LASIK for bad eyes?

Make an appointment with a LASIK surgeon and find out. I'm sure the state of the art has advanced somewhat in the last decade, but no one here is going to be able to give you an accurate read on whether that means anything for you and your eyes.
posted by valkyryn at 8:04 AM on June 19, 2012

My regular eye doctor advised me against the LASIK because of my extreme astigmatism and myopia - he said I would have significant loss of night vision. He mentioned something about lens implantation instead, and said we could discuss it a few years down the line. (I am not getting anything implanted in my eyes, ugh no no no.)
posted by elizardbits at 8:15 AM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Agree with the first two posters. It might or might not be possible/worth it. I had LASIK for bad astigmatism and near-sightedness a year ago, but it took about 3 months, and visits to 4 different doctors, before I was in a position to make a decision.
posted by facetious at 8:24 AM on June 19, 2012

Oh, and if your eyes are as bad as they sound, you may need to resign yourself to doing this in several stages. My aunt, who has terrible vision, had this done a few years ago. She had like four procedures or something, and I think they did one eye at a time, so that's two each. Basically, they do some, give the eye time to adjust and heal, then do more. LASIK is basically slicing up your cornea, so some healing time in there is no bad thing, especially if you're trying to do a more drastic correction.
posted by valkyryn at 9:05 AM on June 19, 2012

Research intra-ocular lens insertion. I went for a LASIK / LASEK exam last weekend - astigmatism in one eye and extreme myopia in both - and this was the surgery they recommended. At ~$4,000 it was a bit more than I planned on spending, so I'll be checking out a second opinion.
posted by chrisinseoul at 9:33 AM on June 19, 2012

Beyond about 6-8 diopters, LASIK and related procedures won't restore you to normal vision*. I had ~11, with ~1 diopter of astigmatism.

The alternative surgery, which has only been allowed in the US for about a decade, is ICL. It's been practiced elsewhere

for longer, and like many such procedures, was developed outside the US' strict AMA jurisdiction (though by a US doctor). My surgeon was the most experienced on the Eastern seaboard, and because of an irregularity in my eye structure, the operation was supervised by someone from Visian - so I felt pretty safe about it. 4 years later, it's great; no problems.

The downsides: 1. $5k/eye. WAY more expensive than LASIK. And most insurance considers it "elective".

2. Visian is having some sort of PR scrape with the AMA, and can't get their astigmatic lenses approved. Physically, the only difference is a teensy, invisible difference in thickness on one side. These lensescan'trotate within your eyes, so there's no need to weight them, as with toric contacts. There's no reasonable reason to forbid their sales, but as of last I heard, astigmatic correction requires you visit Canada.

Surgery is painless. Recovery is quick. If I had to redo it every year, I wouldn't flinch (except for the bill!). *I should also point out that, unless you are born with an abnormally high density of receptors in your fovea, the magnification of a myopic eye beyond ~6-8 diopters may mean 20/20 acuity is unachievable, regardless of correction. I'm lucky that way; no guarantees for you. But it will still get you close, and (unless you have significant astigmatism) able to drive w/o glasses.

posted by IAmBroom at 9:37 AM on June 19, 2012

Another thought to consider: switching to eyeglasses, should you ever need to, probably won't be nearly as bad as you imagine. After decades of loving my contacts (-12), I dreaded the thought of ever needing to go back to the glasses. When I would use them for a short bit now and then, the "funhouse effects" made me nauseous and dizzy. Then one day I felt too flu-ey to deal with the contacts, so I wore the glasses all day. By the end of the day, I wasn't noticing the weirdness anymore. I went back to glasses full-time, cause it's just easier to deal with, and a bit safer. The eyes and brain are very adept at making these adjustments.
posted by Corvid at 2:07 PM on June 19, 2012

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Category: Astigmatism

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