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Laser Vision Surgery for Developers?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the state-of-the-art-in-medicine dept.

Programming 741

cyclops asks: "I have been contemplating about going for LASIK surgery for a couple of years. I want to get rid of my dependency on glasses or lenses because I really find them cumbersome. The main thing that is stopping me now is that like you, programming is my livelihood and thus I spent a major part of my day staring into the monitor. I have readthat there is always a certain percentage of patients not regaining 20/20 vision but it's OK for them since most of them don't need that sharp vision during work. I am about to consult with a LASIK surgeon but I would love to hear anecdotal evidence about your experiences, to hear if it works out for you eventually. (I have stable myopia of -5.50 and astimagtism of -1.00 for 3 years already)." Ask Slashdot has handled this issue in the past in two previous articles: this one from 1999, and a related article from 2000. With at least 2 years since the last time this question was posed, how has medical technology improved in this aspect? For those unwilling or unable to take advantage of Laser Surgery, have other viable alternatives arisen in the past two years?

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363167)


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363194)

You are gay like Rick Austenson [] . FOAD you homo!

first post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363168)

My FIRST, first post!

Re:first post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363195)

Actually, NOT! But thanks for trying anyway, it's very cute.

first (-1)

james3v (594478) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363169)

post ! 3v3v3v

I'm probably going to have it done... (2, Informative)

Chastitina (253566) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363171)

... a couple of the developers I work with have had corrective eye surgery and have wonderful things to say about it. One fellow even had the new LADIK procedure and was back at work programming the next day. Yes, there's always risks, but driving to work in a metropolitan area is probably less healthy in the long run.

Re:I'm probably going to have it done... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363241)

A friend of mine had it, and now he's blind. Damn shame, really, but he knew the risks when he underwent the surgery.

Inner conflict (2, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363175)

I know this may seem difficult to believe, but bad vision is usually due to chronic tension in the muscles of the eyes. There are methods available to reduce your chronic muscle tension. There is a book about this; I will see if I can find the title.

Re:Inner conflict (0, Troll)

silicon_synapse (145470) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363206)

Did you try to save some money on this week's weed?

Re:Inner conflict (2, Interesting)

yamla (136560) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363244)

I believe the book you are referring to is Dianetics [] by L. Ron Hubbard. Note, though, that it is a primary recruiting tool for the cult of Scientology.

Re:Inner conflict (1)

Ryan Amos (16972) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363271)

A bit OT, but Dianetics is actually a very interesting book. Many people discount it because yes, it is used as a recruiting tool for Scientology, but it is at the very least an interesting read.

Re:Inner conflict (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363342)

it was also never intended to be a cult or a religion

Re:Inner conflict (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363275)

How about stopping masterbation - is that as effective as improving eyesight too?

Re:Inner conflict (1)

WebMacher (598213) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363290)

Um, it's difficult to believe because it's not really accurate. (What does "usually" mean anyway?) There are some links reported in studies between how you use your eyes and eyesight problems, but that doesn't mean you can exercise your way out of nearsightedness. (Believe me, I wish you could!) There's a lot of different eye problems you can have, and you can't lump them all into one category under "chronic muscle tension."

Behavioral Optometry (5, Interesting)

tmark (230091) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363303)

There is a school of thought that says that vision can be improved by stretching the eye muscles. This is advocated by behavioral optometrists. The idea is that when you spend time focused at a certain distance, as so many of us do, our eye muscles tighten chronically. When this happens, the cornea and lens distort and vision problems arise. The problem is not helped in the long run by corrective lenses.

I believe some other behavioral optometrists have some other theories about "learning to see", etc.

I know this all sounds crazy, but my vision got worse every time I go in for a few months of really intensive coding. A few months ago, I was certain my prescription had gotten worse - I can usually tell because on top of not seeing distances clearly, I have headaches and feel sick a lot.

On a lark I bought a book (really, an ~80 page pamphlet) on eye exercises, and also a bigger one on behavioral optometry. I did the eye exercises they prescribed, and within a week or so I was seeing noticeably better.

Now, I believe behavioral optometrists would prescribe a regimen of steadily weaker corrective lenses, to exercise your eyes. I haven't gone that far yet, but I do have to say I was stunned by the marked improvement in my vision a few weeks of exercises got me. I've dealt with steadily worsening vision for the last 20 years, so I KNOW I am not imagining it.

Re:Inner conflict (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363311)

Are you referring to the "See Clearly Method" I hear on AM talk radio all the time? Like 99% of the commercials on AM, it's a scam.

Re:Inner conflict (1)

reactor (138682) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363353)

I know this may seem difficult to believe, but bad vision is usually due to chronic tension in the muscles of the eyes.

The reason I find it hard to believe is because it is completely untrue. Laser eye surgery is largly intended for people with near-sightedness( myopia ). The cause of myopia is having "too powerful" eyesight. This causes up close objects to come into clear focus, but distant objects are blurred.

More information can be found here [] .

Laser eye surgery adjusts the shape of the cornea to obtain the correct refraction.

Much information can be found at

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363177)

First Post... Rick Austenson [] is a homo who buttfucks Michael A Hartman!

Sonar (2, Funny)

Grip3n (470031) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363181)

Ever considered life as a bat? Well then you should consider forsaking your lousy eyes and getting Sonar [] !

Night vision (5, Informative)

JohnTheFisherman (225485) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363184)

Lasik can harm your night vision, among other things. For such a distance-specific task as programming, you're probably much better off with glasses (and much safer).

I don't know much about this site, but I'd just heard about it: [] . Look around, I've heard a lot of bad stuff second hand about it.

Re:Night vision (2, Interesting)

ryochiji (453715) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363318)

I've heard a lot of good things about lasik, but one thing that concerns me personally is the fact that, AFAIK there aren't any studies on the long term effects (probably because it hasn't been around long enough).

Re:Night vision (2)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363366)

Funny, my friends X girlfriend was actually doing university work on the mid term effects of the surgery. Basically they were doing it to some animal then taking eye cells to look for pre cancerous mutations. That was the hypothosys anyway, they broke up before the stuff got really started.

Re:Night vision (2, Informative)

homb (82455) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363319)

Doesn't look like this site (lasiktruth) does add much information, considering what's already available in this discussion thread. All it says, from what I can decipher, is:

1- People notice more halos around strong light sources (mostly in high-contrast nighttime)
2- Some people don't get perfect results (i.e. no guaranteed 20/20)
3- The guy who wanted to bring the technology to market was trying really hard to shirk responsibility if anything failed.

But the study this site refers to is from 1999. So I strongly suggest reading the discussion here for an update...

New business plan? (0, Redundant)

Shut the fuck up! (572058) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363186)

1. Blind yourself
2. ???
3. Profit!!!

My experience (4, Funny)

papasui (567265) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363193)

I've found that I don't need any of those expensive methods to fix my eyes what I did is I took a magnifying glass, a mirror, and a Microsoft Optical Mouse and reflected the light from the mirror onto my magnifying glass and stared into it for about 45 seconds. It gets a little hard to look at after the first 20 seconds passes but the burning sensation usually stops after 35 seconds and then your almost home free! Rinse and repeat. Total cost ~$52 USD.

(Disclaimer: Please do not try this.)

Re:My experience (2)

swb (14022) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363326)

You could add an extra $100 and buy some coke to anesthetize that eye with.

Don't Do It! (2, Informative)

ahecht (567934) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363196)

Any laser surgury will ruin your night vision, and if you ever want to get into astronomy, photography, or any low-light activity, you will regret it. It may even affect those late night coding sessions.

There are reversable alternatives, such as Intacts [] , but they may not work with your degree of astigmatism.

Re:Don't Do It! (1)

WebMacher (598213) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363247)

Although if you're nearsighted (as I am -- very!) your night vision is probably pretty bad anyway.

Still, it is surgery -- I wouldn't do it lightly!

OTOH, a friend of mine who works in accounting/auditing, and certainly needs her eyes, had it done and reported that it was very successful (apart from her night vision getting even worse than it was)

Wrong (4, Insightful)

Johnboi Waltune (462501) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363262)

I had LASIK 2 years ago and have no night vision problems. For the first couple months, there was a slight 'ghosting' effect around bright lights at night. That has completely disappeared. My night vision before the surgery was excellent and it continues to be so.

Re:Don't Do It! (5, Informative)

MoxCamel (20484) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363266)

Any laser surgury will ruin your night vision...

Hogwash. There is a chance, but night vision problems (like haloing) typically go away over time.

I had Lasik a couple years ago. I never had nightvision problems, even temporarily. My wife had hers done a week before mine. She had haloing for about 6 months, but it eventually went away.

It's different for everyone. General statements like that are just FUD. We /.ers don't like FUD.


Re:Don't Do It! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363359)

Nonsense. No problems here, I got the procedure about 18 months ago. I work in front of a PC all day and night as well.

Re:Don't Do It! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363363)

We /.ers don't like FUD

Rubbish - /.ers love FUD. They just don't like it from other people.

Same night vision problem with contacts (2)

josquint (193951) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363370)

I have a pretty strong prescription for nearsigtedness and astigmatism(at like a 30 degree angle, wich makes things even more fun)
I switched to contacts last year and my normal vision is much better, however my low light went to shit. I have rather large max-dialation, so the lens's correctiveness doesnt cover my pupil in low light conditions(and having a thick lens doesnt help either).
If this is any indication of what LASIK is like.. forget it... I still revert back to glasses when doing night photography or volunteer security patrol.

Anyone know if the LASIK halo problem stems from the same reason of the Contact Lens halo problem(over large pupil dialation)?

Obligatory Simpsons Reference (4, Funny)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363197)

from BABF13 - Bart to the Future
Ralph: Mr. Flanders, your blindedid.
Flanders: Yeah, I never shoulda had that trendy laser surgery, it was great at first, but at the 10 year mark your eyes fall out.

A more interesting ask slashdot (rejected) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363202)

I just discovered that my two female roommates have been mixing crushed birth control pills into my food for over a year now. They said that the female hormones it contains helped control my behavior. Well it worked, but as a side effect I now have some small boobs. They say they're sorry about the side effects. What should I do? Are apologies enough in this case? Or should I return the compliment and put penis enlargement pills in their food?

Triple your dosage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363286)

and call me in about 10 years.

But how will people recognize you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363203)

A geek without glasses is like a cop without a badge, or a doctor without a stethoscope.

People will think you're normal, and women might even want to breed with you.

Bad idea, dude.

The see clearly method? (1)

E1v!$ (267945) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363204)

I've seen an actress (famous but I don't recall her name) who professes to have used this 'see clearly method' to dramatically improve her vision and her son's.

Is this a possible alternative? Even if it's not, how effective is this? Over the past 4 years, living in front of the computer, I've noticed a degradation of my vision. I want it to stop!

Re:The see clearly method? (2, Informative)

E1v!$ (267945) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363226)

The actress:
Mariette Hartley

The website:

Re:The see clearly method? (1)

Yrd (253300) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363291)

Another wonder method with a price... gotta hate the world.

Re:The see clearly method? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363358)

Momma always said you'd go blind looking at online pr0n...

do it yourself (4, Funny)

joe_bruin (266648) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363207)

i stared into the fiber coming from our t3 drop, and my vision was miraculously cured. well, except for the one dark spot that has a burned in backwards "NORTEL" logo on it.

Aberrations (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363217)

At present, opticians measure and correct defocus and astigmatism. The eye has many higher orders of aberration (spherical aberration, coma, trefoil etc), which are not measured and are not corrected. The problem is that, for laser surgery, the astigmatism and defocus are corrected over a small area of the pupil, smaller than the area of the dilated pupil. Outside this area, aberrations are exacerbated, and not currently measurable (although there is a lot of work in this area). Hence, if you have laser eye surgery, your corrected vision will (barring complications), be fine during the day or when in a brightly lit area, but vision may be worse than pre-correction at night. Doesn't sound too bad, unless you drive at night...

Don't - just don't (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363223)

A friend of mine is a senior uni researcher in optometry. She's told me that the flap of cornea that they open up in order to do the surgery never heals properly and that even mild trauma is able to re-open the cut. This can result in infection, scarring and permanent damage. She wears glasses and preaches openly against this technology.

BIG FONTS ARE YOUR FRIENDS :-) (5, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363224)

I have used a 21-inch monitor, way far back on my desk... actually behind the desk on a shelf, with huge fonts, for years. At Pixar, they called it "the world's most expensive TTY", as I usually work in one screen-sized terminal window. I have improved my eyesight substantially and went from needing glasses to needing none. With my 45th birthday rapidly approaching, I'm noticing some slight degradation in my sight due to aging, but avoiding strain helps a lot.



mclem (34313) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363280)

Amen to that, and gawd bless the font-size shortcut in Mozilla. No more 6pt. Squintyfont sites for me, thanks.

Dangerous (5, Interesting)

SandSpider (60727) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363228)

Cal Simone [] , who is very famous in the Applescript world, had laser vision surgery done recently. Unfortunately, now he can't look at a computer screen for any period of time without getting a headache. He can't do any coding, and is very limited by how much computer work he can do at any given time.

I don't know what the odds are that such a thing would happen for a given laser eye surgery. Personally, I think that if there is any chance at all that a cosmetic surgery will prevent me from doing serious computer work, then the cosmetic surgery is not worth it.


Re:Dangerous (0)

urmensch (314385) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363256)

I'm not sure that this should be classified as cosmetic surgery.
please explain.

Re:Dangerous (2)

brain159 (113897) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363333)

well, cosmetic surgery is usually classed as being that which alters "how you look"... *G* (props to Roald Dahl for the original "square sweets that look round" joke)

Be smart! (3, Informative)

MoxCamel (20484) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363229)

I did LASIK, and am a developer. It was great, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.


Don't take my word for it. It was the right decision for me, it may not be for you. Do your research, and above all do not let price be your primary factor. It's the only eyes you have, be smart about it.


Worked great for me (4, Informative)

Cadran (612688) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363230)

Had it done this last June and it worked extremely well for me, vision stabilized at 20/20 within a couple of weeks. Would however strongly, STRONGLY recommend paying top dollar for a quality Lasik doctor as opposed to going somewhere cheaper--no reason to mess around when it comes to your eyes. The operation's been mixed for my coworkers; three had great success, one only achieved 20/50.

Be Patient and very careful (2, Insightful)

twistedcubic (577194) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363231)

You should patiently seek out a surgeon you can trust. Be especially careful about going to those "chop-shop" surgeons. I listened to a surgeon at UCLA explain the risks, and he seemed to be honest. He would even refuse to operate on people (including a friend of mine) if he thought that the surgery would result in non-optimal results, like the "halo" effect at night, which I think happens if your pupil (or whatever it's called) is the wrong size. You should expect to pay a one-time fee with free followups until everything is just right. Try to avoid a surgeon who doesn't give a damn about you. Really important, in my opinion. Anyway, I've found that vigilantly using pretty fonts in Linux and switching to a nice laptop display has incredibly reduced the strain on my eyes caused by the CRT monitors (I'm -9 nearsighted in both eyes). Though this may not be a solution for everyone :)

It seems to work but... (1)

X-Nc (34250) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363232)

Three of the techies where I work had the surgery last year. They have been very happy with the results. I thought about it myself at one time. For about 1/2 a second. The whole idea of cutting my eyeball and peeling it back to get to the lense just doesn't pass my "shiver test". There's no way I'm going to do this unless I'm so completely unconcious I'll not even have subconcious memories of it.

Do one eye.. (2)

Suppafly (179830) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363233)

Just do one eye at a time, so that way if you experience major problems, you aren't unable to provide for yourself and your family.

Long term risks unknown (5, Interesting)

kindofblue (308225) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363235)

I just went to my eye doctor last week and asked about Lasik. HE wouldn't even recommend because he thought there was not enough case work on long term effects of Lasik. He was concerned about possible long-term corneal degeneration risks, since Lasik cuts away part of your cornea.

OTOH, I had previously thought that the biggest problem would be that some patients experience "halo" effects, especially at night. He said that was mainly due to other techniques based on RK, but not so much with Lasik.

BTW, as an optometrist, he was offered Lasiks for free, for himself, but didn't take it for these reasons.

Re:Long term risks unknown (1)

syates21 (78378) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363317)

BTW, as an optometrist, he was offered Lasiks for free, for himself, but didn't take it for these reasons.

BTW, he may also have just a bit of a conflict of interest in discouraging a surgery that could potentially keep you from ever coming back to him.

Re:Long term risks unknown (2, Insightful)

Zelig321 (592536) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363321)

Being an optometrist, it's not likely he'll recommend something that would make him lose business.

However, the comments he made seem to make sense. But I'd try finding a similar opinion from an unbiased professional.

I myself wear lenses, and have thought of having laser surgery, but surgery is surgery. There's always a chance that it goes wrong. Unless you REALLY find it cumbersome (I know I don't: wearing disposable lenses is not more complicated than brushing my teeth every day), I wouldn't take the chance.

A friend of mine had the surgery and everything is fine for him (after 4 years)

Net worth: 0.02$

I've heard good things (1)

enderak (557146) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363238)

There are 4 people in my office who have gone in for the surgury, and the three that got it done were back in action with 20/20 vision within a day or two. The one that didn't get it, the doctor flat out told her that her with particular eye problems, that it would not be a safe option. I think that most doctors would stay on the safe side when either recommending or not recommending that you get this surgury - even one bad surgury could be disasterous to their practice. I would say go with a doctor who is recommended by someone that has had the surgury done before, and if possible get a second opinion to confirm that the procedure will be safe.

Then there's the risk (5, Insightful)

hatless (8275) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363243)

Me, I wear glasses, ones with a pretty thick lens on the left at that. The frames get a little in the way of my peripheral vision. But I don't want Lasik. Why? Because of the failure rate--even if it's somehow down to only 1%, and I'm not sure it is.

Forget worrying about not achieving the 20/20 vision you want and that many people get from it. Worry instead about the real risk of corneal damage that will leave your vision worse than it was before, with permanent starbursts and haloes like you're looking through scratched, scuffed glasses all the time.

Will this happen to you? Probably not. In fact, if you have the sort of vision that Lasik corrects, you have a well over 95% chance of getting the great vision without glasses that you want. It's just that if you draw the short straw, you could find your ability to read a screen pretty thoroughly ruined, with or without glasses.

Weigh the benefits against the risks, and if you decide to do it, note that most surgeons have you sign a boilerplate contract that bars you from suing them if your vision is ruined. Who's the real winner?

I did it (5, Informative)

mclem (34313) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363248)

Had the procedure done -- both eyes on the same day! -- and it was fantastic. My night vision was never very good, so I don't mourn the loss, and in fact, my depth perception has improved since getting rid of my glasses. After a year, I'm 20/20 in one eye, 20/15 in the other -- a vast improvement over my pre-surgery vision. (And my good eye now was my good eye then, too.)

I notice my eyes getting a little tired near the end of the day, which is normal for folks with naturally good vision. And I know that I'll need reading glasses eventually. Big deal. I can see my wife in the morning, swim with my kids, fall asleep while reading, wear decent sunglasses, etc... All trivial things when you've got normal vision, but oh-so-worth it when you've needed glasses for 20+ years just to find your frelling shoes.

Oh yeah, it's worth it. Find a decent surgeon -- research! ask questions!

Great Experience: Strongly Recommend (5, Informative)

jrichau (26432) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363250)

My story is anectdotal at best, but I can't recommend the surgery strongly enough. I spend most days staring at the computer screen (I remember talking to my eye doctor suggesting that I spend 14-16 hours looking at the computer, he replied "in a week?", "No, a day..."). Both of my parents also had the surgery with success which gave me more confidence to have it.

I had laser surgery (LASIK) last spring. It was a fantastic experience. I basically have had contacts forever (-4.5 in one eye, -4.25 in the other, slight astigmatism in one but I don't know the number value for it). I went in for a consult and they deemed me an ideal candidate after checking my vision and doing some measurement of the size of my cornea (mine is thicker than average which is good for them because they effectively reshape your eye by getting rid of some of the cornea).

I went in for the surgery on an afternoon. I had both eyes done on that day. I basically sat in this chair and focused on a little red light. They put some numbing drops in my eyes and then lowered this eyeball sized tubish thing over my eye. It basically sucked onto and grabbed hold of my eye, then a blade comes out of that to slice a thin layer of the cornea. The surgeon then lifts up that layer and the world goes super foggy. I focused as best I could on the red light (with the sucker thing on my eye, I couldn't have moved it anyway). And they basically fired a laser at my eye for 50 seconds or so. Then they flipped the cornea layer back over my eye and the world became clear. They then did the same process for the other eye. It did not hurt in any way during the process.

When it was done, I could immediately see better but it did hurt to look at bright light so I basically got patches over my eyes and was driven home. I took some Tylenol PM and went to sleep with these plastic things covering my eyes to protect from rubbing during the night.

The next morning I drove back to the eye center without my glasses. At that point my eyes were about 20/40 or 20/30. I went to work that day as well so I basically missed an afternoon of work. I had to wear the eye covers at night for the next few nights. Over the next week or so as my eyes completely healed, my vision became 20/15 in both eyes. It has been that way ever since. I do notice slightly more haloing (halos around point light sources) at night but nothing that might not have been there before and I just didn't notice.

I can't recommend it strongly enough. Not having contacts has been a pleasure and the whole surgery experience was a breeze. The worst part of it was the anxiety as they did the surgery but it only lasts about 15 minutes and was well worth it.

Lucky you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363252)

I have keratoconus, which means I can't have lasik et al done.

You've come to the right place then (5, Funny)

Target Drone (546651) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363257)

I would love to hear anecdotal evidence about your experiences

If it's anecdotal evidence, conjecture, speculation, or just good old innuendo your interested in then Ask Slashdot is the place for you.

I'm doing research in this area-- don't do surgery (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363261)

I'm with Brian Barsky's OPTICAL group at UC Berkeley. ( )
We are currently doing research on how to better describe the damage caused by laser surgery.
You see why laser surgery repairs correctable damage (damage that can be otherwise corrected with lenses)
it also causes uncorrectable damage... more or less a "corner" where the laser stops hitting the eye.
this "corner" gets more profound after the eye begins to heal from the surgery and tissue regenerates.
It eventually causes people to have intense glare from light sources on the side of their faces (i.e. headlights when you drive at night)
I would recommend NOT getting this surgery.
Unfortunately not too terribly much progress has been made in consistently describing this damage (reports cite perhaps 30th order zernike polynomials for approximation of these problems...which is not helpful at all in describing the shape of the corner)
We are hoping to better describe quantitatively the damage caused by this surgery.

Anyhow I suggest you use a reversible method for correcting your vision (eg glasses/contacts)
Vega Strike Lead Developer

Obligatory Simpsons Quotation (1)

sssmashy (612587) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363263)

[Ned answers the door. He's wearing dark glasses and carrying a cane]

Ned: Jesus? Is that you?

Ralph: Mr. Flanders, you're blinded-ded!

Ned: Oh, yeah. I never should have had that trendy laser surgery. It was great at first but, you know, at the ten-year mark your eyes fall out.

What i would like to hear... (2)

gTsiros (205624) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363265)

How old is the one who has undergone the first LASIK operation? I'm asking this because it isn't very certain if there won't be implications, say, after 20 years.

I don't mind glasses but i'd love to "lose" my 5 (l) and 4 (r) degrees of myopia, however: who can give me solid advice whether this will be save in the very long run (more than a decade).

[offtopic comments: I've thought of the LASIK operation (in fact, in Crete is most of the research done, which is near me) and my parents have given me the green light&money for the operation, but i'll be staying with my glasses.]

Aviation authorities are not too keen on the Op (1)

martintt (512215) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363276)

If your eyesight is not good enough to be a pilot or ATCO already then you won't be allowd to after laser surgery either.

So I'd best stick to the BSD game ATC.

LASIK works well but .... (2, Insightful)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363282)

I would recommend LASIK for overall lifestyle improvement but not just to see a computer monitor better.

If you can't see what you're doing when you get out of bed in the morning (5 diopters is borderline for that) then LASIK will help you. My SO was about 8 diopters and it made a big difference.

The downsides aren't all that bad but there are tradeoffs. I have a 3-4 diopter correction and I have the option to work on a laptop without my glasses or contacts on. Also my vision corrects to 20/15-17. I would not expect such a good result from LASIK. My expectations would be more like 20/40 which would probably be significantly worse in dim light and better in bright light. If you can focus sharply in the dark now, you will probably lose that after LASIK.

I would not expect serious adverse health consequences from LASIK but they are possible.

I think that all in all LASIK will probably make it harder for you to stare at a CRT all day, but it may greatly improve other aspects of your life. Think about it carefully beforehand.

You might consider corrective optics that undercorrect your eyesight, specifically for working near CRTs. Being undercorrected by .5 diopter doesn't significantly worsen your distance vision, except at night, and it makes focusing close much more comfortable. Some people cannot attain sharp focus at night anyway, so what does it matter?

Actually, I say working near CRTs ... one of the best things you can do is work in front of an LCD monitor instead. Makes a huge difference eyestrain-wise.


It worked great for me (2, Informative)

ToryGA1 (469105) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363284)

I had the surgery about 8 months ago. I have 20/15 vision in both eyes now, and contrary to what some people have said, my night vision is fantastic. I couldn't be happier.

Even staring at a computer all day and half the night doesn't bother me.

About my only minor complaint, is that my eyes get a little dry, and I have to carry wetting drops with me. I understand that about a year post surgery, this goes away, and after 8 months, I need the drops less and less often.

I would highly recommend it. Just make sure you see a reputable doctor, and talk to some of his/her previous patients. That's what I did, and they were all quite happy.

It cost about $2800, but I would pay it again.


Salon Article (1)

WankersRevenge (452399) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363287)

Here's a somewhat dated (March 2000) yet still very relevant article [] on the subject.

Pros and cons (1)

LucidBeast (601749) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363288)

On the pro side I'd say that you'll learn to type faster since you can't stare at the keyboard anymore. On the con side nobody will buy software from you since you don't look like a geek any more, but the babes will love you. Cheers, LB

My Experience (2)

Swaffs (470184) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363292)

I just had LASIK surgery on both eyes on Thursday. So far I have experienced no problems at all. Granted, my eyes weren't very bad to begin with. I have another friend who had his eyes done at the same clinic and he also has not experienced any problems. No sands, halos, night-vision loss, nothing. I think the key is to find a reputable surgeon and to follow all the post-surgery directions properly. It's a long healing process, so we'll have to see how mine go.

Benifits (1)

Rexburg (203940) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363293)

Though my glasses have never bothered me, I can certainly appreciate the view. Still, laser surgery seems like a lot of money and danger just to get rid of them.

I'm going to need a greater payback then 20/20; I'd better come out of that operation seeing in infrared.

Equipment gone wrong. (2)

Sean Clifford (322444) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363294)

My boss and his wife had LASIK surgery. It worked fantastic for him; he went from shitty vision to better than 20/20; and he's also a pilot.

His wife, however, and two other patients had their vision severely damaged due to a bad instrument. Since the surgeries are quick (just a few minutes), it wasn't noticed.

They only do one eye at a time, just in case of something like this. So, only one eye is affected. However, she can't sit in front a computer very long and is subject to severe headaches. Even with glasses, her vision in that eye is poor.

Is it worth the risk? Well, there is only one person that can answer that question: you. Personally, I'm willing to take it, but would rather go for intacts than LASIK because my night vision sucks ass as it is. Unlike my boss, who has good night vision even after the surgery, my night vision sucks ass without any surgery. Since I'm planning to get my pilot's license, I'd rather go for intacts.

I don't have a problem with it... (2)

soap.xml (469053) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363296)

My father had LASIK done a few years back, he is a coder (so am I) and has not had any issues with it.

From what I know he has not had any issues with the surgery and his eye sight.

I would say go for it. For the most part its a safe and harmless procudure. I personnaly dont need it, but know many people who have done it, are a VERY happy they did.


Ortho-K (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363298)

Ortho-K. They are contacts that reshape your eyes. Eventually you only have to ear them at night or only once a week/month. Can give you better then 20/20, no side effects, reversible if desired, no risks really! I have too much astigmatism for it right now. But I'm waiting!

A friend of mine tried to have Lasik done... (2)

npietraniec (519210) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363301)

A friend of mine tried to have Lasik done... Apparently they shine a bright light in your eyes to dialate you pupils.

He had a seziure.

I won't be trying to do that any time soon.

Laser Vision Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363302)

This is a surgical procedure- the results are only as good as the surgeon. A year and a half ago, my wife and I both elected to have lasik. Both of us now have better than 20/20 and have had no ill side effects (beyond the first month of dry eyes). Critically look at the surgeons credentials, and stick to major medical centers (not malls and storefronts)

Laser Surgery (1)

TexArcana2002 (612690) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363304)

I had mine done 6 years ago, before the FDA allowed it in the US, and I am still 20-15, and had pretty severe astigmatism. And it didn't affect my monitor viewing a bit--in fact, it improved things alot because I don't have to deal with the distortion induced by glasses. There are possible problems, but that's in everything you do. Most problems can be alleviated by picking the right doctors, with the newest equipment. The worst problem the docs face is the patient's eye moving too much and a clean zap not being done, which has been resolved with better computer controls and better patient prep. So, I'd say go for it, but make sure you go thru a trusted opthamologist first.

I had LASIK surgery in 1999 - all OK since then (1)

darkeye (199616) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363307)

I can just recomment LASIK surgery. I've had it December 1999, and it has been quite a success. I don't need glasses ever since.

My Experience (1)

lsoth (446686) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363310)

My situation is almost the exact same as yours. My vision was about the same as well as the astimagtism. However I am sadly not a programmer, just a lowly sys admin :)

It has been just over 2 years now since I had it done, and I think my vision is slightly below 20/20. Night vision is a little off (some halo/blurring) but nothing that would stop me from driving. Even staring at my monitor for 2 years hasn't done me too much harm.

I do have a couple of good suggestions for you though:

1) Choose a GOOD place (don't pick based on cheap price, it's your EYES and they don't grow back). I did my eyes at Herzig in Toronto. It cost me almost $5000.00 (CAN dollars, I think that's about $125 US ).

2) Get a place that has a lifetime guarantee. If it ever needs to be done again it's free.

3) If you live in Canada some of that cost could be covered. While it cost me $5000 I only ended up paying about $400. My current job uses a new Canadian benefits feature that allowed me to save my companies allocated funds into a special account where I saved it for 2 years and then paid using the account. None of that money was mine, it was the companies "virtual money" they gave me to "buy" benefits. Check into your work for something simular. It will help cover the costs of a higher quality place.

Personally, if I had to do it all over again I would. The procedure while it looks painful, isn't really too bad. The best way I can describe it is like being captured by aliens. Everything going blurry, then black, then you see blurry red flashing lights (which they make you stare it... Harder than it sounds when your vision is blurry)... My advice is go for it :)

It is great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363320)

--Had it done in late '99. My vision went from 20/200 to 20/15 and 20/20. Hasn't changed since. I have zero problems at night, no halo effect around lights (at least, no more than my friend who has natural 20/20.

I have had zero problems, but I made sure to select the most experienced surgeons in my metro area. I paid more, but man, was it worth it. I wish I had done it sooner.

I know 3 people well that have done it, and all are very happy.

Good Luck!

Horror stories (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363323)

Wish I'd found that site before I had my eyes fubared.

Short version...its been a year+..I'm spending over $50 a week on eye drops due to major dry eye issues....reading which used to be a pleasure in my life is now a nightmare....most importantly, due to the dryness and constant tiredness of my eyes, long term comp work is flat out. Also, caffine is majorly restricted due to how my eyes react to it... Nightvisions pure hell.

So..if contemplating ALOT! of research...any doubts, dont do it.

See also : d=1618&highlight=lasik for more info on what I went thru.

Good luck

vision realistic rendering (2)

kawaldeep (204184) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363324)

A professor I work with, Brian Barsky [] , heads up the OPTICAL research project at UC Berkeley.

Their latest work, "RAYS (Render As You See) [] is a system for "vision-realistic rendering" which can simulate the vision of actual individuals. Vision-realistic rendering is particularly interesting in the context of laser refractive eye surgeries such as PRK and LASIK. Currently, almost a million Americans per year are choosing to undergo such elective surgeries. RAYS could convey to doctors the vision of a patient before and after surgery. In addition, RAYS could provide accurate and revealing visualizations of predicted acuity and simulated vision to potential candidates for such surgeries to facilitate educated decisions about the procedure. Still another application would be to show such candidates the possible visual anomalies that could arise from the surgery (such as glare at night)."

Not for me (1)

Tomster (5075) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363325)

I've got one pair of eyes. Contacts are a daily annoyance, but with them my vision is perfect and I normally experience no discomfort. I'm not going to take the chance on permanently damaging my vision. Plus, contact lens developments such as hyper-oxygen transmissible lenses are allowing extended continuous wear (30 days), reducing the annoyance to a barely perceptible level.

Consequently, for me the risk is too high.


My case is pretty typical, I think (4, Informative)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363329)

I was like -4.00 and -3.75. I had Lasik a few years ago. Now I see about 20/25 and 20/20. I have the halos at night.

I have to admit, initially I was somewhat disappointed because my vision definitely wasn't as sharp as it was when it was fine-tuned with my contact lenses. But to tell you the truth, now I don't even think about it. My vision is definitely "good enough" and I'm glad I did it. Being free of any vision correction is really, really nice. The halos at night used to be somewhat annoying, but I've pretty much gotten used to them and they don't bother me.

One big advantage is that my eyes don't get as fatigued from wearing contact lenses at the end of the day, and I find that to be an advantage in late night programming sessions.

For me, the positives outweighed the negatives, but unfortunately there's no way to really know for yourself without doing it.

Thrilled with Mine (4, Informative)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363337)

I'm a programmer. I had my eyes done about 4 years ago. I've had no problmes. I did get a 'starburst' on bright lights at night but it is actually milder than the same effect when I wore glasses.

I had the procedure mainly because glasses interfered w/hunting and other outdoor sports.

From what I understand- the greater the correction needed, the greater the risks. My vision was not too bad prior to the procedure and better than 20/20 in both eyes after it was done.

I would do it again in a heart beat.


i had lasik done.. (3, Informative)

jspectre (102549) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363339)

18 months ago and have had better than 20/20 vision since.

my advice is to very carefully research your doctor and the equipment he uses. you get what you pay for, cheap prices usually means cheap service. much of the equipment they use can be looked up on the web (my doctor used a system developed by B&L, i could look up the stats and success & failure rate on B&L's web site as well as the FDA).

i'm very happy with having it done.

oh. i had it done at lasik plus [] .

Lasik and computer monitors (1)

wuchang (524603) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363347)

My girlfriend got it and she plays counter-strike a lot. Her eyes became a bit more sensitive to the brightness of the monitor. She either has to turn down the brightness or take periodic breaks. Your mileage definitely varies based on your age (mid-20s to mid-30s is recommended) and your eye-sight.

I'm waiting for the sequel... (2, Interesting)

Duderstadt (549997) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363349)

Right now, a better laser correction technology is in trials and should be available sometime in '03 or '04. Albeit at a greater cost, of course.

The new method uses computer assisted distorted mirror and lens technology to create a real time map of the retina for the shaping beam (also new).

The benefits? Try 10/20 vision. And unlike LASIK, this new method promises less irritation and actually improves your night vision instead of nearly erasing it.

For my money, near super-human vision is worth the wait... and the estimated 5k per eye price tag.

Silicone contact lenses: the alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363350)

Try the new silicone contact lenses, currently made by bausch&lomb and cibavision [] .

You leave them in for 1 month at a time, no need to take them our when you sleep. Their oxygen permeability is similar to wearing no lenses at all, thus there is no risk of corneal anoxia.

I wear them, they are extremely comfortable, i don't even notice they are in.

If you are too lazy to change your lenses 12 times a year, then maybe you have other issues :-)

Orthokeratology (2, Informative)

wboatman (126052) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363352)

I had been wearing soft contacts for about 18 years, and had noticed that within a week of getting new lenses, my vision had started to drop off.

About 8 months ago one of the local eye doctors started offering orthokeratology [] . I wanted to do this instead of lasik because I don't trust anything that has to do with cutting my eyes, the "oops, you know there is always a chance of something bad happening" factor bothers me. With orthokeratology, if you stop wearing the lenses, your eyes go back to how they were. This lets me have good vision with a minor inconvinience (less than wearing soft contacts) and give me the option of getting lasik when it is $50 an eye and there is no chance of anything bad happening.

My eyes started out at -6.5 / -5.5, which is at the far end for successful treatment. Important lesson, don't go from eyesight this bad to 20/20 in one step, use two different sets of lenses.

After about 6 weeks I had 20/20 20/25 without the lenses 20/15 with. Now I wear the lenses all day and night one day, leave them out the next. If I only wear them at night, after the second night I have 20/40.

I have no trouble working on computers all day, and I don't have to worry about losing a lens while rafting or diving. Getting dirt in my eye while biking though is a very interesting experience, one of the drawbacks of hard contact lenses.

LASIK may affect your near vision (1)

wsanders (114993) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363354)

Post-lasik, you may need correction for near vision. I have not had the surgery but my wife needed reading glasses after it was done (we are over 40). She was informed of this effect before-hand; as best as I can tell the effect is to shift your whole focus "up" +N diopters, so if you were a little farsighted before you will be more farisghted later.

My wife and three other friends who have had the surgery have reported no problems related to night vision and using a CRT. Another "husband-of-wife's-coworker" reportedly is suffering halos at night but as I hear it he went to the equivalent of "Akbar and Jeff's Lasik Hut". (This is not a procedure where you necessarily accept the low bid.)

I haven't had it done because of the near vision issues (even though I keep my CRT 2 1/2 feet away) and because I am -7,-8 diopter and the chances of still needing glasses after the surgery seem to still bein the neighborhood of 10% as far as I can tell.

Better than contacts (2)

andrews (12425) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363356)

I had mine done about a year and a half ago. I was 20/600 in both eyes. I'm now 20/20 in one eye and 20/15 in the other.

I have noticed some decrease in night vision but my night vision was worse with contacts, and without them I couldn't see anything anyway. I also can't read a page of fine print half an inch from my eye, no loss there, and the doctor says I may need bifocals a few years earlier than I otherwise would have. I can still read fine print at six inches, and the joy of not needing glasses or contacts to function cannot be described to someone who can see "normally".

That said, if you can function without glasses, and only need them for driving, say 20/40 or so, I wouldn't do it. For me it was worth doing even if I didn't get 20/20 out of it since even 20/50 would have been a vast improvement.

Blind mutants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4363357)

Geez -4.5 -5 you guys are all blind. It's really hard to break the stereotype of all computer types are coke bottle lense wearing geeks when .. well generally they really are.

The Problem With Lasik (1)

raiyu (573147) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363362)

Beyond what you will find people already mentioning as risks associated with Lasik surgery, the real problem is that this is a relatively new technique in the medical world. Because the oldest patients have only lived with the procedure for less than a decade, thus there is no information on the long term effects of the surgery.

Even if you luck out and avoid any complications and end up with 20/20 eyesight, there is no garauntee that ten years or 15 years from now the procedure wont have adverse side effects. Sure you could say but thats so far down the line, but then again you only have one pair of eyes, and if you arent dying from wearing your glasses, hold out a bit longer till some long term patients are reviewed and the results of the procedure are re-examined.

Not like buying toothpaste (5, Informative)

gclef (96311) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363364)

I had it done about 2 1/2 years ago. No regrets at all. For the record, I had about -6.5 with about -3 astigmatism.

However, if you take one quote away from this post, it should be this: This isn't like buying toothpaste. This is surgery. You will get what you pay for.

In other words, do your homework before even talking to doctors. Be aware that this is surgery, even if it is outpatient surgery. I ended up paying much more than the "average" rate because the doctor I chose had done over 10,000 procedures (successfully), and was an instructor of the procedure. If you can afford it, the extra money for someone really experienced in the procedure is worth it.

anecdotally.... (1)

flyingdisc (598575) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363367)

A workmate of mine had the treatment recently. He's over the moon (though I still find it difficult to place him with his glasses!).

The consequence of the treatment is that he now needs to apply eye drops 4 times a day to stop the eyes drying out. As far as he is concerned this is a small price to pay. I'm not sure however, if I would be prepared to take on the burden of doing this for the rest of my life.

Alternatives (4, Funny)

guttentag (313541) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363369)

For those unwilling or unable to take advantage of Laser Surgery, have other viable alternatives arisen in the past two years?
There have been some amazing advances in the Braille terminal industry.

I'll stick with my glasses and/or contacts (2)

CoolVibe (11466) | more than 11 years ago | (#4363371)

They work. They might be a bit cumbersome and crude, but if you have worn glasses and/or contacts all your life, you're probably used to it already.

The other fact is that I (nor anyone else) knows what long-term effects these kind of treatments have.

I only have one pair of eyes. Glasses and contacts alleviate my sight problems adequately without doing something intrusive or irreversible. I'll stick with my glasses and contacts, thank you.

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