Scott Hanselman

What to think about before getting your eyes lasered (LASIK)

March 1, '04 Comments [4] Posted in Musings
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I've received a bunch of emails congratulating me on getting my eyes lasered.  I've also got a lot asking questions about the results and my philosophy around the process.  This post was actually going to go out as the 4th email response, but here is it as a post instead.

Yep, I was a -9.25, that's like 20/1600.  Now (3 weeks later) I'm actually "officially" 20/20 in both eyes, but IMHO the right has some glare at night.  I'd say I'd like to be 20/10 or 20/15, but it's never effortless, is it? I'll let you know how it settles in a few months.  :) 

I will say, it's CRYSTAL CLEAR in the day time, but at night there are some "Comet Tails" on things like LEDs and there are areas of extra high contrast, like looking at a TV in the pitch black.  I have been researching this for years. Make sure to have a WaveFront 3d Topology on your eyes, and that the guy who does the surgery has done at least 10,000.  My guy has done 21,000 and had 7 problems.  If they won't get stats, don't bother with them, IMHO.

I'd totally do it again, but I'll give you these warnings:

  • ASSUME you will need a 2nd surgery to get it perfect. Just assume that.  If you don't, good for you, but best to expect the worst.
  • Know that your eyes will LITERALLY change from day to day, and sometimes from hour to hour as they heal.
  • TAKE the percoset after the surgery, from 3 hours to 6 hours afterwards you will experience a great deal of pain like hot sand in your eyes.  Best if you sleep through it and miss the whole thing.
  • ASSUME you will need to wear glasses for reading and driving.  (see above ;) )  
  • ASSUME you will get to 20/40, where you can go to the mall and walk around, but might not be able to read subtitles at a foreign film.  (same reason)
  • YOU WILL have visual artifacts around lights at night and in low light situations, small auras and comets.  I can still drive at night, but sometimes it's irritating.
  • It takes 6 months to REALLY know how your eyes will end up. 
  • When you are > 40, you WILL need reading glasses.  LASIK has zero to do with presbyopia.
  • If you are hyper-detail oriented and you'd regret it if you didn't see 100% perfectly, don't bother.

Overall, I'm very happy with the results, and it was $3K (total) worth spending.  Plus, I'm going to deduct the whole thing.  If you do happen to go to my guy to get your eyes lasered, be sure to tell them I sent you.

The other thing that's interesting, is that while everyone says that you'll wake up and revel in the fact you can see the alarm clock, that hasn't struck me as interesting.  What's REALLY amazing is being able to see the shower drain and your feet.  20 years of glasses and I've never actually seen water go down the shower drain.  After my first shower with new eyes I had to clean the bathroom. 

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.