Beauty & Wellness

[Merged] laser eye surgery

  • Last Updated:
  • Sep 20th, 2017 5:19 pm

Poll: Mid twenties a good age to get it done?

  • Total votes: 180. You have voted on this poll.
Yes
 
93
52%
No
 
26
14%
Pizza is yummy
 
61
34%
Sr. Member
Oct 6, 2015
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lynn24 wrote:
Aug 24th, 2017 8:24 am
Going in next week to PLEC to get it done... Any last minute pieces of advice for speedy recovery/safe post-operative navigating?

Also, PLEC said 7 days for BCL removal but my optometrist said he can do it as such, but typically he checks at 5 and it's fine... Did anyone here (burnt69? peanutz? aznsilvrboy?) do the full 7? Does PLEC actually care?
AFAIK, it can be done at 5. With how quickly SmartSurfACE re-epithelializes in most patients, it probably can be done at 4. I found the bandage contact lens to be incredibly comfortable with the drop regime they prescribed, so whether its 5 days, or 7 days, doesn't really matter. Best to follow PLEC's instructions to the letter I guess.

Shouldn't be any problem "post-operative navigating" if you're leaving the day after the surgery. Just familiarize yourself with the Skytrain/Canada Line map/station so you know how to get to the airport. I used the City Hall / W. Broadway station I think. Make sure you are well hydrated, especially after flying -- this is very important for the measurements needed for the surgery.

Good luck! Chutney Villa on E. Broadway if you need awesome Indian food!
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lynn24 wrote:
Aug 24th, 2017 8:24 am
Going in next week to PLEC to get it done... Any last minute pieces of advice for speedy recovery/safe post-operative navigating?

Also, PLEC said 7 days for BCL removal but my optometrist said he can do it as such, but typically he checks at 5 and it's fine... Did anyone here (burnt69? peanutz? aznsilvrboy?) do the full 7? Does PLEC actually care?
I had my BCL removed after 5 days and it was fine. Your optometrist will check to make sure your epithelium has grown back before removing. I didn't find navigation to be an issue, except make sure to wear UV protected sunglasses whenever you go out during the day.
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@peanutz @burnt69 Did you guys end up with 20/20 or better and how long did that take? It's been about a month for me and still at 20/25 with some astigmatism and farsightedness.
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Aznsilvrboy wrote:
Aug 30th, 2017 9:23 pm
@peanutz @burnt69 Did you guys end up with 20/20 or better and how long did that take? It's been about a month for me and still at 20/25 with some astigmatism and farsightedness.
At my 6 month appointment, I was inbetween 20/10 and 20/15. So I figure 20/12 roughly. Still hoping to hit 20/10. I had some tear film problems for the first few months, so the refractions didn't turn out too well.

At one month, yeah, farsightedness was a problem for me. I'm still +0.5D or so 7 months later. Don't notice any astigmatism. Night vision is still improving, particularly spherical aberration around streetlights.
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Aznsilvrboy wrote:
Aug 30th, 2017 9:23 pm
@peanutz @burnt69 Did you guys end up with 20/20 or better and how long did that take? It's been about a month for me and still at 20/25 with some astigmatism and farsightedness.
I have some residual astigmatism left that prevents me from clearly seeing the smallest letters; I can make some out but they are fuzzy. The optometrist tried to swap around the lenses to higher power to no avail, so I'm not sure what that figures in the /20 scale but I am happy with my results. I do not have farsightedness; my near-vision is still excellent and not noticeably different than before.

My brother mentioned that he may have experienced some regression at 3-4 months; he said that he is something like 20/25.
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peanutz wrote:
Aug 31st, 2017 11:05 am
My brother mentioned that he may have experienced some regression at 3-4 months; he said that he is something like 20/25.
Probably just going through the dry eye stuff like I did at the same stage in the recovery process now that he'd be officially off of drops, Lacri Lube, etc. Not bad enough to cause any sort of pain/discomfort, but bad enough to cause a loss of visual acuity.
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burnt69 wrote:
Aug 31st, 2017 5:03 pm
Probably just going through the dry eye stuff like I did at the same stage in the recovery process now that he'd be officially off of drops, Lacri Lube, etc. Not bad enough to cause any sort of pain/discomfort, but bad enough to cause a loss of visual acuity.
Perhaps...I have no idea lol. He doesn't like to discuss these sorts of things with me.

The freedom from glasses is priceless. Relishing every moment I remind myself of it. I'm not hung up on the numbers; I see very well...not at all inferior to my previous vision in glasses.
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Hey guys so I'm going to be in Vancouver on December 9th - 16th to visit family, can I get a timeline from anyone that has been to PLEC? Like how long it took to go from consultation to procedure to followup even? I think I read somewhere one of you guys flew in, got it done the next day and flew right back out. I sent a message to PLEC a while ago but never really got a reply - I think they'd take me more seriously if I had solid dates and stuff.

Another thing is, how do you guys deal with checkups and complications? My 2nd choice after PLEC is just to do normal LASIK here in Toronto and they offer lifetime touchups. If I have any problems, I can just go to any location nearby and get it checked out. Same with the post-op checkups. I really want to do PRK since I believe it is more "natural" and I don't mind the additional cost (the pain + recovery time), but I rarely fly out to vancouver and I don't want to have to pay $600 to fly there every time something comes up.
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rabbitz wrote:
Sep 3rd, 2017 1:11 pm
Hey guys so I'm going to be in Vancouver on December 9th - 16th to visit family, can I get a timeline from anyone that has been to PLEC? Like how long it took to go from consultation to procedure to followup even? I think I read somewhere one of you guys flew in, got it done the next day and flew right back out. I sent a message to PLEC a while ago but never really got a reply - I think they'd take me more seriously if I had solid dates and stuff.
Shouldn't be a problem, assuming that they're open and doing surgeries on those dates, being booked accordingly. I was able to go from initial consult with my optometrist, pre-op, and actual surgery within 45 days, including the Christmas holidays.

I would suggest you go through the process of getting your annual check-up, and the referral/pre-op stuff done locally, at your own optometrist, and then you can firm up the date accordingly. In your case, if you're probably looking at surgery on the 15th (Friday), Saturday morning follow-up 16th), and then flying back in the evening of the 16th of December. The 17th probably will be quite blurry.

It was my experience that they won't even discuss dates with you until you are approved for the surgery, ie: went through the referral process with your optometrist.
Another thing is, how do you guys deal with checkups and complications?
I have enough wealth such that if I had a complication, getting on the plane to see the doctor wouldn't have been the end of the world. Complications after PRK that can't be treated by the optometrist locally in consultation with PLEC are rare. The nomogram and equipment used by PLEC has an incredibly low re-treatment rate. I believe out of 700 cases or so, they only had to do 1 re-treatment, and that was likely from a fairly high prescription.

If you're a starving student, and spending $5000 on laser eye surgery is literally the last of your spare cash (not the actual fee BTW, they'll quote you a fee which probably will be considerably less!), then I don't think I could recommend doing PLEC in Vancouver unless they were local to you.
My 2nd choice after PLEC is just to do normal LASIK here in Toronto and they offer lifetime touchups. If I have any problems, I can just go to any location nearby and get it checked out. Same with the post-op checkups. I really want to do PRK since I believe it is more "natural" and I don't mind the additional cost (the pain + recovery time), but I rarely fly out to vancouver and I don't want to have to pay $600 to fly there every time something comes up.
The chance of needing to see the surgeon again, rather than just a co-managing optometrist would be rare, but not literally zero.

edit: @rabbitz , for a surgery date so close to Christmas, you'll need to verify with your optometrist that they would be available to remove your bandage contact lens 5-7 days after the procedure (ie: 1-week check-up), and then the 2-week check-up.

reference: https://members.optometrists.bc.ca/BCAO ... lation.pdf , particularly page 26, 1 retreatment out of 765 cases required.
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rabbitz wrote:
Sep 3rd, 2017 1:11 pm
Hey guys so I'm going to be in Vancouver on December 9th - 16th to visit family, can I get a timeline from anyone that has been to PLEC? Like how long it took to go from consultation to procedure to followup even? I think I read somewhere one of you guys flew in, got it done the next day and flew right back out. I sent a message to PLEC a while ago but never really got a reply - I think they'd take me more seriously if I had solid dates and stuff.

Another thing is, how do you guys deal with checkups and complications? My 2nd choice after PLEC is just to do normal LASIK here in Toronto and they offer lifetime touchups. If I have any problems, I can just go to any location nearby and get it checked out. Same with the post-op checkups. I really want to do PRK since I believe it is more "natural" and I don't mind the additional cost (the pain + recovery time), but I rarely fly out to vancouver and I don't want to have to pay $600 to fly there every time something comes up.
What @burnt69 said. I'll just summarize his post:

Preconsultation: Ideally within 2 months of anticipated surgery date (not much longer ahead of time; PLEC used to prefer within 1 month but their surgery bookings seem to take ~2 months out nowadays)
PLEC doublechecked tests: morning of surgery, then surgery
PLEC 1-day followup: day after surgery, and many people fly out the same day

Therefore minimum 3 days in Vancouver (Day 1 fly in, Day 2 surgery, Day 3 followup and fly out) but you need to do some prep beforehand with a local optometrist, and the rest of the followups are also by the local optometrist.
- PLEC was not satisfied with burnt69's initial pre-surgery battery of tests by his local optometrist (as he explained in this thread); they requested some other additional ones, so don't be too tight on the pre-surgical testing schedule with local optometrist either.

Complications: Had none...but I guess I was just prepared to fly back out to Vancouver if I had to.

Touch-ups: TBH I didn't mind the possibility of potentially paying for a touch-up in 8+ years if need be...I guess this is part of the gamble that I won't need a touch-up anytime soon (or ever). I've read of some people going 15 years with their post-surgical vision maintained yet others regressing in like 5-6 years. Not sure why.
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peanutz wrote:
Sep 3rd, 2017 7:55 pm
What @burnt69 said. I'll just summarize his post:

Preconsultation: Ideally within 2 months of anticipated surgery date (not much longer ahead of time; PLEC used to prefer within 1 month but their surgery bookings seem to take ~2 months out nowadays)
PLEC doublechecked tests: morning of surgery, then surgery
PLEC 1-day followup: day after surgery, and many people fly out the same day
@rabbitz, Just need to add one thing here, you need to be out of soft contact lenses for a minimum of a couple weeks, and if you're wearing RGP's, potentially for a month, if not longer. This may be a requirement even of the pre-surgical testing, especially for RGPs (sometimes called "hard" contact lenses!). If one has any predisposition to dry eyes, going on the Omega-3 supplements early might be of value as well, as the quality of the tear film is a critical component in suitability for surgery, and the quality of the pre-surgical measurements used to program the laser. As well as the recovery process. Certain patients may need even more aggressive pre-surgical treatment of dry eyes arranged through the optometrist before they go to Vancouver. I basically stopped using (soft) contact lenses except occasionally 60 days ahead of my surgery, and stopped altogether (threw them out) 1 month prior.

I've had a relationship with my optometry clinic that goes back to when I literally was in diapers, but another key component of the process I believe is the ability of the referring optometrist to provide a good (and stable) medium term refractive history. Not sure how strict they are on this though, but lack of good data is one of the factors that *might* cause the quoted fee to be higher, or for treatment eligibility to be deferred. If everything isn't 'perfect' pre-op prep-wise, there's no doubt in my mind that Dr. Lin or Dr. Holland would've sent us home without treatment!
- PLEC was not satisfied with burnt69's initial pre-surgery battery of tests by his local optometrist (as he explained in this thread); they requested some other additional ones, so don't be too tight on the pre-surgical testing schedule with local optometrist either.
Yes, the cycloplegic refraction. Some clinics just require it in hyperopes or mild myopes, but PLEC requires it in all patients. Its just another safety check. Make sure you have someone to drive you home afterwards or take public transportation.

Also @rabbitz, if you're over the age of 40 or so, you should also have a conversation with your optometrist concerning monovision, and try out monovision contact lenses. To ensure that when you are treated at PLEC (or any surgery for that matter), that you get the treatment you really want. Instead of being asked, at very short notice, to make some pretty profound decisions as to your eyes.
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Aug 21, 2005
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Hi guys! Just thought it would be timely to report back on my procedure experience, I'll try to include some extra timelines for rabbitz:

April: went in for a regular optometrist visit, was still mulling over getting laser eye surgery

June: booked a slew of consultations for the first week of July (TLC, Herzig, Crystal Clear Vision, Bochner) and had my optometrist fax notes from my April visit to PLEC. PLEC said based on what was sent, I should qualify in their cheapest bracket (-6.0 and lower was $1550/eye) but they require the cycloplegic refraction test that was not done as part of the regular check-up. I booked my appointment for the last week of August.

July: did all my consultations, most were pushing for LASIK, Herzig was pushing for SMILE (Dr. Lin later mentioned to me that he had a bunch of SMILE procedures gone wrong referred to him for fixing)... got a bit of a run around from my optometrist office, eventually was told they would do the cycloplegic for "free" if I agreed to do the year (5-6 visits) follow-ups for $1000... Yikes?? I ended up getting an optometrist recommended through a friend who re-did the full check-up with cycloplegic refraction and quoted me something that seemed a lot more reasonable (within the ranges burnt69 and peanutz had mentioned) for the year of follow-ups.

August: PLEC required contacts to be out for min 5 days, I wore them as sparingly as I could manage with my lifestyle for July/August and stopped about 2 weeks out.

Day 1 (surgery day!): Took Burntz69's recommendation of doing the surgery on a Monday, I went in to do PLEC's final pre-obs/measurements in the morning, and they did the actual surgery around lunch. I had punctual plugs put in (Dr. Lin said he usually puts them in for out-of-town patients as it helps especially for the dry recycled air on planes). One eye was 20/20 post-surgery, the other was measured as 20/30, but I think my eye was having trouble focusing with all the drops (I couldn't read an easier line, but when they went to a smaller line, I suddenly read it no problem). I took a cab home to my AirBnB about 10min away (I arrived the day before in the afternoon). Napped most of the afternoon except to wake up for drops... Went for a probably 40-50min walk around 7pm to grab a couple things, by the end my eyes were pretty watery/tired so I went back to sleep.

Day 2: Morning follow-up, fairly uneventful, given a new drops schedule, sent on my way. Clinic was much busier, Dr. Lin said both surgeons were working that day (seems like Dr. Holland typically performs surgeries Tues/Fri?). I spent a portion of the day doing some non-committal sight-seeing (Granville Island, Pacific Centre Mall, hitting up a few food places) then went to the airport. My flight was overbooked so I took an $800 compensation and a free night at an airport hotel to fly out the next day (I figured I could either sleep at home or I could sleep at a hotel? They had a free airport-hotel shuttle so I figured if my vision got that bad, at least I didn't have to take transit). Vision was definitely getting blurry later in the evening.

Day 3: Woke up expecting terrible vision, things were blurry, but OK upon waking, but definitely got more blurry during the day. I was still able to use my phone on/off up until my mid-day flight.

Day 4: I think this day was worse than Day 3, probably more blurry and more dizzy/achy I ended up sleeping most of the day except for a few random wake ups where I put in some drops.

Day 5: Had to go to work to organize some things before the long weekend, better, but still kind of blurry, occasionally eyes were a little irritated/watery.

Day 6: getting better, but day vision was definitely on and off, night vision quite sensitive.

Day 7: a little blurry this morning, somewhere mid-day I seemed to have a moment of clarity where I realized things were only blurry because my sunglasses were dirty (haha), vision is otherwise pretty good for the evening.

I initially had BCL removal scheduled for Friday, but in speaking to Dr. Lin (and the optometrist helping with the pre-ob) I was advised it would be too early and taking it out so soon would undo some of the healing and I was advised to arrange it for Tuesday (because of the Monday holiday). The BCL hasn't been a bother with all the drops, so I haven't minded so far!

That's all I can think of for now... Still trying to limit my screen time, but things seem pretty good now (aside from night vision being sensitive). @rabbitz, when you get your local optometrist check done, make sure you specifically ask about doing the cycloplegic refraction testing so you don't have to go back for a second visit to have it done like the rest of us. And you'll definitely need to take a low key week post-surgery to rest/recover.

Personally, I really liked how the procedure itself was all done by laser and nothing aside from the drops actually touched my eye. I can't imagine having a surgeon cutting a LASIK flap on me, or manually rubbing (scrubbing?) the epithelial cells off for 'regular' PRK. I was kind of holding my breath for the first eye and I couldn't really tell that the surgery was happening until I remembered to breathe and caught a faint whiff of the burning smell... Which was strangely comforting as it was an indication to me that the surgery was actually happening! Felt nothing otherwise.
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lynn24 wrote:
Sep 3rd, 2017 10:31 pm
Hi guys! Just thought it would be timely to report back on my procedure experience, I'll try to include some extra timelines for rabbitz:
Wow, excellent results. I think the sedatives (ativan, and perhaps even Gravol) they give hits some people a bit harder than others, but those meds don't really make me tired. Post-morning surgery, I went shopping that afternoon, lol. I don't think I could've sat around resting. Just so exciting having great vision! The moist rainy weather of Vancouver is nice too.

Good point about the cycloplegic. Might take a bit of arm twisting at the optometrist to get it done initially though.
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burnt69 wrote:
Sep 3rd, 2017 11:15 pm
Wow, excellent results. I think the sedatives (ativan, and perhaps even Gravol) they give hits some people a bit harder than others, but those meds don't really make me tired. Post-morning surgery, I went shopping that afternoon, lol. I don't think I could've sat around resting. Just so exciting having great vision! The moist rainy weather of Vancouver is nice too.

Good point about the cycloplegic. Might take a bit of arm twisting at the optometrist to get it done initially though.
I can pretty much sleep anywhere, anytime... Sedatives or not, I sometimes wonder if I'm narcoleptic... haha! They gave the option of Ativan and I wasn't sure at first, but I figured as long as I didn't fall asleep on the operating table, it wouldn't hurt to take a little more than less (I wasn't sure what to expect of the actual procedure).

I was also a little paranoid about the recommendation of keeping eyes closed as much as possible 30min post-surgery (especially since all the drops/fluid they put in made everything a little cloudy/hazy/constantly in-out of focus for a while), so I figured I ought to close them until I needed to take drops... I'm sure the Ativan helped make napping easier and I set alarms for the day 1 drops schedule just to keep track.

I was also pretty light sensitive post-surgery, so I figured it would be safer to go out when the sun was setting, but my eyes were still kind of irritated/watery (wind? BCLs moving around? Punctual plugs?)

Not sure how optometrists generally feel about doing the "extra test", but I guess it depends on the optometrist/your relationship with the clinic and it would probably have to be prefaced with the discussion of sending the results to PLEC for a laser eye consultation... Probably considered on a case-by-case scenario?

And darn it.... pre-op* and post-op* in my last post... Sigh, autocorrect...
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Very thorough report, @lynn24 !

A note about the punctal plugs...while they helped with the moisture and I kept them in for three months...my left eye was quite "waterlogged" a lot of the time and I didn't enjoy that (whereas my right eye was having a more normal drainage.) I have read that while they do help with keeping the eyes moist, they can also slightly change the natural ratio of lipids / proteins / water in the tear film (by increasing just the watery component) and sometimes don't lubricate comfortably.

I asked my optometrist to remove my left punctal plug first, then when I went home and noticed how comfortable I was with it out, I removed my right punctal plug with an alcohol-dipped tweezer.

If your eyes are still watery after the BCLs are removed, I would ask your optometrist about taking one or both out (depending on whether your eyes are severely dry or normal-dry) within a month or two, and consider manually lubricating them with your drops.

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