factory” in that they focus on it and do a lot of procedures, but they are very high-end, with a medical director (my doc) from Emory University who is published and a leading reseacher on the technology - including developing most of the assessement tools this clinic uses. He himself has had LASIK and is not only an opthamologist, but a private pilot as well. It was a little more expensive, but let’s be honest, are your eyes something you want to bargain shop for? Inview is also the place people go for help after a cheaper practicioner messes up.

Like splashman above, there are plenty of negative viewpoints available and you can find plenty of horror stories on the web. Read them, get a free eval with a good doctor, get the statistics and know the risks and then make a decision. Everything in life has risks, you just have to evaluate them, understand and decide which ones are acceptable. You could lock yourself in your home and there would still be risk. Just make an informed decision.

BTW, don’t take Xanax as Tina suggested without clearing with your doctor. If you’re squeamish or have a serious anxiety problem, let the doctor know and handle with the meds (Inview would give you something if necessary) as you need to be clear and coherent enough to maintain focus on the target light during the precedure. Honestly, I’ve always had bad sympathetic reactions when talking/listening to stuff about eyes and thought I would need something to calm me down, but I was actually fine.

Kevin 11 Apr 06

Had the Intralase proceedure done in Louisville, KY about 4 months ago. I have to honestly say it was one of the best decisions I ever made. It helped that I was able to get my wife’s insurance to pay for it, but still, it is somewhat of a miracle. I just wish I would have been able to do it about 15 years ago. There would have been less nerdy pictures of me when I was younger.

wdk 11 Apr 06

This guy’s got a good write-up about what it was like getting it done to him. If you’re considering, it’s worth a read.

Anders Toxboe 11 Apr 06

My girlfriend had it done about 2 years ago. It worked good - her sight has been perfect ever since - even better than mine - and I’ve never had the problem of not being able to see without glasses.

She initially had an infection in the right eye after the operation, but after a week on penincilin (anti-biotics) it was ok.

She first had one eye operated on - then 14 days after the other eye.

John Dilworth 11 Apr 06

Get the surgery. The best thing I’ve ever done.

I did it about 5 years ago and love it.

Positives: No glasses, no contacts, less headaches, more comfort, more fun snowboarding, more fun swimming, etc.


I have noticed a bit more of a dry eye problem, and some difficulty with really tight monitor resolutions. But honestly, after 5 years, I wouldn’t even think about having it reversed.

Best of Luck!

Forrest Robertson 11 Apr 06

I had Lasik done back in Feb of 2001 when I was 22. My eyesite was nearing -8.00 when I had it done. Now I’m 20/20. I hope you can gather the courage to get it done, you won’t regret it.

street 11 Apr 06

Its like ‘Getting Real’ on your eyeballs.

simple, easy, painless, and not really that expensive

John 11 Apr 06

Another thing…

I would bet that wearing contacts is way, way, way more dangerous to your eyes than getting Lasik surgery.

I know lots of people who have permanently damaged their eyes wearing contacts, (myself included). I had to wait 2 years while wearing no contacts for my eyes to heal before I could get Lasik done.

Michael 11 Apr 06

Myself and two friends all had Lasik done and we’re all very happy with the results.

I’ll just call out a few (negative) points:

* Your eyesight is going to fluctuate over the next 6 months as your eyes heal. (My eyesight did not stabilize for a year. While some days were worse than others, at no time did I feel I needed glasses .. again.)
* Your eyes are going to be very crunchy for a while and will require a LOT of eye drops. You eyes will also be easier to stress/tire.
* You will see halos around light sources while healing and may continue to see halos afterwards. (I saw halos for about 4 months. Both friends still see halos, 3 years after surgery.)
* Your night vision may worsen. (I do wear glasses sometimes at night, the prescription is -0.10, compared to -5.25 what I was before)
* LASIK requires your corneas to be of a certain thickness, if they are too thin you should not have LASIK done. You maybe a candidate for PRK or RK instead.
* Look into IntraLASIK which uses a infrared laser to create a cornea flap instead of a microkeratome (steel blade). This has major advantages over using a blade since its very accurate, there’s no risk of the blade breaking, and the cut can be corrected while its being made. From what I understand, making the cornea flap is the riskiest part of the surgery.
*My doctor tried to shoot for 20/15 or better vision with hopes of getting 20/20. I ended up with 20/20 while friends ended up with 20/15 in boths eyes, and the other friend ended up with 20/25 in one eye and 20/20 in another.
* My doctor said I may need reading glasses at age 50, Lasik does slighty quicken natural eye deteroration.
* Talk with your doctor about software updates to the LASIK machines, seriously. Apparently newer updates can provide a more accurate correction.

Despite the discomfort of healing, I’m very happy with the results. Being able to wakeup in the morning and see the alarm clock across the room without glasses or contacts is awesome.

Josh 11 Apr 06

I had lasik done 6 years ago, and it’s changed my life. I couldn’t see anything before without glasses, and now I see better than my wife, who’s never had to have glasses. I’d suggest finding the best doctor in Chicago. Everyone claims to have been doing it forever, but I would spare no expense when finding a doctor to mess with my eyes.

Victor Zaud 11 Apr 06

I am near-sighted. I considered LASIK to correct this problem - and was advised by my eye-doctor to be careful in doing it. There is a tradeoff. Especially for those with near-sightedness, correcting it can work, but then your ability to see “near” becomes challenged.

My doctor had been, in the past, a LASIK nurse - and saw several people get the procedure and then become very upset when it compromised their ability to see up close.

My advice is to seek several regular optometric opinions so that you just get all the facts around what you’re in for. I’ve opted to NOT do the procedure.

Dave 11 Apr 06

Like Brad above, I’ve seen at least one nightmare outcome. In fact, there’s a truck that I frequently see in town that has painted on the side: “Eyes ruined by Duke Lasik” (as in Duke University Hospitals, I’m sure). It’s pretty shocking to see.

I guess there’s at least a little risk.

Anon 11 Apr 06

I extensively research laser eye surgery, and decided in the end not to do it.

As best I could tell, with younger people there was something like a 100% chance of halos. Read up on pupil size - as you age, your pupils no longer dilate as much in dim light (which hurts your night vision, literally not enough light getting in). If your pupil is larger than the “blast zone” created by the laser, you get halo’ing from the irregularity at the edge of that zone. If your pupil is smaller, you don’t. So the older you are and the smaller your pupils, the less likely you get halos. I have fairly large pupils and am fairly young…

Read about visual aberrations. You can end up with 20/20 vision, and still have terrible, distorted vision effects that cause you immense problems. To the next client, this will be reported as “20/20 vision”, full stop.

All of the warnings absolutely hold true. You have a good chance of a good outcome, but a small chance of a really unpleasant, possibly life-altering outcome. I was going to go to a rather expensive, high-end clinic, but even there in the initial stages it definitely feels like a bit of a “mill” - people come in one end with glasses, exit the other side with bandages on their eyes.

Anyway, I decided against it. I still think wistfully about the surgery, and perhaps some day I’ll do it. But the thought of permanently screwing up my vision *voluntarily* fills me with dread.

Dave 11 Apr 06

My eyes are -11.0 and -10.5. I’m 25 years old. Thank you, dad’s genes! Thankfully they’ve held those numbers for a few years now and not gotten even worse.

The thought of laser surgery on my eyes scares me, but maybe the feedback in this thread might help me consider it in the distant future.

Moises Kirsch 11 Apr 06

I did it 2 years ago and I have no complains… my brother did it too and he is more than happy.

One of my best friends did it, and after a few years (5 or 6) he had to start using glasses again but he told me that if he can he would do it again… he misses not wearing glasses.

Nick Punter 11 Apr 06

I can’t even bring myself to put contacts in, there is no way I’m gonna let someone point a laser at them either!

Mary Jo 11 Apr 06

I just had Lasik done about a week and a half ago.

I started looking into it many years ago, but the technology wasn’t right for my vision correction. I went in for an exam last November, hoping that things had changed — and they had. I schedule my surgery for late March.

I wore glasses, bi-focals, and also had an astigmatism. Without my glasses on, I was in a fuzzy world where I couldn’t see anything. I’m a flight attendant, and would wake up in a hotel room, unable to see where I was, see the alarm clock, and I would have been worthless if there had been an emergency.

I was nervous and apprehensive about the process, but it was as good an experience as any medical one can be. It wasn’t painful.

I’m still in recovery, but so far things are going wonderfully. I use artificial tears to help keep my eyes lubricated so that they heal faster. Flying every day is certainly not the typical environment.

Given my age, I will still need to wear reading glasses. And I’m really okay with that.

If you want more specific information, just contact me directly.

I’m so glad that I did it.

phil swenson 11 Apr 06

best $5K I ever spent. Did it 7 years ago, have seen better than 20/20 ever since.

Ara 11 Apr 06

I’m also thinking about getting LASIK and after talking to a lot of freinds who had had it done with varying results, I think the key is research. The one that had the biggest problems went to one of those LASIK mills in the mall. The one with the best results went to one of the best reputed LASIK doctor in LA. There A LOT of difference in doctors, and just as much difference in the machines they use. For example, in FDA testing one of the latest machines, the Allegretto Wave, actually improved night vision in a significant percentage of patients (while reduced night vision is a common complaint). Do your research on doctors and the lasers they use and I think you’ll be alright. ttp:// is a good place to start.

Splashman 11 Apr 06

I think I can sum up the facts (as well as all the anecdotal evidence above) as follows:

1. If you get any form of Refractive Surgery, and have realistic expectations, most likely you will be pleased with the outcome.

2. If you get any form of Refractive Surgery, there is a small risk (

Splashman 11 Apr 06

Whoops — my comment was cut off because I used a less-than sign, which was interpreted as HTML. I’ll try again:

I think I can sum up the facts (as well as all the anecdotal evidence above) as follows:

1. If you get any form of Refractive Surgery, and have realistic expectations, most likely you will be pleased with the outcome.

2. If you get any form of Refractive Surgery, there is a small (less than 5%) yet unavoidable risk of a long-term, life-altering complication.

Stephen 11 Apr 06

My sexy ass wife had it done 5 years ago by a place that was sued out of existence by some jerk. She now very commonly reads signs & other things that are too far for my own 20/20 vision.

Wade Winningham 11 Apr 06

I had it done back in 2000. One of the best things I ever did. Ended up with 20/15 vision and it’s remained consistent. DO research the doctors.

My doctor told me to leave my eyes closed as much as possible for two days following the procedure. I know someone who had it done and they were told they could go back to normal stuff the next day. He smokes, too, and I think he ended up irritating his eyes. A follow up procedure corrected things for him, so it’s very important to give yourself appropriate recouperation time. I just got a few audio books to listen to for a few days.

I was given a prescription for pain medication but to my surprise, I experienced absolutely NO pain. I was expecting my eyes to sting for a while, but NOTHING. No pain, no discomfort.

When you first start really using your eyes the best way I can describe it is like getting a new prescription for your glasses. You’ll likely get a few headaches as your eyes adjust. It’s the exact same thing I had when I had to change prescriptions once. After a day or two of this, things were great and have been since.

Mary in LA 11 Apr 06

Anecdotes != data, but here are a couple of them anyway:

1. My cousin (in her 40s) and my dad (in his 80s) developed cataracts. They both had lens replacement and were very happy with it.

2. One of my friends with terrible nearsightedness had LASIK done on only one eye — what they call “monocorrection.” She uses her corrected eye for distance vision and her uncorrected eye for close work. She says her brain just compensates for it all — she’s very happy with her results, too.

So if you like the idea of LASIK but are scared of possible complications, you might look into monocorrection.

Hope this helps!

mike swimm 11 Apr 06

Great comments on this post!

I wear glasses but my vision isn’t that bad. I can pass a drivers exam without them. So, I don;t really know what it’s like not being able to see anything without my glasses on.

But, I have never had an eye doctor that didn’t wear glasses. It’s sort of like not trusting a skinny cook. If the surgery was all that great it seems like the eye doctors would be the early adopters.

That’s why I would probably stay away.

g. 11 Apr 06

First indirect experience with LASIK in the 80’s my aunt got it and it was quite botched (she lost almost all eyeight on one eye and still had to wear glasses for the other).
My second experience in the late 90’s in a hospital where I saw Doctors having to click away Windows Error Dialogs all the time - while they were operating.
I personally would wait a few more years before even considering it, so the probability of some old pieces of junk ruining my eyes is as small as it can get.
Also: since I have to work under heavy eyestrain all the time I’d like to get a year off, just to be safe.

Serge Baranovsky 11 Apr 06

My wife had LASIK back in 2002 here is Seattle. With -9.5 before the procedure she is 20/20 after it. I was with her at all per- and post- op visits as well as during the operation (~15 min). While she was nervous (anyone would - that’s eyes we are talking about!), now she talks about it as it was easier that pull a tooth. She recommended LASIK to her girl friend who did it a year later and happy too.

My wife considers LASIK the best thing happened in her life - well, -9.5 since she was 14 and now 20/20 still sounds like a miracle!

A piece of advice, don’t go to those doctors with big names who do everything and then LASIK too. Pick those who do _only_ LASIK and have done thousands of operations. After all, it’s the experience that matters!

Joel Dudley 11 Apr 06

I got lasik about 2 years ago and it’s still one of the best things I spent money on. My vision is still great and I actually have good night vision. One thing to note is that I had a bladeless surgery using the intralase? method where the corneal flap was cut by a laser instead of a keratome blade. My wife had the blade and is equally as happy. I had my eyes done at Barnette, Dulaney, and Perkins in Arizona who are supposedly world renoun in the field. The only thing I would say is don’t go cheap. I paid triple what the “junk mail” lasik places advertise. I just don’t think you should spare any expense when it comes to your eyes.

Luke Kanies 11 Apr 06

Both my wife and I had it done — her vision was coke-bottle glasses (-7 or so), and mine was definitely-wear-glasses-all-the-time but I could basically see without them.

We got it done by Dr. Wang at Vanderbilt in Nashville (where we live) — he was supposed to be hot shit, has a PhD in laser physics and an MD, etc.

Overall we’re both thrilled at not needing to wear glasses. However, we’ve both had problems because our eyes are at the edge of the acceptable range

My wife’s eyes were slightly small for the amount of correction that she needed, so they had to do a test run the morning of the surgery to make sure that there would be enough of her cornea left. I think they played it safe, because she could still use slight correction — maybe 20/30 or 20/40 now (as opposed to 20/infinity before).

My eyes had the opposite problem — my pupils are on the large side. I was warned this increased the chance of halos around lights, but if I’d have known how much it would increase it, I would have waited a few more years. I literally see a halo around every discrete source of light — those LED ropes that are everywhere drive me batty.

I’m thrilled at not having to wear glasses, but I should have waited until I wasn’t on the edge of acceptability.

In other words, I highly recommend it as long as you are in the “normal” range. However, if they say anything about being on the edge, wait a couple of years.

OTOH, I’m just that much more eager to get those bionic eyes, so YMMV.

chris 11 Apr 06

Try improving your vision. Get a reduced prescription set of classes, and practice proper vision habits. You can’t see clearly with a stiff neck. You need to blink often (every 2-3 seconds they say), you need to centralize (meaning focus on one point — it’s the least straining to look straight ahead rather than with the head turned). Reduce stress. Relax, breath, see. Get out in the sun. Get away from the computer. Believe it will work, because it will if you want it to.

Lasik will lock you into poor vision habits, as your eyes are currently straining to allow you to see the way you do. Reshaping your lense will do permanent damage to something that you can rectify naturally. Bring about equilibrium.

Michael Doan 11 Apr 06

I’ve been considering this too. I know one thing for sure, I wouldn’t go to a chain/shopping mall type center. I would use my optometrist who offers the service through an affiliate of his practice which he used to get his Lasik done. Its also important that your optometrist is honest (not out for a quick buck) and that you trust him.

Robbie Sinclair 11 Apr 06

(Disclosure: IntraLase is currently my client and I was the art director on the CustomVue launch) but from what I’ve learned having both IntraLase and VISX (CustomVue) as clients, I’d definitely recommend those two technologies over “standard” procedures.

As has been mentioned, CustomVue takes a much more accurate measurement of your individual eye imperfections in order to correct them, as opposed to traditional LASIK that literally uses the same common corrections you would get from an eyeglass prescription.

Since most people are deathly afraid of having a metal blade come into contact with your eye, many people prefer “blade free” LASIK with IntraLase technology. IntraLase essentially is used as the first step in the procedure: a femtosecond laser (NOT the same excimer laser used to ablate your eye during LASIK) painlessly creates hundreds of thousands of small bubbles in your eye (which were programmed beforehand), defines the edges and hinge of the flap, which the doctor can then raise with a spatula-like device (sorry, something still has to touch your eye).

The LASIK ablation is then performed, and the flap is laid back in place — IntraLase-created flaps have sort of a microscopic serrated and beveled edge, which helps the flap fall more naturally back to its original place, which helps in the healing process.

The entire procedure takes maybe 10-15 minutes.

CustomVue and IntraLase do add to the cost of the procedure, but I think most people feel that when it comes to their eyes, you don’t really want to pinch pennies.

The only other caveat is that LASIK is, of course, based on technology, and there is ALWAYS something better about to come out. You just have to decide when the right time is, make the best choice considering your options, and dive in. (now AMO)

Aaron 11 Apr 06

I have considered LASIK but would I would highly recommend Bauch&Lomb PureVision (1 month continuous wear) contact lenses before anyone considers the procedure. Also very interested in the further advances in eye treatment we’re going to have over the next few years.


Diego Barros 11 Apr 06

Personally, I wouldn’t take a chance with my eyesight. No matter how small the risk of something going wrong. If something does go wrong, there may be no way back.

Noel 11 Apr 06

After years of saying I would never try LASIK, I finally went to a LASIK center to get an evaluation. I am -8 in each eye. Unfortunately my cornea are too thin so I can’t have the procedure done, so that answered that question for me. However, if I was going to do it I would pay more and have the Custom Lasik done, which is a higher end version of Lasik, (and costs a lot more). I’d also really check to make sure the guy operating the machine has done it a zillion times before.

Ron Proulx 11 Apr 06

i had Wavefront about 3 years ago. i’ve had 1 touch up on one eye since because i was fortunate enough to get “mono-vision” eg one eye sees far, the other close, and/but i wanted to get my far eye a little sharper. it works fabulously to allow for both reading and seeing far without glasses. you will need reading glasses earlier in life for sure. i’ve noted more recently a bigger need for eyedrops than i had before. It really is amazing to see the clock across the room when u wake up. I’d recommend getting it done.

PWills 11 Apr 06

In 2002, the following people got LASIK in this order:
- My mother
- Me
- My father
- My best friend
- My wife

No one had any complications. Everyone loves it. No one has had any corrections in 4 years. We all used Dr. Rajesh Rajpal in McLean, VA. (Google him; he was one of the leads for the FDA clinical trials.)

PWills 11 Apr 06

In 2002, the following people got LASIK in this order:
- My mother
- Me
- My father
- My best friend
- My wife

No one had any complications. Everyone loves it. No one has had any corrections in 4 years. We all used Dr. Rajesh Rajpal in McLean, VA. (Google him; he was one of the leads for the FDA clinical trials.)

PWills 11 Apr 06

Apologies for the double-post.

Epaminondas Pantulis 12 Apr 06

LASIK surgery is a perfectly safe technique. Come on, guys, NOBODY is pointing the laser toward your eyes. It’s done by very advanced machinery more advanced than many desktop computers. In fact, it is a computer…

And as a computer, it is driven by sophisticated software developed… developed…

Heck, who is coding that software? Did they run their integration tests?

cosmin 12 Apr 06

I had it done here in Romania (Eastern Europe) 6 years ago.
Imagine that the technology was brought from US so at that time you could’ve got much better appliances in the States. Shortly very high risk. But I was in my 1st year at university and having over -8 miopia combined with -4 astigmatism since childhood. The heavy lenses I had to wear since a little boy even gave me a small bump on the nose. So I took my chances. Now all is relatively ok. I have some astigmatism in my left eye and a small mipia. But to be honest I’ve been spending way too much time at the computer.
Your eyes are the 2 most important organs and u depend on them. It’s cosmetical surgery. Like breast implants if u like. At old age it may turn bad. I don’t think that safety of procedure is a problem. There are risks but we all fly planes as well. The chances are the same as being hit by a car on your way to the doctor. Unless u do it at WallMart or something.
My opinion?
At your miopia I would do it. If I had -4 or smaller I would not consider it.

Simon 12 Apr 06

I had LASIK last November and it has been great. My eyes where sore for 24 hours and then it was fine. The soreness was like having old or dirty contact lenses in and so is bearable. Your eyesight will improve dramatically as soon as the surgery is finished and then get steadily better as time goes on. My eyesight is now better than 20/20.

My advice is to go for it but put time and effort into reading reviews and recommendations for the clinics that offer the surgery. Like all surgery there is a risk that something could go wrong.

Meri 12 Apr 06

I had laser surgery back in 2001 and I honestly think it was the best thing I ever did. The impact on my life has been huge — previously my eyesight had gotten so bad (both around -6.5) that I’d had to stop playing my favourite sports (waterpolo is pretty impossible if you can’t see the ball!) and could hardly get to the loo in the night without walking into something.

I had worn contact lenses for about 6 years, but was having problems with vascularisation (when veins grow over your eyes in an attempt to get oxygen to areas that aren’t getting enough), so was wearing thick glasses and basically had NO peripheral vision.

The surgery itself was quite scary, but I’d done my research and rather than going to what some have described above as a “LASIK factory”, I had chosen one of the best surgeons in South Africa. In truth, the description of the surgery was far worse than the reality — thinking that your eyes are going to be slit open and then flapped back turns out to be much worse than the slight nick and everything getting blurrier than before.

The total procedure only took about 15 minutes, although there was an hour either side while they monitored me, etc. I walked out an hour after the surgery already able to see better (although still slightly blurry). Within a couple of days my vision was 20/20 and I was noticing all sorts of things that I’d never seen before!

I did have two problems:
1) After the surgery I was meant to sleep with guards over my eyes, to prevent any damage from rubbing them in the night. I kept taping them to my face but then waking up the next morning with them neatly put away in the bedside cabinet. Providing you don’t act intelligently whilst asleep, you’ll probably be fine ;-)

2) My eyesight did get a little worse again about 2 years after the surgery. I think this was more down to my age though — although my eyes had been stable for 4 years before the surgery, I was only 19 when I had it done. Arguably I should have waited longer (and to his credit, the surgeon did tell me this) but for personal financial reasons (i.e. I was still covered by my dad’s medicare and they were offering to pay the full fee because of my eyesight being so bad, but wouldn’t be covered much longer) I still chose to go ahead. Even now, my glasses are less than -1 strong and I can easily go without them when working at the PC, reading, etc.

I’d reiterate the point about not going to a LASIK factory. I’m now living in the UK and every time I have been to an optician (working on computers all day means regular eye tests are a must), they haven’t realised I’ve had surgery until I tell them to look for the scars. They are absolutely AMAZED because apparently most people here go to LASIK factories and the scars are big and very obvious. I’d find a specialist eye surgeon — even if it’s more expensive, these ARE your eyes ;-)

Hendrik-Jan Francke 12 Apr 06

Don’t do it. My uncle is an eye doctor and says the long term implications are not clear. There are short terms gains, in the long run, LASIK makes your vision worse. He is very passionately against it.

Jeremy J 12 Apr 06

I wear all-day-all-night contacts from Specsavers (UK) on a prescription of -4.50 in both eyes (right eye is actually 0.25 worse, but it’s so much easier to use the same in both). They sit in your eyes for 30 days at a time - clear vision in the middle of the night or the morning, no faffing with taking them out at night.

The price? About 14 quid/pair/month. I then get about a third off that with health insurance, and actually tend to wear them for more like 6-7 weeks at a time. It’s about the same cost as buying a nice pair of glasses every two years, but without blury sight at night, the option of changing prescription much more frequently, and without shining lasers anywhere.

Might consider LASIK-style treatments in the future, but not until the prescription has settled down (could be costly to get it re-done later on in life if things change - as per Meri’s post above) and the long-term effects are known.

Aren’t glasses cool these days anyway?

Don Schenck 12 Apr 06

Finally! This explains your love of Audis — yer frickin’ blind!


I’d spend the money on bourbon, cigars and cheap reading glasses.

Just my two cents.

Jeff 12 Apr 06

My eyesight was like yours. I had it done three years ago and its the greatest thing ever. I wore contacts for 20 years before that. If they offer you valium, take it. I didn’t and about freaked out when the machine latched on to my eyeballs.

But go to a reputable doctor. There are a lot popping up now that seem a little questionable. Don’t price shop.

Jacob DeHart 12 Apr 06

Hey Jason,

I got lasik a few years ago, my mom and sister also got it done. My eyes were pretty awful as well, worse than yours, -7 and -7.5 I believe. I 100% recommend that you get lasik. Its so amazing. I have perfect vision and haven’t had any ill effects. I never have to worry about taking my contacts out or cleaning them, i don’t have to worry about cleaning my glasses, or breaking them. Plus you know how glasses are when its hot out, makes your nose all sweaty, man that sucks.

get lasik!

Jacob DeHart 12 Apr 06

by the way, I went to Dr Majmudar at Chicago Cornea

Jeff 12 Apr 06

After you get it done, spend a day in South Beach Miami. You’ll then realize it was worth every penny.

Shane 12 Apr 06

Hi Jason;

I had PRK (with wavefront) performed 2 years ago and I now have 20/15 vision and no night vision problems. I was advised not have LASIK as I play hockey, squash, etc. My doctor claims that there is a chance of the cornial flap being ripped off during some sporting activities. No matter what you decide go to reputable doctor. I paid close to $5000 (Canadian) for my surgery at the best clinic I could find.

Jeremy 12 Apr 06

I’m getting my LASIK tomorrow. And from what I’m reading here, there’s a fair bit of disinformation out there. (One poster wrote something about removing part of your iris, which is simply untrue.)

Here’s where I’m getting mine done:

Yeah, it’s a sales-y website, but they give a good description of how it’s done, my doctor teaches at NYU med school, etc. The basic rules I followed are 1) talk to people who had it done and 2) go to a reputable place. That stuff about $600/eye is nuts. Mine is gonna be $4800, which is pretty much the standard price for a good dr. here in NYC.

Kathryn 12 Apr 06

I had it done 5 months ago before a big trip to South-East Asia, and it was absolutely amazing. So amazing that I’ve completely forgotten what it was like to deal with contacts and glasses.

I was -4.00 in both eyes, and now I’m 20/15 or better, which is better than I could see *with* contacts before.

Definitely take the advice above and see a real corneal surgeon / ophthalmologist. Mine did LASIK on Mondays, and other non-LASIK procedures the rest of the week. They are happy to go through all the risks with you. I had to sign something that said there’s the definite possibility of blindness. I asked how many of their patients had ever experienced that, and they said zero. I think they have to give you the “general” risk percentages, but if you ask for numbers based on their actual cases, it’s very telling.

Learning about the procedure was really what sold me in the end. It’s actually quite straightforward, and took 6 1/2 minutes total for me, after which I was able to read the clock on the wall!

Check out lasik videos on if you want to be a little grossed out but want to know how it *actually* goes down.

If you need a recommendation in San Francisco, Dr. Goodman is the bomb.

Rick 12 Apr 06

Easy decision…

Can you wear contact lenses?
If no, then get LASIK.
If yes, the read on.

Is wearing contact lenses no longer an option for you because you are expericing an increase in redness or have chronic discomfort that seems to go away when you wear your glasses?
If yes, then get LASIK.
If no, then stick with the contacts. Don’t take the risk just to avoid a 3 minute routine twice a day.

Rick 12 Apr 06

Forgot to add… I was having the chronic problems, I had LASIK in December of last year and I am mostly pleased with the results. However, I do have trouble with dry blurry eyes and night vision. The worst part is trying to watch a movie in a dark room, the sharpness is gone due to the blurring.

Splashman 12 Apr 06

Um, Rick? As any ophthalmologist or eye surgeon would tell you if you bothered to ask, contact lens intolerance is a relative contraindication for LASIK. Why? Because most CL intolerance is related to dry eyes (insufficient tear production and/or poor quality tears). In LASIK and some other forms of refractive surgery, the cornea is cut, which cuts the nerves inside the cornea and results in decreased tear production. Generally, tear production recovers in 6 months or so, but for some the decrease is permanent. Those who have dry eye symptoms before LASIK are at much greater risk of this permanent decrease in tear production. Do a search for “dry eye syndrome” and you’ll discover that many, many people suffer from LASIK-induced dry eye. And if you think dry eye is no big deal, check it out. This is life-changing stuff.

“Relative contraindication” means that LASIK is generally inadvisable but not completely ruled out. What you can be sure of is that if your surgeon knows you are CL intolerant, some hard questions will follow.

Anonymous Coward 12 Apr 06

My very scared-of-anything girlfriend got up the courage, and it is nothing short of miraculous. A couple hours, and contacts/glasses are no longer a part of her life. Crazy.

david 13 Apr 06

At -6 or so you might want to check into the newly approved visian ICL made by Staar, quite a bit more expensive than Lasik but seems to have several positive features like it is minimally invasive and better accuity than lasik and also potentially reversible if necessary.

Adam 13 Apr 06

Surgery of this type still seems a little arcane. Personally I’d rather wait for the day when they inject me with a genetically engineered virus that reshapes my eyes. Or they give me some eyedrops with nanites that do the work. Or they use some stem cells to grow me a new eyeball and just replace it.

I asked my eye doctor about it and he said that for me it may not make sense as as I get older, I will get less nearsighted and more farsighted. Plus he pointed out there are more long-term studies on the effects of glasses and contacts and none on Lasik. So no one really knows what happens 40 years out.

There is some credibility to the “eye muscle” stuff; the way my doctor explained it your eyes can get locked into a certain focal length and if you keep getting stronger and stronger lenses it just makes it worse. Not sure I’m dedicated enough to do all that eye exercise stuff if it even works.

Still LASIK is tempting.

Dave 13 Apr 06

I’ve been considering corrective surgery now for about 15 years and have tracked the progress since the days of Radialsomethingography..ok so I’m no specialist just an interested party.

Very learned experts advised me that with a prescription of -9.0 and -9.25, although at the time more like your own -5ish I would need the procedure carried out at least twice on each eye. this was in the days of diamond tipped scapels! (Sounds barbaric…emmm it is!) Then lasers came along, the new thing, but who wants to be a guinea pig right? especially when your eyesight is at stake. Anyway to cut a long boring story short I was persuaded not to do it becuase there where not enough statistics showing long term effects.

So while i am thrilled to bits that Mr A’s prcedure worked and Miss B is enjoying perfect 20/20 believe me my greatest wish after, world peace, is to wake up in the morning and see the world as it really is, none of these people have had it done more than 5-8 years ago, what will happen in another few years? Not I’m not a doom and gloom monger but still its something to think about, hell you have cut part of your eye out??! Now that is barbaric!

Nothing worse than the guy who looks at the negative but never has any alternative suggestions. So Here is mine. Look into ICL Treatment. Inplantable Contact lenses. Safer, Fully reversable if there are any complications, and no lasers in sight, well except maybe to make a tiny incision in the cornea so you can slip the lenses into place on top of your own eye’s lens. Yes no doubt there are a lack of stats and no doubt the procedure has its own risks, but it still seems preferable to me than somethihg that can leave you with blurry night vision and is irreversable.

For me the problem is cost �2000 per eye! But for a man of your means probably won’t be a problem. My advise is research it and find the leaders in the field. Even if it requires a trip to Belfast. Let me know what you decide in the end. Especially if you go for ICL , i’d love to hear if it worked!


Matt Harris 13 Apr 06

LASIK has been tempting me for a few years, however, the following two reasons keep me from doing the surgery:

* The three optometrist I know still wear glasses
* We don’t know how LASIK will effect vision 30 - 40 years down the road

I won’t have the surgery until either (1) my sight is poor enough that the risk of losing vision is less important than the advantage of improved vision or (2) I am succesfully convinced that the short- and long-term risk is negligible.

On a side note, I want to mention that the people who have had serious problems with the surgery probably won’t be commenting on this article.

J Thomas Lowell 14 Apr 06

Good friend of mine is an opthamologist. My wife has similar prescription—somewhere in the -6 range and she asked him about lasik. Lasik is a cash cow for eye surgeons. Our friend said he would never have it done on himself and doesn’t prefer doing them. Just know it’s very profitable to do these for most practices—that’s what pays the bills. You should be very critical/discerning when talking to opthamologists about this.

Krishna 14 Apr 06

I went through the LASIK procedure about a year ago. I had a -11 and -10.5 on both eyes and its now dowm to ~0. No other side effects so far, and iam very happy i went for the procedure :)

Jonathan Vaught 14 Apr 06

This thread is an object lesson in why researching something via word-of-mouth on the Interweb is pointless. The bell curve gets inverted; the extreme positives and negatives are amplified. Jason, you had to know this before posting. Are we part of some experiment?

For the record: I had LASIK done almost four years ago, and improved from a -14 diopter to 20/25 in one eye and 20/15 in the other. No complications, and the experience was comparable in discomfort to getting a couple of cavities filled. The worst part was having the clamps stuck on my eyelids.

I also agree with the earlier observation that a lifetime of poking foreign bodies (contacts, etc.) into your eyes probably poses a greater risk than LASIK.

Just another data point.

James Moore 15 Apr 06

Every time I read the “risks are small,” and then see that followed up with a number in the range of 5%, I want to pound on the table. 5% isn’t small, it’s huge. Massive. The decimal point is in the wrong place here, people! .5%, as in point five percent, strikes me as far, far too high for something like this. You guys are saying that for every thousand people who do this 50 have serious issues?

Someone mentioned that you’re facing risks every time you get in a car. Now image in world in which one time in 20 you get in a car, you get in an accident. That’s about an accident every other week for most of us commuters. Still think 5% is a sane number for risk?

- James

Jeremy Jarvis 16 Apr 06

I suppose you could say that “no functional specs” also applies to eyewear?

Sorry. :\

Christian Watson 16 Apr 06

I had it done in 2000, and it was the best $2000 I ever spent. I was out and about two days later without glasses (and I was -6/-5 beforehand). I now have 20/20 vision.

It’s the best money you’ll ever spend.

Kevin Watt 17 Apr 06

Piping in a bit late, but I had it 7 years ago now and still love it. I talked my wife into doing it a year ago as well, and she loves it too. She had to have a second corrective surgery on one eye (her prescription was really bad previously, like -8 or something).

I had really dry eyes for 3 months, but my wife healed almost 100% in just a few weeks, and had no dry eye issues.

I’ve forgotten I ever had bad vision…

Ken Cobb 19 Apr 06

I had lasic on my left eye when I was fourty, was great for a few years , now at fifty two I am just a bout blind in that eye, the surface of the cornea is so uneven due to the subsurface changes that glasses can not correct, soft contacts conform to the eye which makes them useless. RGP
contacts (hard contacts) work but one of the side effects of lasic is dry eye which cuts down the O2 to your cornea which causes it to become unstable (vision changes often) The next step for me is a transplant, think years down the line before you consider doing this.
Good Luck

Brian McNitt 21 Apr 06

So, Jason, what are you going to do?? :)

Dean Andrew Kantis 21 Apr 06


Trust me, once you really know the REAL complication rates that the industry and the FDA are NOT telling the misinformed public, you would NOT even think about having a surgeon take a razor blade slashing through your cornea creating 20-40% permanent nerve damage (never recovers) and a flap that NEVER HEALS…

Do your research and try NOT to convince yourself to make your perfect virgin regular eye…irregular! If you then totally understand what is at stake and that if your eyes have problems as do about 33% or 1 out of 3 eyes do, you will then understand why overseas doctors do NOT do Lasik anymore…and some of the best surgeons in the USA do NOT do Lasik anymore…

Hope this helps…good luck! Just looking out for you like I wish someone would have looked out for me, but it was too late and I opted to have Lasik…
Dean Andrew

Jeff 21 Apr 06

In Chicago, Manus Kraff (the Kraff Institute, I believe) is the way to go. He’s the best (search the internet), which does come with a little price premium, but these are your eyes man!

My very good buddy had it done by this guy and says he would go through the whole thing every six months if he had to, though he certainly doesn’t. It went perfect and now he is bettery than 20/20.

Plus Manus is a Mac user.

Roger Davis, PhD 21 Apr 06

I was a research clinical psychologist before LASIK. I was told that I’d have 2 days of eye strain, and then I’d be seeing great. Since I was the perfect candidate, there was no risk.

After having LASIK, I had to move back in with parents for a year because the dry eye was so bad. I have never recovered, and this after spending many thousands on contact lenses. My vision is distorted somewhat every single day. Sometimes it’s good enough to read, and sometimes it isn’t.

I’ve since communicated with over a hundred people who’ve told me that they’ve considered suicide because of their LASIK results. They’re all over the US. Many thought they had the best doctors. I know I did…I did my homework, didn’t go to a LASIK mill, interviewed three surgeons, and finally picked who published a major text on post-LASIK complications. Only the best for my eyes, I thought.

It still went horribly wrong.

If you want to look through the eyes of some of these people, you can go to It’s a website I created where people with vision problems (not just LASIK) can communicate their situation to family and friends, doctors and attorneys, and maybe not feel so alone and helpless anymore.

You’ll see a lot of positive information posted on the internet about LASIK. Most of the people I know with complications don’t want to speak out. They know that if they attach their name to an anti-LASIK message that tells the truth about their bad vision, it could show up in a Google search, and affect their future opportunities for hiring and job promotions. And it’s true…what with life being as competitive as it is…employers are looking for any basis to weed out applicants.

Besides, who wants to have their misery recorded on the internet for all of posterity? That’s pretty private stuff.

What I learned from LASIK is that modern doctors are as much entrepeneurs as healers, and that when money talks, it really hard for some of them to give advice that’s in the patient’s best interest. That’s why you can’t believe the marketing, and that’s why you should be suspicious of complication rates. Refractive surgeons themselves have been critical of the data submitted to the FDA.

Perhaps 70% of the neurons in the human brain are processing visual information or its derivatives at any one time. That’s why people either seem to love LASIK or hate it. And if you hate it, you’ll hate it really really really bad.


Damaged by LASIK 13 May 06


I would appreciate it enormously if you would ask your coworker who had a botched LASIK at Duke to contact me. I also had a botched LASIK at Duke University, as did a faculty member at a Southeastern University and an engineer - it would be great to compare notes…

I can be reached at [email protected]

Elvira Galindo 16 May 06

Unless you have a second set of eyes, do not have it! I had it in June 2004 and do not see far enough to drive, left a job that I absolutely loved and am not able to function during the day because I cannot sleep at night due to the burning and pain. I go nowhere because my eyes and head hurt constantly. I have been going thru almost 2 years of a nightmare that I cannot get out of. I not only ruined my life, I ruined my family’s lives. I would trade places in a heartbeat to never have done it. A picture is worth a 1000 words. If interested, see www.dr david But acording to the doctors here, my eye pain is not supposed to be real, it is all in my mind. Then how come I cannot see to drive anymore? I have cried almost eevery day for the past 18 months for the worst mistake of my life, but nothing can fix it, it is irreversible. Elvira

Mike 17 May 06

I had Lasik surgery over six years ago.
The worst decision of my life…I graduated
cum laude, I went to the “world respected
eye surgeon” who had been a surgeon for
over 25 years….I had the money, my friends at the tennis club said it was awesome.
9 surgeries later, two cornea transplants, and
I walked out of there with one eye seeing 20/20 for a year….Now…I can’t play any ball sport…I lost a six figure job, you tell me what you can do when you can’t see… you think money will make it better.. tell me what you like doing with constant pain and remembering the life you use to have….all this for the trouble of not wearing glasses or contacts. This is not internet Bull….I wouldn’t wish this hell on anyone, the stats are misleading its a money machine just like you see on the info commercials…as for the people who have commented on how great its been for them, just give it time….complications will arise, and you will reget not only your decision but the fact that you told someone else to have it done.

Dave 19 May 06

So jason, are you still going ahead with it? I know I won’t be, but still interested in ICL (Implantable Contact lenses) unless people have had similar horror stories with that procedure. Anybody?

Courtney 15 Jun 06

I had -5.25 in both eyes for many years. I also was considering LASIK. My contacts began to bother me about a year ago, so I went back to my glasses, which were probably about -4.25 because they were 5 years old. I wore those for 6 months. Then, I began reading about natural vision restoration. I decided to try and use my glasses as little as possible. I used them when driving and using my computer, but otherwse went without them. Then, I ordered contact lenses with -3.25 correction from Canada, since you can’t get them in the US without a Dr. prescription. I am wearing those now. I can see my computer perfectly, TV perfectly. Things are just slightly blurry at far distances. I am going to try and wear these for as long as it takes and then move down to -2.25. I am very excited to be at -3.25, considering I have been steadily at -5.25 for many years and feeling blind as a bat. For me it felt right to fix it myself.

Even if my vision is never “perfect” I have come to appreciate my naturally blurry vision. It helps me to relax during yoga, it helps me to let go of judging other people because I can’t see their faces clearly, it helps me to learn to ask others for their assistance, it helps me to accept reality and not fight it. Hope this helps. Also, for anyone who hates that they can’t see, is angry at their doctor for ruining their eyes or feeling ashamed about making the wrong decision, or is suffering in anyway, please check out or go get a book from Byron Katie from the library. You deserve to live in peace!

Nathaniel 19 Jun 06

I had Lasik May 19th, 2006
I must say WOW, technology has taken its toll
I had lasik at 1:30 PM, I was calm wearing my glasses for a week for the surgery (BLADE FREE, INTRALASE), then they called my name and the lady said “You can take those off, you wont be needing those anymore” I smiled and told myself I hope so. The multimillion dollar faciligy i went to was hella worth it, Free Consultation, Eye Examination was thorough, Answered All my Questions, They gave me the risks right after the consultation, considering there rate was 98% acheive 20/20 or better and 70% acheive 20/16 or better. ( I forgot to mention i was -4.50 and 4.75 no astigmatism)_I had the surgery as soon as i got up i could see kinda blurry cuz i kept tearing, and couldnt rub my eyes but i could see far WOW, 8 years wearing contacts (Im 19 yrs old) i could see detail my eyes had a burning sensation but took a nap woke up and no pain, i was looking everywhere to see how far i could see. Im still amazed till this day i wish it was may 19th, again I walked in seeing blurry w/o glasses and walked out seeing like someone normal its June 19 and I feel i have at least 20/15 or 20/10 i can see crisp, and sharp, Dr. Filutowski best surgeon, has taught ppl around the world this procedure and is the most experience in Central Florida, my procedure was 2,495 per eye, 300$ more w/o insurance. almost 5,000$. I recommend it to anyone he has excellent results, very few have complications and ITS BLADE FREE, INTRALASE

Go to the right doctor and research the results they receive dont do a blade, that sucks DO BLADE FREE, if you’ve done keratome and like it den good for u, but intralase is 100 times more precise than keratome. Im so glad for getting it and im recommending it to everyone, cuz this doctor knows what hes doing

Evadne 20 Jun 06

Have just booked myself in for this, current prescription is -7 in both eyes. You can follow my blog if you want to see the results.

Miranda Taylor 21 Jun 06

I am very happy waking up in the mountains with 20/15 vision after a factory PRK job (they told me at the Vankouver clinic after I drove up from Seattle, that my corneas were indeed too thin for flapnzap). Like before surgery, my left eye gets blurry when I feel worn out. Sleep and taking tonifying Chinese herb formulas remedied that. The change in my vision of life was very apparent to my Qi Kung teacher. It could have been the deep fear I experienced by living without vision and shivvering from the valium/pain reaction for a couple days, but I feel like I can “really see” through complexity with calmer and wiser eyes now.
Acupuncture helps a lot of people for dry eyes. So maybe with acupuncture you can live with contacts instead. I am an acupuncturist and I do not recommend elective surgery to my patients unless they could deal positively with consequences.
Qi gong eye exercises work to improve vision too. The New Yorker magazine—June 19 2006—has an article describing some exercises prescribed Dr. Theresa Ruggiero. A neurologist who had surgeries as a child after being born cross-eyed has done extensive research, and still spends at least 20 minutes daily doing Ruggerio’s exercises for helping her stereo vision. I will start with 5-minute increments for my declining reading vision. I would like to meet Seattle opthamologists who really know their “simple” tools like eye exercises so I can delay the reading glasses. [email protected] is my email for acupuncture or Chinese herb questions as well as (if you have) information on wholistic opthamologists in the Seattle area. Thanks!

kriti 04 Sep 06

hi jason. my eyesight is just as bad as yours… oh wait you need to add -0.5 to both eyes!! and i hate wearing those thick glasses… contacts are okay… but i trouble adjusting to contacts as soon as i put them in.

i have heard people raving about it… and people cursing it… i am shit-scared of the risks involved (which it seems are pretty high… higher than what is projected). there’s this site “”. you might want to check it out.

but after reading tons of pages on the internet i am left absolutely clueless on what i should do!!

pls pls pls… do tell me what you decide to do… and what are the results (if you do go for lasik)…

kriti 04 Sep 06

whoa.. i hadn’t read the comments in between… just the ones on top and one advertisement before mine!!

i just did and okay… i’m changing my mind right back… no surgery for me! i’m okay with my specs and contacts.

Mike D. 25 Sep 06

Wow, thank god Rugby Player Steve dropped in to keep the conversation on track!

This is a great thread, but strangely, one the still doesn’t change my current opinion that “yeah, it’s probably safe, but it might be better to wait a few more years”. I really can’t think of another body part that would deserve this much scrutiny and carefulness. Even *brain* surgery to me would be an easier call.

Geannie 26 Sep 06

I’m nearsighted and have worn glasses since I was in high school. I’m 33 now. I tried contacts briefly but they dried my eyes out and I was constantly putting drops in. I couldn’t wait to get home to take them out. So I quit the contacts and have stuck with the glasses. I have never considered lasik or any kind of eye surgery just because I have read so many horror stories. It’s just not worth the risk. I try to let people know what I’ve read and deter people from having any elective eye surgery. I feel there’s more I could be doing though. Any suggestions?

Convinced Against Lasik 30 Sep 06

I’ve had glasses since I was 8. My vision is terrible without glasses or contacts. But I don’t think I’d ever get Lasik. Why? Because:

1. I just don’t have $4000-$5000 to pay a doctor to run a laser over my eyeballs. I have more important things to spend my money on than that.
2. Wearing glasses has saved my eyes from God knows how many things getting/flying into them.
3. I do a LOT of reading, as well as other close-up work for hobbies, and from what I understand (correct me if I’m wrong), the current Lasik correction eliminates a little of near vision. (BTW, people who say they see “better than 20/20” because they see at 20/15…doesn’t that just mean that Lasik made them slightly farsighted?)
4. I don’t feel like risking my night vision, which is perfectly fine with glasses, or risking the occurrence of halos, persistent dry eye, and other such aberrations.
5. Most importantly, I ONLY HAVE ONE SET OF EYES and I’m not about to risk them for vanity or convenience. Though I am nearsighted and astigmatic, my eyeballs are structurally fine and intact. I wonder what will happen to the structural integrity of all those Lasiked eyeballs over time, or with trauma. Like they say…”If it ain’t broke…don’t fix it.”

Many people who have gotten Lasik marvel at the ability to see the alarm clock in the morning. Well…it takes me about 2 seconds (if that) to get my glasses on, and voila! I can see the alarm clock just as well. People are getting too used to the “quick fix” without considering the consequences, I think.

Convinced Against Lasik 30 Sep 06

Forgot to mention…Lasik does not eliminate presbyopia, and it doesn’t mean your vision will not change in other ways later on. So I’d need reading glasses anyway, and then, what’s the point?