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Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

LASIK and Willing Dupes

Posted 03-20-2014 at 11:12 AM by Blondebaerde
Updated 03-19-2015 at 12:10 PM by Blondebaerde

LASIK is a complicated topic, despite all the advances in recent years. My feeling, after exploring it carefully (research, c. 1999-2010), was that the risks were not worth it "for me."

Someone can "discuss" dry eyes with a practitioner, or "ask about risks," and they'll seem to have all the answers. Understand that's part of the pitch, though. No different, frankly, then asking a Mercedes Benz sales associate why exactly I should spend $175K on that AMG Black series: "why, sir: don't you deserve to have only the best? Wouldn't you like to be free of cares and worries, in the elegance and smooth ride?"

"Wouldn't you like to be free of glasses? Our cool laser only takes minutes to correct a lifetime of worry. I've done thousands of these procedures. You're a perfect candidate!"

Right. At least the Mercedes can be dumped three years later at only $80K depreciation. Not so your eyes.

First person I consulted with is a top cornea specialist in greater Seattle. I read some of her papers and other peer-reviewed works. Harvard Med, too. My detailed inquiries and concerns, pre-op, were basically blown off which I found decidedly weird from an urbane, clearly-sophisticated Doctor of Optometry or Ophthalmology. That was red flag no. 1.

A former FDA official or two went public with recommending people avoid the procedure, a few years ago. About the time, in fact, I was considering it quite carefully. Red flag no. 2: pretty clearly this guy wasn't on anyone's payroll.

Bottom line: if you do your own due-diligence, understand the risks, and are prepared to live with the non-zero consequences of side-effect/complications or normal aging to your eyes, go for it. For me, good vision is critical (computer work) since I'm in front of a laptop 8 or more hrs/day, 5 days/week.

I have 20/20 to 20/17 BCV with glasses. My eyes are -2.25 and -3.75 w/very mild astigmatism, stable across the decades. That's a "moderate" prescription (arbitrarily) and I do require glasses to see clearly. I can get by, around the house, without though can't see anything well beyond 6-10 feet.

Today I'm at an age where reading glasses are coming soon. Had I moved forward on LASIK in 2010, as originally planned, reading glasses would already be a reality. Presbyopia is inevitable for people in their 40s and 50s, naturally. I just didn't want it to arrive early.

Also, I am one of the pale-peoples (northern European) and tend to have dry skin and usually mildly-dry eyes. ("Mild" being the key word, but I do use re-wetting drops in the evenings oftentimes.) LASIK exacerbates dry eyes in (some, most, all?) patients, since corneal nerves are severed during the flap creation and don't really "grow back". Ever. That wouldn't work well for me. Nor can I tolerate contacts. Nor do I have thick corneas, final red flag.

Glasses are a drag, "I guess" though they can be made a fashion accessory, too, if you're a bit avante garde. I revel in it. I notice very few women wear glasses; seems to be some sort of fashion rule I'm not aware of. I have pairs for sports (military grade), sunglasses, etc. all about the house and never had any problems with losing or damaging anything. Not once, ever: dirtbikes, motorcycles, etc. and travel across four continents. Obviously a backup pair from previous years always comes-with, not that I've needed that (yet).

I've never "broken" a pair of glasses; I select titanium frames, usually, that resist most attempts at abuse admirably. They are a replace-every-two-years sort of item, anyway. Old pairs are stashed where I might conceivably need them, though as an organized person I am 100% sure where a pair is at any given time, if not on my head!

Must say I'm amused with those who had the procedure done, had a decent outcome (or outcomes, if multiple events) but regressed and are back in contacts or glasses, yet somehow think it was "a good idea" to have it done to begin with. Now they're using re-wetting drops for life, still have contacts, and probably using reading glasses too. The LASIK mills love that sort of cognitive dissonance: free advertising.

I chose to skip several of the steps above, frankly. If you have a good outcome, as most seem to, hunky-dory. If not, big trouble. For life.

And in the end, "for me," it wasn't good enough odds. YMMV. I have no horse in this race any longer, though find the murky way the procedures are advertised to the masses vulgar in the extreme. The facts around LASIK still do not survive close scrutiny.
Posted in Lifestyle
Views 1409 Comments 1
Total Comments 1


  1. Old Comment

    Vision quest

    I have experienced nothing but trouble for the past four eyeglass prescription refills. Each has been with a different vendor.

    Consideration of lasik surgery is iffy as my astigmatism is quite severe.

    One two-year trial of contact lenses failed due to the "football" shape of my eyeballs.

    Frankly, I can not see beyond the end of my arms without glasses. Do not mind wearing glasses but lament the four months (NOT an exaggeration) it takes for eyeglass makers to 'get it right' each time my prescription changes.

    Not sure where to go from here but really enjoying seeing clearly.
    Posted 02-15-2015 at 06:34 PM by dalbecr dalbecr is offline

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