My LASIK Surgery Experience by John
I am not a doctor or an expert on LASIK. I am writing about my personal
experience and the advice and suggestions I give are purely mine and
should not be mistaken for that of a professional. My goal is to be
help others make an informed decision on LASIK surgery as well as possibly
help those who have had the procedure.
I recently received an email asking for an update; it's been a while, so here's my latest thoughts and advice, almost 12 years after my original LASIK surgery.
Overall, I'm doing well with my vision. The negative changes that basically became permanent for me were dry eyes and poor night vision. My eyes were on the dry side before the procedure, but Lasik certainly made it worse. I do use Restasis in the morning and then a natural eye drop at night and that helps. As for my night vision, I can drive without any issues, but if the light is really dim, it's fuzzier than it used to be. Annoying, but that affects me maybe 5% of the time, so I can certainly live with it.
Looking back on my experience, I realize my expectations were too high. I thought my vision was going to be perfect and that was not the case. In a lot of ways getting Lasik was helpful, as I was able to play sports without wearing contact lenses. However, I am a picky person, so my vision (which post-op is roughly 20/30 and 20/60 uncorrected) was not good enough for driving, watching or TV or sometimes even just walking around the house for me. Generally, if I'm out in public I keep my glasses off unless I need them to watch something, like a movie, or drive. Otherwise, I usually wear them.
I had to wear glasses since about the 3rd grade and was teased a lot, so I was always self conscious about them. In hindsight, I should've worked on those feelings more. In fact, I recently bought a very cool pair of glasses which I've gotten a lot of compliments on, so much so it makes me actually want to wear them. Had I known that before I had Lasik, I think I would've considered that more strongly as an option. In the end, however, I think I would've still gotten the procedure at some point. I believe in technology, sometimes to a fault, and knowing myself, I would've eventually had it done. I have no doubt that I would've gotten better results had a waited longer, especially with the custom wavefront and blade-less technology available now.
In terms of dealing with any anxiety you may have post-op ... it is a real issue and one I suggest you speak to a therapist about. First of course, get a second opinion about your procedure and make sure it was done properly and see if there is anything you can do to treat any issues you may be experiencing. Secondly, deal with the mental part of it. Give yourself some time to heal and also lower your expectations a bit; enjoy whatever benefits you do have. If you end up wearing glasses again part-time like me, and that makes you feel better, than do it.
One thing I have learned is that doctors treat this as a very routine procedure now even though it's not, so sometimes they don't properly set your expectations correctly or ensure that you are the right candidate. If you are picky like me, doctors need to realize that and be very honest regarding what the outcome can be like, good AND bad. I also feel the FDA is not protecting us the way they should, so just because they say a procedure is OK or safe doesn't mean a whole lot to me. But that's an entirely different topic ...
If you are experiencing post-op issues, one bit of general advice I can offer is: Don't beat yourself up. I did a lot of regretting and telling myself how stupid I was to get a somewhat risky procedure done. It's over with and you can't go back, just let it go and do your best to move on. Everyone makes mistakes in their life. Also, understand there is no perfection. Even if your vision is perfect today, as you age, it will change. Just get it to be the best that you can, as safely as you can, and know what you can or cannot live with.
Truly wishing you all the best!