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Astronomy after Lasik

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#1 Serial

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 02:12 PM

I'm considering Lasik surgery.  I just read there is a decent chance I'll suffer from Higher Order Aberrations like coma and spherical aberrations, especially in low light conditions.  If this surgery corrects my blurriness but causes halos, diffraction spikes,  and coma around stars at night, I'd be really bummed.  

 

Can anyone speak from experience on this? 


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#2 astrokeith

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 02:17 PM

It seems to be a lottery.

 

Any unwanted side effects all seem to be worse at night - due to the iris opening wider. So the risks for astronomers are worse.

 

I havent personally had it (I never will) but know of many who's night vision has got bad and others have problems driving at night


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#3 Richard O'Neill

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 02:35 PM

http://www.targettal...pic.php?t=46618

 

https://sci.med.visi...-the-astronomer

 

 From what I've read there's no way I would even consider it.

 

PS: In the words of my ophthalmologist, "Never screw around with a perfectly good cornea!"


Edited by Richard O'Neill, 13 July 2021 - 02:43 PM.

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#4 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 02:50 PM

I worked for a company that made LASIK machines. Ours was the best. It ablated over a larger area so the halo problem was reduced. It also tracked so each laser pulse was more precisely placed. Unfortunately the company went out of business. Doctors aren't interested in your eyesight so much as being able to do more surgeries per day and make more money. The machine took longer. Patients also don't care about their eyesight and are more interested in getting the cheapest price. The whole experience was bizarre to me to learn how little both doctors and patients care about eyesight.


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#5 Chucke

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 03:35 PM

In conversations with my opthamologist I came to realize that many people are completely unaware that they can't see well.  He told me of people who can't read the big "E" but manage to pass the vision test for their drivers license anyway.  He also said it is common for people who have had cateract surgery to not follow post op instructions to the extent that some manage to displace their implants.  Sort of follows what Steve was saying about cheap and clueless.


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#6 joelcindyclark

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 03:59 PM

I had LASIK in 1999 when I was in my mid-20's. Prior to surgery, I was legally blind without corrective lenses - couldn't see anything except blurred colors beyond 2 feet. The morning after surgery I was 20/20 in one eye, 20/35 in the other. It was well worth it for me personally as it dramatically improved my ability to function without fumbling around for my glasses (especially once I had kids). 

 

However, I had an immediate "starburst" effect in each eye. It worsened at night. Pinpoints of light, such as oncoming headlights, would flare out. At that time I was not actively into astronomy so it's difficult to guess if it impacted my ability to enjoy the night sky, but I imagine it did.  Although the starburst effect did improve over the years, it never fully went away and night driving has always been a bit of a challenge. About 5 years ago I began getting slightly nearsighted and farsighted so I now use bifocals with a mild prescription when I drive at night or look at the night sky. But even with a brand-new prescription, I still get minor starbursts from oncoming headlights.

 

I am still very glad I had it done, given the improvement in my quality of life. But a small part of me wonders how different the night sky might look if I never had the surgery and just used my super-strong prescription glasses from 1999.


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#7 sevenofnine

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 07:33 PM

I don't recommend it. The failure rate is just too high. I've had poor vision most of my life but always correctable with glasses until recently. The quality of good glasses is so high right now that the risk of corrective surgery just isn't worth it especially if you want to preserve your night vision. Most of the "failures" are magnified at night. Best of luck on your decision! waytogo.gif


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#8 jerobe

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 08:37 PM

In the early 1980s I had radical kerototomy (RK) performed on my right eye.  RK was the predecessor to LASIK and involved the doc making several surgical slits in the cornea. The majority of people who had RK had good outcomes but many didn't, including me.  Halos, diffraction spikes, vision changes during the day, worse effects at night.... I still have them.  I understand LASIK is a much better technique than RK but if there's anything that my RK experience taught me is that if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it.  


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#9 gwd

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 02:33 AM

Two days ago I just had cataract surgery.  The ophthalmologist said he could fix my slight astigmatism with radial keratotomy at the same time.  He said there is “no risk”.   The monsoon is in full swing so no stars, and I’m still healing but so far the improvement in that eye is stunningly good.   It made me realize how bad my “good” eye was.   If I had read these scare stories I would have not had the astigmatism fix.   It seems like a source of variation is that I had to keep my eye perfectly in place while he zapped it.  Halos, diffraction spikes,  what about “no risk”? In April of this year some researchers did a study comparing two types of astigmatism fix during cataract surgery, toroidal implant (I think) and the laser technique performed on me.   My surgeon was the one who performed both types in their dataset.    They looked at 60 some surgeries of each type.  They found no clinically significant difference in the outcomes.   If I had read mention of night vision problems I would have balked.  I was researching my doctor and was reassured when they described him as very competent and experienced.   As I recall their primary measure of success was a vector representing the axis of correction combined with the degree of under or over correction.    I’ll be sure to let you guys know if I have any problems.  


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#10 esd726

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 05:58 AM

Had LASIK in 2006, I haven’t noticed any difference while observing, except I don’t need my glasses/contacts when I observe now 

The only thing the Ophthalmologist told me was after 40 I might need glasses again. 

 I was very nearsighted and had/have astigmatism.  Headlights were a “pain” before and still are. 

But not needing to grab my glasses when I wake up or put contacts in already very dry eyes has made it very much worth it to me. 

 I haven’t even needed readers until I hit 50 (last summer) and presbyopia started kicking in

Now I just take my readers outside so I can read charts, etc. 

 I don’t think I’d go through the procedure again but the outcome has been VERY nice. 

 

 


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#11 rhetfield

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 09:20 AM

I worked for a company that made LASIK machines. Ours was the best. It ablated over a larger area so the halo problem was reduced. It also tracked so each laser pulse was more precisely placed. Unfortunately the company went out of business. Doctors aren't interested in your eyesight so much as being able to do more surgeries per day and make more money. The machine took longer. Patients also don't care about their eyesight and are more interested in getting the cheapest price. The whole experience was bizarre to me to learn how little both doctors and patients care about eyesight.

I had my eyes done with such a machine.  The doctor used a high resolution scanner to scan my eye for any aberrations and astigmatisms and fed that map into the lasik machine.  I was told to stare at the red light, but the machine tracked my eye movements and compensated for that also.  Ended up with 20/15 vision.  20 years later, I am going farsighted and have floaters, but still see much better than I did before the procedure.

 

Wife had some complications, but she was nearly blind before the procedure.  She had sensory overload afterwards due to being able to see properly for the first time.  She also sees much better than before. 


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#12 laurelg9

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 09:52 AM

I had lasik almost 20 years ago, and had a complication with one eye where the flap was wrinkled.  They had to redo it, and smooth out the flap with fresh water, not saline, and it corrected to where I can see 20/20 in one eye and about 20/40 in the other eye, with some pretty significant haloing at night.  My eyesight was so bad beforehand, this is a serious improvement, and I've generally been happy/okay with the results. 

 

It does affect my astronomy viewing.  It took me a while to figure out it was my own eye and not the telescope. It sort of comes and goes. The more tired I am, the worse it is. 

 

Again, my eyesight was so bad prior to the surgery that it is a huge improvement and I'm grateful.  But it does affect my nighttime vision, including at the eyepiece.  


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#13 DSOGabe

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 10:50 AM

Even before I was involved in this hobby, I decided to not have the surgery done partly due to the effects on night vision. 

 

There is the option of having the surgery done on one eye only. That was what my doc felt would be the best option for me. One eye would be for distance vision and the other modified for near, I was told my brain would learn to compensate. It was what my sister had done and she adjusted to it quickly. 

 

The other factor was that my doc told me I would probably still need reading glasses and would eventually be back in my bifocals in a few years. To me, that was equal to just wasting that money. I can find better uses for $3K



#14 Serial

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 03:20 PM

Thank you all for your thoughtful perspectives. I think I'll stick with contacts. Uncorrected I'm 20/400 but with my contacts I'm about 20/15. I'd hate to end up with Walmart Telescope quality acuity.
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#15 EricSi

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 05:23 PM

I had LASIK in 1998, and I've been happy with it. They did tell me that I would need reading glasses as I aged, which has proven to be very true, but for me that's a fair tradeoff for not having to wear glasses or contacts for distance vision.

 

I have not had any problems with night vision, but of course your mileage may vary.


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#16 Dobs O Fun

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 10:01 PM

Thank you all for your thoughtful perspectives. I think I'll stick with contacts. Uncorrected I'm 20/400 but with my contacts I'm about 20/15. I'd hate to end up with Walmart Telescope quality acuity.


I am in the same boat. Perhaps we have same doctors?

#17 Dobs O Fun

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 10:02 PM

Thank you all for your thoughtful perspectives. I think I'll stick with contacts. Uncorrected I'm 20/400 but with my contacts I'm about 20/15. I'd hate to end up with Walmart Telescope quality acuity.


I am in the same boat. Perhaps we have same doctor?

#18 Gary Riley

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Posted 15 July 2021 - 09:05 PM

I had LASIK in both eyes in 2003 at age 48, I’m 66 now. I was very nearsighted. Started out seeing very good without glasses (except readers). Then over time vision got to the place I had to go back to glasses but not as thick as before. I did have the halo effect and some starburst effects from the procedure and my eyes seem dryer and need to use lubricating drops often. Looking back I probably would not have had it if I would have know the additional problems I would develop later on.

#19 gwd

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 08:15 PM

OK, after 1 week things are settling down and star images are improving, when I get to see them.  At first I saw multiple spikes emanating from the stars.  Then two nights ago it was one long spike hanging like an icicle from each star.  If I tilted my head the spike moved accordingly and I only saw it in the treated eye.   I thought the lens was cracked.   At my one week checkup yesterday, the surgeon said the single spike is a rare occurrence and  "might go away in a month".   Last night the spike had turned into a nub.  I even got a chance to check it on a star that poked through the haze.   So things are settling in the right direction for now.  I hope that the procedures have become better in the last two decades.   The posts in this thread about problems with laser corrected vision have me paranoid.


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#20 StarWolf57

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 03:58 PM

I was planning on getting it when I turned 50 so I wouldn't have to deal with glasses anymore. I started putting it off when I heard about potential complications. Now at 63, I have no intention of getting it. For some though, it's a game-changing experience, so I think you have to weight the pros and cons carefully.



#21 rowdy388

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 09:02 PM

I'm 68 and had lasik surgery on both eyes a year ago. My new lenses are set for infinity and stars are now pinpoints. I need reading glasses to read anything

but otherwise no glasses anymore. Yes, I see halos around bright lights at night but it rarely shows up at the eyepiece and when it does, I find that I can make

it disappear if adjust the angle of my head slightly. Overall, I feel like I have super vision compared to pre-surgery. Even through the eyepiece things look a little

more transparent and clear. Part is it has to be how different colors look now since I'm not looking through the yellow filter of my old eyes.


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#22 AstroVPK

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 11:29 PM

Look into scleral contacts. They are stupid expensive, but the vision quality is superb. A cheaper alternative is Zeiss's iScription technology.

#23 DBullard

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Posted 31 July 2021 - 10:45 PM

I had Lasik performed about 10 years ago and went from 20/200 to 20/15 in both eyes 10 years later my vision is still great, yes there were halos for about a year and it did affect my night vision but since then everything seems to have subsided. I had dry eyes for about two years and that has also completely disappeared. I wasn’t into astronomy then but made such a dramatic difference in my day-to-day life I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. After going through several lasik consults all of which seemed more like used car salesmen then someone who actually cared about an outcome I landed on UCLA (Specifically the Doris Stein Eye Institute) doing the procedure. Definitely wasn’t cheap but the pre/post-op care was phenomenal. My vision started to decline ever so slightly in the last two years and I finally made it end to see an optometrist back in April (thanks covid…) to find out that I’m no longer 20/15 but 20/20… Something that made a big difference for me was talking to the doctor that was actually gonna do the procedure having them explain the potential outcomes, I happen to be fortunate with really thick corneas so I’ve got room to redo this procedure again one or two more times, One of my closest friends was outright rejected by the same doctor about six months after I had my procedure because his corneas were not thick enough whereas the more commercial laser centers we’re just trying to get him under the knife… So for me the lesson here is to use your doctor carefully…

I know that not everybody’s gonna have the same experience but I went from being uncomfortable in contacts for a better than 15 years and I wouldn’t turn back if I had any choice at all…
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#24 gwd

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 04:05 AM

"After going through several lasik consults all of which seemed more like used car salesmen then someone who actually cared about an outcome.."

Good description of the guys from the specialist LASIK clinic I talked to here.   The problem here is the skilled doctors are very very busy.  I had to schedule surgery 3-4 months in advance for mine.  The good thing about COVID is it keeps some of the medical tourists away.    

 

 I'm still healing but getting better and still much improved over my pre-surgery condition.   Thanks for sharing your experience, now I won't worry so much about visual disturbances for a year.   Sometimes when I wake up in the morning I see a flashing flower-like pattern right in my most acute visual area on the eye that had surgery.  It flashes at 10-15 hz I guess.  Blood pressure is OK.  It goes away in 20 minutes or so.   



#25 CowTipton

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 09:33 AM

I had Lasik done in 2015.

No issues since.

 

6 years later my right eye is 20/15 and left is 20/20

 

It's nice to wake up in the middle of the night and actually see the time on the alarm clock.




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