lasek eye surgery review

LASEK eye surgery review.

avatar male m

From around the age of 10 my eyesight has deteriorated to about -1.75 (in both eyes) at age 18-20, and have since remained stable.

I have worn glasses, monthly soft contact lenses, and daily contact lenses. For the past few years I have simply used dailies, but only on days where I had anticipated needing them. Mostly for badminton, because I hate sweaty glasses and while -1.75 isn’t that bad, it makes a huge difference in reaction time (also forget about making accurate line calls). For badminton I only wear them for a few hours, not all day. The only other times I wear dailies is when I need to read at a distance, so for example if I have a lecture. In the Netherlands, the legal requirement for participation in traffic is -1.00 or better (0.00 is perfect vision). But I have never noticed any trouble navigating traffic, with or without lenses. You don’t need to see perfectly sharp lines to see where the cars are.

My mother had laser eye surgery some years ago and has described it as her best purchase ever, and for the first time in a while, we have the disposable income so I decided to just do it, mainly to just never have to worry about lenses and glasses again. I see it as a permanent upgrade to my body, so it probably the best thing to spend money on.

I’m not a doctor, and I only have a vague understanding of the exact procedure.

With the more common LASIK, a laser cuts a flap into the outer layer of the eye, then after the flap is open, another laser does the actual correcting. With the LASEK surgery I had yesterday, the vision is corrected in the exact same way, but the method to ‘open up’ the eye is different. I don’t know what is done exactly, but unlike the LASIK, there is no cutting involved.

Both operations are painless. You will be awake and alert, but you won’t feel anything. You will smell something burning when the laser does the correcting, and they squirted my eye with water very thoroughly afterwards (to put out the fire?).

The experience of the procedure isn’t what sets these 2 methods apart. According to the surgeon, the recovery for the LASIK surgery is more comfortable. It is nearly painless and you can go to work the next day, or 2 days at most. You also see perfectly from right after the surgery.

The recovery from LASEK surgery on the other hand is mild to severe pain for up to 2 days after surgery, and up to 5 days of blurry vision. (and let me tell you, those days of pain are miserable).

So why would anyone choose the LASEK over LASIK? For some, their eyes are unsuitable for LASIK. If the outer layer is too thin, it is too risky to cut it with the laser and it would vastly increase the chance of complications.

But the main reason for my decision is long term recovery. After the pain is gone and the vision is clear, for LASIK nearly immediately and for LASEK after 2 to 5 days, you can mostly resume normal life, but for quite a period afterwards the eye is still going to be unusually fragile and susceptible to damage and infection. Due to the cutting involved in LASIK, it will be fragile for far longer than with LASEK.

All contact sports and some other sports that have certain hazards should not be practiced for up to 4 weeks after LASEK. The prescribed time off sports after LASIK is a staggering 3 months. This was the main consideration in my decision to have LASEK instead.

With badminton the main hazard is getting a shuttle in the eye. Of course the chances of this happening are slim, but it is still simply not worth the risk.

I will post updates with my experiences of the recovery.