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LASIK Surgery

Discussion in 'The OT' started by dmurphy, May 26, 2010.

  1. dmurphy

    dmurphy Active Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    So, I was asked to post my LASIK story here in the OT ... so here it is.

    Last year, I had LASIK performed in both eyes. My eyesight was bad - 20/80 in one eye, 20/200 in the other. I also have 'convergence insufficiency' where I alternate using eyes -- I'm looking out of either eye at any given time, but never both at the same time.... This also means that I'm what they call "exotropic" in that the eye I'm not using tends to (not always) drift outward. Some folks call this 'lazy eye', but that's not really a correct term, especially since both of my eyes get used, alternatively... (lazy eye is really when the brain doesn't use one eye at all.)

    So, I did my homework and found a GREAT doctor. One who's done over 10,000 of these procedures. One of those guys that other docs go to when they need eye work done.

    Anyway, I decided to have LASIK surgery last year. For those of you who are unaware of the actual procedure, basically, a "flap" in the outer layer of your eyeball gets cut, then folded back. Then, an excimer laser reshapes your cornea so it focuses correctly, and then the flap is laid back down where it came from.

    In the Bad Old Days, a microkeratome (looks like a cigar cutter ;) was used to make the flap. Now, a lower-powered laser does the trick.

    So, it's my day of surgery. I'm lying on the table, and we're getting ready to cut the flap - this is the first part of the surgery.

    The doctor places a positioning ring on the eye, and then applies some suction to hold it in place. It's not painful - just enough to keep the eye from moving ...

    Then the laser begins making the flap. As the flap is cutting, things start to go really trippy and distant --- everything looks like it's mooooooving. Way out. Now remember, I've got this thing where I flip between the left and right eyes at any given moment ....

    So, what does my stupid brain do? It decides to use the OTHER eye to see. And, of course, the eye being worked on starts moving... moving... and BAM! It breaks suction with that little ring.

    Now the laser shuts down, the suction is lost, the flap is half created, and I hear the doctor say, "oh sh*t! That's never happened before!"

    Now I'm stuck under the machine with half a flap, and a laser that won't do anything except start over! Not exactly what you want to do when it's 3/4 of the way done! No danger of losing my vision or anything because, in the worst case, we'd just wait for the flap to heal and try again.

    So what does the doctor do? Picks up the phone and calls technical support. (no, seriously!)

    Waits on hold... for half an hour .......

    Gets someone on the phone... (whom I can only assume is Bob from India.)

    Explains what happened...

    Explains that the "top cut" is done and all that he needs to do is the "side cut"...

    ... and that the machine wants to start from the beginning ....

    So what does tech support make him do?

    Reboot the laser.

    No, seriously. CTRL-ALT-DEL and reboot the thing.

    When that doesn't work, he has the doctor press CTRL-ALT-S. Apparently, that's some kind of override that lets the machine "only" do a side cut.

    The whole time I've been waiting, I wanted to look at the console and see if it was a Windows machine (stupid Windows!) But of course... I CAN'T! I can't see a $#$!#$! thing!

    So, the doc enters the parameters, I get back under the machine, he reapplies suction, and bam! about 5 seconds later, we've got a full and complete flap.

    Then, he slides me under the excimer laser, and we do the actual vision correction part. That takes all of, what, 15 seconds? Another 1/2 hour of recovery (sitting there with your eyes closed) and I was on my way home.

    Thank goodness I'm not a nervous person. I know lots of people who were on the edge enough getting LASIK done -- they'd be freaking out and probably assaulting the doctor!

    So what's the net result?

    Right eye (was 20/200) is now 20/15.
    Left eye (was 20/80) is now better than 20/15. Closer to 20/10.

    LASIK rocks. It was hair-raising for sure, but it's one of the best things I ever did!
  2. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

    Jun 18, 2006
    Wow. A little scary but definitely in the "all's well that ends well" category.

    I'm jealous because I'm not a candidate for LASIK at this point.
  3. Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2006
    I know I am. Thanks for the story.

    One of our friends had it done and had lots of issue with the eye healing. She didn't really listen to the Dr. and what he told her to do, so I am going to put 75% on her, but there was an issue, she just didn't do what the Dr. said to do to fix it, so it got worse.

    I am also very blind. I waved bye-bye to the big E on the eye chart long ago. But I have been wearing daily disposable contacts since they came out which has to be 10-15 years ago, or maybe longer. My thought is as long as I can get these contacts in my strength, I am not going to risk it. Plus, I am very cross-eye dominant (right handed, but left eyed), so for normal daily use, I use a slightly weaker lens in my left eye and that helps with close up work. If I am going to out all day like playing softball or other sports, I use a slightly stronger lens in that eye. Can't really adjust on the fly like that with LASIK.

    Glad it all worked out for you. :)
  4. Lee L

    Lee L Hall Of Fame

    Aug 15, 2002
    Ok, that sounds a lot like what my wife had happen. She had her's done 10 or 12 years ago, not too long after it had come out of the experimental phase. We had it done at Duke Eye Center, by the Chief of Corneal and Refractive surgery, who had participated in the trials, so he was very experienced at a time when not many people doing it were. She was something like 20/400 uncorrected. She could not recognize me from more than 5 feet away or see the big E on teh eye chart without glasses or contacts.

    They were of course using the microkeratome back then and the machines that they used for the suction had no way to move (from what I hear now, they are somewhat articulated and can move with your eye somewhat). She was a touch nervous and there was a slight unrelated delay between when she had her valium and when they did the operation.

    When they do it, the trick is you have to be relaxed, yet able to obey commands and focus on a light and whatnot. They did the first eye just fine, but the whole getup started reminding her of a Clockwork Ornage and with the valium aparently wearing off, she tensed up in the middle of the microkeratome slice and broke the suction.

    She was of course very upset by the whole thing, so I was a little nervous to see her freaking out when she came out and the Dr wanted to talk. Luckily, he said there was no real damage and that he was almost at the point where he would have felt comfortable doing the procedure anyway. So, we had to pay an extra visit the next day to get her checked out and wait 3 or so months before they could try it again, but now she sees great out of that eye too. The worst part was having to do all the post op care on the eye but she did not get the immediate benefit. She is 20/10 in the no problem eye and 20/25 in the one they had to re-do. They would re-do it for free at any time, but she could see so well and not wanting to repeat the whole thing, she has so far declined.

    So, not to scare anyone off, but things can happen, but they can also work through just about anything they need to.
  5. bobukcat

    bobukcat Hall Of Fame

    Dec 20, 2005
    That's a crazy story, I'm glad you were able to stay calm!

    My wife and I had both of our eyes done about 8 years ago and they used the microkeratome - when they put that on with the suction ring my vision in the eye slowly faded to black - and it was the blackest black I've ever experienced (I imagine that it what it's like to be completely blind). They told me it would happen but it was still a little unsettling. I could sense the blade cutting the flap but not really feel it (again, this was a weird sensation) and then when they removed the suction my (now very blurry because a flap of my cornea was loose) vision faded out of that super-blackness slowly. Luckily for us there were no "oh sh**" moments and the only complaint I had was that the room they did the procedure in was about 55 degrees and I had on shorts and a light t-shirt (it was hot outside). The doctor commented that he's told them over and over to tell people to dress appropriately for the room but they had never mentioned it to us.

    I was about 20/200 in both eyes before, 20/10 in one and 20/15 in the other immediately after and still about 20/20 in both after eight years. My wife was much, much worse (they said she was off the 20/XXX chart) about a -13 prescription and she was 20/20 post-opp but has worsened to about a -2.0 prescription now.
  6. scooper

    scooper Hall Of Fame

    Apr 22, 2002
    Youngsville NC
    Back before I started needing bifocals - I had been told I was an excellent candidate for this - between acuity and my astigmatism I'm a "What big E are you talking about " guy. Now - even if I got the astigmatism / acuity fixed - I'd probably still need readers. Fortunately - I've never had a problem getting appropriate corrective lenses.

    Just the idea of someone operating on my eyes scares the hell out of me - at least I can see now (albeit with problems that are correctable).
  7. dennisj00

    dennisj00 Hall Of Fame

    Sep 27, 2007
    Lake Norman, NC
    I agree. . . operating on my eyes scares the hexx out of me! I've been wearing bifocal contacts or now monovision - one close / one far - for years and wear them 24x7 for 6 months or more. I have less trouble with them when I don't mess with them.

    Maybe one day lasik or whatever is next may be an option for my 20/450+ vision. Currently, the only time I have a problem is I can't open my eyes under water while swimming.
  8. wilbur_the_goose

    wilbur_the_goose Hall Of Fame

    Aug 16, 2006
    When she was 34, my wife had cataract surgery. This is a gal that HATES doctors and everything medical.

    But she was A-OK with the procedure - took about 15 minutes during which an cornea cut was made, a device inserted to destroy and suction out the natural lens and insert a new plastic lens.

    No pain, and everything worked perfectly.

    Science is really amazing...
  9. jacksonm30354

    jacksonm30354 Icon

    Mar 29, 2007
    Yikes. I had mine done about 6 years ago. So great to wake up and be bake to see time without squinting! They used the blade to cut my flap then 18 seconds in 1 eye, 20 in the other. I made sure I kept the goggles on tight the 2 weeks I was supposed to wear them. I was so afraid I would u consciencly rub my eyes in the middle of the night. I still see great! Best thing I ever did!
  10. Supramom2000

    Supramom2000 In Loving Memory of Onyx-2/23/09

    Jun 20, 2007
    Colbert, WA
    My vision was somewhere around 20/200 and I had such sever astigmatism that I had to wear hard lenses. Not gas perms, but hard. I wore them for so long that I hit a point where I had dried my eyes out so badly that I could no longer wear lenses. I went up to Canada for the surgery to one of those clinics where it was like a cattle round-up. Hundreds of people pushed through daily.

    My surgery was uneventful and successful. That was the year 2000. By the end of 2006 I needed glasses again for driving and last year I needed them full time again. No one seems able to figure out why some surgeries last and others don't.
  11. The Merg

    The Merg 1*

    Jun 24, 2007
    Northern VA
    I wasn't eligible for LASIK and had to have PRK. For the first two months after the surgery, it was like things just wouldn't come into focus. The morning after I stopped taking the steroid drops I woke up and everything was crystal clear. It was such a great feeling.

    - Merg
  12. jacksonm30354

    jacksonm30354 Icon

    Mar 29, 2007
    Some say if you stare at computer screens all day that'll cause the relapse. However, I work on commuters day in and day out and my vision has changed very little. I was -2.5 on one eye and -3.5 in the other with a slight astigmatism.
  13. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    Nov 20, 2004
    .................. I
    ............ AM AN
    ......... INSANE EYE
    ....... DOCTOR AND I AM

    .....as you sit there reading this.........

    -Gahan Wilson
  14. Nick

    Nick Retired, part-time PITA DBSTalk Club

    Apr 23, 2002
    AM AN

    as you sit there reading this.

    -Gahan Wilson​

    Mike, it appears that you and I use the same eye doc. :new_Eyecr
  15. davemayo

    davemayo Hall Of Fame

    Nov 17, 2005
    I would have freaked out if that happened to me.

    I had it done in 2001. I had very bad eyesight before the procedure. I've been 20/15 in both eyes since. I took me two years to get up the nerve, but it changed my life.
  16. Getteau

    Getteau Icon

    Dec 19, 2007
    So funny and so true (former fellow member of that club).

    One of the funniest moments I had in an eye doctors office was when I sitting there with the dial machine thingy in front of my face (not sure of the correct name). As the lady starts spinning the dials on both sides of the machine, she says, "Ok, the big E will come into focus in a few seconds"
  17. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    I think the word you're looking for is "phoropter".
  18. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    Nov 20, 2004
    Found it!

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