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Old June 18th, 2004, 10:31 AM   #1
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Eye surgery should I get it?

By now you would think that the laser surgery would be almost perfect . Just wanted to know some other thoughts from photographers before going and getting this done. I am near sighted and now thats starting to going too at 41.
I know this is a serious move since we are photographers and depend so much on our vision.


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Old June 18th, 2004, 12:00 PM   #2
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Can't speak to you directly about the eye surgery, never having had it myself (don't need it), but my girlfriend just had it done and it only took like 30 seconds in each eye and a few days recoupe. She loves it and now has 20/15! I would think it has to be one of the greatest things available for those whose vision isn't perfect and would ultimately benefit your photography/videography as well as your quality of life. Just my .02...
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Old June 18th, 2004, 03:06 PM   #3
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Had Lasik done 5 years ago and happy beyond belief. Went from not being able to read a stop sign at 5 feet to 20/15.

Not having to deal with contacts or glasses, plus waking up and being able to see 24 hours a day, priceless.
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Old June 18th, 2004, 03:20 PM   #4
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Great topic!

I had Lasik about 6 years ago. If I could go back I'd have waited 2-3 years for them to perfect the procedure. Apparently, they're improved the overall surgery in the last few years. I personally have a slight ray of light at night that comes off lighted objects...car headlights are the times I really notice it. It's weird, but it's barely noticable. However, I have 20/20 vision now and before I had thick glasses.

Something to note - I remember being able to see without glasses for the first time. You'll end up staring in the mirror at yourself for a while because you'e eyes always had a warped view because of the glasses you wore to see. When you don't have to wear glasses your eyes can move sideways and you end up seeing your face at all angles without warping! It's hard to explain to someone...you just have to experience it. Also, I'm sure that not having to wear glasses has a benefit to shooting video....not having that glass in front of glass...which is probably slightly warping the image you see.

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Old June 18th, 2004, 05:16 PM   #5
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I talked to a doctor about Lasik because I'm so sick of wearing contacts. He said that now that my near vision is starting to go too (I hate getting old) I would be condemning myself to reading glasses. Right now I can still see pretty well up-close if I'm not wearing my contacts, but with the surgery that would change.

I hear there's a surgery coming out to fix both near and far sightedness. I'm going to wait until that's been "perfected."

Tell you what, with all the close AND far work involved with video, this eye thing is getting to be a real inconvenience.

BTW, my sister had Lasik five years ago and loved it. Last week she told me that she's losing some of her far vision again.
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Old June 18th, 2004, 05:51 PM   #6
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Please don't confuse my comments for medical opinion, because they are NOT meant to be such. Just neutral comments.

When it goes right (most of the time), the corneal alteration is exactly what you expect and want -- that's what you showed up at the ophthalmologist's door for; occasionally, the change in the cornea doesn't go quite right and may lead to a repeat surgery or an unhappy final result. The procedures do continue to get better, but by their very nature they are surgical procedures that will permanently alter and (slightly) scar your cornea. There is a small risk (generally higher with LASIK than PRK) of serious complications such as infection, corneal hazing, overcorrection, etc.

One of my colleagues had PRK done recently and requires a repeat procedure -- don't know if he's done it yet. NO GUARANTEES, so if you're going to do it REALLY LISTEN when your ophthalmologist talks about the risks, not just about the benefits. If your eyes are bad enough to warrant it and you're ready to accept the (small but real) level of risk to your now-healthy but too-powerful corneas, then you're ready to go for it.

Also, since you're 41, presbyopia isn't far away -- usually around age 42, plus or minus two years is when it becomes noticeable to people with normal vision. If you have the surgery, you may find that your distant vision is sweet, but must jump face-first into bifocals so you can focus in close, such as to read.

One caution for the young bucks and gals out there thinking of a military flying career: Lasik and the "evil" old procedure radial keratotomy (DON'T ever do that one!) are NOT approved for US military aviation. PRK is allowed with waiver for current aviators, although I don't know if they will SELECT someone who has had it to enter military flying.

Best o' luck!
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Old June 18th, 2004, 10:06 PM   #7
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An alternative to getting 20/20 in both eyes, when you have problems with seeing up close, is to get (arrgghh, I'm watching a movie and the name left my mind!) mono-vision(?). When I had LASIK done to my eyes they intentionally left my left eye at 20/40. This meant I didn't need glasses to read with.

It worked great until my eyes got worse. Now I do need glasses to read small print up close but I don't need them for general reading.

My wife and I both have had the procedure done, as have others, with no problems.

I used to design computer systems used by doctors for eye surgery, including radial karetotomy. Pete is right and you should run if anyone suggests it but sometimes it's the only course. But a course of last resort.

We can listen all day to what can go wrong with a procedure but what can you do? You either do it or you don't and chances are good that nothing will go wrong.
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Old June 18th, 2004, 10:08 PM   #8
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I haven't had the surgery, and don't plan to, but I feel I should make another couple big points about this (not directed at anyone in particular):

-Don't look to get eye surgery because it's popular. Sounds simple, "Don't give in to peer pressure", but it's still true. It's typically not a necessary procedure, and eyeglasses aren't going to hurt you.

-Don't do it unless you're comfortable with the idea. Sorta like the difference between single and double foot driving. I prefer two feet, but would never force someone who's used to just the one to drive like that; there's more of a danger when you're not comfortable with something.

-Most important: do not pick a doctor out of the phone book, or off the radio. I'm tempted to go so far as to say if they even HAVE ads they should be avoided, but they can't all be bad, so I won't go there. Talk to an opthalmologist/optician and find out who they recommend. Of all the people performing the surgery on Long Island, I was recommended three. The reason behind all this pessimism? For all the years of schooling it takes to become a doctor in this field, you need but purchase a LASIK machine and attend a few weeks' worth of classes (if that) to be "certified" to do this stuff. Anybody with enough money for the equipment can get set up relatively easily. As far as this kinda thing has come, it's still surgery--on your eyes, no less--and you don't want something half-assed. Chances are good that nothing will go wrong...with the right doctor. Do your research.

Then there's always the night-driving issues; they all say the effects have been minimized, but I'm bad enough as it is, and don't need to get worse. :P

Not to make anyone paranoid, mind you, I just want to keep everyone on their toes. Gotta be careful when shopping for eye-slicing services.
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Old June 19th, 2004, 12:06 AM   #9
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next door to my office is an eye doctor / glasses store... Just today I saw him in the coffee shop the next door down and mentioned Lasik to him. He shook his head and alluded to not being able to tell me about things, put on his glasses and left.

I'm waiting for 10 years, a good friend had it done and says nothing but good...
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Old June 19th, 2004, 05:33 AM   #10
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Well looks like I have more to think about after reading all the good post from everyone.

I did do some surfing tonight and did find a new surgery called WAVEFRONT. This is suppose to be configured for your own eye. Its seems better than the Lasik. But then its new .

My eyes are really bad Im less than 3 ft from my monitor now and without my glasses I can't read any words on this webpage ,none of them... and I'm near sighted.

In lens terms my "eye" depth of field is from 7" to 16" without using glasses. Everything looks fine within that range. Going past 16" it all gets fuzzy. Squinting helps but its hard to do that for long periods.

My glasses do help out greatly , lenscrafters made them ,they are thinner and lighter now than 10 years ago. But they all get scratched I dont care what they put on them. Yes they are a pain when shooting video theres always extra light getting between my eye and the viewfinder.

Some one said to wait 10 years. I just did that actually to this month in 1994 I talked to a photographer who had it done. He has the light halos at night going on. So I waited. If I wait any longer my career will be over.

Looks like I have more decisions to look at soon. Thanks for all the good post I read . Thanks for the help

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Old June 19th, 2004, 11:00 AM   #11
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the guy I mentioned as having had it done is also VERY apprehensive about most things and I'm sure he had it researched carefully. I'd say if my vision was something I had more problems with, I'd sign up straight away...

as it is since I can't quite get away with purses, glasses allow me to accessorize.
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Old June 19th, 2004, 11:33 AM   #12
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I had PRK. I was told there is a risk which has surfaced with LASIK where the cornea sometimes sinks in to the eye after some time and this cannot be corrected. PRK usesd an UV laser to reshape the cornea itself without lifting it, whereas LASIK involves opening the cornea and reshaping the lens underneath. His lawyer suggested my doctor not doe any more LASIK so he only does PRK now. PRK leaves you out of work for about four days, during which you experience more pain than with LASIK, and there is also some risk of "haze" a phenomenon where the cornea upon healing becomes very slightly less transparent. Also halos at night can happen because you eye's "f-stop" opens up all the way in low light and you get to see almost through your whole cornea. Since PRK reshapes part of the cornea, your night vision can suffer a bit, allthough it seems this problem has diminished because with the newest lasers a large corneal surface can be rehaped. In medical terms the "treatment zone" has been gatting larger.

I am very happy with having had PRK, although I do experience a slight amount of corneal haze and, after four years, I might be due for another PRK as I have a very slight nearsightness, but it is so slight I can still legally drive without glasses, and since most of my work is near-field, it's ok with me at the moment.

I had my PRK in Vancouver, BC (Canada). http://www.drfitterman.com/files/prk.html.
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Old June 19th, 2004, 11:35 AM   #13
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The most consistent criticism I've heard about LASIK is a dramatically increased sensitivity to bright light and sunlight; that sunglasses are a must-have and that bright lighting (such as on a video shoot?) is to be avoided. For those of you who have had LASIK, I'd like to know whether or not you find this to be true. I'm considering the procedure myself.

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Old June 20th, 2004, 05:01 AM   #14
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Hmm, that would be bad for me. I'm already overly sensitive to
light and always run around with sunglasses....

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Old June 20th, 2004, 07:49 AM   #15
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We should all wear sunglasses because the suns rays are more powerful than ever.

I'd disagree with personally with the "avoid" part of anything. I've never once had to avoid anything in 6 years after Lasik. It's more or less a little hazy at night time looking at a direct light - something like a headlight. However, I've sat with many people that wear glasses or don't and haven't had Lasik and I see things they don't...like very far away signs. There is a clarity that I have that's come in handy to me...literally being able to focus my camera via a monitor very precisely while being quite a distance away from it. I've found that I have pretty sharp eyes. (of course, it could be in my head but 6 years on i really don't think it is)

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