This is part 3 of a 3 part series. To read part 1, click here.

As of today, it’s been 20 days since the surgery. I still carry eye drops around and use them before I go to bed, when I first wake up, and occasionally throughout the day. Right after the surgery, I would use 16 vials per day, and sometimes more in addition to the other drops. I’m down to 3-4 saline drops per day right now and that’s it. I could easily get away with less, but I bought 200 vials so I might as well use them. Besides, I was told it’s impossible to use too much saline, so I’ve been keeping my eyes hydrated to help with the healing process.

One of the “major” side effects that I encountered in the first week was that my vision did experience some serious fluctuations from one day to the next. This was probably due to the serration I talked about. For example between the fourth and seventh days, my right eye went from good to bad, and then back again. My left eye did basically the opposite. I’m wondering if they were trying to compensate for one another and eventually straightened each other out.

Let me be clear about something, no pun intended. By “bad” and “good”, what I really mean is that things (mostly lettering on signs and numbers on clocks) I could see clearly at a distance the previous day were a little fuzzy the next day. It’s not as if I suddenly couldn’t see things in front of my face. I also felt like I could see clearly up close and really far away, but my mid-range vision was affected by this fluctuation. My long-range vision did improve, but it was really the mid-range vision that fluctuated a lot more.

I’ve compared my vision to that of a colleague who has really good eyes and he was amazed at how well I could see at great distances only a couple of days after the surgery. I have not yet gone back to the doctor to get an accurate measurement of how good my vision is, but it’s easily as good as it was when I had glasses.

I used an iPhone app to test my vision and after five days, it was around 20/25 or so. That’s a ballpark estimate and probably not terribly accurate, but I was told my vision would get better over time as my eyes healed. My best guess at this point is that my vision is 20/20 by now, maybe even better. It’s hard to be sure without an official test. When I do that, I’ll be sure to update this blog post.

I can distinctly see crosswalk symbols and colors at more than two city blocks away when previously I would have been hard pressed to even see the light itself, let alone be able to tell there was a crosswalk sign. I feel completely comfortable driving without glasses and can clearly read clocks at a distance that would have been unfathomable just a few short weeks ago.

At night, I do notice some halo effect around lights but it’s something that is actually not quite as bad as when I was wearing glasses. If you wear glasses, look at some traffic lights at night. Then take your glasses off and compare the halo. For me, the halo I see now isn’t as bad as it was when I wore glasses, so for me, it seems as though things have gotten better. I haven’t worn contacts in close to ten years, so I don’t really remember what contacts were like so if you wear contacts, you might notice the halo a lot more after surgery than I did.

The bottom line is that it’s been 16 days since I had the surgery and I would call it the best $3,000 I ever spent. There’s a list of things that I’m not supposed to do for the next several weeks. For the next six months during any activity with a high risk of impact, I should wear goggles, but overall my eyes feel fantastic and I can see really well. I carry my sunglasses everywhere to help shield my eyes against the sun or high winds, but it’s probably no different than anyone else.

My muscle memory seems to kick in a lot still. For example, every night when I am about to get into bed I’m still reaching to take my glasses off. I also find myself constantly reaching up to adjust my glasses, but I think over time those impulses will pass as I adjust to being able to live without glasses.

As you can tell from the photos below, I’ve still got some blood spots on my eyes. They’re slowly fading away, but it’s taking quite a bit longer than I had expected. I really thought they would have been gone by now. I can’t see them and they don’t affect my vision, so even if they never went away it would be a very small price to pay. I expect they will go away in time, but I’ll update this post if they aren’t gone in another month.

Day 16 after Lasik

My only real regret is that the TSA guy didn’t give me a lot of trouble when I went to the airport the day after surgery. The look on his face as I assumed a dumb (read: normal) expression, raised my arms at him, widened my blood streaked eyes and said “braaaaains” would most certainly have been worth the additional detention time.

Care to share your story, experiences, and perhaps some of the lesser known side-effects? Add them to the comments section below.

6 Comments

  1. Andy Brice on March 25, 2011 at 9:17 am

    The results seem impressive. But does anyone really know what the long term effects of this sort of surgery are? Is wearing glasses/contacts really so bad?



  2. Erik on March 26, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Hi, I did the procedure back in late 2001 in London, England. My story is very very similar to yours… and I am extremely pleased to be able to say that now almost ten years later I have still perfect vision. (And the halos around light sources at night did slowly disappear after a year or so.)

    I believe the statistics that say 99.n% who go through the procedure are getting great vision afterwards (albeit some will need a little second ‘fix-up’)… but there will likely continue to be a very small percentage of people who get chronic problems after the procedure…
    The risk of failure is so tiny, but it is still there… so it is very important for everyone to do their research and think through the issues properly.

    For all the many who have gone through a successful operation, they all think it is the best spent money ever! (Not that it is bad with wearing glasses/contacts, but it is just such a freedom to not have to use them.)

    Enjoy Bahamas, – it is my home for the last five years



  3. Mike Taber on March 27, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Andy, I honestly think the jury is still out on what the negative long term effects are. What I’ve been told is that long term, I will likely need to wear reading glasses when I get older, but was also told that would apply whether I had the surgery or not. I have not seen any concrete research in either direction. I think the fact is that it’s such a “new” procedure that nobody really knows what the effects are after 40 years.

    My suspicion is that the negative effects will likely be along the lines of “increased risk for X”, where X is some eye disease or fatigue in the eye or something like that. If your eyes have healed up well after the first 6-12 months, I don’t see why this would be any different than other surgeries. Our bodies tend to repair themselves in many situations, but leave us susceptible to future injuries along those repair lines.

    As for whether wearing glasses/contacts is really so bad, I think that’s a personal choice. Personally, I wanted to be done with glasses. I’ve worn them for nearly 20 years and have simply had it. They’re always getting dirty, they fog up all the time when coming indoors from the cold (I live in the New England area of the US, so that’s basically from October to March), they interfere with sports and workouts, I can’t see underwater (I have a pool and I do use it often), etc.

    The list of where glasses are a pain in my neck is quite lengthy for me. They’re annoyances, to be sure. But they’re still… well… annoying. Annoying enough that I wanted to see straight. Given the success statistics, it seemed like a reasonable risk to take.

    But I think it’s important to realize that no matter how you view the situation, there is a risk that you need to evaluate, and one of them is risk of the unknown. As in it’s possible there are things that could go wrong which haven’t been discovered. It’s possible that in 20-30 years (or even tomorrow) that a new study could come out that underlines why eye surgery would be so bad to have done.

    As with any surgery, there are risks. And its up to each person to evaluate them. What I wanted to do with this blog article was show what my experience was like. I don’t think it was really bad, nor excessively great. More middle of the road and probably closer to what most people would actually experience. At least based on what others have told me, I gather that my experience was typical.



  4. Ronnie on July 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Great description. Swap serration for abrasion and this is my story. I just had them done 2 weeks ago. Though, I am not happy yet. Hope it gets better! I am wondering if I will need to go through the modification surgery. But well written blog and thank you for sharing.



  5. Libby Lewis on January 25, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    I never see any updated of what its like after 3, 6 months a year later? Is the night vision any better or did it get totally destroyed as it seems to be portrayed that way in almost all complaints for Lasik.. was it really worth it etc. are you still having to wear sunglasses everywhere you go if so what was the point since you can get transition glasses for vision anyways… just all the basic questions never seem to get readdressed down the road only the front line experiences get recorded but no follow ups…



  6. Mike Taber on January 31, 2018 at 8:21 am

    Part of the point of lasik was so that I COULD wear sunglasses. Previously, it wasn’t an option and I had these dumb, clip-on lenses that went over my glasses and didn’t shield my eyes from the sides. I’m still a little sensitive to bright light, but I don’t feel like I wear sunglasses anymore than I would normally. It’s typically middle of the summer around noon or dead of winter with the sun glaring against the snow. I’m rarely the only person wearing sunglasses and it isn’t as if I can’t go outside without wearing them. For all I know, my eyes have always been sensitive to light because how would I know otherwise?

    The main reason I got lasik was so that I could see the digits on the clock across the room when I wake up without my glasses. It’s been almost 7 years now and I can say for sure that if I had to go back in time, I’d definitely do it again.



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