View Full Version : The eyes have it!

Phil Arcuni
August 28th, 2002, 12:22 AM
Some of you who read this forum obsessively know that I have complained about near-sightedness. This has meant that I never see the electronic times at the finish of a race. It also means that I can not get people to swim in my lane when I am leading. I can't see the clock and need to ask for starts. This is what happens on short interval swims -- "gasp! gasp! go! Phil! gasp! gasp!"

The obvious solution is to get prescription goggles. Unfortunately, my nose is such that I can not find prescription goggles that don't dig a trench between my eyes.

So my choice was to either get my nose fixed, or my eyes. Tall Paul and Breastroker encouraged me to do the latter. My wife and daughter pushed for the former. I decided to get my eyes fixed -- the recovery time is shorter.

So I am now 12 days after the LASIK operation. It was unpleasant (my requests for valium went unheeded) but not unreasonably so. I was driving (against doctor's advice) 6 hours after the operation. The worst part was that I could not swim for 10 days - I have been to two workouts since. Two days after the operation I went to the teams summer picnic. "Look at my new eyes!" I said to everyone that would listen (or wouldn't listen.)

My correction before the operation was about -6.5 diopters with about 1.0 diopter astygmatism. So yesterday my vision tests to 20-15 in both eyes. I don't think I have ever seen so well in my life, at least in daylight. Night vision is not so good, but it should get better, and I have no problem driving.

Here are some thoughts about being glassless:

- I can see the clock now. I should get better goggles, and I notice when they get fogged.

- shaving is much easier without fog-control of my glasses.

- I have not noticed any increase in flirting from the women. Maybe it has something to do with my nose. . . .

- people do say "I didn't know you had blue eyes!" which is kind of cool.

- It is a lot easier to run or ride my bike without my glasses sliding down my nose.

- I have wrinkles!

- My sight may be better, but not my insight. I still don't know who guppigirl is.

- I wave my hand in the air, confusing everyone, trying to take my glasses off.

So would I recommend it? You bet! Be sure you get a good doctor that will test you thoroughly and let you honestly know if you are a good candidate. I will provide more technical details to anyone who asks it. Just contact me by email.


P.S. Many thanks to Paul and Breastroker!

August 28th, 2002, 09:57 AM

I'm not trying to be nosy, but could you tell us approximately how much the operation costs?

Phil Arcuni
August 28th, 2002, 11:38 AM
Please remember that I live in the land of high cost of living, but even here the costs go all over the map. I hear rumors of $500/eye, and one doctor I saw did it for $2500/eye. He is a founder of the operation and publishes several papers on the subject a year from the Stanford Medical School.

I had it done somewhere between the two. I think $1000 to $2000 is typical. The cost included preliminary exams (I had three!) which would have been free if I decided to not have the operation. It also includes all of the followup exams and any followup operations - sometimes things do not work so well, say an eye is 20-40. They can reoperate and fix that. It did not include the antibiotic drops I needed to take, but it did include the steroid drops.

The operation itself does not require a lot of skill. The laser is programmed for the desired correction, and the corneal slice is done by a device that immobilizes the eye and makes the cut automatically. But I appreciated care in the preliminary exams. My doctor was unhappy with my answers during the eye exam ("which looks better, lens one or lens two?"), saying that his corneal map did not agree with my answers (I was a consistent 0.5 stronger for cylindrical correction in the right eye.) When asked what he would do, he said he would use his 'judgement,' which I took to mean that he would discount my answers somewhat. Whatever he did, it was right. If my left eye is 20-15, my right eye is 20-10.

My pupils get large in the dark; I was warned of the consequences, as well as everything else that my research indicated would be issues. If you aren't informed by your doctor, get another doctor. Besides the cost, I did not go to the expensive doctor I mentioned above because he had me wait in the exam room for 45 minutes with nothing to do, and did not apologize. He also wanted to charge me $125 for the dilation portion of the exam. Those little things make a difference.

Brad Biddle
August 28th, 2002, 12:57 PM
I've also had LASIK surgery, and am very satisfied with the results.

One aspect of my experience that may be worth sharing: unlike many of the people who went through the process at the same time I did, I did not have instantaneous good results. The first few days after the surgery my vision was very blurry (although still much better than my pre-operation vision), and I had the "halo" effect around lights at night severely enough that I didn't feel comfortable driving. I struggled reading my computer screen at work for several weeks after the surgery. I recall that even at my 90 day post-operation checkup I was complaining of intermittent blurriness.

I remember resigning myself to the idea that I would possibly still have to wear glasses (a not-too-uncommon post-surgery result). I wasn't too disappointed by this, as the surgery had achieved my primary goal of enabling me to run w/o strapping glasses to my face (I wasn't swimming at the time), but still I questioned whether my $2K was well-spent.

Happily, however, my eyes finally settled in at 20/20, with no halo effect or intermittent blurriness. I have noticed that my eyes tend to get dried out sometimes; a few drops of artificial tears clears them up. I never had this problem before, but I don't know if it's attributable to the surgery or my move to the Arizona desert.

Certainly as an athlete having my eyes functioning well has been a terrific benefit. I'm happy with the results of the surgery and feel it was well worth the substantial cost.

It's funny though... I don't feel this way now (nearly 2 years post-operation) but in the early days I kind of missed my glasses. I had some funky, kind of arty glasses that I think helped me communicate a message about my personality to the outside world, and in a wierd way they became part of my identity. Not having them was a big adjustment.


Congratulations Phil on your successful experience, and I wish you well in this post-glasses phase of your life!


Matt S
August 28th, 2002, 02:58 PM
For you post-Lasik people, I have a quick one. How is you close in vision? Did you need reading glasses before or after the surgery? Is it harder now to see very small objects close-up?

The reason I ask is that my other hobby is historical miniatures (aka painting toy soldiers). Despite the fact I am profoundly near-sighted, I still see better than 20/20 near vision with or without my glasses (a skill that comes in handy when you are trying to paint a mustache on a figure that stands all of one inch tall). I have notice, however, that when I have my contact lenses in, I cannot see well enough to paint. My aprehension about Lasik has been that it might cause an earlier and more severe on set or far-sightedness. The long term studies on radial kareitotomy (I'm probably butchering the spelling) are not encouraging. Given my hobbies, and my career (lawyer), I can see far away just fine with glasses or contacts, even when I swim. I am concerned about whether "fixing" near-sightedness with surgery may cause a real bread & butter issue for me.


August 28th, 2002, 03:10 PM
Phil's eyes are indeed stunning! ;) And I know for a fact that his lane mates are happy with the results as well. Congratulations, Phil.


Brad Biddle
August 28th, 2002, 06:12 PM
Originally posted by Matt S
For you post-Lasik people, I have a quick one. How is you[r] close in vision? Did you need reading glasses before or after the surgery? Is it harder now to see very small objects close-up?
[ . . . ]

Like you describe for yourself, pre-operation I was badly near-sighted but could see fine close-up without my glasses. My up-close vision was about the same with or without my glasses, although if I was reading for an extended period I would often take off my glasses.

Post-operation, during the extended recovery period that I describe above, my up-close vision was definately worse than pre-operation. Once my eyes completely recovered, however, my up-close vision settled in and it's now as good or better than it was pre-operation.

You raise a very real risk, though. My understanding, based on the litany of risks the docs explain, is that I may need to start using reading glasses sooner than I might have had to otherwise (apparently because of the way your eye muscles age reading glasses are almost inevitable for everyone at some point; my nearsighted muscle configuration may have deferred this day of reckoning longer than my now-'perfect' configuration).

But apparently I ended up with the expected outcome for someone my age (34): 20/20 vision both near and far. If I recall correctly, though, the odds of someone needing reading glasses even immediately post-operation are higher for older age groups.

FWIW, given your hobby interest, I think you are right to be factoring the issue into your risk calculation.


August 28th, 2002, 06:29 PM
Congratulations Phil, I'm glad it worked so well for you.

Guppigirl, who might you be? Are you a Menlo swimmer too?

Phil Arcuni
August 28th, 2002, 06:52 PM

I would never read without my glasses, as it would have required that the book be about 1 inch from my nose. I could see well enough at that distance, however, and it was great when looking for bacteria, the micro print on the new dollar bills, or reading the fine print on legal documents (you *should* worry!)

I can no longer see so close, nor did I expect to. I can see fine about 10 inches away, however, and do not need reading glasses. I was told that as a consequence of not wearing glasses anymore, however, that I will need reading glasses about 6 mo before I would have needed bifocals.

But those reading glasses are acomin, Matt. I can hear them on the old-age express. Can you? Reading glasses are a lot cheaper than prescription bifocals, however, and was one reason I used to justify the operation.

"20-20 for close vision" is a misnomer, however, as, as I understand it, that nomenclature is only for acuity at far distances. I stand to be corrected, however.

They evidently *overcorrect* with the expectation that your eyes will relax to the correct prescription as they heal. This means that often your near vision is not so good for the first few weeks or months, like Brad's experience.

Also, you can ask to get 'monovision.' You can have one eye corrected for distance, and another corrected (say at -1.0 diopter) for reading. This is popular with people older than 45 years, apparantly, and not too hard to get used to.

February 7th, 2007, 10:58 PM
Hello from a newbie!
Hi out there. I wanted to introduce myself to everyone. Iíve been searching the web for info about lasik and found this board. Iíve never thought about joining a board before, but after reading through some posts, Iím happy I did. I just want to say thanks to everyone for the support you offer here.

February 11th, 2007, 08:50 PM
Thanks for the Support.
I just joined this board and have been reading through a bunch of posts. I wanted to tell you all how much I appreciate all the support you give one another. I think it will be really helpful for me to read what other people are going through. So, thanks!

February 11th, 2007, 10:12 PM
Hi Tim, Welcome to the forum. I'm glad the Lasik surgery worked out for you Phil. I hope Concho Pearl is reading this too. It sounds like there could be many posters here who could benefit from that surgery.


February 12th, 2007, 10:54 AM
Great lasik video
I found this site called realhealth.tv which has a great video. Even though I am a new member, I think everyone here would really like watching this film b/c it was really nice hearing and watching someone talk about their difficulties and how they cope. I wanted to share this with everyone here, hoping it would help you guys too. Here's the link http://www.realhealth.tv/site.html?goto=19&vid=19&vo=0.

February 12th, 2007, 04:18 PM
I have had several sugeries on my abdomin. I need 2 surgeries. On my right knee & Lasik. I am terrified of both. I can't see anything more than four feet away without my glasses and I use bi-focals. I've worn glasses since I was 7yrs old. I sometimes think I have a fetish for glasses. What happened to your best recollection during the surgery?