My Lasik Surgery Nightmare

My Dream -- No Glasses

Vanity got me. I do not like glasses, I do not look good in glasses, I would have done just about anything not to wear glasses. So I did -- I opted to have laser eye surgery to correct my vision. Contacts were no longer an option for me. I had dry eye and I just could not wear contacts anymore. So what option did I have left? I chose to consult a prominent laser surgery specialist to have the miracle surgery with my optometrist giving the nod and writing my referral for a preoperative screening. That turned out to be a prescription for disaster.

My History

I have farsightedness. I didn't really require eyeglasses until age 40. When that happened, I chose to wear bifocal contact lenses which worked out for about ten years, but at age 50 dry eye became my enemy. I could no longer see with contact lenses because of my dry eye condition. My optometrist worked with me to try to overcome my problems. He suggested eye drops to moisturize my eyes, trying every brand on the market with no relief. Then he prescribed Restasis which didn't help either. Next I had plugs inserted into my tear ducts. The plugs gave some relief, but my dry eye was really quite severe and the plugs did not give me enough relief to wear contact lenses. After two years of failure with dry eye therapies I relented and started to wear glasses full time because I couldn't see without them. I was very unhappy and was intrigued by success stories of laser eye surgery. I had a discussion about laser eye correction with my optometrist. He said that my vision would not be as easily corrected as with nearsightedness and that I would probably have to wear glasses just for reading. I was sold. Something was better than nothing. I would feel much better being able to wear glasses just for close work. I was on my way to the laser surgery specialist.

The Screening

I made an appointment and within a week I was at my screening appointment. A young male physician's assistant asked me questions about my vision history and we also discussed my dry eye condition. I expressed my concern about the advisability of laser surgery with my dry eye condition. He told me not to worry because the testing would determine whether the dry eye would present a problem. I was then put through a battery of tests on my eyes which seemed to be quite thorough. The outcome of course was a recommendation to have the surgery with the caveat that I would have to wear glasses for reading. I was a bit uneasy, but because I was so determined not to wear glasses, I ignored my own concerns and made my surgery appointment.

D Day

My husband drove me to my surgery appointment. I was very apprehensive. I had a bad feeling about the whole thing, but I ignored my nagging fears and undressed and put on my surgery gown. I was given my pre-op drops and I was second in line for the procedure. A man was first on the surgery schedule. He was taken into the surgery room and the next thing I knew he was back out again. It was just minutes. It turned out that the surgery table was not working and they were trying to fix it. At that point I was inclined to get dressed and leave. But again my vanity won and I stayed. Eventually the table was fixed and the man had his procedure and it was my turn. The surgery itself was bearable but uncomfortable. I have a high tolerance for discomfort and can relax in the most awkward of situations. There were three doctors doing my surgery, the head physician and two assistants who were actually doing the cutting of the corneal flap. He gave the orders and they did the process. My right eye was done and they were working on my left and the boss doctor said "cut that again you didn't cut it far enough". One of the the two assistants said "no, we did cut it, it's fine". Doctor boss said "I said cut it again it's not enough". They obeyed and cut it again. That freaked me out, but I don't believe it was the cause of my post surgical problems.

Emergency Visit

I called the surgeon's office to report my distress and was given an immediate appointment. My husband drove me to the doctor's office. It was one of the worst rides of my life. I couldn't open my eyes for the 45 minute drive. I was frightened beyond belief and all sorts of thoughts were running through my mind. I couldn't see, I couldn't open my eyes. I cried empathizing with people who were blind. I imagined that this was what it would be like to be blind and was afraid that blindness was my fate. When we arrived at the office, I was taken into an examination room immediately. After the examination I was told that my eyes were infected and I was given an antibiotic. I was also told that I had cells trapped under my corneal flap and that I would have to return to find out whether they would have to cut the flap again to remove the cells. Fortunately, when I returned they decided not to re-cut my cornea. But, the cells would remain trapped and time would tell whether they would grow and expand, but they didn't think that would be the case. As it turned out the cells did not grow larger and I had minimal scarring which only has a slight effect on my right eye today. But, it is still there. The lingering problem I dealt with for years was the continual severe dry eye and the feeling of having grit in my eyes. This persisted and my vision was never improved.

Post Surgery Nightmare

I was sent home with precise instructions about applying drops at regular intervals. I was relieved that the surgery was over and we headed home. When I woke up the following day I was amazed because I could actually see a little better than I did before (it turns out that the swelling actually improved my vision just after the surgery). I used the drops as instructed, but I was noticing a lot of discomfort as time progressed. My eyes were exceptionally dry. They were so incredibly dry and after a day or two I really couldn't see well at all. I couldn't watch tv or read. It felt like I had grit or sand in my eyes and my eyes were very blurry. I hoped that this was just a post-operative reaction, but it wasn't. Several days after the surgery I woke up to an overcast day, and I couldn't open my eyes or look at any light in the bedroom. We had a large window in our room and the dim light from widow practically blinded me. I literally couldn't open my eyes.

Today -- Nine Years Later

Today I still have dry eye. It was very severe until about two years ago. When I say severe I mean the feeling of the grit and sand and the blurry vision. It is now moderately severe. I have very little tear production. I am followed every 6 months for my condition which my new optometrist tells me is definitely a result of the eye surgery. Some visits when a thread test is done I actually have zero tear production. I have learned to live with it and I use Restasis religiously twice a day. My doctor says she feels that the Restasis is finally helping a little bit. I am thankful that I don't have the blurriness and the gritty feeling. We do not have air conditioning and we bought a home with radiator heat. Both of these things help to prevent additional drying of my eyes due to environmental factors. And, oh, yes, I wear glasses everyday  In fact my vision is far worse today than it was prior to laser surgery. I have been prescribed stronger lenses every year since my surgery. And the vanity thing, well let's just say I'm over it. 

Do Your Homework

If you are considering laser eye surgery do your homework. Research the risks of laser eye surgery and consider whether you are a good candidate. I would not recommend the surgery to anyone who experiences dry eye. Some laser surgery risks are spelled out at http://www.docshop.com/education/vision/refractive/lasik/risks. In the UK these surgeries are not routinely recommended because the long term effects are unknown. Laser surgery is a big money maker in the United States. I believe I was advised to have the surgery for monetary reasons with little regard for my well being.

Comments 15 comments

BJBenson profile image

BJBenson 5 years ago from USA

I hope the your eyes do not get worst. Good luck and the lord bless you too. Thank you for telling your story.


soozeqsh profile image

soozeqsh 5 years ago from Boyertown, PA Author

BJBenson - Thanks for your well wishes and for your support. I too am hoping that my eyes remain stable.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

You talked me out of it. And I thank you for that. The risk is too great. I have dry eye problems as well and I don't see the benefit of still having to wear glasses for reading even after the semi-risky surgery.


soozeqsh profile image

soozeqsh 5 years ago from Boyertown, PA Author

nicomp - I'm glad I could share my experience with you. Best wishes to you and I wish good eye and physical health to you in the new year.


sligobay profile image

sligobay 5 years ago from east of the equator

Soozeqsh - I 'm sorry about your bad experience but I, for one, think you look grand in eyeglasses. I too, had lasik surgery but did not have 'dry eye'. First, I accompanied a friend who wore glasses since childhood. I was there to witness the miracle and to drive him home. He claimed 20/20 vision in the waiting room. I made an appointment before we left.

My friend, Carey, returned the favor at the time of my surgery. I had worn glasses for only twenty years and contacts were difficult for me. At first, I only needed glasses to drive. Later, I couldn't see the TV from the couch without glasses. I didn't need glasses to read.

I was willing to trade desk reading glasses for being able to see across a room. My surgery was a total success without complication or discomfort. I now need glasses to read package labels and my computer screen but everything at a distance is 'clear as a bell'. I thank God for my vision, not the surgeon. He was well-paid in cash. My surgery was more ten years ago. The future will reveal itself in time.


sligobay profile image

sligobay 5 years ago from east of the equator

Soozeqsh - I 'm sorry about your bad experience but I, for one, think you look grand in eyeglasses. I too, had lasik surgery but did not have 'dry eye'. First, I accompanied a friend who wore glasses since childhood. I was there to witness the miracle and to drive him home. He claimed 20/20 vision in the waiting room. I made an appointment before we left.

My friend, Carey, returned the favor at the time of my surgery. I had worn glasses for only twenty years and contacts were difficult for me. At first, I only needed glasses to drive. Later, I couldn't see the TV from the couch without glasses. I didn't need glasses to read.

I was willing to trade desk reading glasses for being able to see across a room. My surgery was a total success without complication or discomfort. I now need glasses to read package labels and my computer screen but everything at a distance is 'clear as a bell'. I thank God for my vision, not the surgeon. He was well-paid in cash. My surgery was more ten years ago. The future will reveal itself in time.


soozeqsh profile image

soozeqsh 5 years ago from Boyertown, PA Author

sligobay - Thank you for your comments and compliments. I am happy to hear of your success with Lasik surgery. I know that there are many happy folks who have wonderful results from this surgery. Hopefully I am in the minority (according to statistics I am), but I think it is good for anyone considering the surgery to know the possible risks before making their decision. Have a Happy and Healthy New Year.


yenajeon profile image

yenajeon 5 years ago from California

I am SO glad I read this! I have been considering lasik for years. (I have terrible vision) I've been wearing a combination of glasses and contacts (now mainly contacts) for 9 years now. It's such a hassle to remove and put on contacts every morning and night! But this certainly has shaken me up about the possible risks of lasik.

I do need to consider that I don't have dry eye though..


soozeqsh profile image

soozeqsh 5 years ago from Boyertown, PA Author

yenajeon - you are fortunate to be able to wear contacts. I would have never gotten the surgery if I had been able to wear them, even though it can be a hassle. I think my dry eye was a big part of my problem, but I probably still would have had the issue with the cells under the corneal flap. Best wishes to you for good health.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

One mistake many make is letting an optometrist do surgery on their eyes. They aren't doctors. An opthamologist is a better choice.

I haven't had it done and doubt I will. I've heard many experience problems with night vision afterwards not being able to drive due to glare from headlights.

Sorry you had such a bad experience.


moiragallaga profile image

moiragallaga 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

soozeqsh, sorry to hear about your bad experience, hope things are much better now or will get better soon. The part where the doctors were arguing during the procedure is scary, I don't know how I would react in that situation. Don't worry about having to wear glasses, just choose a good, stylish looking pair and it will even further accentuate your beauty.

Anyway, I got really drawn to your post. Just like you, vanity is my weakness and this was the prime reason I also opted to try lasik surgery though I wasn't suffering from dry eyes like you did.

At the time, my family was posted to our Embassy in Washington D.C. however I got detailed back home to help on a Summit taking place there. There's a very good clinic in our country that does the procedure, all the foreign Ambassadors posted there had their surgery there and I heard many good feedback. Travel companies were even promoting a tour package to people from nearby countries who wanted to fly in and avail of the procedure. However, as soon as the job was done I had to fly back to Post immediately. So I tried to squeeze in an appointment and had my procedure done a few hours before my departure. After the op, it was straight to the airport.

At first, it was great. I had pretty good vision. After a few weeks, I don't know if it was the trans-Pacific flight plus another flight from the West Coast to D.C. or not following exactly the post-op procedure (maybe a combination of both) but my vision started deteriorating. Thing is, I didn't bother to have it followed up. Either I was too lazy or too busy. I eventually had my eyes checked again a year later when I got back home, but it was too late rectify. Now, my vision is worse.

So for those considering the operation, carefully go assess the pros and cons. If you do decide to do it, be sure to do exactly what the doctors says and follow any post-ops procedures you've been instructed to do. also, once you feel any sort of complications, have it checked right away.


soozeqsh profile image

soozeqsh 5 years ago from Boyertown, PA Author

moiragallaga - well, seems I'm not alone. I know that many people are very pleased with laser eye surgery. But, when it comes to your health or eyesight you need to be well informed before deciding to undergo surgery. I appreciate your thoughtful comment.


sazman321 2 years ago

If you are still experiencing problems from LASIK surgery such as, dry eyes, halos, star-bursts, glare, blurry vision, double vision, etc.. you may want to check out the site http://www.lasikfailures.com

They specialize in the treatment of post-LASIK problems (without further surgery).


Katia 23 months ago

sir mere right eye mai 2.5 no hai or left eye mai -9 cyl-1.50axis180 hai kya lasic se dono eye puri tarah thik ho jayegi


Danish khan 17 months ago

How much age is required for this lens operation......?

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