Eyes, Two Years Later

January 23, 2008

Almost two years ago, in March 2006, I had LASIK surgery done to my eyes to eliminate the need to wear bifocal glasses any more. The goal was to allow me to see without corrective lens whether I was reading a book, looking at a computer monitor, or driving the car. Given my age at the time (45) the LASIK option that sounded best was "mono-vision." As we age our eyes lose some of their focal range. You might be able to see fine up close, but not far away. Or the other way around, but not both ends of the scale. By adjusting, surgically, one eye to see up close and the other to see distance, you can increase the range of unaided vision.

Unfortunately this has not worked out for me. Following the first surgery my near eye was able to focus out to about 8 inches. The doctor explained that it had "healed too strong." After waiting three months for the eye to heal, I under went a second surgery to adjust that eye. It now focuses about 24 inches from my face, but no closer. It had, again, healed differently than the doctor expected.

The doctor is reluctant to operate on that eye again, feeling that (a) two surgeries is enough, and (b) that there is no guarantee how it will heal the third time. His option was to adjust the distance eye - something I am not going to risk.

I've tried living with the quirks of my new vision, but I am frustrated on a daily basis by not being able to see up close anymore. Prior to the surgeries, I was able to see, read, and do things inside of arm's reach. Today I have to hold books at arm's length in order to focus on the words.

The last post-operative exam, a little more than one year ago, was also highly dissatisfying. My near vision wasn't measured at all. It seemed that the clinic was more interested in seeing what my overall vision "score" was, than measuring the absolute parameters of its range. My combined vision is 20-20, but I can't read or focus on objects inside of two feet.

So today I am seeing a new doctor, to get a complete evaluation of my eyesight. I expect that I will need some form of correction in order to regain the near vision I miss and desire. Whether that will be in the form of glasses or contacts, I don't know yet. After the dilation wears off, I will post the results here.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.