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Ruined my Night Vision - Medford, OR

I wore glasses or contacts since I was ten. I was...

I wore glasses or contacts since I was ten. I was 31 in 2008 when I decided to have LASIK.

The procedure itself was simple and easy. Some discomfort and dryness for a few weeks, then it didn't feel so bad. On a nice, clear day, my distance vision is amazing. MT corrected vision is 20/20 in each eye. Success story, if you ask the doctors.

At night, though, it's horrible. Headlights and traffic lights look like big blurry stars. That throws off my depth perception. Not good for driving!

Sometimes if I sleep on my side with any pressure on my eye area, I have blurry vision for a few hours when I wake. I'm worried about my vision getting worse as I age.

The LASIK clinic I used later went out of business. I don't know why but it makes me glad I didn't pay extra for the "lifetime" plan!

Once you have this surgery, you can't go back. It's depressing.

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Comments (5)

I'm sorry ... I wish I had read more about Lasik and I wouldn't be here trying to find answers and nodding my head up and down and knowing what you mean cause I'm in the same boat. For anyone that wants to do Lasik I'd probably tell them don't do it... I'm just being honest. I got people telling me it was great and I'm outnumbered because more people are happy than sad about it ... anyways, now I just need to get used to the fact that I'll probably be losing vision and need glasses again ... money wasted, but lesson learned.

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I know how you feel. I had the same thing happen to me in july 2010. I think pupil size is the problem with mine. I had a 6.5mm optical zone, 1.25mm transition zone and 9mm blend zone on a 8.5mm pupil. On my charts they put my pupils were measured at 6mm which was correct. Now I get to suffer from what they did wrong. Feel free to contact me at my email address: {edited}. I have had custom made contacts from a doctor in Coppell, Texas that work really well.

{By Britt, please PM user for info. Thanks}
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Hi CopMom -- Thanks for sharing your story. It's so helpful for others who are considering LASIK, me included. Please keep us posted on your progress. I hope you're able to find some relief from the night vision issues you're having.

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I am sorry to hear about your night vision difficulties after Lasik. There are several potential causes to your described problem, and many options to resolve the issue.
The night vision problems you describe are often technically described as Spherical Aberration (SA). Put simply, SA means the outer edges of your area of vision have a different refractive error (prescription) than the center. SA can be caused by any component of the eye’s focusing ability including the natural crystalline lens inside the eye or the cornea (the clear front of the eye).
In some patients, moderate and high light levels cause the pupils to constrict enough that light passing through the outer edges of the area of vision is blocked by the iris (colored portion inside the eye). Because the SA is blocked by the iris, it does not reach the retina (light sensitive membrane inside the back of the eye) and is not “seen”. Inversely, sometimes in low light environments the pupils become so large that the SA is allowed into the eye. The fully focused light mixes with the poorly focused light and can cause the big blurry stars around light sources like headlights and traffic lights that you described.
If you have had your pupils dilated and experienced really bad vision, some of that may be attributed to SA.
SA occurs naturally and can be altered by cataract surgery or laser vision surgery such as LASIK. Someone with natural SA or SA exacerbated by surgery has several options available.
Natural SA and SA exacerbated by surgery can often be resolved with laser vision correction surgery. A Lasik “touchup” may be able to create a greater balance between the refractive error of the center and the outer edges of your area of vision. You say your Lasik center has closed, but there are several Lasik doctors in and around Medford Oregon that you could contact regarding using laser vision correction to resolve your SA symptoms. A very well respected vision surgery center is located in Eugene Oregon, just north of you. If you need a referral, please feel free to contact me directly.
More Light
The pupils react to visible light intensity. An easy way to reduce the effects of SA is to increase the light in the environment and allow the pupils to naturally constrict. You mention problems with oncoming headlights and traffic lights. Turning on the interior courtesy light, the vanity mirror in the sun visor, or even making your dashboard lights brighter may introduce enough additional light that the SA is resolved. Of course, adding light is not always possible or convenient.
Eye Drops
For years eye doctors have used Pilocarpine (parasympathomimetic alkaloid) eye drops to cause pupils to constrict, but Pilo, as it is often called, is rather strong medicine and its use would likely not be necessary for what you describe. Alphagan P (brimonidine tartrate) is a prescription eye drop used to control glaucoma (pressure inside the eye). Alphagan P also has a side effect of moderately and gently constricting pupil size. A drop of Alphagan P in the evening may reduce or eliminate the night vision problems you describe. Many patients find Alphagan P a satisfactory resolution to SA problems. Check with your local eye doctor if Alphagan P or Pilocarpine would be appropriate for you.
Refractive error is simply light out of focus or focused off center. SA is when the refractive error in the center of the area of vision is different than the outer edges. Conventional contact lenses may correct the refractive error that is exasperating SA and resolve your night vision problem completely. Of course, you didn’t have LASIK so you could wear contact lenses, but disposable contacts in the evening may resolve the problem.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) contact lenses not only can correct refractive error, but can also reshape the cornea. A little bit of reshaping can stay even after the RGPs are removed. Wearing RGPs may resolve your SA when they are on, and for several hours after the RGPs are removed. This technique is called Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) and is commonly provided by an optometrist.
Extreme cases of SA (not what you describe, but for other readers) may require special contacts designed specifically to resolve SA.
Glasses do not work well for SA because when you move your eyes, the refractive correction does not move with them. For conventional, RGP, or special contacts, contact your eye doctor.
As we age our pupils tend to naturally constrict. With time the SA may be blocked by naturally smaller pupils
The brain is very good at ignoring bad vision information. An example is the blind spot. There is a very large spot in your area of vision that has no vision at all; it is where the optic nerve enters the eye and attaches to the retina. Although you have this blind spot, you don’t “see” it. That is because the brain has learned to ignore the blind spot. Similarly, the brain may learn to ignore SA. This is called Neuroadaptation. It may not sound like a solution, but Neuroadaptation is a solution that may occur without you even trying.
I hope this information was helpful.
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Thank you for a long, informative response. It certainly gives me some options to consider.
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