Upload & Sell: On
Some of you may know, most probably not- but I had LASIK done just over a year ago.
I am in the US Air Force, and one of the "perks" in our healthcare system is the possibility of getting free (yes, FREE) LASIK/PRK at one of the several US Military facilities around the world that can do it.
Currently, I'm stationed in Abilene, TX. I've been in for nearly 10 years, only been here ~2 of that. I have known about the possibility of getting LASIK for most of my career, and debated it- worried about being in the 1% or so that develops some complications of some sort.
Finally, about 18 months ago, I went and got started on the screening process. I had been told before that my eyes made me a perfect candidate, and the Dr. here reaffirmed this.
After several checkups to make sure my eyes were healthy, and i met all the criteria, i got my packet/appointment to go down to the Joint Warfighter Refractive Surgery Center at Lackland AFB in San Antonio. I was SUPER excited. This is (supposed to be) the BEST facility the military trusts for our eyes in the world- the only place that the DoD will let work on pilots' eyes. They pioneer procedures here. Pretty legit.
Well, I went down to San Antonio. Had SEVERAL more checkups over 3 days, FAR more in-depth than before. They offered me a custom wave-front(or something like that) map correction of my eye- something which is "better" than most LASIK clinics can or will offer. I opted in, of course!
Surgery went well. I was nearly in tears, when only a few minutes after- i saw perfect 20/15 uncorrected in both eyes.... for the first time in at least 15 years.
The next day, the Dr's seemed VERY impressed with my outcome, and cleared me to drive. Everything seemed great.
Over the next few months, I couldn't have been happier about my surgery. At night, there was some slight glare, but everything I was told led me to believe that was normal in the healing process. It wasn't until ~6 months, when the glare got worse, that I started to worry.
Initially, I was told it was Diffuse Lamellar Keratitis- a rare complication in which your eyes react to some foreign contaminant that was intruduced during the surgery. This was believable, and correctable (through more surgery). Gave me some hope.
Well, fast forward to today. We have a new Dr on my base, and I went in for my 1yr follow-up. He is FAR more concerned about my eyes. I spent about 2hrs at the clinic going through different stuff with him.
I do not have DLK. I never did. Instead, i just have large pupils- which i have always known, but never knew it was something that should keep you from getting LASIK.
Turns out, the largest diameter "burn" they can do on your eye is ~7-7.5mm. They did 7mm on me. My eyes, in a dim-dark room, are sitting at 8mm+.
What this means is that in bad light, my pupils open up wider than my corrected surgery site- so all of the sudden my vision goes from (good light) 20/15, to 20/15 with low contrast, starbursts, glare, you name it.
From what I was told, and from what I've read in the past few hours- there really is no fix. They ordered me another set of glasses with a very weak RX, thinking it may help some of the eye strain i get in low light, but it may not.
I will have to live with this the rest of my life, and it has already GREATLY effected my enjoyment of photography. Easily the worst decision I ever made, I'm extremely torn up over this. After little to no research (hindsight- ya know), I've found that this is commonly known but widely denied by the ophthalmological community...
THINK LONG AND HARD ABOUT ANY EYE SURGERY. I did not. I mean, I thought about it for years, but I did not do (enough) my homework as I should have. I am partially to blame for this, but I would like to have think the ~dozen of Doctors I saw should have warned me or talked to me about this risk.