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My Odyssey With LASIK Surgery

Seeing the Light


Um, this was not what I'd anticipated.

By the second week I could read, but it was slow going and my eyes tired quickly. I had to put drops in my eyes every 30 to 60 minutes. (This continued two months after surgery. I still have dry eye and it seems to be worsening.)

I did have a major breakthrough in the second week: I was able to thread a needle in two tries without glasses. Before LASIK, it would have taken reading glasses and five attempts.

In the third and fourth week, I would wake with blurry vision and need to use my old prescription glasses for an hour or so. Then I would switch to weaker glasses. Some days I found that by afternoon, I could read almost anything without glasses. But the mornings were rough, and I considered asking for short-term disability leave from my job.

In the meantime, Cavanagh assured me that I was progressing nicely and probably still would achieve 20/20 vision in both eyes. However, the last time I saw him, at the end of January - one month postsurgery -- he said he expected my vision would fall off and I'd have to wear +1.75 to +2 lenses for most reading. I go for my next appointment soon.

So consider several things before getting LASIK:

  • Believe the doctors when they tell you about possible side effects.
  • Don't expect to have perfect vision. Very few patients achieve that, although the rate for permanent problems is only about 1%.
  • If a friend offers to stay with you for the first couple of days, take him or her up on it.

Today my vision is minimally better: I can read many things without glasses. However, I haven't achieved what I'd hoped to: not having to use reading glasses. And the whole thing has made doing my job as a medical writer sheer torture on many days -- right up to today.

In the end, I suppose I can wrap up the good and the bad news like this: I can now see the dirt on the kitchen counter without my glasses.

Susan Steeves is a WebMD staff writer in Dallas.


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