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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: ThirdTimer on August 06, 2014, 10:57:14 PM

Title: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: ThirdTimer on August 06, 2014, 10:57:14 PM
Hi guys,

Here's my situation: I'm 32 years old, severely nearsighted (-8/-8.5) with astigmatism in one eye, and I wear contacts pretty much 24/7. I've been trying to figure out if LASIK makes sense for me financially.

Right now, I spend ~$175-$200/year on vision ($80 in insurance premiums to get vision insurance through my work, $60 in co-pays for annual exam with contact lens fitting, $35-50 for cost of contacts above what my insurance reimburses [I keep this low by wearing lenses for a month before throwing them out, which I've found I can do without my eyes getting too upset]). However, I'm about to switch jobs to one where I think I'll end up paying maybe $100-$125/year instead because of the different insurance coverage. Neither my new insurance nor my current insurance covers LASIK.

From what I've gathered looking around online, LASIK costs about $4000, sometimes more in big cities like the one where I'll be living. So, assuming, very crudely, that getting LASIK would shave $100 off my annual eye care costs, I ought to come out ahead if I live for 40+ more years, which I certainly hope will be the case!

Does this seem reasonable to you guys? Is this realistic, or will there be additional vision costs in a post-LASIK-life that I'm unaware of? I'm obviously not taking into account the interest that I could earn on the money or potential effects of inflation--does that tip the balance in favor of sticking with contacts? Finances being equal, I'd slightly prefer LASIK, but I'm lucky to have eyes that are very contact-tolerant and I basically leave them in all the time, so it's not a gigantic deal to me.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: panthalassa on August 06, 2014, 11:03:48 PM
Laser eye surgery is not guaranteed to fix your eyes for the rest of your life.  There aren't any ( that I'm aware of) long-term studies on it..  Anecdotally, I've heard that many people end up wearing glasses again within a decade, albeit with a weaker prescription than pre-surgery. 

Don't assume your eyes will be perfect and not need contacts or glasses for 40 years post-surgery.  We're human, we break down, everyday we are dying, and our eyes are not an exception.

That said, I'm in the same boat as you at 28 and would like to get the surgery.  It seems everyone I know has had it or is thinking about it.  I'm quite jealous of getting to wake up in the morning and having excellent vision without having to reach for glasses or put in contacts.  If anyone knows of any long-term studies, please share.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: cchrissyy on August 06, 2014, 11:09:54 PM
I spent $4k on LASIK at age 31
My eyes weren't as bad as yours and my expenses were less.
I have been glad every day that I did this. I wake up every morning seeing perfectly.
I don't care if the expense never pays me back in savings on contact lenses. It is just so nice to have clear vision every single day, in the water, when I wake in the middle if the night. It's amazing for a few thousand I can have that for decades. It's worth it to me, it made my life better, and I don't need it to ever  "pay back", I just don't look at it that way. I had the money and I am glad I spent it on my vision, no frugal justification needed.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Ohio Teacher on August 06, 2014, 11:13:40 PM
Yes!  Four years later and I still consider it to be the best decision I have ever made, after marrying my wife of course.  Mine came to $3930.  For me, it wasn't just about the cost savings of contacts/glasses.  It was about the freedom to wake up in the morning and be able to see.  To take a nap and not have to take my contacts out.  To actually be able to see when I swim.   It was worth every penny.  If only all of my financial decisions worked out that way.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: sedura on August 06, 2014, 11:16:22 PM
Everyone I know who has done it says they wish they did it sooner. I don't think this is a financial decision. If you want it, and can afford it, it will probably greatly increase your quality of life.

That being said, I've been toying with the idea of getting it myself, but I'm so scared of being part of the small percentage of people who walk away with worse vision. I also have a fear of flying, so I recognize that my fears have nothing to do with actual statistical risk.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: ShortInSeattle on August 06, 2014, 11:19:49 PM
I spent $4k on LASIK at age 31
My eyes weren't as bad as yours and my expenses were less.
I have been glad every day that I did this. I wake up every morning seeing perfectly.
I don't care if the expense never pays me back in savings on contact lenses. It is just so nice to have clear vision every single day, in the water, when I wake in the middle if the night. It's amazing for a few thousand I can have that for decades. It's worth it to me, it made my life better, and I don't need it to ever  "pay back", I just don't look at it that way. I had the money and I am glad I spent it on my vision, no frugal justification needed.

I had it this year and it's pretty much how I feel. After not seeing well my entire life - having 20/15 vision is like having a freaking superpower.  :) My doc says I will still need reading glasses someday, although I could probably go with cheap drugstore versions instead of the expensive bifocals I'd otherwise need - when that day comes.

I was -7.5 and spent $3600

Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: ThirdTimer on August 06, 2014, 11:27:01 PM
Yes, I'd also love to hear if anyone knows about long-term studies, or if anyone here had LASIK awhile back, how it's stood the test of time for them.

So surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response! Just to clarify, I typically only take my contacts out one night a month--I throw the old pair away at night and put the new pair in in the morning. I wear them when I swim, with goggles for serious swimming, or just closing my eyes when I go underwater if I'm just horsing around. So a lot of this "see-all-the-time benefit" I already have because I'm blessed with very contact-tolerant eyes. Of course, it's not 100% the same (and who knows if I'll be able to get away with this forever?), but I don't anticipate it being the huge, life-altering change it was for many of you guys.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: MikeBear on August 06, 2014, 11:32:55 PM
Here's my experience:

 I was -4.25 in one eye, and -4.75 in the other. I had astigmatism's in both eyes also, at over -2. something. (I have small "Asian" type eyes (I'm not Asian), which made the surgery all the harder) I went to Windsor, Canada in July 2000 (I was age 41) to have Lasik, because I couldn't afford it in the US. At the time, it was $5,000 minimum US. I paid $1,000 U.S. for both eyes total (at the time, the exchange rate was like $1.48 Canadian, for $1.00 US).

 I was left-eye dominant, and that eye had a bad reaction to the surgery. It was pinched really badly by the speculum used to hold my eye open during surgery. I ended up with: Corneal edema, DLK "(crap under the flap)", infection, and extreme dry eye, plus very bad starbursts / halo's, and contrast issues. I spent the next almost 2 years, seeing like I was walking through "clouds", especially under fluorescent lights (which are pure crap for a light source).

 I was a field computer technician for a Fortune 500 company, so staring at CRT's 8 hours a day was hell. I also had to drive back to Canada (140 miles one way) every month for over a year, for the doctor to check me out, and give me new meds. By the next summer, that Lasik-Vision company had declared bankruptcy, and left everybody holding the bag. So, I couldn't have any sort of touch-ups, at least by them.

 NO American doctor would even touch me, after having the surgery in a "foreign country", and having complications. They didn't want to take a chance they'd get sued. Now, I'm from Michigan, nearly surrounded by Canada, and I've NEVER thought of Canada as being a foreign country.

 It took over 20 months for that eye to heal, and I had to have a -.50 "bandage" contact lens inserted towards the end, which I had actively avoided as long as possible (hey, I had surgery to get RID of contacts and glasses!). The funny thing is, it was the bandage contact lens that ended up finally healing my eye. The surface tension of the contact, "sucked" the remaining edema out of the eye, and allowed the swelling to go down.

 Well, it's 14 years later, I ultimately ended up with unintended "mono-vision", but my formerly dominant eye, is the UNDER corrected eye. That's not how it usually goes when they attempt mono-vision (which they weren't trying for). The mono-vision at my age is actually a plus, as my left eye is good for reading, and my right eye is good for long distance. I'm glad I finally adapted to it, but my eyes switched dominance several times, which really screws with your balance! I still also have very dry eyes, which I never had before the surgery. So, I'm still using daily eye drops, and there really aren't any that are all that good (except "Bion Tears", and they are expensive). Also, if you use them too much, it makes your eyes worse. Having air blow on your eyes like from a ceiling fan, is like running a razor blade across your cornea. Yes, it actually feels like that to me since Lasik.

 Ultimately, I'm still reasonably happy I got it, but I could have done without the accidental complications. Of course, that was real early in the life of Lasik, and they have much better techniques now. IF I knew then, what I know now, I would have perhaps saved up longer, had the surgery closer to where I live, so that any complications could have been easier taken care of. I also would have had PRK 1 eye at a time, instead of "lift the flap Lasik". By the way, the doctor that did my Lasik, didn't do anything wrong, and his technique was perfect. It was simply my bodies reaction to the surgery that went wrong.

 Ok, sorry for the book, but if you get nothing else out of all I've said about the problems I had, just remember this:

 You only have two eyes . They can't do whole eye transplants yet. IF you have complications, they can be horrible, far worse then I ever had, and mine were bad. Do your home-work, and don't necessarily go to the lowest priced place. Go to a place very convenient to you for follow-ups if needed. This is especially important:

 LISTEN to the doctor after he checks you out. IF he says: "Yes, we can do the Lasik, but you might have a problem with ______ if we do" believe him, and reconsider going through it. Glasses and contacts suck, but are not as bad as a horrible side-effect on your eyes, that you might have to live with the rest of your life.
 ************************************************** ************************************************** **

 Since I originally wrote this story 3 years ago on another board, I have now also become extremely light sensitive in both eyes. Once in a while, if a bright light hits me in the eye just right, and gets between the area where the slice was for the flap (that thin scar line for lack of a better word, where my eye is not corrected) it dazzles me completely.

 It can and has created a floating black spot that moves into my field of vision when I look at things. It can last as long as 4-5 hours, but always eventually goes away. Sometimes it's not a black spot, it's sometimes a "sparkling light-show" like July 4th fireworks that goes on for hours. Drives me bonkers, and is annoying as hell. IF I close my eyes during those times, it's like the whole inside of my head has a flood-light in it. I'd have to equate it to like if you take a magnifying glass, and focus the light beam into a tight spot. Somehow, when conditions are right, it gets through to my retina like that, and flash dazzles me.

 I am still glad I had Lasik, but there are days when I wish it had gone better for me.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: sedura on August 06, 2014, 11:38:21 PM
Oh yes! If I ever get the surgery, I want to find the most EXPENSIVE, hard to get an appointment with, doctor.  I don't want to go to the discount laser eye guy. This is not the area you want to cheap out on!
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: MikeBear on August 06, 2014, 11:50:31 PM
Oh yes! If I ever get the surgery, I want to find the most EXPENSIVE, hard to get an appointment with, doctor.  I don't want to go to the discount laser eye guy. This is not the area you want to cheap out on!

Just because Canada was cheaper, don't equate that to meaning the quality of care was "cheaper", as that's not the truth. Don't forget the exchange rate at the time made a difference. The Canadian doctors at the time already had done something around 20,000 or more Lasik surgeries (it's NOT a "procedure" it's a SURGERY, remember that) Whereas most American doctors had ZERO or very few Lasik surgeries chalked up. I took that into affect. I just was unlucky in that my body had a bad response to the surgery. That just sometimes happens.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: shuffler on August 07, 2014, 12:27:41 AM
I had it done in 2005, and everything went great.  Agreed w/ earlier posters that the pleasure/convenience of good vision is wonderful.

If I were somehow faced with the same decision again, it'd be worth it at twice the price.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Beric01 on August 07, 2014, 01:41:21 AM
I have pretty bad eyesight. Here's my perspective: no glasses would be nice, but not game-changing (I've been wearing glasses all of my waking hours since I was 2 years old - I'm blind as a bat, so I'm used to it). However, the technology right now is still not perfect, and is expensive. If I wait 10 years the technology should be perfected and should cost as much as a dental appointment. So I'll wait until then.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: rmendpara on August 07, 2014, 04:20:30 AM
Hi guys,

Here's my situation: I'm 32 years old, severely nearsighted (-8/-8.5) with astigmatism in one eye, and I wear contacts pretty much 24/7. I've been trying to figure out if LASIK makes sense for me financially.

Right now, I spend ~$175-$200/year on vision ($80 in insurance premiums to get vision insurance through my work, $60 in co-pays for annual exam with contact lens fitting, $35-50 for cost of contacts above what my insurance reimburses [I keep this low by wearing lenses for a month before throwing them out, which I've found I can do without my eyes getting too upset]). However, I'm about to switch jobs to one where I think I'll end up paying maybe $100-$125/year instead because of the different insurance coverage. Neither my new insurance nor my current insurance covers LASIK.

From what I've gathered looking around online, LASIK costs about $4000, sometimes more in big cities like the one where I'll be living. So, assuming, very crudely, that getting LASIK would shave $100 off my annual eye care costs, I ought to come out ahead if I live for 40+ more years, which I certainly hope will be the case!

Does this seem reasonable to you guys? Is this realistic, or will there be additional vision costs in a post-LASIK-life that I'm unaware of? I'm obviously not taking into account the interest that I could earn on the money or potential effects of inflation--does that tip the balance in favor of sticking with contacts? Finances being equal, I'd slightly prefer LASIK, but I'm lucky to have eyes that are very contact-tolerant and I basically leave them in all the time, so it's not a gigantic deal to me.

Financially, no.

Practical and convenience, up to you.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: SnpKraklePhyz on August 07, 2014, 04:31:13 AM
I had mine done at the age of 40, for around $5000.  Totally recommend it and wish I'd done it earlier.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Fishingmn on August 07, 2014, 05:18:50 AM
Had 20/400 vision all my life. Got lasik done in 2002 at age of 40 and I highly recommend it. IMHO it is life changing and well worth the expense.

My daughter (who is on these forums) stashed away enough to cover it in her HSA this year and got it done this year. If you have that option it saves you a bunch.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: ThirdTimer on August 07, 2014, 05:46:37 AM
@rmendpara -- Why do you say no, financially? My original back-of-the-envelope was getting it at coming out slightly ahead in LASIK vs. contacts if I get it done soon. Is there something I wasn't taking into account?

@Beric01 -- Yeah, you'd think so, but the cost really hasn't come down much at all in the 15 years or so that LASIK has been fairly commonplace in the U.S. My guess is there's some cartel-like behavior going on that's keeping the price artificially high. You could be right that rates of surgery complication are still dropping though--I don't have any information on that.

@Fishingmn -- Yeah, I have access to an FSA through my new job and was planning to put the money to cover the cost of the procedure in there.

@MikeBear -- Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I may be a marginal candidate because of how severely nearsighted I am; from what I can gather on the internet, they consider people with prescriptions stronger than -9.0 bad candidates for the surgery. I don't know if being not far below that cut-off puts me at greater risk for complications; I'd have to talk to a doctor to find out more.

For those of you who had the surgery 10+ years ago, have any of you had to get glasses or follow-up treatment as your eyes have continued to worsen?
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: YoungInvestor on August 07, 2014, 06:11:53 AM
Hi guys,

Here's my situation: I'm 32 years old, severely nearsighted (-8/-8.5) with astigmatism in one eye, and I wear contacts pretty much 24/7. I've been trying to figure out if LASIK makes sense for me financially.

Right now, I spend ~$175-$200/year on vision ($80 in insurance premiums to get vision insurance through my work, $60 in co-pays for annual exam with contact lens fitting, $35-50 for cost of contacts above what my insurance reimburses [I keep this low by wearing lenses for a month before throwing them out, which I've found I can do without my eyes getting too upset]). However, I'm about to switch jobs to one where I think I'll end up paying maybe $100-$125/year instead because of the different insurance coverage. Neither my new insurance nor my current insurance covers LASIK.

From what I've gathered looking around online, LASIK costs about $4000, sometimes more in big cities like the one where I'll be living. So, assuming, very crudely, that getting LASIK would shave $100 off my annual eye care costs, I ought to come out ahead if I live for 40+ more years, which I certainly hope will be the case!

Does this seem reasonable to you guys? Is this realistic, or will there be additional vision costs in a post-LASIK-life that I'm unaware of? I'm obviously not taking into account the interest that I could earn on the money or potential effects of inflation--does that tip the balance in favor of sticking with contacts? Finances being equal, I'd slightly prefer LASIK, but I'm lucky to have eyes that are very contact-tolerant and I basically leave them in all the time, so it's not a gigantic deal to me.

Assuming you can beat inflation by 3% (Which is lower than the 4% SWR), 4000$ now is worth 120$/year forever.

For 20 bucks a year, it seems worth it to me if it ahieves what you want. Do make sure to discuss the potential side-effects with your doctor beforehand, though.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: ender on August 07, 2014, 06:21:40 AM
I've had the same thought, my eyes are slightly better than yours but my insurance is worse (I probably spend about $300-400 a year on vision).



I'm interested to see what other people say here for the same reasons you are.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Jon Bon on August 07, 2014, 06:22:43 AM
Yes you should...... a thousand times yes!

Also just an FYI to those talking about the skill and experience of the doctor. In my experience the doctor does not really do anything, he holds your head still and the computer does ALL the work. The actual surgery (shaping of the eye) takes between 1-3 seconds per eye. It is way to precise for a human hand, so they use a computer.

I had mine done in 2011 and I would have paid 10x the price. It was 3k which was out of my HSA. Most places including the place I used will give you a "tune up" for free if your eyes change over time.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Philociraptor on August 07, 2014, 06:28:49 AM
Seriously, best $3,600 I ever spent. Waking up every morning and being able to see is priceless.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: suburbanmom on August 07, 2014, 06:33:18 AM
I had LASIK 12 years ago when I was 18. I have not had any problems, side effects, worsening vision, etc. I had very poor vision (can't remember the number, but it was as bad as my 40 year old optometrist!) and some astigmatism as well. The surgery went smoothly and I have been incredibly happy with the results. It was well worth the money! Be sure to ask about a cash discount if you decide to do it, because many place will discount 5-10% if you pay cash up-front. Also, double check with your insurance as some have started covering at least part of the expense.
My brother decided to have the surgery a year after I did when he was 20. He did have a minor complication following the surgery that was quite painful. He got eye drops to treat it for 14 or 21 days, and that corrected it. 11 years later, he is doing fine with no lasting issues.
My father had LASIK surgery about 9 years ago. He went to a discount eye place to have his done. He did have significant complications. His eyesight was quite bad following the surgery. After a couple of weeks the doctor had him come in for more surgery. That resolved some of the issues, but his eyesight is still not what it should be. He also lives in a very dry part of the country. LASIK eye surgery tends to leave eyes pretty dry especially for the first year, so living in a very dry environment can make it even more uncomfortable. (My brother and I both live in Indiana, so this wasn't an issue for either of us.)
The most important thing is having a very experienced doctor that you can trust. I have never regretted having it done, and I know my brother feels the same. 
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: RichMoose on August 07, 2014, 06:38:07 AM
A good option may be to have LASIK done in just 1 eye. Preferably your aiming or shooting eye. Your "correct" eye will naturally takeover the majority of your field of vision. I know this solution is gaining in popularity up here in Alberta.

That being said, there are lots of benefits to having good vision without fussing with contacts / glasses so it's not purely a financial decision. The procedure also doesn't necessarily last forever, I know few people who had LASIK and have started wearing glasses again after 15 years. My opinion, if you are debt free other than your mortgage it's probably not an entirely irresponsible use of money. Does your extended health policy offer a flexible healthcare spending account that you can use to contribute to LASIK?
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Bourbon on August 07, 2014, 06:49:19 AM
I had mine done in 2012 for $4k at 28.  I had considered it for years, had some extra money coming in.  During my open enrollment period I went to two different clinics and got evaluated to be sure I was a candidate.  They both said it would be fine and no issues were raised.  I already had money going to my HSA but was also able to contribute to a limited FSA that was only good for dental and vision services.  Maxed that out so the whole thing was with tax free money.

I wound up going with the more expensive one for a few reasons, they have been around in our area forever and have a good reputation, I received a personal referral from a coworker, and while doing my research I read some of the scary stories online about flap related problems.

The first provider only did traditional LASIK, but the one I went with also offered what they called Advanced Surface Ablation(ASA).  My understanding is that this is more like the older procedure, no flap is created and the correction is made to the surface of they eye. They still do the computer mapping of the eye and use the same laser, etc.  At the time I realized that I was overestimating the risks, but was sure my young kids would be poking me in the eye for years to come.  The downside is there is some more discomfort and I was out of duty for about a week while the vision corrected, whereas LASIK is expected to have you up and going the next day.

For the surgery itself, I showed up, got the numbing drops.  Was offered an anxiety pill and declined.  Went into a room with the machine, Eyelids were held open(I think), put my chin on the tray, stare at the dots, all done.  They even had a little room where my wife got to watch and she scored me a few fun sized candy bars.

Two years later and it is still great.  My eyes are more sensitive now than pre-lasik when they get jabbed and I am no longer a titan of onion slicing.  Otherwise I wake up every day and can see.  For months after the surgery I would wake up in the middle of the night to check on a baby and occasionally reach over to grab my glasses from the nightstand.  Always put a smile on my face.  I'm still expecting to need reading glasses down the road, just like my father who was born with 20/20.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: moestache on August 07, 2014, 07:08:35 AM
Have you looked into Ortho-K lenses?

My optometrist mentioned these as an alternative to laser eye surgery. They're contact lenses that you sleep in at night and it corrects your vision while you sleep. You take them out during the day and your vision is meant to be better. The improvement in vision isn't permanent, you have to wear the contacts every night to sleep to maintain the benefits of 20/20 eyesight.
I'm not too sure what they are cost wise but guessing they would be expensive.

FWIW I would still prefer LASIK but I can't have it yet as my eyesight keeps changing every time I have an eye test.

I too have contact tolerant eyes for the time being and wear contacts pretty much all the time but my optometrist keeps telling me that as I get older my eyes won't be able to tolerate contacts as much. I have trouble with wearing glasses as I get serious allergic reactions to the material that frames are made out of, both the plastic and metal varieties.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: rubor on August 07, 2014, 07:34:05 AM
Just to clarify, I typically only take my contacts out one night a month--I throw the old pair away at night and put the new pair in in the morning.

Separate from your decision on LASIK, wearing your contacts 24/7 is a bad idea. Your cornea is being deprived of oxygen and responds by generating new blood vessels. This can cause all kinds of issues. Even the contacts that are marketed for long term use are not that much better.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Cpa Cat on August 07, 2014, 07:43:44 AM
I had it done about 5 years ago (well, I had PRK, which still involves shooting lasers into your eyeballs, but was better for my type of eye problem, for some reason - but it's still a laser eye surgery).

I had a good experience. I had really bad eyes before and I came out being able to see. It was amazing. It cost me somewhere around $4,500 inclusive of all costs.

So now for the bad news:

1. I have a halo-effect around lights at night. It's worse if my eyes are tired. It can sometimes be hard to drive at night and I try to avoid it. It was something they said would probably get better when I eyes healed, but it never did (and doesn't for a small percentage of patients).  Essentially every light has a glow around that can interfere with my vision.

2. I need glasses. I haven't made an appointment yet, but I know it to be true. I need them to be able to read things at a distance. I'm like the kid who can't read the blackboard. This wasn't always the case - my eyes have simply worsened over time. But that's not the surgery's fault. It can undo the damage that already happened, but it can't stop your eyes from getting worse in the future. Close to five thousand dollars for five years without glasses is $1,000 per year. Hardly cost effective.

The good news:

I would do it again. In a heartbeat. For me, the freedom from glasses has been worth it. I like knowing that if I'm ever in an emergency situation and I've lost my glasses, I'm not going to be blind. I like getting out of bed in the morning and not needing to grope around for glasses. I don't know if you can get laser eye surgery twice, but I will probably do it at some point if I can.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: welliamwallace on August 07, 2014, 07:50:53 AM
I got it at 24, and am one of those who swears by it. I am so glad I did it. Honestly, I say screw the financial question. Even if you treat it purely as a luxury (ignoring the savings of never buying contacts again), this is one of the best luxuries you can get yourself. As long as your aren't in a debt hair-on-fire emergency (you can afford a vacation, or a $10k car instead of a $5k car, etc), I would get LASIK before just about any other luxury. I would skip vacation this year, sell a car, rent a room in my house, etc to afford LASIK.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: fallstoclimb on August 07, 2014, 07:56:50 AM
I'm really surprised by all the positive responses on LASIK here.   Thinking about it myself down the line but 4K seems a bit steep to me.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: wtjbatman on August 07, 2014, 07:58:26 AM
Got LASIK four months ago, best decision I ever made, and best $4600 I ever spent.

Ask me again in 5, 10, or 20 years... but so far, so good. Amazing in fact.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Simple Abundant Living on August 07, 2014, 09:18:39 AM
I got PRK two years ago-ish(could have had Lasik, but I chose PRK for various reasons).  I went to one of the top research eye centers in the country and got state of the art care.  I paid $2800, out of my FSA and HSA.  How did I do it so cheap?  I agreed to be part of a study they were conducting.  The study was a look at two numbing drops that are already FDA approved and used everyday in eye surgery.  One is more comfortable to put in, but doesn't last as long.  The other stings a bit to put in, but lasts longest.  They did one in one eye and one in the other.  Then I was asked at various points to rate my pain during the surgery.  I had no pain on either eye, and I got the surgery for cost. 

I always tell people to find a top research center and see if they are doing any studies.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: HappyCheesehead on August 07, 2014, 09:38:12 AM
At 40 I had Lasik and my vision was perfect for about 10 years. Prior to the Lasik, my gas permeable contacts (that I had been wearing about 16 hours a day) had caused ulcers on my eyes. 

For the last two years my vision has gotten a bit worse and I have had to get glasses to wear for driving.  I spend all day at a computer and my eyes weren't making the quick transition to distance vision.  I had a good run though, and I can go without the glasses if it isn't a work day.  My vision was very bad prior to the Lasik and is just a little bad now,  so it is still waaaay better than it would have been.

I thought Lasik was one of the most wonderful things that ever happened to me.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: trailrated on August 07, 2014, 10:47:18 AM
I got it done about 4 years ago. Absolutely, without a doubt, 100% worth it. It healed fully within about 2 days and my vision is still perfect. There are some things that are hands down worth the cost when it improves your quality of life so much.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: ThirdTimer on August 07, 2014, 11:29:16 AM
Wow, thanks so much to everyone for all the helpful feedback! You've definitely convinced me to go in for a consultation to get details on pricing and my suitability as a LASIK patient. From all the very positive feedback, it sounds like it could definitely be worth it.

@YoungInvestor -- Thanks for framing the financials in that way. That really helps clarify things.

@moestache -- I think my prescription is too strong for Ortho-K, but it's a good thing for me to keep in mind for any future myopic kids I might have. :)

@rubor -- I know you're not supposed to leave them in like this. I've been very open with my optometrist about the fact that I do, and he said "well, you're not supposed to, but if it's been working for you so far it's probably OK to keep doing it. Just be absolutely sure to take them out immediately if your eyes do start bothering you." (which I do.) But, really, it's that vague feeling that I might somehow being doing damage to my eyes by carrying on like this indefinitely (I've been wearing contacts for week+ stretches at a time for more than 10 years now) that is making me consider LASIK.

@Mrs. Green'stache -- Thanks for this suggestion! Great idea that would have never even occurred to me. I'll be sure to look around and see if I can find any low-risk clinical studies like this when the time comes.

Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Shade00 on August 07, 2014, 11:37:44 AM
Glad to see this topic. I have been considering LASIK for some time, and I'm leaning even more strongly in that direction now. I only wear a soft contact in one eye, but I can tell my vision in the other eye is deteriorating. Plus, I get headaches from eye strain from time-to-time.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: sheepstache on August 07, 2014, 11:39:52 AM
You can cut your current costs a bit.  Is your vision changing?  If not and if you're extending the life of your contacts, then you buy a full year's worth and then that lets you skip the next exam or two. 

My prescription's 12 or 14, I forget, so my understanding is I'm not a good candidate.  Even if I were, contacts work well for me and I really value not having any problems with my vision so I don't think I would take the risk, even if the likelihood were really small.  Which is to say, I don't really have anything useful to contribute about your decision.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: MNBen on August 07, 2014, 11:53:07 AM
I had LASIK done in each eye, but one at a time, in 10/07 and 11/07.   (You'll see why later.)

As a child, I had astigmatism and a heavy prescription (-4 or so I believe) and had glasses on in my kindergarten picture.  My prescription seldom changed, but every year's school pictures I had the glasses.  In 9th grade (1989) I upgraded to gas permeable lenses which I wore for the next 18 years!  I was a cross country/track runner, basketball player, and can tell numerous stories of dirt in the eye or lens popping out accidentally, but I loved contacts more than glasses.  I also worked at a computer all day starting in 1996, yet still the gas permeable worked great.

Then I had a new employer (private company) that gave us very good health care benefits.  As a single male with major medical coverage, I received an extra $2000 every year in a flex spending account, which I had to use or lose.  Their fiscal year ended 10/31 every year, so for the first couple years I was the weirdo who turned off his house lights from trick-or-treaters and raided the local store's first aid department filling a cart full of bandaids, first aid kits, OTC medications.   I'm sure the cashiers thought, 'I hope he's not passing THESE out at his door!'

Anyway, after a very good health year and having the full amount leftover, I decided to look into using it to fund my LASIK.  I found out I was a perfect candidate and they said my vision would be corrected to 20/10 if my brain could see it.  Also, I was a bit fearful, but decided I'd do one eye before 10/31 and assuming it went fine, I'd do the other after 11/1 so that I could take care of both eyes for free - while also having a backup eye in something went bad.

As someone who woke up every day with blurry vision, I can't even describe the emotion the first time I opened my eye after the surgery and while still painful from healing, I could already see substantially better!

Needless to say, I did the second eye after the first eye healed.   It wasn't too weird going back in.  The funniest part was wearing glasses with one lens, putting eye drops in, forgetting that people were watching and seeing their face as the drop went into my eye while I was wearing glasses.  :)

Anyway, as someone who still runs, bikes, does triathlon, water sports, etc.  I have told everyone from day one... "I would have done this MANY years sooner, and paid a lot more money, to have this surgery done!"   I can now see 20/10 and it has completely changed my life.  No glasses, no contacts, and zero issues!   It took me a few days to get used to waking up and being able to see clearly, or realizing I can now fall asleep to the TV and see it too!   But now, I couldn't imagine EVER going back to how it was. 

Are there risks?  Of course.  It's a surgery.   But I will say doing one eye at a time helped me remove that fear (and it costs the same to do one eye per visit, or both eyes in one visit) and it was life-changing.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: HairyUpperLip on August 07, 2014, 12:04:50 PM
I did it at 29 and spent around $3000 for PRK in both eyes.

I would do it again. It was worth every penny.

I wore glasses since 5th grade.

I'd do it again. I'd recommend you do it. I don't care if it impacts your ER by 2 years, it's worth it.  I love waking up and being able to see.

I was -5.00 in both eyes with slight astigmatism as well.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: HairyUpperLip on August 07, 2014, 12:05:56 PM
pro lasik tip - don't use a coupon for this procedure. don't use a groupon. don't look for the cheapest option.

Look for a good local facility with tons of positive reviews.

Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Freedom2016 on August 07, 2014, 12:38:17 PM
Hi guys,

Here's my situation: I'm 32 years old, severely nearsighted (-8/-8.5) with astigmatism in one eye, and I wear contacts pretty much 24/7. I've been trying to figure out if LASIK makes sense for me financially.

Right now, I spend ~$175-$200/year on vision ($80 in insurance premiums to get vision insurance through my work, $60 in co-pays for annual exam with contact lens fitting, $35-50 for cost of contacts above what my insurance reimburses [I keep this low by wearing lenses for a month before throwing them out, which I've found I can do without my eyes getting too upset]). However, I'm about to switch jobs to one where I think I'll end up paying maybe $100-$125/year instead because of the different insurance coverage. Neither my new insurance nor my current insurance covers LASIK.

From what I've gathered looking around online, LASIK costs about $4000, sometimes more in big cities like the one where I'll be living. So, assuming, very crudely, that getting LASIK would shave $100 off my annual eye care costs, I ought to come out ahead if I live for 40+ more years, which I certainly hope will be the case!

Does this seem reasonable to you guys? Is this realistic, or will there be additional vision costs in a post-LASIK-life that I'm unaware of? I'm obviously not taking into account the interest that I could earn on the money or potential effects of inflation--does that tip the balance in favor of sticking with contacts? Finances being equal, I'd slightly prefer LASIK, but I'm lucky to have eyes that are very contact-tolerant and I basically leave them in all the time, so it's not a gigantic deal to me.

My sister is an opthalmologist and says that everyone's eyesight degenerates in their 40's and 50's -- even for people who have had LASIK, so another poster is right when they say many people end up wearing (reading) glasses again later in life, though often with a lesser prescription. Having said that, same sister had it done herself in her mid-30's and says it's one of the best things she's ever done.

It's probably not going to pan out as a financial decision but as others have said it's a quality of life decision. I have worse eyesight than you, also w/ astigmatism, but I'm ineligible for LASIK. Believe me, if I were eligible I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: gt7152b on August 07, 2014, 12:55:34 PM
You can cut your current costs a bit.  Is your vision changing?  If not and if you're extending the life of your contacts, then you buy a full year's worth and then that lets you skip the next exam or two. 

My prescription's 12 or 14, I forget, so my understanding is I'm not a good candidate.  Even if I were, contacts work well for me and I really value not having any problems with my vision so I don't think I would take the risk, even if the likelihood were really small.  Which is to say, I don't really have anything useful to contribute about your decision.

Another good idea if your prescription is pretty stable is to switch to RGP contacts. A pair costs about $80 and mine have lasted up to 8 years before they degrade significantly. Be careful of where you buy them from. I've had eye doctors try to charge me $340 for a pair so I just asked for my prescription and ordered them online. Other doctors have only charged $100/pair. They may not be quite as comfortable as soft lenses but you get used to them and they perform really well.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Dicey on August 07, 2014, 01:25:47 PM
Third Timer, before you do anything else, have your ophthalmologist check the thickness of your corneas. I, too, am very nearsighted and have astigmatism in both eyes.

Here's my one of my favorite stories: Every year, I would ask my doctor (an eye surgeon) if the technology had improved enough to have the surgery. She knew I had the money saved and was just waiting for technology to improve enough to pull the trigger. One year, she did a couple of extra tests, then sighed. She said "You know that money you've saved for eye surgery? Spend it on another body part." I about fell out of the chair laughing. Turns out my corneas are very thin, making me not a good candidate. She says not everyone screens for this, so you could seem like a likely candidate but end up with poor results.

Since then, I have become farsighted and eventually developed glaucoma. (No surprise, my dad has it and my eyeballs look just like his.) I am glad I did not have the surgery after all. And no, I did not spend the money on another body part. Elective plastic surgery is about the most anti-mustachian thing there is.

All of that said, if you are a well-screened candidate and can afford it, I'd do it when I was young so I could enjoy the results for as long as possible. Realistically, you should amortize the cost over about seven to ten years and then decide if it's worth it. Many people discover that with aging, additional correction is once again required.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: socaso on August 07, 2014, 01:58:27 PM
I had Lasik over 10 years ago and it has worked wonderfully for me. I think I paid about $3k. They told me I was one of the most nearsighted people they had ever corrected and cautioned me that I would likely still need reading glasses. I did not need them and haven't had any cause to get them over the past 10 years. I'm so glad I did it. I looked at the money aspect to justify it and the math worked out for me but the psychological benefits were such a huge change to my life that I wish I had known to factor that in. It's so freeing to not worry about my glasses or contacts anymore and I feel better about myself which has directly contributed to a lot of the positive things that have happened over the past 10 years.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Mrs. Frugalwoods on August 07, 2014, 02:18:16 PM
YES! I got Lasik over a year ago and it's one of the best things I've ever spent money on. Definitely the best health/personal care thing I've ever spent money on. I was miserable in contacts (hurt my eyes, constantly blurry, endlessly cloudy, painful) and glasses were a gigantic hassle when hiking, doing yoga, etc. I am amazed and grateful every day that I wake up and can SEE!

Payment info: I have "vision benefits" through my insurance, which was basically a small percentage off the total cost. Then, I asked what kind of deal they could cut if I paid upfront in cash (they did a double take) and they offered to take off another percentage. So, you might see if you can swing a deal via the all-cash offer. Apparently a lot of people do a payment plan for their Lasik.

My Dr: I did extensive research on doctors and chose a slightly more expensive doctor with an excellent reputation, publications, affiliation to Harvard medical school, etc. I did not feel it was worth it to save a couple hundred bucks and go with the second best Dr in town. Might've been unnecessary, but I felt much more confident in my decision. AND, all of my follow-up appointments are free.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: davef on August 07, 2014, 04:28:09 PM
Yes, I'd also love to hear if anyone knows about long-term studies, or if anyone here had LASIK awhile back, how it's stood the test of time for them.

So surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response! Just to clarify, I typically only take my contacts out one night a month--I throw the old pair away at night and put the new pair in in the morning. I wear them when I swim, with goggles for serious swimming, or just closing my eyes when I go underwater if I'm just horsing around. So a lot of this "see-all-the-time benefit" I already have because I'm blessed with very contact-tolerant eyes. Of course, it's not 100% the same (and who knows if I'll be able to get away with this forever?), but I don't anticipate it being the huge, life-altering change it was for many of you guys.

I had it done with TLC Lasick last year. best 3,600 I ever spent. I am a pilot, so I looked into it in detail there is an FAA Study out there that while old was quite detailed.
There are no guarentees, and your Eyes will continue to deteriorate, if you get the package I got it does have a lifetime warranty, that is, If my eyes deteriorate they can do it again later on for free. Note, depending on the thickness of your cornea and how bad your vision is you may not be able to do it multiple times. They said the FDA will allow them to go down to 300 microns but their company limit was 350. My corneas were 505 microns and they only had to take off 15 microns to fix mine. I Went from 20/50 to 20/15 in a day. 3 days later I went to a football game and could clearly see the field from the upper deck. Other than the drops, I was 100% by day 3.

I work with 16 pilots. More than half have had it done. None regret it. most have no side effects. some of the guys that had it done 10-15 years ago have night halos.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Freedom2016 on August 07, 2014, 04:47:32 PM
Course11. Before you do anything else, have your ophthalmologist check the thickness of your corneas. I, too, am very nearsighted and have astigmatism in both eyes.

Here's my one of my favorite stories: Every year, I would ask my doctor (an eye surgeon) if the technology had improved enough to have the surgery. She knew I had the money saved and was just waiting for technology to improve enough to pull the trigger. One year, she did a couple of extra tests, then sighed. She said "You know that money you've saved for eye surgery? Spend it on another body part." I about fell out of the chair laughing. Turns out my corneas are very thin, making me not a good candidate. She says not everyone screens for this, so you could seem like a likely candidate but end up with poor results.

Since then, I have become farsighted and eventually developed glaucoma. (No surprise, my dad has it and my eyeballs look just like his.) I am glad I did not have the surgery after all. And no, I did not spend the money on another body part. Elective plastic surgery is about the most anti-mustachian thing there is.

All of that said, if you are a well-screened candidate and can afford it, I'd do it when I was young so I could enjoy the results for as long as possible. Realistically, you should amortize the cost over about seven to ten years and then decide if it's worth it. Many people discover that with aging, additional correction is once again required.

Was this meant for me or the OP? If me, I consulted two different opthalmologists some years ago who both rejected me as a candidate. Several factors work against me: I already have dry eyes, I would be at risk of keratoconus, and they couldn't fully correct my astigmatism.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Cpa Cat on August 07, 2014, 06:20:38 PM

Was this meant for me or the OP? If me, I consulted two different opthalmologists some years ago who both rejected me as a candidate. Several factors work against me: I already have dry eyes, I would be at risk of keratoconus, and they couldn't fully correct my astigmatism.

These are the exact reasons that my surgeon recommended PRK over Lasik. Maybe something to revisit if it's been awhile since you had a consultation.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Dicey on August 07, 2014, 08:20:32 PM
Was this meant for me or the OP?

It was for the OP, course11. I fixed it. See, I really can't see shit. Yours was a good answer to the OP's question though. Sorry for the boo-boo.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: MsRichLife on August 07, 2014, 09:35:11 PM
I had Lasik done when I was 30 (7 years ago). My eyes are still good, but I know that I will need glasses again (probably reading glasses) as my eyes deteriorate with age.

Honestly, it is the best money I've ever spent.

 
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Ralphus27 on August 07, 2014, 10:13:30 PM
Received LASIK as a college graduation gift ~10 years ago.  Had vision similar to yours.  Would recommend it to anyone that wears contacts.  Greatest gift I've ever been given. 
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Michael792 on August 08, 2014, 03:18:39 AM
I'd love to do this as well. Y'all think it makes sense to do this in Korea? Should be cheaper. (I currently live here).
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: TomTX on August 08, 2014, 05:25:06 AM
I had vision not as bad as yours (-6.5/-4.5) - and got LASIK for $5,000 from the top surgeon in Houston. In 1998. LASIK only went out to the public 6-7 years before that, IIRC.

Vision is still really good. I have occasional fuzziness, but that's due to spending way too many hours on the computer. 

One of the best decisions I have ever made. I probably should have done it sooner.

As an FYI - it used to be cheaper to fly to Canada from the US, get LASIK done at a top surgeon, and stay in a very nice hotel for a couple of days.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: FuckRx on August 08, 2014, 09:36:30 AM

as a few others mentioned, the skills of the doctor only matter in selecting the right patient, the surgery is 99% done by the machine nowadays. A great surgeon will only pick the best candidates and give you great follow up and give you great care instructions. the shitty surgeon will take anyone and hope for the best.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: sneeria on August 08, 2014, 10:31:23 AM
My mom had it done ~10 years ago and was really happy with the results. However 6 months ago she suffered a detached retina which required surgery, followed by cataract surgery last month. The doctor told her anytime you introduce lasers into your eye you are increasing the risk of a retinal detachment.  Her original lasik doctor did not mention that to her. I have terrible myopia but I'll stick with contacts after seeing what she went through. She's almost 60 btw.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: boognish on August 08, 2014, 11:04:45 AM
I've want to do this since forever. I'm 25 and my Rx is stable, I feel like running out of the office and having it done right now after all the positive responses in this thread.

I'd love to have corrected vision for soccer/surfing/running/hiking/getting hit in the head
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: wtjbatman on August 08, 2014, 11:58:45 AM
My mom had it done ~10 years ago and was really happy with the results. However 6 months ago she suffered a detached retina which required surgery, followed by cataract surgery last month. The doctor told her anytime you introduce lasers into your eye you are increasing the risk of a retinal detachment.  Her original lasik doctor did not mention that to her. I have terrible myopia but I'll stick with contacts after seeing what she went through. She's almost 60 btw.

Yeah, I hear ya. My cousin was in two car accidents in a 12 month span. Because of that I never drive. It's just not safe!
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: sneeria on August 08, 2014, 12:06:33 PM
I'd rather have to wear contacts than have my permanent vision affected. Idc what others do. I just wanted to share info that she didn't get when she was considering her surgery. I love the internet.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: davef on August 08, 2014, 12:24:06 PM
Probibility of complications as of 2002. It has most certainly gone down since then.

Night glare (halos, starbursts): 1 in 50
Under/over-correction: less than 1 in 100
Increased intraocular pressure: non signifi cant
Corneal haze: 1 in 1,000
Corneal scarring: non signifi cant
Loss of BCVA: 1 in 100
Infection: 1 in 5,000
Corneal fl ap complications (dislocated fl ap, epithelial ingrowth):less than 1 in 100
Most of the complications were done by hand cutting the cornea and the resulting scar.
Now that a laser is more often used to cut the flap the complications are musch less.
You have a greater chance of geeting struck by lightning than having side effects that require surgery.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: sheepstache on August 08, 2014, 01:45:51 PM
My mom had it done ~10 years ago and was really happy with the results. However 6 months ago she suffered a detached retina which required surgery, followed by cataract surgery last month. The doctor told her anytime you introduce lasers into your eye you are increasing the risk of a retinal detachment.  Her original lasik doctor did not mention that to her. I have terrible myopia but I'll stick with contacts after seeing what she went through. She's almost 60 btw.

Yeah, I hear ya. My cousin was in two car accidents in a 12 month span. Because of that I never drive. It's just not safe!

I'd rather have to wear contacts than have my permanent vision affected. Idc what others do. I just wanted to share info that she didn't get when she was considering her surgery. I love the internet.

Yeah, that's my thinking.  Never driving would be super inconvenient.  But wearing contacts, really not a big deal.  So even though I understand the risks are very small, I just wouldn't gain enough for the potential downside to be worth it.  It makes a lot of sense to me when people with sensitivity to contacts do it, or have astigmatism that requires specialty lenses, etc. 

My mom went for it when she started needing reading glasses.  She got sick of having multiple pairs of glasses stashed around the house, car, etc.  Bifocals didn't do it for her and her brain couldn't get the hang of the contact lenses with concentric rings of alternating prescriptions.  She'd worn rigid lenses her whole life and was required to switch to soft contacts for some number of months prior to the surgery.  Apparently the lenses can hold your cornea in shape and affect your prescription!  And indeed her vision got measurably worse.  Then for maybe a month she had to do only glasses because even soft contacts can have an effect and they want to make sure you're at your true prescription. 

Some years later she ended up needing special night driving glasses which they said was related to the surgery.  But her mother had needed them too in old age so I think she accepted it might have happened either way.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Fuzzy Buttons on September 02, 2014, 02:07:57 PM
This is something I've been considering, and I'd love to hear from more people who are older.

Back in 1998 I asked my eye doctor if I should pursue LASIK, and at the time he said yes.  He said that I was young enough to get some good out of it, but that I should be aware that when you get into your 40s your eyes begin to lose their ability to change focus.  So I would probably still need reading glasses.  At the time, I decided not to do the procedure.  I can wear contacts with no problems, though I do need them all the time.  I also thought it might be nice when I'm older for my eyes to lock into a shorter distance, enabling me to read without glasses.  That way I wouldn't be like my parents at a restaraunt - holding the bill at arm's length to try and make out the tip.

Today I'm 44, and I'm beginning to experience the inability to change focus.  I now have a cheap pair of reading glasses I use from time to time.  I can't read small print without them.  But since I wear the contacts all the time, I also can't read anything without them - except at night when I might have removed the contacts already and I'm reading before bed.  And as I think about getting older, I assume a time will come when I cannot manage the contacts any more, and I'll be back to glasses.  I have always been someone who sweats a lot, and I haven't worn glasses since back before I did regular excercise.  I'm not looking forward to managing glasses with running or biking.

I figured I was too old for LASIK now, until lately when my 65 year old aunt got it.  So now I'm back to considering it again.  Anybody else got the procedure in middle age?  What have your experiences been?  Thanks in advance.  :)
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: FatCat on September 02, 2014, 02:42:20 PM
I would not recommend LASIK. I know the odds are in your favor that it will turn out well, but I feel like I should give input to my experience.

My surgery was about 7 years ago when I was 24.  I am now 31. My before vision was about -7.50 and -8.00. My current vision is -1.75 and -2.00 which means I still needs glasses. Also now I have bad halo effects and blurry night vision. And my eyes hurt when I try to wear contacts. Actually they are dry and slightly hurt most of the time.

My doctor blatantly lied to me. She told me before the surgery that there was no chance I would have the halo effects. She also said she would redo the surgery if I wasn't satisfied. After surgery she said she never told me anything about likeliness of halo effects and she would have told me I have 100% odds of having halo effects if I'd asked about them because my before vision was so bad. This was a total lie since we talked about halo effects at length and she assured me my odds were very low. I have BAD halo effects at night and in low lighting. This makes watching movies in a dark room very annoying. The doctor told me the effects will eventually go away. I think that eventually people just quit complaining about it or the brain just rewired itself to think halos at night is normal. It has not gone away at all and is every bit as annoying as ever.

She also refused to do any touch ups and told me that I should be satisfied with the current vision level which still requires glasses. She said since my glasses aren't as thick as they were before, it's still a successful surgery.

Also my left eye has a bit more halo than the right because she claims I moved my eye when she did the procedure on that eye. I couldn't tell that I had moved the eye at all. She put a dropper in that blinds the eye before starting the laser. My guess is that when blinded my eye shifted slightly without my awareness. But this is considered my fault and not her error.

Please keep in mind this is a highly respected LASIK doctor in my area. I didn't do one of those fly by night discount doctors even though my experience might sound like it.

Due to these halo effects I don't feel safe driving at night. It's very difficult to determine the distance of cars when the headlights all appear as big white blobs. I have to wait a very long time to make a turn because I have almost no way to be sure how far away the white blob headlights are unless they are very very far or very very close. During the day my vision is fine and I don't have this sort of issue.

So as far as finances, it didn't save me anything at all obviously. And my quality of life is noticeably worse at night time and in darkened environments.

I know the odds are in your favor. But assess if you would be satisfied if you end up as part of the 1-3% that ends up with really sucky results that will affect you the rest of your life. A good outcome would be great no doubt.  But a bad outcome will probably mean irreparable damage to the your most important sense.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Beric01 on September 02, 2014, 03:16:28 PM
I don't even see how a "good outcome" is so great. I wear glasses 24/7 anyway (I'm practically blind without them). They're part of my body and I'm used to them. What's so great about not wearing them? I've never understood contacts for this reason either. You have to put something into your eyes, AND it continually drains your wallet?

Lasik becomes worthwhile when it's cheaper than a pair of glasses (or perhaps the future value of the money I would spend on glasses). And if you still need any glasses at all, even reading glasses, doesn't that defeat the entire purpose?

Lasik seems more like an excessive luxury to me. I don't get it.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: FatCat on September 02, 2014, 03:42:18 PM
I don't even see how a "good outcome" is so great. I wear glasses 24/7 anyway (I'm practically blind without them). They're part of my body and I'm used to them. What's so great about not wearing them?


Whether or not LASIK or even contacts would benefit you depends on your lifestyle and hobbies. For me, I enjoy doing sports, dancing, and movements that are greatly hindered by glasses. Doing flips, fast movements, or any type of martial arts is greatly benefited by contacts. I simply move too fast for the glasses to stay on my face safely during certain activities. I guess I could wear a strap to secure the glasses, but the contacts are the best choice. Of course most people would not have these sorts of problems to worry about anyway.

Another issue is water sports. Water spraying in your face will quickly displace your glasses and there is a high risk of losing them in a large body of water. Yes, you wear a floating strap to keep from losing the glasses if they come off, but they can still detach and you might find only your floaty with no glasses attached. Also, water on the glasses lowers your visibility, so you have to clean them constantly. Contacts are considered unsafe for water sports because it increases the risk of infection from bacteria in the water.

The last reason would be simply aesthetics. Some people prefer the look of glasses, some prefer no glasses. I wouldn't risk surgery for just aesthetic reasons.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Mother Fussbudget on September 02, 2014, 05:10:42 PM
OP:  I'm 20 years your senior, got Lasik last December. No regrets.
Because of my older eyes, I now need 'readers' for up-close detail work (i.e. the laptop & cell phone), but readers are 3 pair for $6.  Otherwise, I see FINE. 

In my area, there was a GroupOn Deal  http://www.groupon.com/local/seattle/lasik (http://www.groupon.com/local/seattle/lasik) for a wickedly low price.  A friend at a Meetup event mentioned it, and it worked for me.  Worth checking out - for the link above, I googled 'GroupOn Lasik surgery Seattle'.  Do the same for your area.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Beric01 on September 02, 2014, 05:28:59 PM
I don't even see how a "good outcome" is so great. I wear glasses 24/7 anyway (I'm practically blind without them). They're part of my body and I'm used to them. What's so great about not wearing them?


Whether or not LASIK or even contacts would benefit you depends on your lifestyle and hobbies. For me, I enjoy doing sports, dancing, and movements that are greatly hindered by glasses. Doing flips, fast movements, or any type of martial arts is greatly benefited by contacts. I simply move too fast for the glasses to stay on my face safely during certain activities. I guess I could wear a strap to secure the glasses, but the contacts are the best choice. Of course most people would not have these sorts of problems to worry about anyway.

Another issue is water sports. Water spraying in your face will quickly displace your glasses and there is a high risk of losing them in a large body of water. Yes, you wear a floating strap to keep from losing the glasses if they come off, but they can still detach and you might find only your floaty with no glasses attached. Also, water on the glasses lowers your visibility, so you have to clean them constantly. Contacts are considered unsafe for water sports because it increases the risk of infection from bacteria in the water.

The last reason would be simply aesthetics. Some people prefer the look of glasses, some prefer no glasses. I wouldn't risk surgery for just aesthetic reasons.

And all of these problems are easily surmountable - that's what I don't understand. I can bike at 30mph without losing my glasses, but in any activity where I actually might have them fall off, you can buy a strap for $5. MUCH cheaper than contacts (let alone LASIK).

Swimming and watersports - I agree that you shouldn't wear glasses, and I'm completely blind swimming without them. But you can get full prescription goggles. Much cheaper (and what I do) is just buy some corrective goggles, available with a +/- diopter depending on your subscription. Mine were $25.

Notice those issues were fully solvable for cheap. That's what I don't understand: what's so bad about glasses? I've worn glasses since age 2, and I've never hated them. My younger brother (who still has 20-20 vision to this day) always wanted to know when he would be old enough to get his own. :-)

As for the vanity reason, everyone has their own preferences on what looks good. Personally, I think a lot of people look better wearing glasses. Unless you're a supermodel who needs to fit a certain "image", I can't see the reason to spend so much. Agreed with you on aesthetics.

This operation has the added benefits of being potentially temporary, possible complications, and is quite expensive. IMO it is a definite luxury and not very Mustachian.

Because of my older eyes, I now need 'readers' for up-close detail work (i.e. the laptop & cell phone), but readers are 3 pair for $6.  Otherwise, I see FINE.

And so you still have to carry around a pair of reading glasses. Actually I find carrying around glasses far worse than just wearing them 24/7, because you have to manage a case and/or putting them in your pocket, and hence they are losable. I don't see the advantage here.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: FatCat on September 02, 2014, 07:39:45 PM
I agree that you're not likely to lose your glasses while biking, even intense biking. I tend to send them flying while dancing, doing quick spinning, doing drops or flips, hanging upside down, and things of that nature. I could just wear a strap, but I find it just feels better with contacts. You don't really see many dancers, gymnasts, or Cirque du Soleil performers with strapped on glasses. I guess you could do those things with strapped on glasses, but it would be more uncomfortable for some. And while I find the aesthetics of glasses to be a neutral issue under normal circumstances, I would feel like a dork wearing strapped on glasses during a performance. So yeah, aesthetics are still involved. But that being said, I really don't do these sorts of activities as much anymore so I barely ever wear contacts nowadays. Also I get several boxes of them for free every year so I claim my maximum allowance on them.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Goldielocks on September 02, 2014, 08:56:59 PM
Hi guys,

Here's my situation: I'm 32 years old, severely nearsighted (-8/-8.5) with astigmatism in one eye, and I wear contacts pretty much 24/7. I've been trying to figure out if LASIK makes sense for me financially.

Right now, I spend ~$175-$200/year on vision ($80 in insurance premiums to get vision insurance through my work, $60 in co-pays for annual exam with contact lens fitting, $35-50 for cost of contacts above what my insurance reimburses [I keep this low by wearing lenses for a month before throwing them out, which I've found I can do without my eyes getting too upset]). However, I'm about to switch jobs to one where I think I'll end up paying maybe $100-$125/year instead because of the different insurance coverage. Neither my new insurance nor my current insurance covers LASIK.

From what I've gathered looking around online, LASIK costs about $4000, sometimes more in big cities like the one where I'll be living. So, assuming, very crudely, that getting LASIK would shave $100 off my annual eye care costs, I ought to come out ahead if I live for 40+ more years, which I certainly hope will be the case!

Does this seem reasonable to you guys? Is this realistic, or will there be additional vision costs in a post-LASIK-life that I'm unaware of? I'm obviously not taking into account the interest that I could earn on the money or potential effects of inflation--does that tip the balance in favor of sticking with contacts? Finances being equal, I'd slightly prefer LASIK, but I'm lucky to have eyes that are very contact-tolerant and I basically leave them in all the time, so it's not a gigantic deal to me.

Have you been evaluated at a top of the line eye centre yet? My DH went with $5k, saved and ready.  He has between -6.5 and -8.5 himself, so just being able to read the alarm clock was a potential benefit.

He found out that between his severity pf surgery and eye shape, his result would give him night vision problems.  That the alternative better solution was implantable contact lenses (for a lot more), similar to cataract surgeries out there.

So -- why not go and spend $150 to get an evaluation from a highly reputable group?
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: TomTX on September 02, 2014, 08:59:54 PM
Laser eye surgery is not guaranteed to fix your eyes for the rest of your life.  There aren't any ( that I'm aware of) long-term studies on it..  Anecdotally, I've heard that many people end up wearing glasses again within a decade, albeit with a weaker prescription than pre-surgery. 

Here's an anecdote: I had LASIK more than 15 years ago. No glasses or contacts. No need for them.

One of the best things I have done for myself is LASIK.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Beric01 on September 02, 2014, 09:01:14 PM
One of the best things I have done for myself is LASIK.

I'm genuinely curious what specifically is so much better.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: NoraLenderbee on September 02, 2014, 09:48:42 PM
You're probably going to need reading glasses eventually, whatever your eyesight is today. I reached that point some years back, and believe me, I would much rather have *one* prescription to deal with than two. Bifocals and progressive lenses are both a compromise--you have the convenience of your distance and reading together, but the sweet spot of sharp vision is smaller in each case, and with progressives, you end up twisting your head a lot to see through the one little spot that has the correct focus for what you're looking at. I've worn glasses since I was 11, BTW.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: zolotiyeruki on September 03, 2014, 10:39:11 AM
For those of you who had the surgery 10+ years ago, have any of you had to get glasses or follow-up treatment as your eyes have continued to worsen?
I had it done in 2002 at age 21.  I'm 33 now and have noticed no significant degradation.

A few caveats:
--Night vision is kinda half-perfect, half-not.  Still zero problems seeing well enough to drive at night.
--I've noticed that my vision is better when I'm well-rested than when I'm short on sleep.  Not sure if this has anything to do with LASIK per se, though.

As others have said, it's not a financial decision.  Would I do it again?  YES, YES, A THOUSAND TIMES YES!  We did it for my wife five years ago, paid somewhere between $3k and $3.5k.  There's nothing quite like waking up the next day and seeing clearly.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: BeardedLady on September 03, 2014, 11:01:19 AM
Yes, I'd also love to hear if anyone knows about long-term studies, or if anyone here had LASIK awhile back, how it's stood the test of time for them.

So surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response! Just to clarify, I typically only take my contacts out one night a month--I throw the old pair away at night and put the new pair in in the morning. I wear them when I swim, with goggles for serious swimming, or just closing my eyes when I go underwater if I'm just horsing around. So a lot of this "see-all-the-time benefit" I already have because I'm blessed with very contact-tolerant eyes. Of course, it's not 100% the same (and who knows if I'll be able to get away with this forever?), but I don't anticipate it being the huge, life-altering change it was for many of you guys.

This makes me cringe a little bit. (I'm an optometrist) Please get LASIK. You are gambling with the only two eyes you have. Any pool or lake water that may get in your eyes while wearing contacts can cause serious problems. Google acanthamoeba...it's not a pretty picture, it can happen to you, and it often ends in a corneal transplant surgery. At the very least, you should be throwing away your lenses after swimming in them.

If you have the type of lenses you can sleep in for 30 days continuously, sleeping in them would be fine. However, from some of the other comments you have made, I would bet you are in Acuvue lenses. These are only approved for up to 6 nights continuously (if using Acuvue Oasys) and must be replaced every 2 weeks, and you are again gambling with your vision if you are overwearing them. Bacterial ulcers can develop and leave large white scars that block your vision. If you wait to replace your lenses until they start to make your eyes uncomfortable, your eyes are already damaged and susceptible to infection. Please take care of your eyes. The alternative is not worth it. You are definitely the type of person I would push toward LASIK. Check out TLC if you have one in your area, or ask your optometrist for a referral. Optometrists will refer to surgeons who use the best technology and have a very high success rate.

If you decide not to have LASIK soon, get in some lenses that fit your lifestyle better. Try monthly replacement lenses that are approved for 1 month of extended (overnight) wear and supplement with a box of daily disposable lenses for swimming. Sorry if this post sounds preachy. I am pretty passionate about eyeballs! Good luck with whatever you end up choosing!
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: thd7t on September 03, 2014, 12:57:50 PM
My wife got Lasik last November and loves it.  Here's my tip from the 'stache.  Ask for the following discounts: Paying cash.  This was worth around 15% off for us.  Ask if your health insurance gives a discount.  We got another 10% off.  That's pretty big money when it comes to Lasik. 
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: klystomane on September 04, 2014, 11:23:29 AM
I'd love to do this as well. Y'all think it makes sense to do this in Korea? Should be cheaper. (I currently live here).

I had LASEK (not to be confused with LASIK) done in SK in February of this year. No regrets so far.

Eyes are slightly dryer than they used to be, but I don't use eye drops regularly.

It's supposed to be a pretty standard procedure in SK, but definitely do your homework on who the good doctors are.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: theadvicist on September 05, 2014, 02:42:56 AM
One of the best things I have done for myself is LASIK.

I'm genuinely curious what specifically is so much better.

Only speaking for myself Beric01, but for me glasses weren't so much impractical (I can see how you can get around most things) but they were uncomfortable. I tried many different frames. I found ones with those little feet that sit on your nose and make indents very uncomfortable. Extra light (read: extra expensive) frameless ones were better. All plastic ones were the most comfortable. But when I wanted to lay on my side with my head on a pillow and watch TV, I couldn't. Actually impossible to do that because my glasses would take the weight of my head and push it against the bridge of my nose.

It may seem inconsequential to some, but since you genuinely asked, that's the reason I had surgery. I found glasses damn uncomfortable. I'd compare it to a bra, just always aware it's there. I didn't tolerate contacts well enough to wear them for extended lengths of time.

Onto my surgery experience, I was advised against LASIK because apparently I have a tiny hole in 1 retina (doesn't affect my vision), and LASIK changes the pressure in the eye, which, combined with this hole, put me at a much increased risk of retinal detachement (still less than 1%, but too high for me). I was recommended LASEK instead, which is a similar procedure, but instead of making a flap they lift, they scraped away enough cells to laser straight through. Then the cells regrow.

This was apparently a safer procedure (according to my doctor) because it didn't involve the pressure change, and the lack of flap reduced the risk of infection. The downside is the pain. Scratching so many cells off your eye hurts as much as it sounds. Obviously I had full anaestic during - I didn't feel a thing on my eyeball (although the clip holding my eyelids open was painful).

Afterwards it was seriously so much pain. I've had gallstones (which I think ranks pretty high on the pain scale, and yeah, wow, I thought I was dying that time), and I can honestly say this pain was worse. It also lasted a long time. Probably a whole week of constant pain. Then pain most of the time, then just in the morning. I had a hideous stabbing pain (caused by dry eyes I think) on waking, every day for probably two years. My surgery was nearly 5 years ago, I still get the occasional morning stab (once every couple of months).

I said after the surgery if I knew how painful it was, I wouldn't have done it.

However, the amazing this about the human mind is that it does not 'remember' pain. You know how you can think back to a happy time and get a flood of happiness? You can't think back to pain and recreate it (under normal circumstances. PTSD etc obviosuly is something else). This lack of pain memory is apparently why people have more than one child, and it can be the only reason I occasionally think visiting a night club is a good idea.

Now that I can't remember the actual pain, only that it was very painful, I honestly think this was one of the best 'things' I ever purchased. Being able to see the clock in the morning is amazing! Although wow, I never realised how many cobwebs there were in my bathroom, or how dirty the grout was, since I never wore vision correction in the shower before!

I did a lot of research. I could have got it done at half the price at the mall. I called them and asked what would happen if I had a problem and they were closed. They said they would refer me to the local (NHS, I'm in the UK) specialist eye hospital. I looked the hospital up, and they had a private wing that does the surgery for a profit, will all profits being reinvested in the NHS eye service. I felt good about this - money going into the NHS and excellent doctors who I might have been referred to anyway. Cannot say enough good things about it, and if anyone in the UK would like the details, PM me.

TLDR - wasn't suitable for LASIK, had LASEK (allegedly 'safer'). It hurt like hell. I would do it again though. Do a lot of research.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: justajane on September 05, 2014, 07:32:43 AM
Quote
As for the vanity reason, everyone has their own preferences on what looks good. Personally, I think a lot of people look better wearing glasses. Unless you're a supermodel who needs to fit a certain "image", I can't see the reason to spend so much.

As a woman, I'm glad to hear you say this, although anecdotally very few young women think they look attractive with glasses on. Out of curiosity, sometimes I'll pay attention to a room and notice that I am one of the few women under 50 who has glasses on.

I hate contacts. They make my eyes extremely dry, and by the end of the day I am desperate to have them off. For this reason, I have been wearing glasses almost exclusively since I was a teenager. I'm 37 now. Luckily I found a guy to marry who loves nerdy glasses. Win win! I really don't even notice they are there or that I put them on in the morning. When I get up at night, it's dark anyway.

In my younger years, if someone had asked me what I would change about myself, I would have most certainly said my vision. These days, I could come up with a myriad of other things I would change first.

I understand why others feel differently, and I am admittedly not very sporty. But I just thought I'd weigh in as another person who has made peace with my crappy vision.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: gt7152b on September 05, 2014, 08:01:20 AM
I don't even see how a "good outcome" is so great. I wear glasses 24/7 anyway (I'm practically blind without them). They're part of my body and I'm used to them. What's so great about not wearing them? I've never understood contacts for this reason either. You have to put something into your eyes, AND it continually drains your wallet?

Lasik becomes worthwhile when it's cheaper than a pair of glasses (or perhaps the future value of the money I would spend on glasses). And if you still need any glasses at all, even reading glasses, doesn't that defeat the entire purpose?

Lasik seems more like an excessive luxury to me. I don't get it.

Everyone's situation is different but contacts are actually cheaper for me than glasses. I spend $80 to $100 on RGP contacts about every 8 years. My last pair of glasses were about $140. They do last longer than contacts but I don't wear them that much. Also, my vision with contacts is MUCH better than with glasses. I'm extremely blind and the refraction on my coke bottles gives me a serious fish bowl experience. I can drive with my glasses but I have to be extra careful because of the tunnel vision. Contacts give me great vision in my full peripheral. I've considered LASIK because I have dry eye issues when biking with contacts but it's not worth the cost and risk in my opinion. Contacts however are completely worth it even if they cost 2x the glasses over time. I don't see a good value in soft contacts because of their low durability.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: jabba on September 05, 2014, 08:28:48 AM
Someone said not to use Groupon, but that shouldn't be a hard rule. Here's my story:

My mom was essentially legally blind, has worn very thick coke bottle glasses her whole life and suffered from pretty severe CSS (can't see shit) without them. She researched for like two years in the early 2000s to find the best dr. in the state, found all the pros and cons of going to other countries, vs. paying the higher cost in the US and eventually decided to have it done by the leading specialist within a 2 hour drive. PERFECT vision resulted. I've never seen my mom so happy. she was probably mid-40s at the time. Now she's mid-50s, 10 years later, and she is starting to reach the age where her eyes aren't cooperating and I see her squinting a bit here and there and I think she has a very light prescription for glasses for reading or far away or something, I don't remember which, but it apparently happens to everyone as they get older.

2 years ago, I had a little extra cash and there was a program through my work that would reimburse up to $600 of medical type expenses that weren't covered by insurance, so I decided to see if I could get LASIK as well and use that towards the cost. Well, it turns out I found a groupon that did half-off the regular price and it was for the SAME doctor that did my mom's eyes 10 years prior. Some internet researched suggested he was still the best in the state, so I went for it. I think it was $2300 total for both eyes, and the stipulation for the groupon was that it had a 3-year "free touch up warranty" instead of the 5-year one. So I went for it. Paid the $2300 for the groupon, got $600 reimbursed through work, so my total cost was $1700. And yes, this was the best $1700 I ever spent. The post care kinda sucked, had to put eye drops in a few times a day for a few months, but now a few years later, I don't even really remember any of that and it's just so nice not having to deal with glasses or contacts. I also got a nice set of sunglasses off the shelf. The brand name sunglasses off the shelf cost less than the prescription ones I had before (I hated dealing with contact lenses). Definitely best decision ever. Wish I had done it ten years earlier.

Then after I got mine done, my brother got his done. He paid equivalent of about $900 to have it done in the Czech Republic, he also reports perfect vision (his was almost as bad as my mom's before), and he couldn't be happier either. So I fully recommend having it done, do the research ahead of time, figure out the right place to have it done, then look for their deals and specials. Even the good ones are doing groupons these days because there is so much competition in the market.

As I understand it, the equipment used by all LASIK specialists is the same, and most of the cost goes to pay the LASIK company or whatever for the use of the equipment. The main difference in cost between providers and probably countries is the frequency in which they replace the equipment. I don't know the details, but I think of it like kitchen knife that gets dull over time. The high cost providers in the US basically replace this "knife" every few uses so that they always have a nice sharp precise laser.. the lower cost places don't replace it as often, so you don't get the same precision.

So, I would use a groupon, but I would not choose a place based on the groupon. I had decided which provider to go with and then happened to find a good deal. I looked around the office. They seemed to be using the same equipment for all the patients. It's not like they had a "full price" machine and a "groupon customers only" machine. :)
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Simple Abundant Living on September 05, 2014, 09:36:47 AM
One of the best things I have done for myself is LASIK.

I'm genuinely curious what specifically is so much better.

Only speaking for myself Beric01, but for me glasses weren't so much impractical (I can see how you can get around most things) but they were uncomfortable. I tried many different frames. I found ones with those little feet that sit on your nose and make indents very uncomfortable. Extra light (read: extra expensive) frameless ones were better. All plastic ones were the most comfortable. But when I wanted to lay on my side with my head on a pillow and watch TV, I couldn't. Actually impossible to do that because my glasses would take the weight of my head and push it against the bridge of my nose.

It may seem inconsequential to some, but since you genuinely asked, that's the reason I had surgery. I found glasses damn uncomfortable. I'd compare it to a bra, just always aware it's there. I didn't tolerate contacts well enough to wear them for extended lengths of time.

Onto my surgery experience, I was advised against LASIK because apparently I have a tiny hole in 1 retina (doesn't affect my vision), and LASIK changes the pressure in the eye, which, combined with this hole, put me at a much increased risk of retinal detachement (still less than 1%, but too high for me). I was recommended LASEK instead, which is a similar procedure, but instead of making a flap they lift, they scraped away enough cells to laser straight through. Then the cells regrow.

This was apparently a safer procedure (according to my doctor) because it didn't involve the pressure change, and the lack of flap reduced the risk of infection. The downside is the pain. Scratching so many cells off your eye hurts as much as it sounds. Obviously I had full anaestic during - I didn't feel a thing on my eyeball (although the clip holding my eyelids open was painful).

Afterwards it was seriously so much pain. I've had gallstones (which I think ranks pretty high on the pain scale, and yeah, wow, I thought I was dying that time), and I can honestly say this pain was worse. It also lasted a long time. Probably a whole week of constant pain. Then pain most of the time, then just in the morning. I had a hideous stabbing pain (caused by dry eyes I think) on waking, every day for probably two years. My surgery was nearly 5 years ago, I still get the occasional morning stab (once every couple of months).

I said after the surgery if I knew how painful it was, I wouldn't have done it.

However, the amazing this about the human mind is that it does not 'remember' pain. You know how you can think back to a happy time and get a flood of happiness? You can't think back to pain and recreate it (under normal circumstances. PTSD etc obviosuly is something else). This lack of pain memory is apparently why people have more than one child, and it can be the only reason I occasionally think visiting a night club is a good idea.

Now that I can't remember the actual pain, only that it was very painful, I honestly think this was one of the best 'things' I ever purchased. Being able to see the clock in the morning is amazing! Although wow, I never realised how many cobwebs there were in my bathroom, or how dirty the grout was, since I never wore vision correction in the shower before!

I did a lot of research. I could have got it done at half the price at the mall. I called them and asked what would happen if I had a problem and they were closed. They said they would refer me to the local (NHS, I'm in the UK) specialist eye hospital. I looked the hospital up, and they had a private wing that does the surgery for a profit, will all profits being reinvested in the NHS eye service. I felt good about this - money going into the NHS and excellent doctors who I might have been referred to anyway. Cannot say enough good things about it, and if anyone in the UK would like the details, PM me.

TLDR - wasn't suitable for LASIK, had LASEK (allegedly 'safer'). It hurt like hell. I would do it again though. Do a lot of research.

OK, I just looked up LASEK and it seems it is synonymous with PRK?  I had PRK and I had no pain whatsoever.  The only thing I complained of was that I was (probably) legally blind for two weeks until the bandage contacts are removed.  The more I used the drops post-surgery, them more build-up I got on my bandage contacts.  I saw perfectly after surgery and then progressively worse and worse as the drops coated my contacts.  I couldn't read texts on my phone!  Once I got the contacts removed, I felt confident to drive, but not before.  Like you, I chose PRK for safety.  And the fact that all of the doctors and nurses I polled had done PRK instead of LASIK.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: klystomane on September 05, 2014, 11:17:46 AM
One of the best things I have done for myself is LASIK.

I'm genuinely curious what specifically is so much better.

Only speaking for myself Beric01, but for me glasses weren't so much impractical (I can see how you can get around most things) but they were uncomfortable. I tried many different frames. I found ones with those little feet that sit on your nose and make indents very uncomfortable. Extra light (read: extra expensive) frameless ones were better. All plastic ones were the most comfortable. But when I wanted to lay on my side with my head on a pillow and watch TV, I couldn't. Actually impossible to do that because my glasses would take the weight of my head and push it against the bridge of my nose.

It may seem inconsequential to some, but since you genuinely asked, that's the reason I had surgery. I found glasses damn uncomfortable. I'd compare it to a bra, just always aware it's there. I didn't tolerate contacts well enough to wear them for extended lengths of time.

Onto my surgery experience, I was advised against LASIK because apparently I have a tiny hole in 1 retina (doesn't affect my vision), and LASIK changes the pressure in the eye, which, combined with this hole, put me at a much increased risk of retinal detachement (still less than 1%, but too high for me). I was recommended LASEK instead, which is a similar procedure, but instead of making a flap they lift, they scraped away enough cells to laser straight through. Then the cells regrow.

This was apparently a safer procedure (according to my doctor) because it didn't involve the pressure change, and the lack of flap reduced the risk of infection. The downside is the pain. Scratching so many cells off your eye hurts as much as it sounds. Obviously I had full anaestic during - I didn't feel a thing on my eyeball (although the clip holding my eyelids open was painful).

Afterwards it was seriously so much pain. I've had gallstones (which I think ranks pretty high on the pain scale, and yeah, wow, I thought I was dying that time), and I can honestly say this pain was worse. It also lasted a long time. Probably a whole week of constant pain. Then pain most of the time, then just in the morning. I had a hideous stabbing pain (caused by dry eyes I think) on waking, every day for probably two years. My surgery was nearly 5 years ago, I still get the occasional morning stab (once every couple of months).

I said after the surgery if I knew how painful it was, I wouldn't have done it.

However, the amazing this about the human mind is that it does not 'remember' pain. You know how you can think back to a happy time and get a flood of happiness? You can't think back to pain and recreate it (under normal circumstances. PTSD etc obviosuly is something else). This lack of pain memory is apparently why people have more than one child, and it can be the only reason I occasionally think visiting a night club is a good idea.

Now that I can't remember the actual pain, only that it was very painful, I honestly think this was one of the best 'things' I ever purchased. Being able to see the clock in the morning is amazing! Although wow, I never realised how many cobwebs there were in my bathroom, or how dirty the grout was, since I never wore vision correction in the shower before!

I did a lot of research. I could have got it done at half the price at the mall. I called them and asked what would happen if I had a problem and they were closed. They said they would refer me to the local (NHS, I'm in the UK) specialist eye hospital. I looked the hospital up, and they had a private wing that does the surgery for a profit, will all profits being reinvested in the NHS eye service. I felt good about this - money going into the NHS and excellent doctors who I might have been referred to anyway. Cannot say enough good things about it, and if anyone in the UK would like the details, PM me.

TLDR - wasn't suitable for LASIK, had LASEK (allegedly 'safer'). It hurt like hell. I would do it again though. Do a lot of research.

OK, I just looked up LASEK and it seems it is synonymous with PRK?  I had PRK and I had no pain whatsoever.  The only thing I complained of was that I was (probably) legally blind for two weeks until the bandage contacts are removed.  The more I used the drops post-surgery, them more build-up I got on my bandage contacts.  I saw perfectly after surgery and then progressively worse and worse as the drops coated my contacts.  I couldn't read texts on my phone!  Once I got the contacts removed, I felt confident to drive, but not before.  Like you, I chose PRK for safety.  And the fact that all of the doctors and nurses I polled had done PRK instead of LASIK.

It's similar to PRK. I believe the main difference is that the epi layer is removed completely in PRK, whereas in LASEK, it's merely pushed aside.

The main difference between LASIK vs PRK/LASEK is that LASIK involves cutting a flap.

It was the most painful recovery period ever. When people ask me about my experience, I tell them that I'm extremely happy that I had the surgery done, but I would never do it again.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Simple Abundant Living on September 05, 2014, 01:03:51 PM
OK, I just looked up LASEK and it seems it is synonymous with PRK?  I had PRK and I had no pain whatsoever.  The only thing I complained of was that I was (probably) legally blind for two weeks until the bandage contacts are removed.  The more I used the drops post-surgery, them more build-up I got on my bandage contacts.  I saw perfectly after surgery and then progressively worse and worse as the drops coated my contacts.  I couldn't read texts on my phone!  Once I got the contacts removed, I felt confident to drive, but not before.  Like you, I chose PRK for safety.  And the fact that all of the doctors and nurses I polled had done PRK instead of LASIK.

It's similar to PRK. I believe the main difference is that the epi layer is removed completely in PRK, whereas in LASEK, it's merely pushed aside.

The main difference between LASIK vs PRK/LASEK is that LASIK involves cutting a flap.

It was the most painful recovery period ever. When people ask me about my experience, I tell them that I'm extremely happy that I had the surgery done, but I would never do it again.

Did you have bandage contacts?  I heard if those were prematurely removed that you would have a lot of pain.  You're the first person to tell me it was painful. 
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: dantownehall on September 05, 2014, 01:27:14 PM
I had it done two years ago.  Not particularly Mustachian for me, as I had had the same glasses for 8 years and therefore spent $0 per year on eyesight, but still worth it in my opinion.

The part that was Mustachian was that I got a 5% discount for paying cash (literal, physical cash - most ?I've ever had in my hands at one time).
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Beric01 on September 05, 2014, 02:24:21 PM
One of the best things I have done for myself is LASIK.

I'm genuinely curious what specifically is so much better.

Only speaking for myself Beric01, but for me glasses weren't so much impractical (I can see how you can get around most things) but they were uncomfortable. I tried many different frames. I found ones with those little feet that sit on your nose and make indents very uncomfortable. Extra light (read: extra expensive) frameless ones were better. All plastic ones were the most comfortable. But when I wanted to lay on my side with my head on a pillow and watch TV, I couldn't. Actually impossible to do that because my glasses would take the weight of my head and push it against the bridge of my nose.

It may seem inconsequential to some, but since you genuinely asked, that's the reason I had surgery. I found glasses damn uncomfortable. I'd compare it to a bra, just always aware it's there. I didn't tolerate contacts well enough to wear them for extended lengths of time.

Onto my surgery experience, I was advised against LASIK because apparently I have a tiny hole in 1 retina (doesn't affect my vision), and LASIK changes the pressure in the eye, which, combined with this hole, put me at a much increased risk of retinal detachement (still less than 1%, but too high for me). I was recommended LASEK instead, which is a similar procedure, but instead of making a flap they lift, they scraped away enough cells to laser straight through. Then the cells regrow.

This was apparently a safer procedure (according to my doctor) because it didn't involve the pressure change, and the lack of flap reduced the risk of infection. The downside is the pain. Scratching so many cells off your eye hurts as much as it sounds. Obviously I had full anaestic during - I didn't feel a thing on my eyeball (although the clip holding my eyelids open was painful).

Afterwards it was seriously so much pain. I've had gallstones (which I think ranks pretty high on the pain scale, and yeah, wow, I thought I was dying that time), and I can honestly say this pain was worse. It also lasted a long time. Probably a whole week of constant pain. Then pain most of the time, then just in the morning. I had a hideous stabbing pain (caused by dry eyes I think) on waking, every day for probably two years. My surgery was nearly 5 years ago, I still get the occasional morning stab (once every couple of months).

I said after the surgery if I knew how painful it was, I wouldn't have done it.

However, the amazing this about the human mind is that it does not 'remember' pain. You know how you can think back to a happy time and get a flood of happiness? You can't think back to pain and recreate it (under normal circumstances. PTSD etc obviosuly is something else). This lack of pain memory is apparently why people have more than one child, and it can be the only reason I occasionally think visiting a night club is a good idea.

Now that I can't remember the actual pain, only that it was very painful, I honestly think this was one of the best 'things' I ever purchased. Being able to see the clock in the morning is amazing! Although wow, I never realised how many cobwebs there were in my bathroom, or how dirty the grout was, since I never wore vision correction in the shower before!

I did a lot of research. I could have got it done at half the price at the mall. I called them and asked what would happen if I had a problem and they were closed. They said they would refer me to the local (NHS, I'm in the UK) specialist eye hospital. I looked the hospital up, and they had a private wing that does the surgery for a profit, will all profits being reinvested in the NHS eye service. I felt good about this - money going into the NHS and excellent doctors who I might have been referred to anyway. Cannot say enough good things about it, and if anyone in the UK would like the details, PM me.

TLDR - wasn't suitable for LASIK, had LASEK (allegedly 'safer'). It hurt like hell. I would do it again though. Do a lot of research.

Thanks! I appreciate your perspective. I can tell it's not for me, but good to learn more.

Quote
I found glasses damn uncomfortable. I'd compare it to a bra, just always aware it's there.

Interesting. How long had you worn glasses? I'm guessing I'm used to them just because I've been wearing them for 22 years now, or over 90% of my lifetime waking hours.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: theadvicist on September 05, 2014, 02:41:14 PM


Quote
I found glasses damn uncomfortable. I'd compare it to a bra, just always aware it's there.

Interesting. How long had you worn glasses? I'm guessing I'm used to them just because I've been wearing them for 22 years now, or over 90% of my lifetime waking hours.
[/quote]

Nah I don't think that's it- I got glasses as a child (about 11) and had lasek at, I dunno, 30, so I was certainly used to them. Do they never feel heavy on your face? My husband says I'm a wimp, sounds like he's right!
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: theadvicist on September 05, 2014, 02:45:30 PM
OK, I just looked up LASEK and it seems it is synonymous with PRK?  I had PRK and I had no pain whatsoever.  The only thing I complained of was that I was (probably) legally blind for two weeks until the bandage contacts are removed.  The more I used the drops post-surgery, them more build-up I got on my bandage contacts.  I saw perfectly after surgery and then progressively worse and worse as the drops coated my contacts.  I couldn't read texts on my phone!  Once I got the contacts removed, I felt confident to drive, but not before.  Like you, I chose PRK for safety.  And the fact that all of the doctors and nurses I polled had done PRK instead of LASIK.

It's similar to PRK. I believe the main difference is that the epi layer is removed completely in PRK, whereas in LASEK, it's merely pushed aside.

The main difference between LASIK vs PRK/LASEK is that LASIK involves cutting a flap.

It was the most painful recovery period ever. When people ask me about my experience, I tell them that I'm extremely happy that I had the surgery done, but I would never do it again.

Did you have bandage contacts?  I heard if those were prematurely removed that you would have a lot of pain.  You're the first person to tell me it was painful.

With Lasek I didn't have contact lens bandages I don't think. I was on a lot of painkillers, but I really don't remember having them put on or removed.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: klystomane on September 05, 2014, 03:16:49 PM
OK, I just looked up LASEK and it seems it is synonymous with PRK?  I had PRK and I had no pain whatsoever.  The only thing I complained of was that I was (probably) legally blind for two weeks until the bandage contacts are removed.  The more I used the drops post-surgery, them more build-up I got on my bandage contacts.  I saw perfectly after surgery and then progressively worse and worse as the drops coated my contacts.  I couldn't read texts on my phone!  Once I got the contacts removed, I felt confident to drive, but not before.  Like you, I chose PRK for safety.  And the fact that all of the doctors and nurses I polled had done PRK instead of LASIK.

It's similar to PRK. I believe the main difference is that the epi layer is removed completely in PRK, whereas in LASEK, it's merely pushed aside.

The main difference between LASIK vs PRK/LASEK is that LASIK involves cutting a flap.

It was the most painful recovery period ever. When people ask me about my experience, I tell them that I'm extremely happy that I had the surgery done, but I would never do it again.

Did you have bandage contacts?  I heard if those were prematurely removed that you would have a lot of pain.  You're the first person to tell me it was painful.

I had bandage contacts for about 3 days. It was extremely painful on the second day. I basically couldn't open my eyes and ended up sleeping for 48 hours. I woke up in between to eat and use the bathroom (with my eyes closed).

...oh, one of my contacts fell out during the first night due to an eyedrop misfire (first time using eyedrops in 31 years) and that was OMFG I THINK I'M GONNA GO BLIND kind of pain.

But all in all, still going strong!
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: ender on September 06, 2014, 08:15:48 AM
Hmmmm. The coating on my glasses (several years old) seems to be going out and I really don't want to have to replace it. I wear contacts most of the time, so I think I will schedule another eye exam and start the process to seriously do Lasik early next year (I want to pay using primarily an FSA).
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Goldie on September 06, 2014, 01:26:10 PM
I've read through the posts here and wanted to share a word of warning from my eye doctor for young women (I couldn't tell if OP is a man or woman). She said not to do LASIK until after I was finished having children. At the time I asked about it I was 28 and engaged to be married. I wasn't seriously considering it because my vision hadn't been unchanged for the required two year period, and I was glad my doctor explained that pregnancy may cause vision changes. She said LASIK thins the cornea (?) so patients can only get one touch-up surgery and she didn't want to see me waste a touch-up due to poor planning.

I have -6.5 and -5.75 vision with astigmatism. I first got glasses at age 7 and have been in contacts daily since age 13 or 14. I LOVE contacts (or maybe just really hate glasses that badly). My husband says he knows I'm really sick when he sees me wearing glasses (outside of the ten minutes before bed or upon waking up) because I truly abhor wearing them. I hate the feeling of glasses on my face and the blurriness around the edges and not having peripheral vision.  I also really hate the way I look in them, even though I have nice frames.  I have the money for LASIK but I don't know if I'd ever get it done. Contacts don't cause me any trouble. Why mess with something that's not broke?  The people I've known who've had it done tell me it lasts for about 10 years at perfect vision then they need glasses. I would hate to get the surgery then not be able to wear contacts later in life. I'm hanging onto my contacts as long as I possibly can.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: TomTX on September 06, 2014, 09:24:10 PM
The people I've known who've had it done tell me it lasts for about 10 years at perfect vision then they need glasses. I would hate to get the surgery then not be able to wear contacts later in life. I'm hanging onto my contacts as long as I possibly can.

I'm at 15+ years post-LASIK and no need for any glasses or contacts yet.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Thegoblinchief on September 07, 2014, 07:37:38 AM
Glasses are annoying, but one bad experience with an elective surgery (nothing to do with eyes) that was "routine" and done by the best doctor in my entire region...no thanks.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Rural on September 07, 2014, 07:20:12 PM
Glasses are annoying, but one bad experience with an elective surgery (nothing to do with eyes) that was "routine" and done by the best doctor in my entire region...no thanks.


Not to mention: somebody sticking a pointy thing in my eye. No thanks.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: tmd012 on September 15, 2014, 02:22:54 PM
Yes, I'd also love to hear if anyone knows about long-term studies, or if anyone here had LASIK awhile back, how it's stood the test of time for them.

So surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response! Just to clarify, I typically only take my contacts out one night a month--I throw the old pair away at night and put the new pair in in the morning. I wear them when I swim, with goggles for serious swimming, or just closing my eyes when I go underwater if I'm just horsing around. So a lot of this "see-all-the-time benefit" I already have because I'm blessed with very contact-tolerant eyes. Of course, it's not 100% the same (and who knows if I'll be able to get away with this forever?), but I don't anticipate it being the huge, life-altering change it was for many of you guys.

This makes me cringe a little bit. (I'm an optometrist) Please get LASIK. You are gambling with the only two eyes you have. Any pool or lake water that may get in your eyes while wearing contacts can cause serious problems. Google acanthamoeba...it's not a pretty picture, it can happen to you, and it often ends in a corneal transplant surgery. At the very least, you should be throwing away your lenses after swimming in them.

If you have the type of lenses you can sleep in for 30 days continuously, sleeping in them would be fine. However, from some of the other comments you have made, I would bet you are in Acuvue lenses. These are only approved for up to 6 nights continuously (if using Acuvue Oasys) and must be replaced every 2 weeks, and you are again gambling with your vision if you are overwearing them. Bacterial ulcers can develop and leave large white scars that block your vision. If you wait to replace your lenses until they start to make your eyes uncomfortable, your eyes are already damaged and susceptible to infection. Please take care of your eyes. The alternative is not worth it. You are definitely the type of person I would push toward LASIK. Check out TLC if you have one in your area, or ask your optometrist for a referral. Optometrists will refer to surgeons who use the best technology and have a very high success rate.

If you decide not to have LASIK soon, get in some lenses that fit your lifestyle better. Try monthly replacement lenses that are approved for 1 month of extended (overnight) wear and supplement with a box of daily disposable lenses for swimming. Sorry if this post sounds preachy. I am pretty passionate about eyeballs! Good luck with whatever you end up choosing!

I am considering LASIK and there is a TLC near me.  Why do you recommend them specifically?  Are they known for the best technology or something? I mean I am looking on yelp but I really don't know if you can trust yelp for something like this. 
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: tmd012 on September 18, 2014, 11:39:07 AM
After reading and researching quite a bit I think I am leaning towards PRK over Lasik.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: aspiringnomad on September 19, 2014, 09:11:52 AM
I'm scheduled for Lasik a week from today. After hearing a couple friends rave about it I looked into it and decided to take the plunge. I don't hate wearing contacts at all, but my reasons for getting it are 1) early morning exercise (won't have to fumble with my contacts in the dark while my SO sleeps), 2) minimalism, especially during travel (no cases, solution, or glasses to remember and carry around), and 3) my contacts and the solution I use are expensive so the cost of Lasik will be offset somewhat over time, plus I'll be using some tax-free HSA cash to fund the procedure.

However, I've had to wear glasses for the couple weeks leading up to this and it's really been a pain because I wore contacts 98% of my waking hours and these glasses are a very poor substitute (not quite the right prescription, loads of glare, no peripheral vision, fall off during sports, etc...). I'm now thinking that the most important thing for my eyes is that I avoid wearing glasses for as long as possible as I age and that Lasik might be a step in the wrong direction in that regard. So now I'm not sure what to do...I realize it's a personal decision but any thoughts on this concern?
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 on September 19, 2014, 10:18:09 AM
I had LASIK 14 years ago, I'm 40 now.  I wore glasses all through college, but had a low prescription.  I actually liked wearing glasses when I started my engineering career - makes you look older and smarter.  And there's no cooler way to create drama than to put on your glasses at the beginning of a discussion, or sum up an argument by taking your glasses off and saying something, even if it is not profound...

All kidding aside, I'm a sporty person and was getting to the point that I needed contacts to play soccer and even jog.  Nothing is more boring than not being able to see distance as you put in 10 miles... 

I've been thankful every day that I put up with the discomfort and expense when I did.  I am safer on the road (not having to choose between glasses and prescription sunglasses that were outdated, and can read road-signs way better.  Not to mention all of the superficial reasons (e.g. looking younger at 40 is a plus).

Also, on assignment in Dubai, it was the first opportunity many of the team members (UK, Norwegian) had to get LASIK and many of them did.  They all seemed AMAZINGLY happy.  It was a joy to be around people that have recently had the procedure, once the initial light sensitivity and stabilization phase is over (about 1 - 2 weeks).
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: tmd012 on September 19, 2014, 10:52:32 AM
the flap thing scares me away from LASIK which is why I am leaning towards PRK.  I think the longer healing period is worth it to prevent more serious complications later in life.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: klystomane on September 19, 2014, 11:00:47 AM
the flap thing scares me away from LASIK which is why I am leaning towards PRK.  I think the longer healing period is worth it to prevent more serious complications later in life.

Agreed; my doctor told me the same thing.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: MandalayVA on September 19, 2014, 11:06:15 AM
I don't even see how a "good outcome" is so great. I wear glasses 24/7 anyway (I'm practically blind without them). They're part of my body and I'm used to them. What's so great about not wearing them? I've never understood contacts for this reason either. You have to put something into your eyes, AND it continually drains your wallet?

Lasik becomes worthwhile when it's cheaper than a pair of glasses (or perhaps the future value of the money I would spend on glasses). And if you still need any glasses at all, even reading glasses, doesn't that defeat the entire purpose?

Lasik seems more like an excessive luxury to me. I don't get it.

I've worn glasses since I was eight and like you said they're a part of my body; my day begins by reaching out for my glasses and popping them on my face.  I also have prescription sunglasses.  I have worn contacts in the past mainly so I could wear sunglasses but I have a healthy savings account through my job that paid for the prescription sunglasses (they're bitchin' Oakleys too).  LASIK's never interested me and the three people I know who had it done all had problems.  No, thanks.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: aetherie on September 19, 2014, 11:11:15 AM
I'm scheduled for Lasik a week from today. After hearing a couple friends rave about it I looked into it and decided to take the plunge. I don't hate wearing contacts at all, but my reasons for getting it are 1) early morning exercise (won't have to fumble with my contacts in the dark while my SO sleeps), 2) minimalism, especially during travel (no cases, solution, or glasses to remember and carry around), and 3) my contacts and the solution I use are expensive so the cost of Lasik will be offset somewhat over time, plus I'll be using some tax-free HSA cash to fund the procedure.

However, I've had to wear glasses for the couple weeks leading up to this and it's really been a pain because I wore contacts 98% of my waking hours and these glasses are a very poor substitute (not quite the right prescription, loads of glare, no peripheral vision, fall off during sports, etc...). I'm now thinking that the most important thing for my eyes is that I avoid wearing glasses for as long as possible as I age and that Lasik might be a step in the wrong direction in that regard. So now I'm not sure what to do...I realize it's a personal decision but any thoughts on this concern?

Lasik will not make you more or less likely to need reading glasses when you hit middle age. Until then, you get to be free of both glasses and contacts. Why would that be a step in the wrong direction?

For what it's worth, my experience with getting Lasik at 21 (9 months ago now) has been very positive. Some issues with dryness, easily fixed with drops. And my vision is fantastic.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: aspiringnomad on September 19, 2014, 11:42:02 AM
I'm scheduled for Lasik a week from today. After hearing a couple friends rave about it I looked into it and decided to take the plunge. I don't hate wearing contacts at all, but my reasons for getting it are 1) early morning exercise (won't have to fumble with my contacts in the dark while my SO sleeps), 2) minimalism, especially during travel (no cases, solution, or glasses to remember and carry around), and 3) my contacts and the solution I use are expensive so the cost of Lasik will be offset somewhat over time, plus I'll be using some tax-free HSA cash to fund the procedure.

However, I've had to wear glasses for the couple weeks leading up to this and it's really been a pain because I wore contacts 98% of my waking hours and these glasses are a very poor substitute (not quite the right prescription, loads of glare, no peripheral vision, fall off during sports, etc...). I'm now thinking that the most important thing for my eyes is that I avoid wearing glasses for as long as possible as I age and that Lasik might be a step in the wrong direction in that regard. So now I'm not sure what to do...I realize it's a personal decision but any thoughts on this concern?

Lasik will not make you more or less likely to need reading glasses when you hit middle age. Until then, you get to be free of both glasses and contacts. Why would that be a step in the wrong direction?

For what it's worth, my experience with getting Lasik at 21 (9 months ago now) has been very positive. Some issues with dryness, easily fixed with drops. And my vision is fantastic.

I'm 32 so about a decade away from middle age. I guess my concern is that Lasik would make me less able to use contacts when my vision does deteriorate. Perhaps irrational and I'm just a little nervous about the whole thing having read some cautionary tales in this thread.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: aetherie on September 19, 2014, 12:07:37 PM
I'm scheduled for Lasik a week from today. After hearing a couple friends rave about it I looked into it and decided to take the plunge. I don't hate wearing contacts at all, but my reasons for getting it are 1) early morning exercise (won't have to fumble with my contacts in the dark while my SO sleeps), 2) minimalism, especially during travel (no cases, solution, or glasses to remember and carry around), and 3) my contacts and the solution I use are expensive so the cost of Lasik will be offset somewhat over time, plus I'll be using some tax-free HSA cash to fund the procedure.

However, I've had to wear glasses for the couple weeks leading up to this and it's really been a pain because I wore contacts 98% of my waking hours and these glasses are a very poor substitute (not quite the right prescription, loads of glare, no peripheral vision, fall off during sports, etc...). I'm now thinking that the most important thing for my eyes is that I avoid wearing glasses for as long as possible as I age and that Lasik might be a step in the wrong direction in that regard. So now I'm not sure what to do...I realize it's a personal decision but any thoughts on this concern?

Lasik will not make you more or less likely to need reading glasses when you hit middle age. Until then, you get to be free of both glasses and contacts. Why would that be a step in the wrong direction?

For what it's worth, my experience with getting Lasik at 21 (9 months ago now) has been very positive. Some issues with dryness, easily fixed with drops. And my vision is fantastic.

I'm 32 so about a decade away from middle age. I guess my concern is that Lasik would make me less able to use contacts when my vision does deteriorate. Perhaps irrational and I'm just a little nervous about the whole thing having read some cautionary tales in this thread.

It's fine to be nervous, obviously. Can you call your doctor, the one you're scheduled with, and ask them any questions you have? I was never told that I would be less able to use contacts if I needed them, but I don't expect to need them. Anyway, as I understand it, the deterioration that usually happens in your 40s/50s is in your close-range vision, hence reading glasses. You wouldn't want to wear contacts for that, unless you planned on never looking up from your book!
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: Polak_maly on September 19, 2014, 01:56:14 PM
Here is my take on it-- find 2-3 respectable clinics that perform these surgeries. Schedule initial consulting appointments. Ask doctors about data/statistics of complications, expected results, pre-op, post-op, what-ifs, machine model they use (yup, I'm that insane) etc. They are not going to lie to you, at least the ones who are ethical, hence pick multiple clinics to get a feel for them. AND THEN MAKE DECISION. Online forums are filled with negative reviews because people naturally tend to complain more in my opinion....

I'm located in Boston and I had my surgery done last year for ~$4k with UnitedHealth covering half. The clinic I chose had lifetime warranty (I hope they will still be in business IF I will need correction in years to come but I think this is highly unlikely). I had astigmatism, about -2.25 prescription.

Getting LASIK was best decision I ever made. First thing I did few months after surgery.....a surfing camp trip. No worries about contacts or glasses.

My only tip-- based on my limited science understanding--is to choose a clinic which uses laser to cut the flap. This I believe (but I might be wrong?) cuts significantly on complications.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: birdman2003 on September 19, 2014, 02:00:00 PM
I had PRK (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photorefractive_keratectomy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photorefractive_keratectomy)) done in 2012 when I was 27.  My prescription was -4.0 in one eye and -4.5 in the other, with a slight bit of astigmatism.

I found the best professional in my state (http://www.dmeyemd.com/ (http://www.dmeyemd.com/)) and consulted with him.  After some measurements and other tests, he said I was an excellent candidate but warned me about the 0.01% that have trouble or need a redo.

I paid $4.4k out my HSA and another $120 or so for Rx and eye lubricating drops.

The surgery was the best thing I've ever done.  First few days I couldn't drive and my eyes had pain, but I was back at work on Monday and could see 20/20 after 1 week.  Within 1 month I was seeing 20/15 and within 2 months my vision had improved to 20/10.  A year later my vision was still 20/10.

It's so great waking up for the last two years and not fumbling around for eyeglasses or trying to clean your fingers to change a contact lens while camping.

Totally worth it.
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: boarder42 on September 19, 2014, 03:05:30 PM
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Should I get LASIK?
Post by: aspiringnomad on September 19, 2014, 03:17:23 PM
I'm scheduled for Lasik a week from today. After hearing a couple friends rave about it I looked into it and decided to take the plunge. I don't hate wearing contacts at all, but my reasons for getting it are 1) early morning exercise (won't have to fumble with my contacts in the dark while my SO sleeps), 2) minimalism, especially during travel (no cases, solution, or glasses to remember and carry around), and 3) my contacts and the solution I use are expensive so the cost of Lasik will be offset somewhat over time, plus I'll be using some tax-free HSA cash to fund the procedure.

However, I've had to wear glasses for the couple weeks leading up to this and it's really been a pain because I wore contacts 98% of my waking hours and these glasses are a very poor substitute (not quite the right prescription, loads of glare, no peripheral vision, fall off during sports, etc...). I'm now thinking that the most important thing for my eyes is that I avoid wearing glasses for as long as possible as I age and that Lasik might be a step in the wrong direction in that regard. So now I'm not sure what to do...I realize it's a personal decision but any thoughts on this concern?

Lasik will not make you more or less likely to need reading glasses when you hit middle age. Until then, you get to be free of both glasses and contacts. Why would that be a step in the wrong direction?

For what it's worth, my experience with getting Lasik at 21 (9 months ago now) has been very positive. Some issues with dryness, easily fixed with drops. And my vision is fantastic.

I'm 32 so about a decade away from middle age. I guess my concern is that Lasik would make me less able to use contacts when my vision does deteriorate. Perhaps irrational and I'm just a little nervous about the whole thing having read some cautionary tales in this thread.

It's fine to be nervous, obviously. Can you call your doctor, the one you're scheduled with, and ask them any questions you have? I was never told that I would be less able to use contacts if I needed them, but I don't expect to need them. Anyway, as I understand it, the deterioration that usually happens in your 40s/50s is in your close-range vision, hence reading glasses. You wouldn't want to wear contacts for that, unless you planned on never looking up from your book!

Good advice. I'll give them a ring Monday but I suspect you're right about that. Thanks.