06 June 2011

My Eyes Are Dim

I've needed vision correction since I was ten years old. I started with glasses, then got soft contacts, then switched to gas permeable contacts and have worn those for twenty years. Twenty years! I am no longer in the bloom of youth [hint: foreshadowing!]

I've never had great luck with eye doctors. I seem to have a knack for finding the strange ones. I've had one that was downright creepy and many that were just socially inept. I found a good one in Boston, but only got one visit in with her and then she went on maternity leave. Then I moved to Oregon. So much for that.

Right before we moved to our new house, I dropped my right lens down the drain. This happens every few years and is the event that forces me to get my eyes checked and freshen up my contacts. When I dug out my old prescription, I was shocked to find that it had been four years since I last had new lenses, so it was time. I called my HMO and made an appointment, which I finally had today.

My new doctor seems fine. He was professional and straightforward and he can make reasonable chit-chat. He is not creepy. He has a French last name. And it's not his fault that the rational, scientific reply to my query about LASIK surgery was, "You're a great candidate, in terms of your eyes. But at your age, it might not be worth it. Depends on your goals. In five years, maybe sooner, maybe a couple of years later, you're going to need reading glasses, so LASIK won't keep you glasses-free for long. And so if you want to be totally glasses-free, you probably shouldn't bother. Not at your age."

Here's to being almost 40! Most days, I honestly don't care, but I'll confess that this particular conversation threw me for a loop. I'll try not to hold it against poor Dr. Frenchyname.

36 comments:

mek said...

"At your age"?! Ack! I just choked on my G&T!

Snickollet said...

@MEK: Wish I had a G&T to choke on! :)

Lala said...

hasn't he ever heard of enlarged text? I would do it if I could afford it, my procedure would cost over 4g's but I'm going to be 41 next month and I'd still do it just to be able to see the crud in my shower and swim glasses free.

Ellen said...

My FIL had it done when he was 70. He uses reading glasses when he needs them, and he's still happy about it (five years on).

Sylvie said...

When I had LASIK done 6 years ago, they were clear that I'd need reading glasses at some stage, but so what? The joy of just opening your eyes in the morning and actually seeing things is incredible, especially after having to wear glasses since age 9. Do the LASIK! Even if/when you need reading glasses there are still MANY moments of a day when seeing distance without glasses is AMAZING! Plus, since when is 40 old?!?!

Karyn said...

Ack! I'm totally freaking out that you haven't been to an eye dr in so long--especially after hearing about my tales of terror over getting glaucoma at 36. I know my story is rare, but I am so glad that your eye pressure seems to be fine (since you didn't mention it). Now that you have an eye doctor, go every year PLEASE!! Glaucoma is usually completely symptom-free and all damage is permanant. Okay, rant over... (sorry!) That said: I think LASIK would be awesome--mainly so you could shower, swim, and run glasses-free. And, you could wear any sunglasses you want! I am totally jealous. Even if you do have to wear reading glasses some day, that is so different than having to wear glasses or contacts all the time. And, who knows when that some day will be. (Again, sorry about my lecture. I just care about you!)

owlfan said...

I would love to be able to see when I swim, but I just wear my contacts and close my eyes under water. I'm way too much of a chicken to let a knife near my eyes, though. And I think I'd find reading glasses avworse pain. My mom had cataracts removed and now no longer needs glasses all the time. Instead she spends half her time squinting and hunting for reading glasses. She must have a dozen pair of reading glasses and can only findvthem a fraction of the time.

christine said...

Dr. Frenchyname should learn how to speak to people. I'm always appalled at some doctor's bedside manner. I once went to a gyno appointment where I had gained five pounds, since I had just been married, honeymooned, etc. He asked about it which was fine, since I was there re my birth control which had changed. I explained that I just got back from the honeymoon which was the more likely situation.

He then asked what I intended to do about it. I was shocked and then I said, "Honestly? Nothing." Haven't been back since.

kris (lower case) said...

i got lasiks done at 46... that was almost 10 yrs ago and i am SO glad i did.. i can see when i get up, i can see the clock at night... simple things you never think about when you are used to wearing glasses. yes, i have reading glasses but they are cheap drug store ones so i have them all over the house and in the car. i would do the lasiks again in a heart beat. if you don't do it you will still need the reading glasses with your contacts..

Jen said...

When I asked my eye doctor about LASIK at around 45, he suggested I wait until my close vision loss slows down. Apparently the changes LASIK makes to your eyeball would be different. Though now I'm not sure how that works, given that loss of close vision is muscular, whereas nearsightedness and astigmatism are eyeball shape (and thus correctable by reshaping the eyeball via LASIK)...

But now I'm in love with my bifocal contacts. They're awesome! I'm not sure I'd want to swap seeing the alarm clock for always having reading glasses around.

Mujja said...

get the lasik!! I have contacts, bifocals and reading glasses in any number of combinations ...its a nightmare!!! At 46 I am saving like mad for the op......

Mizasiwa said...

Id love to do LASIK I cant wear contact becouse of a serious stigmatism in one eye - iv tried thos e weighted contacts but they are just horrible!! I think that will be my goal in a few years. I dont know anyone that has been unhappy with having it done, whether they landed up with reading glasses or not. I have this awsome dents in my nose and across each temple that I would love to get rid of you should go for it, i dont think youd be sorry!! (bifocal contacts???)

Lyndsay said...

DO IT!
I got Lasik 8 years ago and haven't regretted it for a second. I absolutely love it. So what if you need reading glasses in a few years? That's not the same as needing glasses/contacts 24/7.
Do it! Do it! Do it!

Karen O said...

If you decide to stay with contacts, get contacts with monovision -one eye has the close-up correction, the other is set for distance. (I confess when I first learned of monovision, I said - ugh, not for me.) I quickly changed my mind when I actually needed reading glasses and I LOVED it.
Sadly, I'm back to glasses due to severe dry eyes - so keep them well hydrated NOW!!

Tiffany said...

I would find a different eye doctor and maybe a Lasik specialist. I have heard that with Lasik you are good for life. I have even heard of the good Lasik doctors saying that if your eyes change they will fix it for free. Maybe look around. If I had the money I would do Lasik in a heart beat.

Anonymous said...

I am your age. I had lasik about 5 years ago. In orderto circumvent the need for reading glasses, my Dr. just did lasik to one eye. So I have what is called Monovision. One eye for distance and one eye for reading. Honestly, I cannot tell that I have monovisoin. I canjust see everything, all the time. No troubles. It did take some getting used to initially, but now it is just great.

AraS said...

I got lasik last year (I'm looking 30 down the barrel) and it was the best decision ever. I was 20/8000 before. Now i'm 20/15. If I only have this for 5 years, it's still worth it, IMO.

Watercolor said...

Yeah. Sigh. Told my eye doc I thought there was something wrong with my contacts because I couldn't see my computer screen as well anymore and he said, "You're 43. Go to Target and get some cheap reading glasses." Dammit. Well then.

Jody said...

I have to agree with all who say "Do it!" I had mine done about 3.5 years ago (after about 20 years in gas permeable contact lenses), and even though I know that I will probably need reading glasses one day (I think I'm a year or two younger than you), it has still been WAY worth it!

kathy a. said...

i'm 53, never could stand the thought of contacts. and i don't think i'll be doing any eye surgery until the cataracts show up. i mean, ick.

but do what you feel is right for you. just want to say that glasses are OK. i was really surprised when i got the last ones, trifocals, and discovered that the pair before them were also trifocals. those progressive lenses look fine, and i had no trouble adjusting.

Janine (txmomx6) said...

I had lasik done when I was 38. My doctor recommended that I have it done as mono vision, which they pretty much automatically do when a patient is 40 and older. One eye is corrected to 20/20, the other (not the dominant one) is corrected to 20/30 or so. That eye is then the "reading" eye. Yes, I will eventually need to use "readers" but not yet. And I'm 50 now. So in doing the mono-vision they postponed the need for readers.
Even if I had needed readers the next day, I'd still have it done. It's one of the best things I ever did. I can't encourage you enough ..... GO DO IT!!!! My goal was to see much better than I did (I was so blind I couldn't see the chart, let alone the E on the chart!). I wish I had done it sooner. I don't regret it at all. Go for it!!!!!

Denise said...

I can't have Lasik because my eyesight is so poor (20/1100) that it probably wouldn't correct it. I've had glasses since I was 7, switched to contacts when I was 12, and they honestly don't bother me that much. Now, though, I have to wear reading glasses over the contacts. I never thought about correcting for monovision with the contacts--I'll have to give that a try.

However, my personal motto is "no elective surgery," so I can assure you I wouldn't have Lasik even if it would work.

awildpreciouslife said...

I've had the same experiences and feeling with eye doctors until my last appointment. My new doc is SO CUTE. Looking forward to my yearly appt.
My mom had Lasik in her early/mid-40s and said it was so worth it. She is now 50 and still doesn't wear reading glasses. Definitely worth it.

Erin said...

I'm, 51 and I had lasik done 9 years ago. It has been great and totally worth it. I do not need reading glasses but I do have to now wear glasses for driving (street signs and such are now getting blurry on me:( I was very, very nearsighted and before the lasik I could not even FIND my glasses. My advice is to do it - you deserve it.

mommo4.5 said...

Yes, but remember, he's saying your too YOUNG, not too OLD! In a few years your eyes will stop changing so drastically (so my eye doctor says) and then LASIK might be just the thing. Let your glass be half full :)

mommo4.5 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mommo4.5 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandi said...

The instant I turned 40 I need reading glasses.

OTRgirl said...

I just went to the eye doctor and found out that I'll likely need bifocals when I next get glasses... for now he told me to just hold things at arms' length to read them. Definitely made me feel old!

DASIGLAM said...

I was told the exact same thing by my doctor about a month ago. And I haven't decided if I'll do it or not even if I have to use reading glasses, I guess it depends on if the insurance covers it. And to top it off he told me I should wait until I had cataracts; not if, mind you, but when. I wasn't very happy either let me tell you.

sheilah said...

I had cataracts at a rather young age (late 40s). Before that I had used contacts for distance + cheap reading glasses for closeup.

The first cataract surgery I got a simple lens implant + LASIK. Awesome. Could see distance. The second (about a year later), a new invention had come along...bifocal lens implants. Awesome. Can see distance & close.

I don't wish cataracts on you (or anyone), but for me, after the age of 50, for the first time since I was 9 years old, I don't need glasses at all.

Awesome.

CV said...

you (and your worried commenters, actually, moreso them) inspired me to schedule an appointment with my optometrist.. who I hadn't seen in 3.5 years (oops).

a) I do not have glaucoma
b) the terrifying puff-test for glaucoma has become much less "puffy" and I actually got through it without needing a valium
c) $650 dollars later, I'm super psyched to be getting my new frames today or tomorrow (love that FSA account!)

Julia said...

You should totally go for the Lasik. Everyone needs reading glasses from time to time.

Molly said...

The other thing with Lasik that they don't always tell you? Once you've had it you can never have cataract surgery. Nobody wants to think of being 80 and having cataracts, but going slowly blind with no way to correct it (and cataract replacement is very straightforward, low risk surgery) is too high a price to pay for having perfect distance vision now.

Karina Chiodo said...

Hehe, that was quite a funny experience with the ophthalmologist. Did you ask for a second opinion? LASIK might still be the best for you. My mom had it and she's above 50 years old. You can consult other eye doctors on what they can recommend for you.

Rocky Ciavattone said...

My wife and a few friends had LASIK at New England Eye Center in Boston. We heard about them at a Celtics game. They take care of all the Celtic Players. She has great vision now 20/15 and can stop raving about it. I wish I could get it done but my corneas are too thin apparently. Check them out at www.mylasikdoc.com - Dr. Wu was her doctor, not sure of her first name?