LASIK Vs. Implantable Contacts for Severe Nearsightedness

Updated on February 26, 2011
C.M. asks from Plano, TX
12 answers

Hi Ladies,
I just got back from my annual eye exam and, sadly, my already severe nearsightedness (20/400) has worsened. I'm past the childbearing stage of my life, and have done quite a lot of reading on LASIK over the years. I've been wearing contacts since I was 10yrs old, and I'm now 30. Doc says I am a candidate for it, although my concern is that when and if my vision worsens, it will be difficult for them to touch it up and I may end up needing glasses or contacts in the future. I haven't heard anyone with complaints about implantable contacts, but, I admit, I don't know anyone who has told me they've had it done. I do not have astigmatism. I'd love to hear from those of you who may have been severely nearsighted - it is a different world when you can't see ANYTHING without glasses/contacts. Have any of you had the implant surgery? I'm curious to hear your experiences.

Also, I live in a suburb of Dallas, TX, and haven't decided on a surgeon. I'm not a fan of the cattle-call style providers. Any referrals?


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answers from Dallas on

I don't know about the contacts, but I understand that having Lasik puts you at higher risk for cataracts

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answers from Phoenix on

I'm not sure what my nearsightedness was in the 20/20 terms, but I was a -7.5 in contacts, and -8 something in glasses and therefor not a candidate for lasik. Basically my doctor told me, "hey...I'm not going to lie to you, you could probably find a doctor to do lasik on you. I would strongly recommend you not doing that though." The reason being that in order for them to correct me to 20/20, they would have to laser away too much of my cornea, leaving me with too thin of corneas and risking problems later in life. And my corneas are not overly thin. They said they are average thickness. I guess if they are left too thin after surgery, you are likely to have them "cone" (or get pointy instead of round) in the future, and there is no cure for that except a cornea transplant. So at their office, anyone with my prescription gets recommended ICL surgery. I also had no astigmatism. I went to Barnett Dulaney, and had Dr. Rivera as my surgeon. He is here in phoenix, and is actually the doctor that brought ICL to this country. He worked with the FDA doing trials to get it approved, and trains other doctors who want to become certified. So I believe I went to the best guy in the country. Anyway, ICL was described as really great, because with lasik, the cornea has to heal so there will always be some form of distortion with the healing process. most people don't notice it however. Also, lasik is permanent. ICL is completely reversable, they can take the lens out if you need a correction and put a new one in. The incision is much smaller for ICL, no flap has to be created- just a tiny hole, there are no halos with lights at night with ICL, blah, blah, blah. So I got it done in October and for the most part I am happy with it. HOWEVER, one big drawback that I'm still getting used to is that there is a line of glare when I am in bright light situations that no one told me about. I'm not sure if just I'm the lucky one to experience this, or if it is common. It is a little down from my midline and I only see it if I open my eyes wider than normal. I talked to them about it, and was told that it will "get better with time" (notice how they didn't say it would go away? worrisome) and that I have to wait for "neuro adaptation" which means that nothing in my eyes will change, but the nerves that go to my brain will "cancel that out", basically not see it anymore. They said its like your nose. If you took a camera and put it at the back of your eye, you would see your nose. But no one sees there nose every day. Its like your brain cancels it out. I'm still waiting, and kind of think its a fancy way of saying I'll get used to it. If it weren't for that, I'd be thrilled with the procedure, except for that price-OUCH! Still paying...Best of luck to you in your decision....oh, and I still think I have to take my contacts out every night. :)
Edited: Had a post surgery follow up this week and discussed the glare problem, it is due to light coming in through a hole they put in your iris at the top of your eye, under your lid. (Hence why it gets worse when I open my eyes wider). The reason they put that hole in your iris is for fluid transfer, it helps keep the pressure down in your eye, since they put a lens in your eye that wasn't there before, it can raise the pressure. Anyway, if it is bothersome to me they can stitch it closed a litte to make it smaller. We are going to wait another 6 months to see if neuro adaptation occurs, and if it is still bugging me, they will stitch it. Just FYI.

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answers from Detroit on

I had Lasik done, it worked great!!!!

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answers from Rapid City on

My husband had LASIK about 1 month ago and his eyesite was about the same as yours (he's also 29 yo) and he's now seeing 20/15. He highly recommends it. The Dr's told him that as you age, your lens muscles in your eye's weaken, so it isn't uncommon to need reeding glasses once you hit 50.
I have looked into the procedure for myeslf, and sadly, I am not a candidate for LASIK (my cornea's are too thin and I have large pupils in low light). However, I am planning to have Custom PRK eye surgery done in April (it will have been enough time since I stopped BF then).
If you have any questions you want to ask my hubby just pm me and I'll get back to you.
here's the link for the place in SD that did my husbands.. for no other reason than there may be some good info for you.
good luck!!

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answers from Austin on

I gave myself the gift of Lasik for my 30th birthday. Almost 4 years ago. It was the best thing I have ever done! I was extremely nearsighted with an astigmatism. My astigmatism was so bad that my surgeon was not sure he could get me to 20/20. He got me to 20/15! The surgery itself was very easy. I also had a very easy recovery with no problems. I went to Lasik Plus. I know they are a chain but my surgeon was an air force surgeon with thousands of procedures under his belt. He did many surgeries on air force pilots. I figure the air force would sure want someone who knew what they were doing. I also bought the lifetime plan. It was not that much more and protects me for life, meaning if I ever need to go back I can for free. I also had another child last year and my eyesight did not change at all.


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answers from Honolulu on

I know a person, who had Lasik. He then had to have it redone, when his eyes/vision changed.

I also know of other people, that per natural aging.... they had to have it redone. Because, as a person ages, the eye 'shape' changes, too.

Personally, I would no do it, for that reason. It is not permanent. Some people need to have it, redone.

Implantable contacts... to me conceptually, is sounds good. But, the eye is changing. An implantable is not.

Get lots of 2nd and 3rd opinions and do research. And see what the outcomes are, long term.

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answers from Norfolk on

I was extremely nearsighted. -14 in my left eye and -12 in my right.
I was a good candidate for Lasik and they corrected my vision to 20/20.
It felt so good throwing away my glasses and contacts!

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answers from St. Louis on

Go to a doctor that can do both. They should be able to help you figure out which would work best for you. I am getting ready to do the "implantable" contacts. I am not a candidate for Lasik. One upside to the implantable ones...they can be redone...not sure how that works w Lasik. Sorry I don't live in TX but ask around at work/friends to see if anyone has some suggestions for docs. Lots of people having this done these days! Best of luck to you!!

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answers from Los Angeles on

I just had Lasik done, also nearsighted and now have 20/15. It is undescribable how awesome it is not to have to worry about glasses. They did tell me that not "maybe" but "definitely" I will need reading glasses after 40, however I figure that's a small price to pay for 20/15 vision!

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answers from Los Angeles on

I talked to my eye doctor about implantable contacts about a year ago. He's a surgeon so he is one who would do this type of surgery. He said to wait 3-4 more years. He said they are coming out with better ways to do the surgery, and it's worth it to wait on the newer innovation.

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answers from Minneapolis on

My vision was 20/400 and worse (they stopped telling me) and I had Lasik at age 43. I had to wait until one year past breastfeeding my daughter so they could see that my eyesight was stable for one year. That was the only year since I was 10 that I had stable eyesight! I also had astigmatism and thin corneas.

The Lasik was a miracle!! I can't say enough good about it. I ended up with 20/30 vision and no glasses needed. Over four 1/2 years later, I needed to get glasses for driving and movie theaters - things at a distance. I'll be 50 next month and that's still true - I only need to wear mild correction glasses for driving and distance - no reading or computer glasses needed!

I know that I am not a candidate for any "touch up" Lasik because of both my thin corneas and my age. I would trade close sight for distance sight, and I'm comfortable with things as they are now. I've never regretted doing the Lasik or the cost (more expensive because of the thin corneas).

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answers from New York on

Thank you for this question! Can those who answered tell me is insurance covered any of it?

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