Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
SkyTrooper

Refractive Eye Surgery

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Has anyone gotten LASIK or PRK surgery? I've had it as a backburner project for a while but recently had time to get a few consulations, and I think I'm more confused now than when I started. I am only slightly nearsighted (20/40 in both eyes) and for daily activities I don't even wear contacts. However, I'm in the military and think having 20/20 or better vision would give me an edge or even be decisive in certain situations. With glasses, for example, I can shoot "expert" (maximum score) with a rifle on the shooting range, but can barely qualify without them.. and I often won't have my glasses available in a combat zone.

I went to Dr. A, a large corporate LASIK specialist, was given a battery of tests, and told I was a good canidate. They even offered to schedule me for surgery the next day if I wanted. The technology is impressive. It takes about 10 minutes: a laser cuts a small flap in my eye which is then lifted so that another laser can reshape the cornea. I was told that they could probably get me to much better than 20/20 using their custom-wavefront technology, which basically takes a digital 3D scan of my eyeballs. Gains are realized imediately following the surgery and recovery takes about 3 hours. I was excited and ready to sign up.

Then I went to Dr. B, an Opthamologist who has good credentaials for refractive surgery, but also runs a general practice. He also ran a battery of tests. He said I was a good canidate but that I should get PRK instead, because he wants to protect the "long-term health of my corneas". I was told that I would be down for about 3 days while my eyes healed. Basically the top layer of my eye is burned off so that the cornea underneath can be reshaped, and then the entire eye heals over the course of several months. I also went to a friend's Opthamologist, who it turns out works with Dr. B to perform PRK, and after more scans and tests basically endorsed his reccomendation. Once again, I was convinced and about ready to go with Dr. B.

Now I've been reading a bunch of information online, and am finding out PRK healing takes much longer than 3 days. It's more like 7 days where I would barely be able to see at all followed by 6 weeks until I could read again, then months until 20/20 or better gains are realized. It also apparently hurts, alot. So I have to conclude that Dr. B wasn't honest with me about how aweful this procedure is.

I also found a few websites devoted to attacking LASIK. The websites claim that my eyes would never fully heal, that it increases risks for certain long-term problems, etc. Of course nowhere can I find actual statistics showing how common any of these problems are. Dr. A didn't explain all of these risks and, for the ones that he did explain, he said they occured in less than 1% of patients.

So has anyone been down this road before and reseached LASIK vs. PRK vs. nothing? I think that the attacks on LASIK may just be due to the fact that it is a *gasp* "for-profit medical practice". However, I don't know how to find out what the real risks are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have minimal anecdotal evidence about LASIK: A family member over 50 had it done three years ago. The recovery was nonexistent and there have been no reported problems since. However, she still uses reading glasses, but this is from being essentially far-sighted blind before (only vague colored shapes beyond 20ft. or so). Besides for reading, no glasses or contacts are needed now after a lifetime of use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had the procedure which involved cutting the 'flap' opening it and applying the laser directly to the cornea for reshaping. I experienced no pain during the procedure, and only very slight discomfort afterwards for a couple hours (felt like I had something in my eyes). Within hours I could already tell my vision was better. I had to take antibiotic eyedrops for a week or two after but I was back to work in two days.

My vision improved to about 20/15 for a long time, but I lost some of my close vision resulting in having to wear reading glasses a little sooner than normal. I did experience a slightly more noticeable halo effect around lights at night. For awhile after the surgery I could see very slight disturbances where the flap cuts were but that went away as they healed.

For me, as a cop, it was well worth the procedure to have much better distance vision without having to wear glasses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My grandmother had it done two years ago and her vision reverted to perfect 20/20 vision and she hasn't had to wear glasses for anything since the surgery. She told me it was painless and rather quick as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given that you are in the military, it might be worth investigating the effects of pressure, if any, on each of those surgery styles (diving and/or high altitudes).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife had LASIK 4 years ago and loves it. Like others have said, she had near instant results with little to no discomfort. I do know one caveat: if you have dry eyes, the surgery will likely make them drier, at least for a few months.

What branch are you in, and what's your specialty? I'm a pilot, and my eyes are around 20/35, so LASIK would be great for me. Unfortunately, the Navy has only approved PRK for pilots due to concerns about LASIK (e.g. nighttime "halos" and corneal flaps opening under high G loads). I can't afford the downtime of PRK while I'm in a flight status.

I would check with a Doc in your service before any elective surgery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the responses. I am definitely leaning towards LASIK due to the quick and painless recovery that everyone has mentioned.

For me, as a cop, it was well worth the procedure to have much better distance vision without having to wear glasses.

That is basically my reasoning as well.

Given that you are in the military, it might be worth investigating the effects of pressure, if any, on each of those surgery styles (diving and/or high altitudes).

After getting LASIK, I won't be allowed to the Halo free-fall school (along with a few other schools) because the military is still studying the effect of the surgery under these conditions. Some of the Army's restictions on schools will probably be loosened as LASIK is studied better. The doctors have told me that I shouldn't SCUBA within 3 months following it but am good to go after that. PRK doesn't risk any complications under pressure, and the Army doesn't restrict what you can do after the surgery, because the cornea is not cut.

What branch are you in, and what's your specialty? I'm a pilot, and my eyes are around 20/35, so LASIK would be great for me. Unfortunately, the Navy has only approved PRK for pilots due to concerns about LASIK (e.g. nighttime "halos" and corneal flaps opening under high G loads). I can't afford the downtime of PRK while I'm in a flight status.

I am an Infantry Officer in the Army, about to be assigned to an Air Assault unit (helicopter-borne infantry).

I would check with a Doc in your service before any elective surgery.

The Army allows it, but if done through the service there is a bunch of paperwork and a 6 month waitlist. Also, I don't want Army Doctors to touch my eyes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...