Lasik Surgery, Lasek Surgery, Contact Lenses or Prescription Glasses?
Lasek at Park Avenue Laser-Dave Gibson's Video
I've worn prescription glasses for nearsightedness since the fifth grade. They were a real downer as a kid and high school football player because I had trouble seeing the ball I was supposed to catch as right end, especially at night on poorly lighted fields. At that time plastic lenses for sports were not available and contact lenses had yet to be invented. Eyeglass lenses were made of very thick glass, and the frames were heavy plastic which was easily broken. Later, shortly after contact lenses began began to be offered, I gave them a try, but they irritated my eyes and sometimes popped out unexpectedly. I gave them up after several months and went back to glasses.
More recently I've been following corrective eye surgery developments with some interest. An article, linked below, in today's N.Y. Times by a woman who has experienced problems as a result of lasik eye surgery caught my attention and prompted this page. Her article confirmed my decision not to have lasik surgery. She reports a number of problems.
Her vision was blurry when she was examined the day after surgery, but was told that "was normal." The surgeon told her on subsequent examinations that "everything looked good." "BUT THE BLURRINESS NEVER WENT AWAY." At night she saw halos around street lights; neon signs bled; the moon had two rings around it like Saturn, and her eyes felt sore, a result of dry eyes, which also causes blurriness.
Her doctor told her that sometimes women of a certain age who are undergoing hormonal changes or who take certain medications get dry eye.
Cutting out all prescription and non-prescription drugs didn't help. The doctor told her to use Refresh Plus drops that temporarily help dry eye.She also prescribed Restasis eye drops to increase tear production. But this didn't work either.
The author is no longer wearing glasses, but the 20-20 line on the chart is blurry. She reports she can read it only if she squints, but her doctor interprets this as proof of success and said that "most patients take 3 to l6 months to completely heal." She reports that nearly a year later her problems remain. She concludes with her opinion that the doctor did not accurately explain the pitfalls of lasik surgery although she signed a consent form confirming that she understood the risks. However, she was not aware that 5 to 10 percent of the patients need to have their vision "fine tuned" after a surgical over or under correction.. Her surgeon was Dr. Sandra Belmont, the founding director of the Laser Vision Correction Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Anyone contemplating lasik surgery might be well advised to read the full N.Y. Times article by Abby Ellin linked below.
Several years ago at a family funeral I took the opportunity to discuss lasik surgery with a cousin who is a medical school professor of ophthalmology. I asked why he was wearing regular old-fashioned prescription eye glasses rather than contact lenses or having lasik surgery. Without hesitating he replied that his prescription lenses correct his vision to 20-20 and since they are safety glasses they also provide protection for his eyes against flying objects which contacts or lasik surgery do not offer. Moreover, he pointed to the risks of both contact lenses (infection and abrasion) and lasik surgery.
My own experience with prescription glasses over the years has been that I've needed a new prescription every couple of years to keep my corrected vision at 20-20. Eyeglass prescriptions and contact lens prescriptions can easily be changed. But making a correction a couple of years after lasik surgery would require additional surgery with its attendant risks. Therefore, I've decided to stick with my old-fashioned eye glasses! How about you?
(Please leave comments, positive and negative, on your experience with lasik surgery, contact lenses or eyeglasses below.)
Lasik Surgery Does Not Necessarily Mean the End to Glasses
- Lasik surgery does not necessarily mean the end to glasses - St. Petersburg Times
Consumer Reports survey says 55 percent of lasik eye surgery patients still wear glasses or contact lens some of the time. Lasik is not a miracle or fountain of youth.
FDA Lasik Surgery Website
Lasik Surgery: When the Fine Print Applies to You
- Lasik Surgery--NY Times March 13, 2008
Report on complications by a reporter who had corrective lasik eye surgery.
Federal Drug Administration Looking into Lasik Surgery Complaints
The New York Times reports that the Food and Drug Administration is looking into complaints about lasik surgery including blurred vision, eye pain, halos, severe dry eye and inability to drive at night. Here's a link to the NYT article:.
New Technology Adds Precision to Lasik Surgery
- Improved Lasik Technique
NPR Report on Lasik Surgery
7-26-10 Contact Lenses a Leading Cause of Problems in Kids by Lindsay Tanner Associated Press
- Contact Lenses=Problems for Children
More than 70,000 children and teens go to the emergency room each year for injuries and complications from medical devices and contact lenses are the leading culprit...1/4th of the problems were infections and eye abrasions in lens wearers.
6-21-11NYTimes "The Sun is the Best Optometrist" by Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang
- The Sun Is the Best Optometrist - NYTimes.com
Too much time indoors can damage the eyes development.