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Old 07-10-2016, 04:49   #1
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Lens replacement for contacts

The clock keeps ticking and we get closer to being able to head off. At 61, i have worn contacts for years and still do. I damn near hate the things because of limitations with swimming, motorcycle riding, and just keeping up with them. Now that they have had the lens replacement for awhile, I am thinking of going ahead and having the surgery done. No cataracts so this is out of pocket but I think it would sure be worth it heading off cruising.

Have checked with a few of the better respected surgeons around here and they don't want to do it. (The "Do no harm" clause.) Again , these were top tier surgeons about a year ago.

So I was just wondering if anybody on here has had the surgery and their opinion.

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Old 07-10-2016, 05:30   #2
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Re: Lens replacement for contacts

My neighbor had lens replacement, (cataracts) both eyes...he absolutely loves it...been a couple of years. I had Lasik maybe ten years complaints, well I do have to wear eyeglasses to remove splinters...Both of us severely nearsighted, had worn contacts for years....go for it!

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Old 07-10-2016, 05:37   #3
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Re: Lens replacement for contacts

FWIW I've asked myself similar questions, but the idea of eye surgery scares the bejeebies out of me, so I'm sticking with the status quo and making the best of it. I can't make the judgement for you, but have to ask:

Swimming and motorcycle riding - goggles. What's the problem?

"Keeping up with them" - depends very much on the type of contacts and how you react to them. I put them in in the morning, take them out in the evening, keep one pair for three or four years (disposibles not available in my prescription).

For comparison, I'm almost your age, extremely nearsighted (-13 diopters), and have worn contacts forever. Last time I looked at Lasik they weren't even able to do a full correction, so I'd still have to wear glasses.

So, personal decision, but I would want to be very sure in advance that the cure isn't worse than the problem.
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Old 07-10-2016, 05:44   #4
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Re: Lens replacement for contacts

I have had both eyes done in the past 10 days (one week apart), so the jury is still out on the ultimate effects, but I'm happy to share what I know at this point in the process. The decision was a little different for me, as I DID have cataracts starting, and our high deductible for the year was met, so my insurance did cover it, except for the upgrade to special lenses. I went with custom lenses and my primary visual issue was astigmatism. I thought about doing nothing, as I have never found glasses to be onerous, and I have never worn, or even been interested in, contact lenses.

The procedure was painless, bloodless, quick, and not difficult to tolerate. I went with the laser version, and so there were no post-op restrictions put on me except don't drive for 24 hours, and don't rub my eyes for 2 weeks. I could absolutely see better immediately after surgery, although my pupils stayed dilated for about 48 hours, so I was sensitive to light.

There is both a pre-op and post-op regimen of drops to put in your eyes that will last several weeks afterward. This has been mildly offputting, as the drops vary in viscosity, and affect your vision for a few minutes, up to maybe an hour, after putting them in. It just takes a while to absorb the liquid and/or "blink them away", so to speak. I am allowed to use "natural tears" at any time, with no limit on quantity, and this helps a lot with the post-medication effects, though I give each drop several minutes to work. My vision is getting better each day, but I have learned to base that evaluation on data acquired in the middle of the afternoon, well after the morning drops have been absorbed.

I have had a few of the typical post-op experiences, and each eye was different. For my left eye, I can occasionally see the lower outer edge of the lens, when light hits it from a certain angle. I'm told this will go away, and because the frequency at which it occurs diminishes each day, I'm not concerned. I've had no halo effects, starbursts, or other visual effects in that eye. In my right eye (done this week), I can very rarely see the upper outer edge of that lens, but again that frequency also diminishes each day. For that eye, after it got dark the afternoon of the surgery, I had a halo around a small light source near my television when looking at it straight on. That halo has not reappeared, under any conditions, for that light source or any other. However, I understand that many patients do have visual effects for a while.

Since you wear contacts, you will be able to wear a single contact in your non-operative eye in the week between surgeries. This is a big bonus, as both eyes will always have a proper "correction". I had to wrestle with wearing or not wearing my glasses for those 7 days, and I always had one eye mis-corrected.

As I understand it, the doctors cannot guarantee that you will NOT need correction after the surgery. I KNOW I will need reading glasses for close work, I've already proven that to myself. In my case, this is a disadvantage, as I will now need to keep up with glasses for situational use, instead of already having them on my nose. If you need correction after the surgery, you may be right back to where you are now, or need to wear glasses.

I would ask your doctor a LOT of questions before you make a decision. Interview various doctors, ask them about their personal results, rather than industry wide statistics. Ask your friends, family, colleagues about who did their surgery. Find someone you can feel comfortable with even before the procedure, and that includes their support staff. I base a lot of my consumer decisions on how folks tolerate my questions, and I ask a lot of them. I picked one of the two docs in my area who has done more of these than anyone else. He does around 100 of these a week.

It is a big decision, good luck.
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Old 07-10-2016, 06:49   #5
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Re: Lens replacement for contacts

A relative had the multi focal lens op in both eyes and is extreme happy with the results.A little blurry at first in one eye but settled down. They were advised that night driving could be impaired, but this has not turned out to be the case. They do a lot of close up work and this has not been affected. When my long-sightedness required me to carry reading glasses I am getting it done. And it pays for itself in about 4 years.

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Old 07-10-2016, 08:25   #6
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Re: Lens replacement for contacts

I had my eyes done by the VA. They are quite conservative in their time frame. First the initial consult where I was told I would need reading glasses after everything was finished, they suggested getting a pair for $US1 at Dollar Tree. Then a week of eye drops several times a day in one eye. Next they did one eye, then three weeks of eye drops several times a day for that eye and another consult. Then another week of eye drops several times a day in the other eye, other eye done, and then three weeks of eye drops several times a day, and the final consult.

There are places that will do both eyes the same day. As long as I keep well hydrated and get enough sleep I have been happy. If I stay up late after spending too much time in the hot tub things can blur or have halos. I do a lot of photography, including underwater photography. It can be hard to see stuff looking through the camera; especially under water. My boat is set up so the chart plotter is on one side of the companionway and the wheel is on the other side. I really need a different pair of "reading glasses" to see the chart plotter than for reading stuff on my cell phone when I web surf.

I met several other vets undergoing the same procedure I did. All most all were happy but a few thought they were better off just staying with conventional glasses/contacts. My impression was that how happy folks were with the procedure was a function of their life style. Active folks who had to deal with things like fogging and such were happier than someone who stayed in AC all day and only had to worry about keeping their lens clean.

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Old 07-10-2016, 08:55   #7
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Re: Lens replacement for contacts

It seems to be very common. I have heard of people doing it out of country much cheaper. Even Canada I heard. Not heard much about that recently though. The "do no harm" thing is pretty surprising to me.
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Old 07-10-2016, 08:57   #8
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Re: Lens replacement for contacts

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Old 07-10-2016, 09:41   #9
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Re: Lens replacement for contacts

I wear soft contacts, with minimal problems. My concern would be what happens with prescription changes? I have to get new prescriptions for my contacts almost every 2 years to tweak things as my eyes are still changing. How does that work out with surgery?
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Old 07-10-2016, 09:45   #10
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Re: Lens replacement for contacts

I am 69 and had it done a couple of years ago. Wore contacts all of my life. My situation was different. Cataracts got so bad it was not safe for me to run a boat at night (or drive). Love it. Scared the hell out of me but operation was easy. 20/20 both eyes but need reading glasses now.

Wife had the same but was not so lucky. OK but not as good as mine. Still sees floaters after four years but still an improvement.

Have other friends who did not have as good luck as I did.

Checked prices in Canada and the savings were not as great as I had heard plus follow-up needs did not justify the hassle even though we live 45 minutes from Vancouver. Prague seems to be the place to get it done cheaply.

My suggestion would be to wait until cataracts develop. Technology improves by the minute.
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Old 07-10-2016, 09:53   #11
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Re: Lens replacement for contacts

I had both eyes done 5 years ago and it has absolutely been the best thing for my sailing! No more wet foggy glasses or fumbling around in the dark for the glasses at night when something goes bump! I still use reading glasses, but I had crossed that frontier already before the surgery.

It has given me real freedom on the water!

Check with a specialist with his own practice, not one of the commercial Lasik shops. Go see three or four of them. Dont cheap out either. The consultations are usually free. If all four say it is a bad idea, then probably it is not for you
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Old 07-10-2016, 09:54   #12
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Re: Lens replacement for contacts

My 2 cents... I wear hard contacts. I thought about the surgery, but have passed so far... for several of the reasons mentioned: no cataracts, and the contacts seem just fine. Ok, so I can't jump in the water without wearing goggles. Sometimes when it's really blowing out there I have this fear that my contacts will blow off my eye, but I always wear sunglasses, so go figure. I always take my glasses with me, anyway, and when I'm sailing a lot of what happens is based on how the boat feels. I could be stone blind and know when it's in the groove. As to hitting other things, yea, that could be a problem... but it is anyway... :-0)

My suggestion: wait a while. The technology improves, the cost goes down, and at some point, maybe there's even a newer method.
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Old 07-10-2016, 10:18   #13
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Re: Lens replacement for contacts

Had Lasix surgery. Which is NOT lense replacement and no recovery time 4+ satisfied. Russ
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Old 07-10-2016, 10:24   #14
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Re: Lens replacement for contacts

If no cataracts, then why replacement? What's wrong with lasik?

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Old 07-10-2016, 11:04   #15
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Re: Lens replacement for contacts

What is the hurry? Wait until you are close, then decide. I had lenses done several years back (cataracts) but only the plain ones. Neither the procedure, nor the recovery took long. I'd worn glasses for a long time (I'm one of those who constantly messed up contacts) but after the surgery needed them only for reading (and could use the cheapies for that). Recently, the ophthalmologist said my distance vision had gone to 20/25, and glasses would also help my night vision. What occurs to me is not of direct help to you, but the point remains that things change. So why hurry?

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