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Old 06-02-2007   #1
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 646
Problem with Lasik???

I'm looking to get my eyes done so I don't have to wear glasses that constantly fog on the river.

Lasik is popular, but I learned something that bothers me a lot. When they cut the flap, it doesn't really heal back to the eye. Only the very outer rim of the flap heals back, which is a small part of the entire flap. The center 90% never ever heals. This is why they don't recommend Lasik for people who do contact sports and why the air force bans it.

Well, getting a face full of water is as bad as any contact sport for your eyes.

The alternative to Lasik is PRK. It's essentially the same procedure, but they don't produce the flap. The problem with PRK is that the recovery time is 3-5 days rather than 1 day. People didn't like the 3-5 day recovery time, so they started to cut the flap instead. But, I don't like cutting my eye ball in a way that won't grow back to save myself a bit of recovery time.

Anyone have more perspective on all this? Thanks.

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Old 06-02-2007   #2
4CRS, Durango, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 295
Love It

I had my eyes done in 1998 using Lasik and I have had no problems. I still have 20/20, kayak, mtn bike, kiteboard, kick boxing, snowboard, moto, no issues at all, it was a life changing surgery. I went from dunking my head above class v to clear my glasses to actually being able to see where i was going, what a difference!

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Old 06-02-2007   #3
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 438
"The center 90% never ever heals. This is why they don't recommend Lasik for people who do contact sports and why the air force bans it. "

The Air Force has lifted the ban on LASIK for most pilots, the only one's that can't get it are fighter pilots and pilots who fly missions unpressurized above 13,000ft (not sure about the reason for the 13,000ft rule, I think it is a hold-over from older procedures where patients had difficulty at altitude). However, the USAF will allow all pilots to get PRK (an older version without the "flap healing" problem, but with longer recovery time).

My brother just had LASIK performed and he's having no problems on the river.

I've got a friend with LASIK who has lost his goggles while skydiving several times and has never lost his corneal flaps....

I think they just want you to be aware that there is a slight risk involved...
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Old 06-02-2007   #4
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
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The other deal with the flap thing is that if you do loose it you are really screwed. There is no way to heal it or fix it. He had the option between lasik and PRK and went with PRK instead. The healing time was not that bad for him.

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Old 06-02-2007   #5
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Technology Partner, Littleton, Colorado
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I had it done in problemo

The only precautions I had were that they did not want me in the water for a couple weeks, and then only with swim googles. If I remember correctly, it is like 95% healed after about 6 months or so..shit, I can't remember it all now I think. Anyway, I had mine done at IkonLasik on Colorado Blvd. It will never fully heal, but it go to 95% after a few months. You might want to stay out of warmer waters where heavy amounts of bacteria form.
And the Lord said, let there be whitewater. So on Friday, the 13th day of the month....
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Old 06-02-2007   #6
River Enforcer
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I had PRK done in January, per Air Force Regulations, because Lasik is still not accepted for any STS positions. I am not sure about Pilots, but they prefer them to have PRK. To get completely clear vision in both eyes post procedure it took about a week and a half. It is kind of scary to have good vision immediately after the surgery and have it decline for a few days before it gets better. I stayed out of the water for a few weeks, and had no major problems. I now have 20/15 in both eyes. Statistically PRK is a safer procedure, it is just more painfull and has a longer healing time. All other branches of the military except the Air Force are accepting LASIK and have done extensive research. I/E wind tunnel with out goggles, Deep Sea Diving and the works. They still approved LASIK so I don't forsee you having too many problems. Just my two cents.
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Old 06-02-2007   #7
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Lyons, Colorado
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I got LAsik done in 1997. No problems. (Knock on wood) Go for it
Go Dawgs!!!
Happiness is a way of travel not a destination
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Old 06-02-2007   #8
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 15
lasik doesn't always do well

I had lasik about eight years ago. I have 20/30 in one eye. The other didn't do as well. Without glasses the vision is 20/200 and I have multiple images and ghosting. With glasses best correction is 20/60. If I wear a hard contact I can get 20/30, but I got the surgery because I was never comfortable with contacts.
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Old 06-02-2007   #9
Abron Cabron
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Santa Fe, Nuevo Mexico
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I got lasix in dec 05, was 20/10, am now 20/20 and have had no problems with water or wind, even direct splashes. (i do wear sunglasses when its bright tho, which reduces splashes) the only seemingly lasting side effect is waking up with dry 'scratchy' eyes, which is resolved with moisturizing drops. even that has declined over time. i think the best insurance is going out of your way to find the best surgeon in your area, with the best track record. I went with Dr.Coleman (@Colemanvision) in ABQ because he has done 20,000+ successful surgeries,(also used to be in the air force fwiw) and offers a lifetime warranty on his work, should you need adjustments. it is fricken expensive, but it is worth it. since you can't just grow another pair.
it's been miraculous. i really appreciate not having to deal anymore with glasses ,4 lens foggles, etc... i think it is totally worth it and cant wait to actually see the sets next time i make it to the ocean.
also i think its fair to say that the technology has improved, and i honestly had never heard of the flap problem. i think the procedure Coleman does is called radial kerotomy (sp?) if thats a any different. If i remember correctly he just shaves cells off the oblong part of the eye to make it round again, thus eliminating the flappy dealy (technical term)and correcting vision...
it sounds scary (and is !) but its actually really precise, and plus they give you xanex, so youre definitely kind of stony, and it becomes a bit less freaky.....
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Old 06-02-2007   #10
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 405
Abron, you probably had some version of lasik or lasek or prk, by not radial keratotmy (rk). Rk is the most tragic thing anyone could do to their eyes, and it was phased out in the USA about 10 - 20 years ago.

True, the flap doesn't ever completely heal, but the only flap dislocation I've heard of years post lasik involved the person going through the windshield of a car in an accident. The windshield took off most of the guy's face too. I'm not saying it's 100% save though. You could loose perminant vision like yodakiva. That's a more realistic concern.


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