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Is Lasik worth pursuing if my eyes are wonky?
June 12, 2014 9:33 AM   Subscribe

I've worn contacts for over 30 years now but have recently considered getting Lasik. I have heavy astigmatism and have been wearing toric lenses, which work most of the time but still tend to drift making my vision poor at any distance. I signed up for a Lasik seminar, attended and was interested in continuing. I stopped wearing my contacts over two weeks before my preop exam but apparently my eyes still haven't settled to a consistent shape because they couldn't get consistent results when measuring them. I have another exam scheduled in two weeks but I'm beginning to wonder if it's even worth it. Should I just accept defeat or go back and try again?
posted by tommasz to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Try again. There is no sense in giving up as advances in Lasik continue. I might advise you try and seek out the doctors who have been doing the procedure the longest.
posted by bkeene12 at 9:41 AM on June 12


I had to do glasses for something like 4 or 6 weeks before they would even try measuring, and I didn't even have astigmatism. It turns out contacts can really change the shape of your eye.

Lasik has been incredibly life changing for me. Take the time to see if they can get it done.
posted by brainmouse at 9:44 AM on June 12


I have had Lasik done twice, and a third time in one eye. I'm back to wearing glasses or contacts. Now I have scar tissue in one of my eyes. It was great while it lasted but I wouldn't do it again. I wish you the best of luck in making the right decision for you.
posted by htm at 9:44 AM on June 12


I have ambleobia (lazy eye), astigmatism and I'm very far-sighted. It just wasn't in the cards for me.

I wanted it just in my left eye, because it's my weak eye, but they wouldn't touch me.

I'd wear glasses for another bit, try again, and if it doesn't work out, no harm, no foul.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:47 AM on June 12


Every doctor I have seen about lasik has refused to even consider it for me because of my severe astigmatism. Most have recommended the lens transplant, although the astimagtic transplant lenses are not yet FDA approved in the US.

I would consider a second opinion to see if it is really something that is right for you. (If you have already done so then carry on)
posted by elizardbits at 10:11 AM on June 12


Seconding a second opinion. I also wear toric lenses and my optometrist/ophthalmologist both told me I wasn't a good candidate for Lasik because I'd most likely still have to wear some sort of corrective lens afterward and I might even be worse off than before.
posted by cooker girl at 10:15 AM on June 12


Just to clarify, my astigmatism is well within the correctable range. My doctor is one of the best, so I'm not concerned that I may have been misdiagnosed. My only issue is whether or not two additional weeks will be enough for my eyes to have stabilized in shape so they can get a consistent measurement. So far, the best answer to that question seems to be "maybe". Given that, I will probably keep the appointment and see how it goes. I haven't paid anything so there's nothing lost moneywise, just my time.
posted by tommasz at 10:45 AM on June 12


Fwiw, I had an optometrist with whom I discussed Lasik at length (mostly conversationally, as I wasn't in a financial position to consider it at the time). He said he'd never have it done on himself, and that all of his colleagues wore corrective lenses rather than opt for the procedure. A Harvard-educated opthalmologist colleague had told him it's generally not worth it - even if all goes well, she saw her patients' eyes revert to needing corrective lenses too often, and that's not even considering the various complications that could arise. I know this is just anecdotal evidence for you, but coming from a doctor I trusted for many years (before I moved), this was enough for me to decide Lasik isn't worth it.
posted by AthenaPolias at 11:31 AM on June 12 [4 favorites]


Are you wearing soft or gas permeable lenses? I haven't had lasik but when I talked to an eye doctor about the possibility once they mentioned that because of the gas permeable lenses I was wearing I would need to go without them for many weeks to let my eyes adjust. (This site suggested 6-8 weeks).
posted by kbuxton at 11:44 AM on June 12


Lasik depends on your pesonal situation. I wore gas permeable contacts before lasik and was out of them for eight weeks before lasik. I went from moderate astigmatism and ten steps of correction to 20/15. Five years later I see 20/25. Lasik vastly improved my quality of life. Definitely worth the eight week wait.
posted by Kalmya at 1:05 PM on June 12


I have extreme nearsightedness (-8.00 for contact lenses, an even stronger prescription for glasses I don't recall off the top of my head) and mild astigmatism necessitating toric contact lenses.

Three separate optometrists have told me (without my even having asked them) that I should not even consider Lasik because my prescription is so bad that the surgery would increase the odds I'd get cataracts in my 60s and older to unacceptable levels. One of those optometrists said I should wait until advances in eye surgery make implantable lenses a better possibility, but the thought of that (or, frankly, any corrective eye surgery), makes me squeamish.

Needless to say, I haven't asked about PRK either.
posted by tckma at 3:43 PM on June 12


I know this is just anecdotal evidence for you, but coming from a doctor I trusted for many years (before I moved), this was enough for me to decide Lasik isn't worth it.

As another anecdotal point, my dad is an optometrist, who won't recommend Lasik for any of our family (who all wear glasses), for this same reason. He says people who have it generally end up back in glasses at some point in the future, and have more complications with wearing contacts after having had Lasik.

Also, while rare, the complications can be catastrophic, he's had a patient before with permanent, uncorrectable, triple vision because the laser was programmed on the wrong angle.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:49 PM on June 12 [2 favorites]


I've worn glasses or contacts since ten years old, and regularly checked with my doctor about advancements in any of these procedures. His approach to eye care was simple - use the least invasive and least destructive method of vision correction you can. Glasses are great - easy to change, take off, etc. Contacts are second - non permanent, but more risks involved. LASIK much farther down the list - higher risk, potential long term damage.
posted by shinynewnick at 5:04 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


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