Lasik Surgery

Boy Scout

Regular Member
#1
This sounded about the best place for the thread...

I am 36 and for the last couple of years have had trouble with my contacts adjusting for focus, going between my laptop (in the patrol car) and long distance. I'm strongly considering LASIK and wanted to reach out to other coppers and shooters who have had it done and and wanted to learn from their experiences.

Please feel free to share or PM if you'd prefer.

Thanks!


Jamie
 
#2
Not a copper, just a recreational shooter.

I got LASIK last year at the age of 36 and it is, hands down, the best thing I've ever done.

Easy operation, quick recovery, and only thing required for the first 90 days is to keep your eyes moist.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
#3
I've was wearing contacts for over 25 years. About a month and a half ago, I finally had enough of the arrgavation and went for LASIK. I feel liberated, seriously. My eyesight is now dialed in at 20/15 and it's awesome. And being a LEO, I no longer have the paranoia of my contacts failing at the worst possible time. LASIK does have caveats- although my distance is laser sharp, I need readers for tasks like reading the small print on a nutritional label. Also I see faint halos on bright lights (a common side effect). Recovery from the surgery SUCKED. The day of the procedure I was incapacitated and was hypersensitive to light for about 3 days afterwards. eye meds were needed for about 10 days.
my vision was immediately improved but hazey. At about the 30 day mark I was dialed in. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner!
 

Matt

Regular Member
Staff member
Network Support I
#4
It has been nearly three years since I have had LASIK. My vision did improve a noticeable amount in general, but I did have some of the annoying side effects that JLo mentioned. Seeing small detail up close is difficult compared to before LASIK; words on a page closer than about six inches starts to become a blur for example. I also have the halo type glare thing going on at night and when my eyes are dry (never used to have dry eyes before). In anything but sunlight an RDS like an Aimpoint or RMR will be a center hot spot for the dot and a star bursty looking glare (doesn't matter as far as shooting performance, it just looks different now). Finally, I have noticed that it takes significantly longer now for my eyes to adjust in darkness than before the procedure.

Overall I would say it is a net positive because your visual acuity will improve under all practical conditions. Just keep in mind that you'll have new stuff to deal with that comes along with being able to see better: increased glare coming off of light sources, reduced night vision, seeing small detail up close (6 inches and less for me) may be difficult.
 
Last edited:

Boy Scout

Regular Member
#5
Thanks guys, that's the kind of info I was looking for, things that plague us in particular: night vision, red dot sights, transitioning from laptop to distance (at night of course), acuity of the front sight, etc.

I would figure that the distance between my eyes and laptop screen, in addition to the size of the font and graphics, would preclude me from readers in the car, at least for 5-10 more years, around age 40-45.

JLo, your response is spot on from 95% of the coppers I've talked to!
 

jwramp

Bird's Eye View
#6
Recreational shooter here too that had pretty bad eyes with astigmatism. Got Lasik (cut flap, laser eye, put flap back down) done 7 years ago my last year of college from one of the big national companies that offers lifetime guarantee. Recovery time was great - I was actually driving the night of the surgery. Similar night effects as others have mentioned - still have a bit of a halo around streetlights and headlights. Over the last six months or so I've noticed my right eye getting a bit blurry, so went back in for a touch-up. They did PRK (no flap, just laser on the outside surface) and after a longer healing process (lots of drops every day, pretty annoying stinging for a few weeks) things were looking good again. A couple months later, I was noticing that eye fading a bit again. They had me get a physical + blood test to make sure there wasn't any diabetes or other things influencing my prescription, and I'm just waiting another couple months now to make sure everything's stabilized before getting another touchup. Working theory is that I caught it at a bad time on the first touchup and my eyes were changing for some reason.

I haven't had any issues catching the sharp part of red dots, but definitely get a bit of red blur around the sharp middle - obviously scales with brightness. It's been a fantastic decision so far, even with the issues the last six months or so. You'll probably need to decide between Lasik and PRK - the first has much quicker recovery / 100% vision return, but they say PRK is more "rugged" - a requirement for some depts/units where flap detachment may be a possibility (skydiving w/o goggles maybe, lol?). Happy to answer any other questions about my experience.
 
#8
Got PRK myself 4 years ago almost to the day. I have had a very bad astigmatism my whole life and the PRK was able to correct it to some degree. I have always had "bloom" with RDS and still do even after the PRK, but subjectively its not as bad now as it used to be before the surgery.
As other have said expect halos at night and night vision to not be quite as sharp, but if you're used to wearing glasses or contacts you likely already deal with that to some degree.
 

Boy Scout

Regular Member
#9
I have my consult appointment next Tuesday with TLC to determine which route to go. My doc has always said I'm a good candidate for LASIK and have just a small astigmatism in my left eye, so I'm guessing that's the route I'll go. Between TLC being the preferred provider with my eye doc and my insurance at work offering a discount with them, (no real insurance coverage for the procedure, just a discount), I'm looking about $4k total for both eyes.
 
#10
I can recommend TLC highly. I had Lasik performed Jan this year, with -3.25 in each eye, right eye with a bit of astigmatism. My eyesight was perfect the next day, but I continued to have dry eye for a few months. Stash lots of eyedrops around. Now, 8 months later, I rarely even think about my eyes. I love being able to just see when I wake up. The only negative I can think of is that my depth perception has changed somewhat. I race mountain bikes and have repeatedly had to adjust to known trail features that appear steeper and/or larger than they did when I had glasses. I've had a couple of panic moments. This is getting better, however, as my eyes adjust.
 

Jeremy Stafford

Moderator
Moderator
#12
Got it 18 years ago (back when my Dept. Insurance covered it), it was life changing. Hands down, the best thing that I've ever done for myself. Initially some of the dry eye and halo-ing that is described, but it went away after a year or so. 18 years later and I'm still 20/20 in my left eye, but my right has slipped to 20/30. Also, not sure if it's related, but at 44 I don't have any sign of old man eyesight.
 

Boy Scout

Regular Member
#13
Consult completed yesterday, and as expected from previous eye doc visits, I'm a perfect candidate. Since I've had to wear my glasses for a week already, and need to be out of them for two weeks prior to surgery, I just figured I'd slug out the next week in glasses and get it scheduled!. Going in at 1030 hours Monday...\

Thanks for all the input guys - I'll update after the procedure.
 

DaBlaster

Newbie
Network Support I
#14
Please keep us updated, I'm also, hopefully; going to be going down the path to get lasik and I'm trying to do more research so I can ask better questions from my doc when I go to start the process.

Good luck!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
#16
Got mine done 8 years ago just prior to going into the academy. Best decision I ever made. Fairly shitty vision, astigmatism in both eyes. Scar in one eye so they had to cut manually. Easy and fast recovery time, fast and painless procedure. My wife finally got it done a couple months ago. The only side effect is somewhat dry eye for a few months but easily rectified with eye drops a few times a day. Just do it
 

Boy Scout

Regular Member
#17
So, a follow up:

I went in on 8/22 for my procedure. I was informed shortly after showing up that the laser did not pass it's diagnostic test that day and they would not be able to perform the procedure. I was frustrated and felt uneasy about the fact that the machine that was going to shoot lasers into my eyes "went down". Being pragmatic, I realized that all machines (yes, even Glocks) suffer failures from time to time, especially multi-million dollar precision machines with lasers and Carl Zeiss optics. The staff was very personable and friendly and hated to deliver the news, almost like having to tell me a pet died... and reassured me that an engineer has to come out and check the machine to put it back in service, not a Xerox repairman... and they took $500 off my bill for the trouble... so, overall besides being an inconvenience in the schedule, it really wasn't that big of a deal.

I went a week later on 8/29, where, in order to make it happen on my timeline, one of the doctors stayed over and came out and greeted me and was genuinely happy to help me that day. He informed me his grandfather was an old school policeman from Ohio (I think), so we hit it off well and he regaled me with stories from his grandpa's career and funny cop jokes. As far as the procedure went, they took me in to an exam room to look my eyes over one more time, asked if I had any questions from the previous consultation, collected payment and sent me over to lounge-type room. A bunch of eye drops and a Valium later, they took me into the surgery suite. They put in some more drops and taped my left eye closed while they taped my lids open on my right eye and inserted a plastic ring to hold my eye open and serve as a receptacle for the "cutting" laser. The laser aperture came down and mated with the ring, zip-zap and a flap was made. The table/bed I was laying on rotated about 60 degrees to the "prescription" laser, where the doc lined it up, and about 8-9 seconds later, the laser had cut the new prescription into my eyeball. The doc used the same pick-like object (which I jokingly referred to as a "a sharp metal object", to which he replied it was "a dull metal object") that he had used to open the flap to lay it back over in place and another brush of some sort to smooth everything out. We did the tape/ring procedure for the left eye and taped the right eye shut, and repeated the process.

I was in the surgery suite for maybe 10-12 minutes, then was moved to an exam room for them to check everything out. They looked over the old Mark I Mod 2 eyeballs, gave me my post-op care instructions and I was out the door. The staff came out from their offices and such to see me out and were super-friendly (not to mention my primary assistant was easy on the eyes - optometry pun intended). I had a follow up with my eye doc on Tuesday (24 hour check) and one today (3-4 day check) and will have another one at 3 weeks, then I believe at 3 and 6 months.

So, how's my vision now? By they're examination, I'm at 20/30, but that's expected to greatly improve as my eyes heal, which can take the whole 6 months. I still have about 10% haziness in my right eye and about 30% (self-guesstimation) in my left eye, and am back at work. It was a little interesting looking at my laptop at night and the fuzzy halo's around all the lights, but that will subside. I can already tell that my vision is better than it was with my contacts and at least where I was with my glasses, and I think maybe even better at longer distances. I'll check back in with updates for the recovery effects and timeline.

Thanks again for your input and conversation!


Jamie
 
W

Whootsinator

Guest
#18
Thanks for sharing your experiences. I'm very seriously considering corrective eye surgery this upcoming year... probably PRK. If anyone has a preferred doctor in Cincinnati (or surrounding cities), drop me line.
 
#19
I don't even know anyone that has PRK even done anymore; the healing time is so much longer and there's no drastic benefit in comparison...I did LASIK 3 years ago, and was the best thing I ever did. I had a really bad astigmatism in my right eye, showing a halo on red dot optics. Horrible! I had the procedure done, and it was gone. The surgery literally was shorter than the wait time to actually have it done. I used to work midnights, and the glare from the laptop in the patrol car used to be bad prior to surgery. Now, it's bare to non existent. My vision is STILL 20/15. I can shoot B/C sized steel 50 yards out with my handgun no problem, only when I get to 150 yards out, it gets challenging with my handgun. DO IT YESTERDAY bro. I had the surgery, I took a pill, went to sleep...got up, no pain, and everything was crystal clear. It really is amazing.
 
W

Whootsinator

Guest
#20
However flap detachment is, regardless of whether it makes sense or not, there are certain things on the mil side LASIK (anything flap-causing) disqualifies you for. No one seems to know the right answers about how disqualifying, but everyone seems to agree that PRK is the safer option in that regard. I don't want to shut any doors.