tl;dr as a middle aged bloke with subtle near-sightedness, the juice may not yet be worth the squeeze getting LASIK!
I walked into a LASIK exam room just over a month ago and in a comically short time I walked out again with different curves in my eyes. If I could go back, I would probably not go through with it.
This isn’t the story of an operation that went shockingly wrong. I’m not blinded. The outcome was a success, but it oddly feels net neutral or worse.
I’m writing this as something I wish I had found when researching the procedure, as I feel a lil sheepish that I didn’t understand where I would be on the flip side. The information is out there, I just didn’t see it.
I will walk though:
- What was the state of my eye sight before?
- What was the state after surgery?
- What about now?
- What do I hope for?
NOTE: I am obviously not a professional and this is just one account from a layman on his experience in the hope that it may help someone go a lil deeper on their knowledge gathering!
What was the state of my eyesight before?
I have been wearing glasses since I was a kid. I was nearsighted (right eye: -1.00, left eye: -2.25 at my worst) with a slight astigmatism to boot.
While I wore glasses, I was far from blind without them. If I wasn’t driving or reading I would be fine without them. On vacations I noticed that I would go without glasses for a significant amount of the trip.
My eyesight changed over the years, and most recently it improved when I lost weight. I would see changes that mapped to my blood glucose levels. I fluctuate here, but the range is much smaller so my sight has stabilized along with it. As a bloke in his later forties, I knew that I had a future where I would need reading glasses, before I hopefully get to the cataract period where I get lenses put in. Or by then maybe something even cooler? 🙂
I have had friends and family get Lasik surgery over the years, and they (almost) all raved about it. So many of them spoke on how much of a game changer it was to their life.
I was waiting for some stability with my sight, and then when yet another friend had it done and bemoaned why they waited so long I decided to look for a great surgeon and see if I was a good candidate.
After being checked out, I appeared to be a great candidate. The changes needed were minor, and I have a thick cornea which seemed to be a good thing (and would allow for potential fixes after the fact). Monovision was briefly mentioned, where one eye is correctly for long and the other for near. This seemed interesting, but I was somewhat pushed off of this as an option saying it compromises driving and other situations.
So, I ended up signing up. On the day of the surgery there was one concern that my brow projected and the neaderthal genes that 23andme told me about may mean that it would be hard to get the suction cup in place. I was told that if that was the case they could switch to PRK instead of Lasik, but I wasn’t ready to make an audible on that given the length of time it takes to recover from PRK. I do note that in the pre-op setting I was often told how many of the surgeons themselves opt for PRK and think that it’s a much safer option (no flap and all that). But still, Lasik or bust for me.
They were right about my eye socket, and had to really push it in there to get the suction. This was the only part of the experience that hurt at all… and it wasn’t that bad. 30 seconds of suction and then I got to see the light show for just a couple seconds… it was nothing! Then to the other eye. After taking the chill pills I found myself outside and ready to go home and sleep for a few hours as I had been instructed to do.
What was the state after surgery?
After a lot of sleeping and eye-dropping I noticed that my long range eyesight was amazing already. My eyes were a lil scratchy but really not bad at all. Already! I was excited.
But then I picked up my phone and realized I couldn’t see a thing unless I used my arms to make the phone and my eyes be as far apart as possible. I also had the halo scattering around lights at night time. Oh well. It’s early. I went to my optometrist for the “day after” check in.
This one day check up told me that:
- My left eye was over corrected, and I may have to go back and have a change done in that eye
- It’s only day one, so be kind to myself, and let me eyes heal
- It’s dry in Colorado. Keep those eye drops coming!
I then started on the purchase of what would become many different eyeglasses. I got some readers, so I could …. read again. I then went on to order sunglasses, bifocals, progressive multifocals, halfmoon glasses, computer glasses… thank god for these websites with great cheap glasses to try, such as Zenni!
What about now?
I am now just over a month into my new eyes. I have been to my one week, and one month appointments.
As my eyes healed, they have continued to change. My far range is like 20:10 and I feel like an eagle. My left eye changed and isn’t over corrected, so I won’t have to go back for any changes (hopefully!).
My short range? It’s improved, but it’s still a bit of a frustrating experience.
Before, I could pop out my phone and read it without my glasses. Everything was kinda OK, even if blurry, and then my glasses were progressive enhancements. When I go for a swim, I don’t need my glasses so I just swim away. I put on my glasses for the day and everything is good… until I fall on my arse playing pickleball and my glasses fall.
Now, whenever I reach for my phone I need to plop on some goggles. With progressives, I can flip back to wearing glasses most of the time, but then I am back to where I was? Ok.
I knew that I wouldn’t be done with glasses for ever, and that my age would soon resort in reading glasses. I just didn’t appreciate that my near-sightedness was helping here, and that DUH by getting that taken care of would zoom me into a future of not being able to see things close up as well as I could before!
So, I kinda wish that I had either:
a) gotten LASIK a long time ago and thus had more of the benefit before my eyes were old
b) not gotten it yet, and just kept going… and bumping up progressive lenses with age.
What do I hope for?
It’s still one month in. Maybe my near sightedness will improve a lil (as it has done over the last month). I have ordered some killer progressives that I am excited to try… and will probably back up to wearing them most of the time, but also changing to readers and computer glasses when doing deep work, and at least I can go without when I play sports!
I will consider monovision in the future, either using my thick cornea… or maybe at that cataract time, and will learn more about the true pros and cons.
All in all, it’s obvious, but you really do often end up jumping between far and near… especially with phones in your pocket?
I will update this a few months in if something has changed!