Wednesday, 26 June 2013

LASIK- Is it for you ?

Here's a brief intro to my eyes- I am wearing glasses from age of 5- that's when myopia was diagnosed. And since I am a girl and since girls grow rapidly in first 15 years every year my numbers increased exponentially .All doctors said nothing can be done to my parents.In my case my minus number[ myopia] increased because of rapid increase in my height. By the age of 14-15 i was already 5ft 8" tall.So when 1 was 15  I had -15 or -16 in left eye [L.E] and -14 in R.E. My height therefore i consider a curse....

Myopia is genetic in nature due to the father.As i grew up in 1990s , i was wearing thick glasses [the kind people make fun of].At age of 15 i started wearing contact lenses- hard ones and then semi soft because my power was available only in these. The problem with these lenses is you can wear only for 6-7 hrs. And dusty city travel by bus etc made life a small regular hell for me. i got infections small and big. Here i was a college going teenager who couldn't do many things because of lenses. My life revolved around lenses and manipulating myself so that in college nobody could know i had very very thick glasses i had to wear.

I did things as i thought right. My parents couldn't understand really what i was going through. I used to come home remove lenses and not really go out the rest of the evening.I spent reading ,knitting and embroidering my teenage years at home and only rarely went out.Of course at that time it just seemed normal to make sacrifices pick and choose lens wear time.
I grew up like this finished college and studies and nobody really knew what was going on in my head and nobody in college or friends knew i had such thick glasses.
Marriage prospects because of these were always a question mark for my parents..Of course i knew too. So here i was a 20 year old who thought i would never get married because of this. Every one knows indian Marriage market- so i don't really need to get into details.Its a different thing that i still haven't got married because i never really found a compatible person because of my height etc.

The point is my parents were on a look out for PRK [ another procedure to reduce eye numbers]which was done in hordes by Surya hospital  et al. Camps were carried out but it was a highly invasive procedure and didn't seemed worth it. So when i became 20 someone told us of this new procedure called LASIK with minimum invasiveness and most importantly could be done for kind of numbers i had in my eyes
   So with permission from our religious head Syedna- i got LASIK done at Bombay. Things went well. My doctor told me i will still have to wear glasses because my number was very high to start with.
We had understood it - atleast what the surgery was and what happens immediately after.In the informed consent, that the doctors take there was lot of fine print.But can someone like us or my parents really understand the implications and complications??? Still my parents being cautious must have asked all that must have really known to ask - after all me and my parents are not doctors to weigh in medical facts and make a decision.Nowadays doctors don't even want to take responsibility in critical and required operations so for elective procedure like LASIK i am sure they won't take any.
For comprehensive and right information on LASIK go here

Its been 15 years for my LASIK - i got it done from the best and the oldest LASER CENTRE there is.Yet, when i google LASIK today  there is no debate over it. I don't see doctors or clinical trials studying long term effects of LASIK on the cornea and quality of vision or if they have studied talking about it and making it known to the general public.The earlier procedure i went through where a corneal flap is cut and cornea is lasered is still being done.Lots of improvement have come up and last i read BLAdELESS LASIK has come up[ unfortunately this procedure hovers around a lakh of rupees for both eyes]

At the time i underwent LASIK, longterm safety effect on eyes were still not known and it seems the case even now. LASIK is purely market driven and it is a cosmetic procedure.

After 15 years,here's the truth about LASIK as i have dealt with:

1. I knew it was a cosmetic procedure. I knew i had to wear glasses after it too.
Here's what doctors didn't tell me:
  • That i would have dry eyes for the rest of my life. They told me its mild discomfort for a few weeks after operation. My dry eyes have become only drier over the years. Now with gluacoma medication they are even more dry.Blurry vision because of dry eyes is no fun.
  • Eyestrain is real and quicker than if you would normally have according to your age and workload.
  • I have double vision in both eyes which has persisted and become worst over the years.Harsh vehicle lights shining still cause discomfort .I don't drive vehicle so i don't really have to deal with this everyday.
  • Night vision is poor.
  • Overall even though my myopia was high my quality of vision after wearing glasses was quite good.Its not same after LASIK. what with double vision etc.
  • LASIK causes permanent changes in the cornea.
  • Eyestrain is frequent even reading for an hour is troublesome.Working for long on computers is even more problematic. But I ignore/ manage/sacrifice to work on computer or read or even watch TV. I don't know how long i'll be able to do this.
  • Some people get eyepain as a side effect.
  • Only now i know Intra ocular pressure readings in LASIKed eyes come inaccurate. And in future cataract operation which practically happens to every one becomes tricky as compared to non LASIKed eyes.
  • And after a year of operation, my numbers again increased and little by little they have increased in last 15 years. So its not true when doctors say LASIK results remain stable.I suspect high power or low power most people must be ending up wearing glasses again years and years after LASIK.

My viewpoint: 
LASIK is not easy and sideeffect free procedure that doctors make it out to be.Dry eyes [ google dry eyes for more info] for rest of your life and double vision is really problematic.
Consider LASIK only after careful delibration and only if your numbers are above -8 etc.You will have to wear glasses maybe after LASIK too.Doctors have not really done follow up studies on how many people end up wearing glasses over the years- so the marketing advertisement of 'crystal clear vision','freedom from glasses or contacts' is not true in all cases.

Do LASIK if your eye numbers are high like me especially if cornea and retina are normal but be prepared to live with dry eyes and double vision.


Don't do it because your friend did it. 

If you are managing with specs and contact lens fine, DON'T do LASIK.

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