COMMENTARY: Laser eye surgery — a cautionary tale – Saltwire

After a procedure to correct my eyesight failed, the only 20/20 vision I have now is in hindsight
Bev Moore-Davis is an award-winning advocate, a best-selling author, an entrepreneur, a former model and fashion designer, and a loving mom and wife. She lives in St. John’s.

By Bev Moore-Davis
Eyeglasses have become a fashion piece for many folks — they choose various shapes and coloured frames. As for me, I could not be bothered. I do not like the feeling of glasses, or anything else for that matter, on my face and use glasses only when absolutely necessary. Fortunately, I have only needed them for driving at night or watching television. And although I noticed a recent decline in my farsightedness, my close-up vision was still good.
I have friends that have had success with laser eye surgery and when I met an optometrist for a consultation, I was told that I was the “perfect candidate.” This was good news, and you can be sure I used it to my advantage while trying to reassure my worried husband that everything would be fine as he cautioned me about “messing” with my eyesight.
Mono-vision was recommended. This involves correcting vision in my dominant eye for distance, while the other eye is left somewhat nearsighted to allow me to see close objects.
Surgery was immediately scheduled and other than the usual discomfort and bruising, it went well. At my follow-up appointment the next day, the surgeon told me that the procedure worked and I now had 20/20 vision.
A week later, however, everything changed when my eyesight turned blurry and I was rushed back to the clinic. The optometrist did an eye exam and calmly told me that my sight was not as good as it was at the previous check-up, but there was no need for concern. Dry eyes or inflammation was likely the cause and unfortunately, some patients take up to a year for the procedure to work (vision in the lasered eye and untouched eye need to sync up). I would need to be patient.
Nine months post-surgery, I was absolutely miserable and requested an appointment with the ophthalmologist who had performed the procedure.
Weeks turned into months and although I could read a book close-up (same as before), and now see clearly at a distance, everything else — known as the intermediate — was slightly blurry. The dryness in my eyes has become excessive, causing severe eye pain. Additionally, the eyelid that operated on droops and some mornings there’s a delay before it opens.
Nine months post-surgery, I was absolutely miserable and requested an appointment with the ophthalmologist who had performed the procedure. My intermediate vision was still blurry and simple tasks such as shopping, chopping vegetables or even painting my toenails were no longer pleasurable as I could not read price tags or clearly see objects at this distance. Overly dry eyes caused excessive blinking to the point of social embarrassment. When tired, my droopy eyelid was more noticeable and left me uncomfortable while participating in virtual meetings.
During the appointment, the ophthalmologist allowed me to vent my frustrations before stating the obvious — the procedure was unsuccessful, and waiting it out would not change this. My choice now was to wear glasses, or, undergo a touch-up surgery. The touch-up would bring no guarantee but rather a 30 per cent chance of needing a second touch-up. As for the dry eyes, I was given a more concentrated lubricant and prescription eye drops. If the drops worked, I would see improvement in two to three months. Yes, you read correctly, two to three months.
Needless to say, 11 months later I am living with the regret of laser eye surgery. And, although some days are better than others, I wish I had chosen not to mess with my eyesight. I guess eyeglasses are not so bad after all.

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