Does Laser Eye Surgery Hurt?
Yes and No.
But most people will answer you blindly and say, “No, it’s quick and painless.
And the entire procedure usually takes 15 minutes tops.”
So why do I say YES it hurts? And it hurts REAL BAD.
You’d be surprised.
It started 13 months ago. When I decided that it’s time to finally get rid of my glasses.
Because they felt more like crutches to me.
Every morning I would fumble to reach for my glasses just to read the alarm clock.
What a hassle.
At our dinner party, I saw my cousin Robert. Who seemed happier than usual.
I also noticed that he looked better without glasses.
“So when did you start wearing contacts?” I inquired. “Oh, I just got my eyes done.
Lasik. It’s unbelievable. I can even see better than before,” He explained in an
He was so happy with the results. And I envied him. Naturally, I took the information
of the Lasik Center and physician he’s been to. “He’s one of the top Lasik physicians
in our state.” Robert bragged.
In just a few days, I set up an appointment and went with my friend, Sheryl. She
hates her glasses too. They checked on our eyes and said that we are perfect
candidates for Lasik.
I was excited.
And I started to imagine my freedom. Life without glasses – how awesome would that be?!
I could finally go to the movies, play basketball or drive without my despicable glasses!
So I started to read up on Lasik - the normal stuff, pros and cons, what to expect, possible
risks, how painful will the surgery be, etc.
Everything looked really promising apart from the horror stories I read online. After thinking
it through, Sheryl decided that she doesn’t want to take any chances.
She chickened out and backed out.
For me, it looks like there are plenty of people who are happy with their results. And I want
to be one of them.
When I went for another consultation, the doctor assured me that they have “virtually
eliminated” every risk with the new technology in place.
Still, I pressed on and asked about people who got their eyes ruined. “It’s about 1%
or less than that. I would say it’s one in a million,” the doctor said confidently.
“And you don’t have to worry about that. We use the latest technology and you’ll do fine.”
With a success story from my cousin who got it from the same physician, I knew I’d be
in good hands.
The day of the surgery I admit that I was a bit nervous. They gave me a drug called
Ativan to relax my body. And they also put anesthetic drops on my eyes to numb them.
But there was a little discomfort only because my eyes were clamped open to prevent
them from blinking.
It’s just a strange feeling having to witness everything while it happens.
My surgery was quick and smooth.
I felt no pain.
The day after my operation, I noticed that my vision was better than it was before
needing glasses at the age of eight.
At the beginning, everything went perfectly. My only problem was that I could feel a
subtle pain in my eye. But since they were still healing, I wasn’t terribly concerned.
I could see the leaves on a tree now. It was like a miracle!
When I went for my first post-op check, the doctor was extremely positive that
my surgery was successful. I went from a high myopia of -14 and astigmatism
I was thrilled!
And since my world revolves around the Internet, I started to post on forums about
how happy I was with the success of my Lasik operation.
“The best decision I’ve ever made!” I would repeatedly tell people online…
Looking back at my ignorant self, I realized how shortsighted I was to declare such
positive news about Lasik...
I regret posting those messages all over the web. Worse, I do not remember where
I have posted them and so I could not even remove them at this point.
What happens next is just mind-boggling.
After 9 short months of “perfect” vision, Lasik turned its ugly head on me.
Everything went from good to bad. And worse.
I noticed that my eyes were beginning to blur but I wasn’t really sure. The process was
gradual until it came to a point where every object I see, blended into each other… And
I would see multiple images.
If I look at the night sky, 2 moons would look down on me from my left eye, and
4 moons from my right.
I stopped going to the movies.
Do you know how it feels like to be guided to your seat like a blind person?
Stepping on people’s toes, tripping on them, only to sit there and see one black fog of
smeared, pulsating mess of distorted images…
Who knew that a successful Lasik could go from good to bad?
My doctor spent more time discussing about cost and financing.
He never mentioned anything about the possibility of my vision being permanently
smeared by starbursts, halos and double vision.
Nor did he care to mention that damages are irreversible. And that wearing glasses
or contacts won’t correct them again.
“It’s rare nowadays… One in a million… Nothing to worry about… Any minor side
effects would be temporary. You’ll be fine.” I can still remember what he said like
it was yesterday.
Simple things that I enjoy are now taken away from me.
I don’t go to restaurants anymore.
I can’t make out people’s faces or door frames. I can’t even read the menu! While
friends are out there enjoying themselves, my body stiffens with anxiety.
I also had to give up driving because pedestrians are invisible to me.
I literally lost my independence!
When I try to explain this feeling to my friends, I tell them, “Just imagine being
permanently trapped behind someone else’s contact lenses forever - someone
else’s very smudged, dirty, and scratchy lenses.”
If you were to experience what I have for just one day, you’d cry and scream bloody murder!
Depression was a word I did not understand until Lasik. And yes, I’ll admit that I’ve had
suicidal thoughts. I’m sorry if it’s a bit dramatic. But I became bitter and depressed. And
for several months, I stopped talking to ALL of my friends.
I’m no longer 20/20.
And like many successful Lasik patients, my vision regressed. But they counted mine as a
success because I had 20/20 right after the operation. Doesn’t matter that they butchered
my eyes. And that my vision is now permanently distorted.
Little did I know that the worse is yet to come. Their so-called Lasik “enhancement”
cannot do the trick and restore my vision.
When the ophthalmologist did a topographical scan of my eyes, I was dumbfounded
with the news.
He told me that I have post-LASIK corneal ectasia.
A direct result of Lasik - where my corneas had warped into a cone shape, causing all
the distorted images I see.
I was horrified and confused.
All I can remember about the appointment were the words “conrneal transplant and
How could this possibly happen to me? I was in total disbelief.
My physician reassured me that Lasik is a safe procedure - that it’s practically
foolproof by now. I guess I was the fool who believed…
The horror stories from other victims were there for me to avoid my current situation.
But I still chose to believe the Lasik physician instead.
I knew there were risks. But I had turned a blind eye on all the warning signs because
I wanted to believe that it won’t happen to me.
It never dawned on me that these are the only set of eyes that I will ever have. And I
gambled on what I thought was a safe bet.
Turns out it’s impossible for the LASIK flap to heal completely. As a result, you run
the risk of it being accidentally dislodged for the rest of your life.
You can accidentally bump your head and dislodge it. Or someone pokes you in the eye
and you’re screwed.
And everyone who undergoes Lasik will have a permanently weakened cornea and
may develop corneal ectasia weeks, months, or years later.
Funny, I don’t remember the Lasik physician mentioning any of this to me.
I have since lost my job. Depleted my life savings and 401k. All for a desperate attempt to
gain what little vision I have left.
Whenever I hear Lasik Centers bragging about a 95% to 99% success rate, I scoff at it.
I was part of that success rate. But look at me now.
I can’t even look at myself clearly in the mirror.
Nowadays, I’m generally confined to my home and dependent on family and friends
for moving around.
Glasses were like crutches to me. But it’s nothing like being on a wheelchair where you
don’t even have the arms to move it yourself.
Given a second chance, I won’t mind the crutches anymore. I would give anything just
to have my old pre-Lasik eyesight back.
Who knew that my old glasses weren’t so bad after all?
Don’t be a fool like me.
P.S. Sheryl was smart enough to have backed out of Lasik. She tried a longer, yet
safer alternative instead.
When I was drowning in my own misery, I stopped talking to her for months. Little did
I know that she was able to drastically improve her eyesight - all without the help of Lasik.
Seeing me all depressed, she admitted not wanting to share her good news. But I am
touched by how she is raising awareness on the real risks of Lasik.
You can support the cause and help prevent more eyes from being butchered.
Watch this short youtube video she created – Laser Eye Surgery Cost and Risk: Secrets
She uncovered more crap about Lasik that I’m sure you don’t even know about.
As it turns out, the injury rate is not really 1% or less. It’s astoundingly MORE than that.