I’ve enjoyed 20/20 vision thanks to a set of old reliable gas permeable lenses that I’ve been wearing for many many years.  Recently, however, they have been less and less comfortable especially considering the long bicycle rides I’ve been doing.

September 11th, 2009
I met with Dr. Todd Neugent who was based out of the Walmart near my house. I was there to check my contact prescription and, once again, it hadn’t changed.

This was the prescription for hard, gas permeable contacts lenses that I had been wearing for over 30 years.

OD (right) -7.25 spherical, -1.50 cylindrical
OS (left) -9.25 spherical, -1.50 cylindrical

(The spherical part describes the amount of nearsightedness.  The cylindrical part describes the amount of astigmatism)

Here’s a picture of the contact lens that I wore FOREVER!

Being hard lenses, they held the shape of my eye and rarely needed an update, but all those years of wearing them left my eyes scarred and with a lot of discomfort.

This was, basically, my view of the eye chart without the contacts I wore… FOREVER (really, there is a chart there):

To me, the eye chart looked like a big blob of light on the wall. For reference, if you can just barely read the BIG E at the top of an eye chart, it means you have 20/200 vision… Anything worse and that would be the definition of legally blind.


November 6th, 2012
I made an appointment with Dr. Ritz at Eye Associates (they were close to my work), mainly to get the glasses frames updated from the overly repaired frames and prescription that I wore at home in order to make it from the bed to the shower each morning. While I was at Eye Associates, I asked about Lasik and subsequently got a referral to their Lasik specialist, Dr. Lesher.

Ordered new glasses *with* graduated bifocals. Only to return and…

Order new glasses *without* graduated bifocals

January 4th, 2013
I met with Dr. Lesher and his staff, ultimately spending several hours having various tests performed on my eyes and sight. Conclusion:
Lasik is OUT due to thin corneas and overly dry eyes.
ICL is IN with a high-”ish” probability of success
I’m asked to be out of my contacts (that I wore…FOREVER) for a month, maybe more.

Ordered new glasses (once again) with the following updated prescription:

OD (right) -11.25 spherical, +3.25 cylindrical
OS (left) -12.25 spherical, +2.50 cylindrical

Note the BIG change once the contacts had been out for just a little while.

February 5th, 2013
Dr. Mares at Eye Associates performs the Iridotomy: Laser induced HOLES in the iris. One at 10 and one 2 o’clock… in each eye.  Felt like a lightning bolt shock directly to my brain.

Short video explanation of iridotomy.

Actual video example of iridotomy.

February 15th, 2013
Dr. Mark Lesher. Eye Associates
OD (right) -11.25 spherical, +3.25 cylindrical
OS (left) -12.25 spherical, +2.50 cylindrical

Ordered new glasses with higher prescription as my eyes settle back into their natural shape. By the way, the folks at the optical shop where I ordered the frames/lenses went through three full iterations… at no additional cost! Extreme example of customer service FAR above the expectations.

April 4th, 2013
Reported early for surgery. After some preparation and confirming my identity (plus writing the word ‘RIGHT’ over my right eye) and desire several times, I was loaded onto a gurney, hit with some mild relaxant, and operated-on.

Video example of ICL surgery (graphic)

Want to see $430 of liquid GOLD? Take a look! With insurance, this would have been $15. Thanks to generosity and ‘slightly’ expired sample… I’m set.

April 25th, 2013
Dr. Mark Lesher. Eye Associates
OD (right) -0.50 spherical, +3.00 cylindrical
OS (left) -0.25 spherical, +2.00 cylindrical

See how the spherical has been corrected with the cylindrical remaining the same?  That is because the FDA is STILL considering fully correcting ICL lenses for the USA while the rest of the world has been using fully correcting toric lens for DECADES!

Ordered new glasses to correct for astigmatism

What’s astigmatism? Well, here’s a pretty good graphic that shows what’s going on:

This is my view of the eye chart after the ICL and before PRK without glasses:

The ICL corrected virtually all the spherical aberration (.25 and .50 diopters remaining) and what’s left is directly related to the remaining 3 diopters and 2 diopters of astigmatism. Without my ‘temporary’ glasses, I see 20/50 in the left and 20/60 in the right… not quite good enough to pass the driver’s eye test at 20/40. Still need the $7.98 (for three pairs) of reading glasses though. Fine by me.

May 23, 2013
Dr. Lesher. Eye Associates
OD (right) -0.50 spherical, +3.50 cylindrical
OS (left) -0.25 spherical, +3.00 cylindrical
I *think* the above is the current correction. I got another prescription for some temporary reading glasses to help through the next couple of months.

June 24, 2013
Dr. Lesher. Eye Associates
Was tested again to see if the corrections were stabilizing. Dr. Lesher said things are looking good and stabilizing, so we set an appointment to do the PRK “touch up”.  This will correct the astigmatism plus any remaining nearsightedness.

Video example of PRK surgery (graphic)

Whereas the recovery from the ICL surgery was fairly painless, I’ve seen that the PRK procedure tends to have much more discomfort. Additionally, there will probably be a bigger sensitivity to light which will keep me indoors for a few days.

July 11, 2013
Dr. Lesher. Eye Associates
Tested one more time to check the stabilization and everything looked ok. I asked the nurse for a copy of my correction, but she said that it wasn’t going to apply after the procedure anyways. Oh well.
Valium. Numbing eye drops. Fancy hair net. Two squishy balls. Blanket. Taped both eye lids open. Some kind of gadget to hold my eye open and contain the fluids. Fluid 1 for 30 seconds. Scraping. Rinsing. 30 second lazer. Fluid. Rubbing. Lens. RIP the tape off. Done. Duplicate on the left eye. Much pain in the left eye. 4 hour nap. MUCH less pain. Sitting around with eyes closed being BORED for THREE days. Able to see, somewhat, and spend most time just sitting/sleeping.

July 12, 2013
Dr. Lesher. Eye Associates
Everything looks good. Says the epithelial layer should take a few days to heal and that it is part of the correction. That’s why my eyesight is more than simply milky. Keep taking the drops. Things are as expected at this point. Still pretty uncomfortable and spend most time sitting/sleeping.

July 13, 2013
Eyes watering most of the day. More pain. More sensitivity to light. Vision starts to double vertically.

July 14, 2013
Pain has almost completely gone. Vision better in right eye and still blurry in left eye.

July 15, 2013
Dr. Lesher.  Eye Associates
Went in for a followup appointment. Unfortunately, the technician that I saw was unfamiliar with PRK and kinda freaked out that my vision was worse than on Friday… Which, in turn FREAKED me out. Once Dr. Lesher came in and explained that this is normal things settled down. So, for now things are pretty blurry especially in the left eye. Patience…

July 19, 2013
Things are significantly better with the left eye stabilizing a little slower than the right. I’m able to see fairly well and expect things to get better over the next few weeks. I’m back to riding long distances on the bike and wearing sunglasses again. I’m still noticing that I start the process of removing my contact lenses each night for bed and then catch myself. The three separate pairs of glasses that I’d been using have been put away and I’m enjoying contactfree/glassesfree SIGHT!

I wouldn’t say this is for everyone, and there is definitely a long process involved, but at this point I’m very happy with the results and look forward to the remaining weeks to come with a future without glasses and contact lenses.