Call for Lasik and CustomCornea Wavefront surgery anedotes

I thought it might be cool to solicit some anecdotes about your Lasik and/or CustomCornea Wavefront surgeries. Specifically, it would be cool to know where you had your surgery done, your doctor's name, your prescription before surgery, your vision after surgery, and any complications or side effects you've had since surgery.

I'll start, using the body of this message.

Clinic: Laser Eye Center of Silicon Valley
Doctor: Dr. Craig Bindi
Correction before surgery: somewhere between -1.25 to -1.75
Cost: $1199/eye for traditional Lasik with laser-cut corneal flap*
*Note: Cost is dependent on what needs to be done for your eye, I believe. Also, Dr. Kawesch is more expensive than Dr. Bindi.

Sept 10, 2004

10:00AM - Arrive for check-up. Dr. Bindi was "in an accident" and will not be in until later. Eye exam done by techs. Pupils dilated. Only two sets of photographs taken -- one before, and one after dilation. Everything is very professional and efficient. Feels like a factory, with lots of patients being shuttled around.

11:00AM - After watching two videos and taking the Easiest Quiz Ever, had a meeting with Dr. Bindi, who talks about the surgery for a bit. He explains that he doesn't think that I will notice a difference between traditional Lasik and CustomCornea because my correction is so minor. He had Lasik himself four years ago, and his pre-op correction was similar to mine.

11:25AM - Meet with a patient counselor, who breaks out pricing for traditional Lasik and CustomCornea. From what I remember, the cost is: traditional Lasik [hand-cut flap $799 or laser-cut $1199] and CustomCornea Wavefront [hand-cut $2100 or laser-cut $2500]. I opt for traditional because I was assured by Dr. Bindi that I would most likely not be able to see a difference (although he emphasized that the decision was mine). I am also told at this point that CustomCornea Wavefront would not be possible today because my eyes had been dilated before the required photographs could be taken. This seems like a mistake on their part in sequence of operation, which disappointed me.

Lunch - I take drops to undilate my eyes three times, in half-hour increments. Driving sucks because my eyes are dilated.

01:18PM - I'm sitting here in the lobby of Silicon Valley Laser Eye Center, and there are photos on the wall of Dr. Kawesch with: Conan O'Brien, Danny Devito, Jerry seinfeld, Jay Leno, Tom Hanks (in the illustrious spot next to the restroom) and lots of famous sports people (I'm clueless). Of course, just because he has photographs of himself with a bunch of famous people doesn't mean that he did their surgeries, but it is implied. They have free wireless internet access, so bring your computers!

01:50PM - I am called into the back, where I have to wait for my eyes to continue to undilate.

shower caps rule

02:35PM - I'm given 10mg Valium, followed by eye-drops to combat infection. They tape gauze to my face to catch eyedrop runoff, and then I'm given a stylish shower cap to wear.

02:45PM - Surgery starts! After receiving a flood of anesthetic drops, I sit under the first laser, have my eyes pried open and held using a speculum, suction applied (not fun -- lots of pressure, but not painful), and a flap cut on the surface of each cornea. Laser time is 50 seconds per eye. Staff is very thorough in explaining what is going on.

03:00PM - I am moved to a second laser and have just waited for 10 minutes or so "to let my eyes recover a bit from swelling." Dr. Bindi comes in, uses a speculum to hold my eyes open, tells me to look at the center of a pixelly red blob, folds the corneal flap over (everything in my vision shifts around and blurs even more at this point), and tells me again to look at the red blob. I hear a series sharp snapping noises and smell vaporized tissue. Laser time for each eye is 9 seconds, presumably because the correction is minor.

I'm told not to touch or rub my eyes for a month. No fresh water in eyes for two weeks, no ocean water for a month. Regular drops of various types need to be applied four times a day.

03:15PM - I'm given dark shades, and walk out. Cindy picks me up from the center. Everything is hazy, but already I can see pretty well, even at objects that are far away. Eyes sensitive to light.

03:45PM - I take a nap wearing perforated goggles to prevent me from touching my eyes.

06:45PM - I wake up and can see very well. There is a slight haze around all things luminous. The whites of my eyes have red splotches.

10:00PM - We all watch a rented movie. I can see fine, despite slight haloing. I know my vision will change in the next few days to weeks, so I'll reserve judgement for stabilized results until then. I have a follow-up tomorrow at 9AM.

Sept 11, 2004

09:42AM - Just returned from my post-op exam, and my vision is 20/15! I'm told that the haloing is normal, and that my vision will improve every day. More later...

Sept 12, 2004

09:55PM - OK, my vision is awesome. I love not having contacts, and the haloing has gone down a lot since yesterday; I'm hopeful that it will be gone completely in the coming weeks. Last night I went to the opera and found that I could see better than I ever could, even with contact lenses in!

Sept 14, 2004

03:32AM - I'm in London, which I suppose is proof that altitudes of 10,000' (the supposed altitude equivalent of a pressurized airplane cabin) won't cause your eyeballs to burst.

Some of you have been asking about my close-focus abilities. I've heard that it only becomes a problem for older folk, and I certainly haven't had any problems since the first day (my close-focus abilities were horrible when I was dilated and did not improve until after the requisite 3-hr nap). I'm not sure how closely I could focus before the procedure, but right now I can focus to about one index-finger's length from my eye.

While at the clinic, they make you really paranoid about touching or rubbing your eye for a month after the surgery. I just accidentally touched my left eyelid. I hope I don't go blind.

October, 2004

I went back to the clinic for my 1 month follow-up, and everything has healed perfectly. I used the artificial tears for the month, but near the end I only used them because they told me I should; I didn't really feel any drier than normal.

The follow-up was a bit annoying, however. They gave me another eye test, and gave me little hints (a pause here, a leading question there) to make sure that I tested at 20/15 in each eye, probably for their stats.

My left eye is fantastic, but the quality of vision in my right eye isn't as great. It's still better than 20/20, but even at 20/20 the letters are a bit fuzzy, though I can read them without problems. I had this same problem when I wore contact lenses as well: my right eye was never really perfect. I'm tempted to get a follow-up and ask for Custom Wavefront, but I'll have to see how much my right eye deteriorates in the next three months (which is the time frame they allow for stabilization). The eye is definitely past its peak, however. For a couple of weeks it was better than it is now.

All of this is relative. Vision through both eyes is still excellent! It's just that the left eye is noticeably better.

Other reports, on the web: