LASIK Notes
Copyright 2017 glowingtubes.com

Below are notes I took during my recovery and progress after my very successful
LASIK procedure that was performed by Dr. Bruce Koffler on 1/10/03
.

Recent entries are at the bottom.
 

 

 

 
~  Notes  ~

 

1/10/03 (first day): I had the procedure.  Was sent home with eye patches and goggles to wear at night to prevent unintentional rubbing.  Was instructed to remove the eye patches after several hours.  Wow.  What have I done?  No turning back now.
 
1/11/03 (day 1):  No pain - but eyesight was erratic and fluctuating. Some bad glare and I could get it to go away some by blinking and using eye drops. Aside from the glare, I could see well without my lenses.

I had some light sensitivity but I drove myself to the first follow-up appointment. Using the reflected wall-chart, my eyes tested at 20/20 with both eyes.
 
The first 6 days: 

Low-light vision is blurry - almost as bad as it was before the procedure without my glasses. Irregular, inconsistent vision in all situations except bright light. Sometimes clear, sometimes blurry - but I can tell this is temporary.

I'm happy... I can function without glasses. Although I do not have dry eyes, artificial tears help to keep my vision more consistent. When I'm outside, vision is great.

Close-up vision (less than 20 cm) is blurry - I will probably need reading glasses in the future. I was aware of this fact before the procedure.

When driving in the dark, there is a glow immediately around light sources. I am not seeing the starburst or halos some people report seeing. The glow looks like the picture below on the left:



 

1/17/03 (day 7): One week follow-up appointment.  Vision was tested on the computer equipment and was more finely tested with the phoroptor.

I tested at 20/20 with my left eye and 20/25 with my right eye.  I was still getting vision fluctuations during the testing, so I think my eyesight is actually better than that.  Flaps are healing perfectly.  My next appointment is scheduled for March.
 

1/18/03 (day 8):  Outside, my vision is crystal-clear.  Indoor vision under incandescent lights is good but fluorescent lighting gives me the most problems.  Low light vision has improved drastically in one day.  I notice that objects in low light may not actually blurry but maybe it's just decreased low-light sensitivity... at this point, it's hard to tell.  This is a very common short-term side effect.

Close-up vision is also better that it was yesterday.  Glare is reduced. We watched a movie on our 36" TV tonight in the dark and the picture was amazing.  No glare whatsoever and I could read the small VCR/DVD display from across the room.
 
1/21/03 (day 11): The fluctuations are lessening.  For the past 2 days, it has seemed like the sharpness of my vision was reducing - my eyesight was getting worse.  Although I can see well enough to drive in the dark, I noticed that while doing my run this morning with just the street lights, objects like mailboxes that I ran by lacked detail - almost blurry.

Driving home from work today, I noticed a big difference between the sight of my two eyes - my right eye seemed weaker and I could not see the details that I was excited about seeing just a few days ago.
 
1/22/03 (day 12):  Same experience driving home today - left eye stronger than the right eye, but overall vision was slightly sharper.  While waiting for my kid at the bus stop, I sat in my truck with my eyes closed for 2 or 3 minutes and when I opened them, I could make out writing on signs that were 300-400 yards away - writing that I know that I couldn't have seen with my old lenses.  And both eyes seemed to be the same (right eye was equal to the left).

I'm still having vision fluctuations but it does seem to be rest-related.  Tonight's run was in the snow and objects in the dark had more clarity than I had seen since the procedure. Indoors under subdued light, my vision was much more clear.  Reading is easier with seemingly less "work" required to keep small print in focus.  The "glow" around lights at night is reducing.

All these fluctuations are normal, by the way.  It is easy to get taken in and concerned by what seems like set-backs in the healing process but I am told this is what happens as the corrected part settles and heals.  I won't know how things will turn out for several weeks or maybe months.
 
1/24/03 (day 14): Continuing improvement.  There are still fluctuations but they are lessening.  Night vision is still the same.  Daylight and medium-light vision seems a little sharper.  In low light and dark, vision is about the same but I am getting used to it.

Since I have started doing my runs in the morning before work, I have been going to bed earlier and spending less time on the computer - thus getting more rest.  This could be the reason that the fluctuations seem to be decreasing.  It also could mean that frozen eyeballs heal quicker :)

As of this date, there have been no problems with dry eyes - however, I have been using lubricant drops several times a day because they seem to help with the fluctuations and they feel good.
 
1/29/03 (day 19) My vision is stabilizing more each day. Just a couple of days ago, my eyesight would alternate between slightly "gunky" and crystal-clear just within a span of a few blinks of my eyelids. Although the "stark sharpness" that I would sometimes experience is gone, the "gunky" vision is gone too. And I still get tired eyes 2 or 3 times a day and use artificial tears to make them feel better.

I am seeing now what I believe everyone else with normal sight sees - I cannot see the details of distant objects like I could sometimes see a few days ago but I still believe I am seeing in the 20/25 range. And it is stable - no fluctuations to speak of. Night driving gives me no problems. My low light vision is still improving as is my close-up vision. Objects closer than 20cm are still blurry but reading at the +20cm (even small print) is comfortable with no straining or squinting.

So far, I am very satisfied with my results. It is so nice to be able to do all of my day-to-day activities without having those eyeglass frames in my peripheral vision.
 
2/7/03 (3 weeks)

By now my sight is stable - no major fluctuations to speak of. The glow that I see around lights while driving is still there and has not lessened.

This is not an obtrusive glow but it exists nonetheless. I found a descriptive picture. The glow is minor and does not interfere with my driving.

I have had an increased dryness of my eyes this past week. Using tear drops temporarily helps this condition. I'm not sure if it is related to the procedure or simply because of the indoor conditions during the Kentucky winter.

I have noticed that immediately after applying the eye drops, my vision is crystal clear. I can almost read type-written pages at 10 feet. My reading vision is still good - I will not need reading glasses for quite a while. I do need (and use) them for close work like working on electronic circuit boards. The magnifying glasses just make life easier. I'm still satisfied that this was the best money I have spent.
 
2/14/03 (4 weeks) Vision stabilization continues. Being used to the finely tuned refractive correction of my "coke-bottle" lenses all these years it has taken a little bit to get used to my new sight. Outside in daylight, my sight is nearly as good as it was with my lenses. Inside vision was a little concerning at first but is now brightening up. Actually, at 4 weeks after the surgery, my close up vision (10"-20") is better than I had with my lenses.

Night vision is still the same as last week, but I'm noticing the "glow" to a lesser extent. I feel I can see fine and am safe to drive. Objects that are directly illuminated by my headlights are clear and objects to the side that are indirectly illuminated (street lights, etc) are safely visible.

The indoor "haze" is lessening. I have described this haze in this manner: One of my all-time favorite movies is "Somewhere In Time" (Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour). Anyway, in the scene where Reeve's character wakes up in 1912 there is this almost unnoticeable haze or glare. This is what I saw in the first few weeks after my procedure. This haze is gradually going away, I presume as my cornea smoothes and heals.

Occasionally, my eyes seem a little dry and I have been using a thicker eye drop which seems to last longer. I don't think I have what they call "dry eyes", I just like the feel of the eye drops and I want to give myself the greatest chance possible to stay "complication free" and continue at the rate that I am healing.
I'm still amazed at my new vision. Whether by design or accident, my surgeon ( Dr. Bruce Koffler), gave me the best compromise between distance and reading correction.
 
2/21/03 (5 weeks) No major changes this week. Nighttime glare/glow around lights has reduced slightly and seems to be more apparent when I'm tired. My eyes have been less dry so I have decreased the use of artificial tears. Vision seems to have stabilized nicely... reading is great.
 
2/28/03 (6 weeks) No determinable changes. Vision in lower light (dimmed room light, for example) has gotten better than a few weeks ago. Vision in almost no light is pretty bad... I don't remember how well I saw in very, very low light with my lenses, but I seem to remember being able to see slightly illuminated objects clearly.

Also, vision in slightly dim fluorescent light has gotten some better but is still slightly blurred. This isn't the type of blurring where corrective lenses could make it sharper. This is the type of blur where it seems like there's something missing. Maybe it's the "detail" that's missing. I'll try to think of better ways to describe it this week. Night time driving is fine, however. The car lights (mine and on-coming) and street lights provides more than enough illumination to see objects sharply.

Even with the less sensitive, less detailed low-light visibility, I'm very glad I had this done. I don't miss my lenses one bit.
 
3/7/03 (7 weeks) No changes. Vision is still somewhat lacking in detail under some dim fluorescent light settings. However, vision in dim incandescent light is fine. Vision in sunshine (what little we've had lately) is remarkable - I can see forever with crystal-clear vision.

The glowing around the street lights/car lights is still there. This seems to worsen if I am lacking in sleep or if my eyes are tired in general. This is not bad enough to be a safety concern and those that I have spoken with have said that this condition gradually diminishes.

I brought out my nice binoculars for a peek and for the first time was able to use a pair of binoculars as they were intended - with the rubber eyecups extended to close out the side light. Before LASIK, I had to roll the eyecups back and press the eyepieces on my lenses.

These are fixed-focus... you use a small focus ring to adjust for the differences in each eye and after it's set, you don't have to focus the binoculars for distance and can see sharply from 20m to infinity. My right eye required just a tad bit of individual correction but my left eye did not require any correction. Another taste of freedom.
 
3/14/03 (2 months) I had my 2 month checkup today and the magnified exam showed no flap scars - excellent healing! My eye-chart test revealed that my sight is now 20/20 in my right eye and 20/15 in my left. I've got the actual before and after numbers and have updated the main page.

Since I still have a large amount of astigmatism in my right eye, the doctor asked me to come back yearly for checkups.

The glow around streetlights is still there and I will still be updating this page monthly regarding this after-effect. My eyes are not dry in the least but I think I will begin to use drops several times a day again to see if it speeds up the reduction of this nighttime glow.
 
4/14/03 (3 months) The glow around lights at night is still there and my vision is somewhat less sharp at dawn right when the sun sets. Vision in dim fluorescent light is still not quite as sharp. Besides that, everything is great and if I had a chance to undo the procedure, I would not. Freedom from glasses is great - especially as the warmer weather (and the sweat) comes. I get my driver's license renewed in July and am looking forward to the eye test to get the restriction on my card removed.

I bought a pair of "optical shop" sunglasses (Polarized and 100% UV) to wear while driving. If you have had LASIK, I highly recommend staying away from the cheaper ones and go to an optical shop. Sunglasses on bright days are a must since the long-term effects of the sun on LASIK'd eyes are not known. Besides, if you never looked through Polarized filters on a bright day, you don't know what you are missing.
 
5/16/03 (4 months) No changes. Nighttime glow is still there but I am getting used to it and don't notice it unless I think about it. Medium and dim fluorescent lighting still has a blurring effect on my sight. I can see better in a very dimly lit room using incandescent light than I can in a medium-bright fluorescent setting. Strange side-effect.

I am taking not wearing lenses for granted and must remember to wear safety glasses to do yard work. On the bicycle, I have been using Rudy Project eye protection.
 
6/13/03 (5 months) I have noticed a lessening of the nighttime glow that I had been experiencing. This may very well be how I saw lights at night before the procedure - I don't remember. But the glow that had been around lights before is now just barely there. Nighttime vision is more clear - I can see more detail on objects that are not directly illuminated.

Since it's June now, I've been spending more time outside and have noticed that I am more sensitive to bright sunlight. In fact, I really need sunglasses on bright days. I haven't made myself "do without" to see if my tolerance level would adjust... I think it's too soon after the procedure to experiment, so I'm playing it safe and following recommendations by wearing sunglasses on bright days.

The "fluorescent lighting effect" I have previously described is still there - where objects are not actually blurry but rather missing detail. So far, this is the most unexpected side-effect. It is mostly apparent in areas dimly lit by fluorescent lighting. It is not noticeable in bright conditions under the same light source. This effect has lessened somewhat but is still noticeable.
 
7/11/03 (6 months) I seem to be having just a slight bit of dry eye but nothing too bad. This could be rest-related since I never seem to get enough sleep and I am also outdoors a lot more. I'm going to resume using artificial tears... I've heard good things about TheraTears. We'll see.

It's now the middle of summer and if you recall, I mentioned Polarized sunglasses in a previous update. I do a lot of activity outside and running and bicycling necessitates protective eyewear. Before the procedure, my eyes were light-sensitive anyway so sunglasses have always been a part of my routine.

My recommendation: If you get LASIK, please do yourself a favor and get the Polarized lenses. The brown type is preferable for me because of the clarity it lets me retain in lower light. As you know by reading my notes, I have found that the quality of my "new" vision is highly dependent on the type and amount of light. Dim fluorescent lighting is not desirable but strangely, dim incandescent lighting gives me clear vision.

Along the same lines, regular gray sunglasses can cause loss of clarity for me in the shade but with brown Polarized lenses, objects stay sharp. This is important when bicycling along Kentucky's tree-lined country roads.

An improvement: Driving at night, I have definitely noticed that the "glow" around lights is no longer there. I now see just a hint of a diagonal "starburst" running from the upper left to the lower right. This is with both eyes.

Not a big starburst... only very slight. Maybe this is what people with "normal" vision see. I can't get a straight answer from those I have asked... they haven't anything to compare their sight with and their own sight is difficult for them to describe. But I do know this - my nighttime driving vision is better after LASIK than looking through those thick lenses.
 
8/8/03 (7 months) I've received a ton of emails from people asking about the procedure. Apparently this page turns up in some searches.

Eyesight continues to become more stable. Left eye is crystal clear, right eye is somewhat worse and will likely stay that way. However, it is real close to 20/20 so it just depends on what you are comparing it to. I have been using preservative-free TheraTears Liquid Gel about 4 times a day and I can tell the difference.

I got my drivers' operators license renewed yesterday and in order to get the eye restriction removed, I had to take a vision test. I missed one letter on the top row (right eye side) which still indicates 20/15 vision. I'm happy... legally, my naked vision is fit to drive.
 
9/5/03 (8 months) I seem to have settled into my new vision.  For distance, my left eye is better.  For close up sight, my right eye is better.  I can tell the difference when comparing eyes (one closed, other open), but when both are open I cannot distinguish between the two.  It's like having the best of both worlds.  This had to be luck - Dr. Koffler couldn't have been that good, could he?  My guess is that I still see better than 20/20 with both eyes. 

The problems that I was having in low light and in some types of dim fluorescent lighting have gotten much better or at least not nearly as noticeable.

Occasional night time dryness/blurriness has all but disappeared.  There's no longer any of that type of slight discomfort to remind me to use the TheraTears drops so I am trying to remember on my own. So far, TheraTears have been the best lubricant drops.  I use both the regular and the thicker Liquid Gel types.
 

10/10/03 (9 months)

This month's update has no surprises. I have decreased the use of eye drops only because I forget about using them. Vision seems normal - reading sight is great, distance sight is fine, as well. Occasionally, I still get a slight blurriness when my "eyes are tired". This goes away with a strong blink or two.

Fall camping season is here - it's nice not to have to reach to find my eyeglasses only to have to put those cold frames on my face.
11/10/03 (10 months) I'm still doing fine. No changes that I can tell. Vision in fluorescent light is getting clearer although I have to strain a bit in rooms with only dim fluorescent light.  Close-up reading is great and far-away vision is very good - I now may never need reading glasses.  But if I know if I had stayed with lenses, I'm sure that I would have had to gone with bifocals within a year or two.
 
12/5/03 (11 months) No changes... There is still a slight blurriness that happens when I am tired/sleepy. Halos at night around lights are more apparent when I am tired. It can be made better if I blink really hard. I believe that some level of "starburst" or "haloing" is the most common after-effect of this surgery - some have it worse than others.

I feel lucky that my results turned out this well.
 
1/10/04 (1 year) I believe my vision has stabilized so here is the low-down at one year since the surgery.

Bad News:

  • I see a bit less detail of objects in very low light (at night) compared to what I could see with corrective lenses.
  • There is less detail in dim fluorescent light.
  • Clear vision more dependent on adequate tear production. Tired, dry eyes at the end of the day mean less clear or blurry vision.

Good News:

  • Outside vision in the daytime is acute and clear.
  • I am having no difficulty with reading close up or seeing far away in the proper light.
  • I will not need reading glasses (for a long, long time at least).
  • Although I try to wear Polarized sunglasses whenever I am outside in bright light, my eyes are not so light-sensitive that I have to.
  • I have no discomfort with "dry-eye".
  • There is no residual pain from the surgery.
  • I will not need an enhancement.

If I could undo the procedure and go back to corrective lenses, I would not. The pros far outweigh the cons.

Starting now, I will stop with the monthly comments and begin occasional updates unless there is something noteworthy to tell.  Thanks for reading!
 

4/10/04 No changes... Vision still seems to be the same as it was when it appeared to stabilize.  No problems with "dry eye".
 
6/27/04 (1 1/2 years) Summer is here.  Outside workouts (running and biking) are great not having to worry about the sweat running over my prescription lenses causing distortions and magnifications.  I still use sunglasses when outside on bright days out of habit and comfort.
 
10/30/04 Still enjoying my great results.  No changes.
 
7/16/05 (2 1/2 years) Vision perfectly stable - both up close and distances.
 
9/1/05 Checking in.  No change.  Vision is great - no dry-eye, no glare.  I've accepted the fact that the loss of detail in situations where there is almost no light will be permanent.  But hey... unless you are a burglar, there normally will be light.
                      
5/14/06 (3 1/2 years Thought I would give an update.. it's been over 3 years since getting the operation.  Updates these days are rare because I don't really think about the procedure that much.  It's almost like I never wore glasses.  No problems beside the very rare blurriness when my eyes are really tired.  This is probably due to slightly reduced tear production associated with dry eyes.  I can close them for a few seconds and the blurriness goes away.
 
6/10/07 (4 1/2 years) Yearly update - 4 years and going strong.  No apparent changes whatsoever.  Close vision is still remarkable (no reading glasses needed yet) and distant vision is still the same as well - clear as a bell.  No dry-eye issues... nothing really...  :)

 

1/3/08 (5 years) No problems.  No changes, no glare, no halos.  Still no close vision problems.

 
1/20/15 (12 years) Still no problems related to the surgery.  I still have very good distance vision - at least 20/20.  However, I do need reading glasses sometimes because I struggle with small print.  I don't carry them on my person but have several pair laying around the house and in my office where I do computer repair.  The close-up reading difficulty is not related to my LASIK surgery but instead because of age

 

1/20/17 (14 years)

No changes from last update.

   

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