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laser eye surgery

chamberlainchamberlain Registered User regular
edited January 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Looking for reactions from anyone who has had this. Is it painful, creepy, or not a big deal? How bad was your eyesite before and how good was it after? Is it worth the money?

I cannot do anything without my contacts, might as well be blind, and it is something that I have been thinking about getting done. It would be nice to wake up in the morning and be able to read the clock without walking across the room, picking it up and holding it a few inches from my face.

chamberlain on

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    RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I got this done in Oct 2005, $2100CAD/eye, went from unable to do shit without my glasses to 20/20. As of my last checkup (last fall I think) I'm still 20/20.

    I do suffer a couple of side effects: Halo effects at night, but not bad enough to impair my ability to drive, and some Photophobia (light sensativity), meaning that during even overcast midday light I prefer to wear sunglasses and during full sunlight I'm prettymuch unable to function without sunglasses.

    The testing, prep, and procedure won't be too bad for somebody used to putting in contacts. I hated even applying eyedrops and I managed to get through it damn near flawlessly. The only pain I experienced was about two hours after the op, when the anesthetic wore off and I was at home. Extreme photosensativity in that period, so having a pitch black room in which to rest afterwards is preferable. I was offered T3's, but I got by with Extra Strength Tylenols instead. About Six hours after surgery I applied the first set of post-op eyedrops and by that point my vision was much improved and the pain had subsided, except for a little bit of that "foreign object in eye" feeling.

    Overall, I would say it was totally worth it.

    Ruckus on
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    WulfWulf Disciple of Tzeentch The Void... (New Jersey)Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Just had it done Friday before last. Still having things clear up, and I'm going in for a quick checkup today since my right eye went from perfect to less than after a shower, but other than that, it was totally worth a day or so of irritated eyes.

    Wulf on
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    saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Had it done almost a year ago. Loved it. I had LASIK which I was a bit nervous about, but once I got in there and kinda detached myself from the situation, it was very cool to see (lol) how they do things.

    I had to wear lenses to drive before the surgery, as I was slightly nearsighted. Now, I'm close to 20/20. The only annoyance I had was dry-eye afterwards, and a bit of dull pain that lasted about 1-2 days after the procedure.

    I'd definitely recommend it to anyone, though.

    saint2e on
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    chamberlainchamberlain Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Ruckus wrote: »
    I got this done in Oct 2005, $2100CAD/eye, went from unable to do shit without my glasses to 20/20. As of my last checkup (last fall I think) I'm still 20/20.

    I do suffer a couple of side effects: Halo effects at night, but not bad enough to impair my ability to drive, and some Photophobia (light sensativity), meaning that during even overcast midday light I prefer to wear sunglasses and during full sunlight I'm prettymuch unable to function without sunglasses.

    The testing, prep, and procedure won't be too bad for somebody used to putting in contacts. I hated even applying eyedrops and I managed to get through it damn near flawlessly. The only pain I experienced was about two hours after the op, when the anesthetic wore off and I was at home. Extreme photosensativity in that period, so having a pitch black room in which to rest afterwards is preferable. I was offered T3's, but I got by with Extra Strength Tylenols instead. About Six hours after surgery I applied the first set of post-op eyedrops and by that point my vision was much improved and the pain had subsided, except for a little bit of that "foreign object in eye" feeling.

    Overall, I would say it was totally worth it.

    So you vision was already improving after six hours?

    How long did it take to get all the way up to 20/20?

    chamberlain on
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    EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    My wife had this done last fall and her experience matches pretty well with Ruckus. She's 20/20 in one eye and 20/15 in another. She does not have halos and she's able to go out in the sun mid-day without sunglasses, although she prefers to wear them anyway to protect her new eyeballs :D

    She had dry eyes over the winter but now only puts in eyedrops rarely, like after a long night out and she's tired.

    I have perfect natural vision and all of the things she says she experiences now are, in my opinion, the same for her as for my normal eyes. At night the contrast is annoying while driving anyway, and lights naturally are slightly "starburst-y." And when I go out in the sun of course my eyes hurt slightly while they adjust, it's a major change.

    She's a big fan, and since she was developing an allergy to thimerosol (the preservative in contact solution), she didn't have much choice but to have lasik done.

    EggyToast on
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    RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited June 2009

    So you vision was already improving after six hours?

    How long did it take to get all the way up to 20/20?

    By around 11am the next morning, when I went in for my first post-op appointment, one of my eyes was seeing 20/20, the other was 20/15. At the three day post-op checkup, both were 20/20.

    Ruckus on
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    McVikingMcViking Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Here's a link to a post about my LASIK experience. Long story short, it worked well for me. Some permanent halos at night, but sure beats glasses and contacts. Check out the forums on that site for a million stories about what could go wrong, and why it usually doesn't.

    McViking on
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    EskimoDaveEskimoDave Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I had a nice post, but I hit a button or something.

    Basically within 3 hours of the 5 minute surgery I could see with perfect clarity. Follow up showed I had better than 20/20. The next follow up showed the same thing. I was working, then partying the day after the surgery.

    http://www.clearlylasik.com/html/locations-victoria.html was where I had it done.

    EskimoDave on
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    darkgruedarkgrue Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    About 5 years or so ago, I had wavefront ("Custom LASIK") done with Lasikplus (my cousin is one of their head surgeons, and he referred me to one of his colleagues he knew personally who was local to me). Very pleasant experience with them, and I pretty much had a totally ideal experience. The surgery was costly, but it was well worth it in my opinion.

    I did a lot of on-my-own research, in addition to talking to my own ophthalmologist, the doctor at Lasikplus, and my cousin. The surgery isn't without risks, and there are possible complications that range from mild things that go away after a time, all the way up to catastrophic. Properly screening patients, as well as choosing a goods surgeon and facility is crucial to reducing the risks of those complications. Bargain eye surgery is no savings!

    I also talked with friends and co-workers that had the surgery done, and they pretty much all said that it would be the best thing you could do for yourself. I can't disagree. It seems like a small difference, not wearing contacts or glasses, but it really can make such a difference in your lifestyle.

    Keep in mind that the minor side-effects, such as halos around lights at night or eye dryness, are common, although they can significantly lessen over time. I still experience halos around stoplights at night (which I experienced to some degree before the surgery anyway because of my significant nearsightedness), but they're really minor, and I'd describe them more as a nuisance than anything. Also, keep in mind that as you age, even with LASIK, you will eventually become farsighted (as you deveop presbyopia) and have to wear reading glasses.

    The surgery is creepy. On the day I went in, there were a number of people there also, and they had a huge window that separated the OR from the waiting room, in addition to televisions that showed the through-camera view of the surgery that was in progress. It was fascinating to see the surgery being done on the people ahead of me, but at the same time it was pretty unnerving. There was a least a small amount of time that I considered calling it off.

    The surgery is pretty straightforward. One eye is done at a time. When they cut the flaps in your corneas, they use a cutting guide that uses a vacuum pump to flatten the eye down so that the incision can be made. While this is going on, you vision will fade to black as the vacuum pumps down. Having that done on the first eye is the worst part of the surgery, since although they tell you what will happen and why, it's really disturbing for your vision to go out - it's not something that you really can be well-prepared for. The surgery is actually very fast, and I found it to be totally painless.

    Afterwards, I went out to dinner (I had a friend with me helping me out - after surgery you cannot drive and will even have difficultly navigating a room, let alone walking a city street), everything was very, very blurry, although I could read the menu with a great deal of difficulty if I put my nose in it. Went home and went to bed, and the next day I woke up able to see clearly. It was very strange waking up that day, reaching for where I usually left my glasses, and realizing I could see fine.

    Go get pre-screened by an ophthalmologist and have your eyes examined. When you make the appointment, tell them you are considering LASIK, and want to be examined for that. Get an independent opinion, from a doctor that isn't selling the surgery. Talk to them about your situation and what they recommend. Do your research, and get recommendations from family, coworkers, and friends - you'll probably be surprised at how many people you know who have had surgery.

    Don't plan on using financing. Medical financing is usually a big scam (even the 0% financing). Your best bet is (if your company offers it), is to max out your pre-tax medical account ahead of time and use as much of that pre-tax money to pay for your surgery as possible. Unfortunately, that can require as much as a year of pre-planning, as I've only seen those kind of arrangements being able to be set up once a year, during the normal benefits enrollment period. They also have contribution limits, which are generally significantly lower than what the surgery costs. Still, it can be a significant savings, and is well worth doing if you have the opportunity and have decided to do the surgery within your plan year. Referrals can also be a great way to save money. Many companies give patients discount coupons to give to other people that offer at least a little discount. Also, employees usually have an even better discount they can extend to friends and family.

    I’m very happy with how my eyes turned out. I think it’s well worth considering. :)

    darkgrue on
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    pkoochinpkoochin Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    One thing that you'll have to discuss with your Optometrist is if you're actually a candidate for LASIK. You may be like me and have corneas that are too thin and you'll have to have PRK instead of LASIK. PRK is actually an older method of laser eye surgery. You get the same results however recovery takes quite a bit longer and there is some pain associated with it.

    It took me about 6 days to recover from my PRK surgery but it was worth it. I'm seeing 20/20 and my eyes aren't very sensitive to light at all. Also, here in Saskatchewan, Canada it cost me $1495/eye and that included all pre and post surgery visits as well as all my drops and medication.

    pkoochin on
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    LoxxLoxx Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Looking for reactions from anyone who has had this. Is it painful, creepy, or not a big deal? How bad was your eyesite before and how good was it after? Is it worth the money?

    I cannot do anything without my contacts, might as well be blind, and it is something that I have been thinking about getting done. It would be nice to wake up in the morning and be able to read the clock without walking across the room, picking it up and holding it a few inches from my face.

    I had Custom LASIK, also known as Wavefront LASIK, done January '08, and haven't had any problems so far. If you are a candidate for it, I would highly recommend it. Waking up in the morning and seeing the clock clearly is such an awesome feeling. It will make you giddy all day. :D

    Random advice and tips that I can recall for you and anyone else considering LASIK:

    - You'll most likely be forced to refrain from wearing soft contacts prior to the surgery. The amount of time is variable, from week to several months, depending on the procedures your surgeon follows. For me, it was 2 months.

    - You'll notice an improvement as soon as you're done and they help you up off the table. It won't be clear vision, but you'll be able to tell that it is in fact a chair on the other side of the room, and not just some black and brown blob.

    - Something to be prepared for during the surgery is the smell. The actual smell itself is moderately bad, not gut wrenching, but when you realize that it's the tissue of your eye being vaporized, it can be freak you out a bit, so try to mentally prepare for that beforehand.

    - As soon as you get home from the surgery, go to bed and sleep. Do your first round of eye drops (you will have a lot of different bottles that you have to use) and then try and sleep for at least 12 hours, preferably longer if you can. Your eyes will heal better while you sleep.

    - For the first few days after surgery you'll want to place as little strain on your eyes as possible. This means avoiding computer screens, tvs, and reading small text (like novels). And do not rub your eyes, no matter how much you may want to. Tearing the flap open would really ruin your day.

    Loxx on
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    Casual EddyCasual Eddy The Astral PlaneRegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    My mom had it done... hm, 5 or 6 years ago, maybe more?

    She loves it. She described the surgery to me and said she could smell her eye being lasered but it was otherwise painless. I don't recall her having any complications with it, and she hasn't mentioned it recently so I assume no side effects.

    Casual Eddy on
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    TaterskinTaterskin Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I had LASIK done two weeks ago. I had 20/160 vision and now I have 20/20. I recommend it if you can afford it.

    The surgery itself takes 10-15mins. Its not painful, though there where brief periods of uncomfortableness. Its mostly just kinda weird. When they are cutting the intial flaps, there is no pain, but it looks like you are underwater.

    My sight was a little fuzy immediately after the surgery. After the deadening eyedrops wore off, my eyes were scratchy as hell for about two hours. Ample use of eyedrops helps relieve that. As someone said earlier, sitting in a dark room also helps. I was able to go out for dinner with friends later that night without any problems.

    Two weeks later, I only use re-wetting drops three or four times a day. Only really have dry eyes when I wake up in the morning. The procedure cost around $3500.

    Taterskin on
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    EskimoDaveEskimoDave Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    darkgrue wrote: »
    The surgery is pretty straightforward. One eye is done at a time. When they cut the flaps in your corneas, they use a cutting guide that uses a vacuum pump to flatten the eye down so that the incision can be made. While this is going on, you vision will fade to black as the vacuum pumps down. Having that done on the first eye is the worst part of the surgery, since although they tell you what will happen and why, it's really disturbing for your vision to go out - it's not something that you really can be well-prepared for. The surgery is actually very fast, and I found it to be totally painless.
    I don't think the numbing drops didn't fully work. I hurt a lot when they put the suction saw thingy on my each of my eyes. Also I could feel the cornea being cut open. Still a fun experience.

    EskimoDave on
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    VoodooVVoodooV Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I got it done a couple years ago. I don't get halos, but I do get "starbursts" but you get used to it. I still have a slight astigmatism, but I only notice it every once in a while. I'm 20/20 now.

    The nurses when I had mine done were awesome. First question out of her mouth was asking me how nervous I was. I told her that since youre about to shoot a frickin laser beam into my eyes...yeah pretty nervous. She asked if I wanted some valium, I didn't think I was THAT nervous but I figured what the hell, why not? One of the nurses even held my hand as the procedure was being done which was pretty cool.

    But overall, there was nothing to worry about. I had the all laser procedure so there were no blades. Even though, yes, it is rather creepy when your vision goes out, I was treated to this nice green laser light show so I just dwelled on that instead of thinking about what was really going on.

    What I thought was really amusing was after the procedure, they took me to this other station where water is rinsed over your eyes and the doc makes sure the flaps they cut are back on the eyeball in the proper position, so he's litterally in there with his fingertips on my eyeballs, making sure that flap is positioned right so that it heals correctly. Even though my vision was extremely blurry over the next 24 hours, you could tell right away that your vision was better. Its kinda hard to describe. Before, when I wasn't wearing glasses, EVERYTHING was a blur, but now, it was still blurry, but things were sharp enough that you could tell there was a huge improvement.

    Hell, the suckiest thing about the whole ordeal was just having to wear eyeshields for a couple of days to make sure nothing got close enough to disturb my eye. That and being so completely bloodshot in the eyes that I looked like Anakin Skywalker when he became a Sith for about a month.

    As much as I love how things turned out. It's one of those things where you should wait as long as you can, because the longer you wait, the better the procedure is going to be. Cheaper, fewer side effects like the halos and etc. Quite frankly, this stuff is still relatively new so I can't blame anyone for wanting to wait. It's serious shit. I have a coworker that had one of the earlier procedures done to him and he regrets the experience as he is already back to wearing glasses again within a year.

    VoodooV on
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    GameHatGameHat Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    My brother intended to get laser eye surgery.

    He got through the initial evaluation and was told he was an "excellent candidate".

    On the operating table though, the surgeon did a quick examination and got extremely agitated. Said he wouldn't do the surgery - my brother had something like a bulge in his cornea which meant that if the surgery didn't go off properly they wouldn't be able to fix any mistakes.

    Glad the surgeon was honest. Makes me too nervous to try it myself.

    That said, I know three other people who have had the surgery with no ill effects and they love their corrected vision.

    GameHat on
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    KyanilisKyanilis Bellevue, WARegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Being in the military I know plenty of people that have done this. And not one of them has a problem. Honestly, if my vision wasn't already 20/20 I'd say it's a great idea.

    Kyanilis on
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    JAEFJAEF Unstoppably Bald Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Just going to drop this cut and paste here:
    During LASIK eye surgery, the surgeon uses a microkeratome blade or a laser to create a corneal flap. This flap of tissue is then folded back, exposing the inner cornea where the treatment will take place. Afterwards, the flap is repositioned. During PRK eye surgery, however, the surgeon accesses the cornea’s inner layers by removing the thin outer layer of the cornea, the epithelium, altogether. After the PRK procedure, bandage contact lenses are worn to promote healing of the epithelium.

    Basically LASIK leaves a small flap that is likely never going to cause you an issue unless you're planning on getting a lot of shit flung into your eye. I didn't want to chance it so I got the custom 'Wavefront' PRK surgery in February 2007. The surgery is the easiest part, feel some pressure on your eyes, probably feel like you're tearing up and your vision will go blurrier than normal, and bam you're done in about 2 minutes. I was bedridden for 2.5-3 days since with PRK you are healing back all that tissue. Eyes just felt very hot, used a lot of cold compresses (along with the eyedrops given, of course.) Uncomfortable few days eating, lying in bed and listening to a shitton of audiobooks/radio shows/etc. Days 4-7 left me functional but still with moderately unclear vision. Better than not wearing glasses at all presurgery, but still some discomfort and a lot of difficulty focusing. After a week vision was much clear and usable for day to day tasks but light sensitivity (which I had some of before) was heightened incredibly. Roughly 3-4 weeks after surgery I felt I had crisp, sharp vision. Light sensitivity is bad for day driving, but you can at least throw sunglasses on. The first few months night driving was a pain in the ass due to headlights all over the place. Luckily my light sensitivity gradually returned to slightly more sensitive than normal after a year and is not really a factor other than I make sure to keep a pair of sunglasses in my car at all times. I have a small bit of astigmatism still so sometimes things between 4 and 20 feet can 'feel' hazy even though I'm able to see them. Haven't experienced any side effects other than the mild astigmatism and light sensitivity.

    Over two years later I have to say it's been an incredibly positive change in my life. I don't regret dropping the several thousand on a very experienced professional eye doctor and ripping away a daily hassle like glasses/contacts is very freeing. I would recommend it to anyone with serious vision issues and the ability to cover that medical bill up front because fuck debt.

    JAEF on
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    FafnerMorellFafnerMorell Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I had it done several months ago, and am very happy with it. The procedure itself was no big deal (kind of like a Pink Floyd laser light show) - afterwards, I kept my eyes covered for the rest of the evening (I had it done about 4pm) - and the next morning I could see essentially 20/20. Prior to the surgery, I couldn't see much that was more than a few feet away - the alarm clock numbers would be a blur, and getting up in the middle of the night to check on the kids was a hassle of finding the glasses. Now, I just "see". Very nice.

    FafnerMorell on
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    DakalDakal Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I had LASIK (Zyoptics) the new kind or something. It cost about 1k per eye for myself and I now have 20/15 vision with a very mild increased sensitivity to light. It's amazing!

    Some places offer a mild relaxant drug before the surgery, I suggest taking it. I didn't due to how relaxed I was going into the surgery, and after the first eye, I tensed up and hurt myself a bit on the 2nd. It wasnt bad though, but if you are nervous definitely take the mild relaxant they offer.

    Dakal on
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    chamberlainchamberlain Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Thanks for the input. It has been something I have been thinking about for a while, and only recently has it been in the realm of financialy possible.

    chamberlain on
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    locopostallocopostal Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Ruckus wrote: »
    I got this done in Oct 2005, $2100CAD/eye, went from unable to do shit without my glasses to 20/20. As of my last checkup (last fall I think) I'm still 20/20.

    I do suffer a couple of side effects: Halo effects at night, but not bad enough to impair my ability to drive, and some Photophobia (light sensativity), meaning that during even overcast midday light I prefer to wear sunglasses and during full sunlight I'm prettymuch unable to function without sunglasses.

    The testing, prep, and procedure won't be too bad for somebody used to putting in contacts. I hated even applying eyedrops and I managed to get through it damn near flawlessly. The only pain I experienced was about two hours after the op, when the anesthetic wore off and I was at home. Extreme photosensativity in that period, so having a pitch black room in which to rest afterwards is preferable. I was offered T3's, but I got by with Extra Strength Tylenols instead. About Six hours after surgery I applied the first set of post-op eyedrops and by that point my vision was much improved and the pain had subsided, except for a little bit of that "foreign object in eye" feeling.

    Overall, I would say it was totally worth it.
    +

    pretty much exactly the same as this guy. it was super easy, and I was really paranoid about it for some reason or another.

    However! I did have to have it done twice. Make sure you check if they have any sort of guarantee on their work? My doc offers a lifetime guarantee sort of thing. Anyway, apparently my issue was that my eyes actually healed TOO fast. weird. but after the second procedure, my vision was super clear after about four hours or so, and I was back at work the next day. Best money I've ever spent.

    locopostal on
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    XOCentricXOCentric Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I actually got a really rare case of post-op infection. I went from 20/15 to 20/30. My case is not indicative of the average results though, mine was a 1:1000 post-op infection... FML :D.

    Otherwise I am still very satisfied with being able to see. I was sitting at 20/400 before. Luckily I had thick enough corneas to reshape.

    **EDIT** Look up Diffuse Lamellar Keratitis (sp?) if you want to see how unlucky I was.

    XOCentric on
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    mullymully Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    I just wanted to post here because it was because of THIS THREAD that I decided to get Lasik done.

    I got it done yesterday, and I am extremely happy with the results so far. My close-up is still a bit blurred but it is rapidly improving - any pain I experienced was stinging from the medication or discomfort, and ended yesterday.

    So .. Thank you, H/A Posters! This is rad!

    mully on
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    JAEFJAEF Unstoppably Bald Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    I'm really happy to hear that Mully. Since this is up here I'd like to stress that surgery on the fucking organ you use to see things is not to be taken lightly. Anyone else considering this type of procedure take your time, do some investigation, listen to the doctor you're consulting with when they tell you the risks. Then think about it for a good long while.

    This ain't no Minority Report.

    JAEF on
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    mullymully Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Definitely go through the pre-op exams and ask every question you have. Most pre-ops are completely free with no obligation so there's your chance to get the information that you need. Aslo, make sure you trust the surgeon because you feel so effing vulnerable on that damn table they put you on.

    mully on
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    SkimblecatSkimblecat Victoria BCRegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    I had PRK done back in...2006 I think... Well worth it, very glad I did it. I took a bunch of notes during the healing time and put them on a long since abandoned blog. Thanks to the magic of teh Googles, here are the posts: http://delicious.com/bsmt.troll/prk

    Skimblecat on
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    darkmayodarkmayo Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Your best bet is to go into a Lasik or another form of laser eye surgery place and talk to someone there for a consultation.

    My brother does that for a living, there is risks and certain eye conditions can make you not a candidate for the surgery.

    darkmayo on
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