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View Full Version : Wear glasses / get laser eye surgery?



The Count
01-07-2015, 23:54
Hi all-

Anyone out there complete a thru-hike and wish you did not have glasses? I can imagine rainy weather not being enjoyable. I'm considering getting laser eye surgery prior to heading out, and if anyone has advice to share I'd appreciate it, thanks!

PennyPincher
01-08-2015, 00:02
Hi all-

Anyone out there complete a thru-hike and wish you did not have glasses? I can imagine rainy weather not being enjoyable. I'm considering getting laser eye surgery prior to heading out, and if anyone has advice to share I'd appreciate it, thanks!

I got LASIK nearly 16 years ago exactly because I was tired of my glasses fogging up while hiking or rock climbing and just generally being in the way. If you are a good candidate for the surgery I would say DO IT! I have never regretted the decision for a minute and I used to wear my glasses every waking minute. Had difficulty swimming much because my eyesight was so poor. And its one less thing I have to be concerned about when doing outdoor adventures.

MuddyWaters
01-08-2015, 00:50
I dont really have glasses fogging issues on trail .
Cleaning once day with a drop of soap and water isnt big deal

Out west wear prescription sunglasses all day. No difference. Dont need sunglasses generally on at.

Todd Oyen
01-08-2015, 01:18
I'm with PennyPincher. 12 years now and some of the best money I've ever spent. And I'm really appreciative when I'm hiking.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Miner
01-08-2015, 01:31
I wear eyeglasses that have transitions lenses. They auto tint depending on the amount of sunlight. Saves me from carrying sunglasses even if I had perfect vision. All my photos from the AT show them ranging from full dark to clear on my face. I use croakies eyewear retainers to ensure if they somehow fall off my fact, the cord around my neck keeps them from hitting the ground. I lay them in my hat that I keep next to my head at night along with my flashlight when I sleep.

As for hiking in rain, I wear a baseball cap that keeps almost all the rain off them unless I'm walking into a strong wind. If I'm wearing my rain jacket, the cap fits under the hood nicely with the bill sticking out.

The only time I wish for something different is when I'm hiking in snow above treeline and need to wear glacier rated eyewear since the auto tint in my glasses isn't dark enough for those conditions (and lets in too much light around the glasses). In which case, I wear contacts on the days I need to wear my glacier sunglasses.

Glacier
01-08-2015, 01:43
I got lasik 10 years and couldn't be happier. I was a carpenter and got tired of getting debris in my eyes. Also sick of fogging glasses, not being able to see while swimming, and having a second set of sun glasses. Without glasses it's one less thing to worry about breaking on the trail. Or if you're a gram weenie the weight of carrying a spare.

Rolex
01-08-2015, 08:07
My wife and I both did it at 50 after spending most of our lives in glasses or contacts. DO IT! there is (or was for us) one disadvantage. We both lost our nearsighted vision causing us to have to keep that cheap pair of reading glasses around close by. For me not too bad as I can usually play trombone and get the menu or phone screen in focus enough to read it without them but she has to have hers.

But for all the other advantages, It was 100% worth it and I'd do it again. Night vision is still good. It was not painful, A little bit of scratchy eye pain was all either of us experienced. Though you shouldn't, we both drove our selves home after the surgery after about two hours waiting due to circumstances.
Then go get you some of those cool sunglasses you see everyone else wearing without prescription glasses!

Coffee
01-08-2015, 08:40
I'm very tempted to get laser eye surgery. My right eye is really bad. It gets worse every couple of years and I end up with new prescriptions and another round of expensive regular glasses, sunglasses for regular use, and glacier glasses. It sucks.

Damn Yankee
01-08-2015, 08:56
I was near sighted and wore glasses since I was a small child. In 2006, I had the opportunity to get PRK done for free through the military before my deployment to Iraq. I decided to have it done for all the reasons posted above plus always wanted to wear real sunglasses. I had the procedure done and haven't regretted it yet but, I did however become somewhat far sighted and have to wear reading glasses for books and maps. You will have to follow up for the first year after your procedure so, if that doesn't fit in with your thru hiking schedule, I would hold off until after but, would have it done. One other thing. It does not reverse the effects of aging and deterioration in sight.

peakbagger
01-08-2015, 09:09
The friend I sectioned with had it done, he was planning to do a lot of soloing after he retired and if he lost his glasses solo, he would have a hard time finding them. He really appreciated having it done prior to winter hiking, prior the surgery, he rarely saw anything in the winter as his glasses were fogged up, soon after having it done we did Moosilaukee one cold clear winter day and he really appreciated it.

The one down side that is inherent to the surgery is if they adjust your vision for distance, you most likely lose vision up close. This is actually more related to other changes in the eye but the net result is most folks after laser vision need reading glasses when they didn't need them before. There is a surgery method where they adjust the two eyes to different focal lengths which leads to monovision where one eye is good for distance and one up close. It didn't work well for my friend and I think he had it corrected later on. I have natural monovision where I reflexively swap eyes but I have lived with it for years. Even with monovision, the ability to shift my focus is definitely degraded over the years so I use glasses when I am on the computer and am starting to use them for reading.

Dochartaigh
01-08-2015, 10:10
About how much did everyone pay for the surgery? I'm hearing everything from the $200/eye special advertised on the radio to like 5,000 to 10,000 for both eyes!

Coffee
01-08-2015, 10:18
I've seen numbers in the $5K range but I haven't looked into it for several years. Eye surgery is not something where I'd go for the low bid personally.

MamaBear
01-08-2015, 10:58
Do it if you can afford it! I had mine done 8 years ago or so and have never regretted it. I was one of those who lived in either glasses or contacts, as it wasn't safe for me to function without them. I've seen plenty of contacts on the trail, but imagine you'd have to be very careful with regards to cleanliness. If I didn't have the lasik, I'd go with the glasses, much easier to keep clean, etc. I agree with Coffee in sentiment, can never be too careful or cheap regarding your eyesight.

MamaBear
01-08-2015, 11:00
Forgot. We paid in $5000 range, but that included all the pre-op and post-op appointments, plus the meds (presription anti-biotic eyedrops, etc.). I had both eyes done at the same time.

rhjanes
01-08-2015, 11:37
I've not done it. But am thinking I will. Twice I have talked to my regular eye doctor (glasses) about it. She recommends a certain place and either of their doctors. It isn't one that is advertized or anything. She said it would be, her guess, around $3000, or $1500 each eye. She is QUICK to remind me that I WILL still be in reading glasses, for those maps, books, computer work. But it would solve distance, hiking, driving and such.
So, if you see a regular eye doctor, then talk with them about it.

Farr Away
01-08-2015, 12:26
My husband had his done a couple of years ago. He was getting to the point where he almost had to have 3 sets of glasses - far away, computer and reading. Surgery has eliminated the far away and computer, but he cannot see up close without the reading glasses - at all.

He knew that before the surgery, but didn't realize how much up close work he does. He somewhat regrets having the lazik.

One other thing to keep in mind - you will have to be very careful of your eyes for several months after the surgery. It takes them that long to completely heal, and they are susceptible to infection, etc.

-FA

bangorme
01-08-2015, 17:41
Only thing to remember about this surgery is that it carves a prescription into your eyes. It doesn't keep your eyes from changing as you get older.

Bluegrass
01-08-2015, 19:55
I finally got Lasik last fall after putting up with glasses for my entire life. I was really blind without corrective lenses (20/400+) and was really active (backpacking, triathlons, skiing, etc.)

It has been great. I did not get a chance to do any backpacking after getting it done, but even being able to go skiing without contacts has been great. When I did MA-NH-VT in 2005, I had problems with my glasses fogging up at times, and did not take any sunglasses with me. I also was terrified each night that I would wake up and not be able to find my glasses. I am not sure I could get myself off the trail without my glasses.

As for cost, I paid about $1800/eye ($3600 total) and financed it for 0% for 24 months. That works out to about $150/month.

It is definitely the most expensive few ounces I have eliminated from my pack (if you include glasses, contacts, contact lens case, and solution), but well worth it.

redseal
01-08-2015, 20:13
If your eyes are OK with them, you can always try the 30 day contacts. After 30 days switch to glasses for a week or 2 and go back to contacts. Not everyone can do this, but this might be worth looking into.

jcamp
01-08-2015, 22:30
Lasix. I paid about $3600 total. But that was for a very experienced and reputable doctor and the latest technique. It also includes "touch ups" for life. Worth every penny, I wish I had done it years ago.

squeezebox
01-08-2015, 22:31
I'm thinking of bringing a pair of strong reading glasses as back up in case I bust my Rx glasses, your opinion?

Coffee
01-08-2015, 22:52
Now I'm getting tempted to look into this but with follow up work it might be a bit late to do anything before my PCT thru in April...

I also feel like if I didn't have my distance glasses, I would likely not be able to navigate the trail. That's a pretty scary thought. Of course, I always have both sunglasses and regular glasses so there is that fallback, but if night hiking, sunglasses aren't exactly a good solution.

Jake2c
01-08-2015, 23:53
Ok, this is important. Be very careful with your decision. Read up on it and make sure you know the possible complications. No procedure is always 100% successful. You have one set of eyes. First check to make sure you are a good candidate. A lot of places will say you are because they want to make a buck. Research your doctor well, what machine they will use, how many procedures they have done on that machine, their failure rate and follow up care. You will find some real horror stories online. Having doctors in my family, I did some very in depth research. Personally, I went with PRK over the flap for a number of reasons. I got it done 10 years ago now, and am very happy with the results. Now 10 years later I have 20/15 in one eye and 20/20 in the other. I was able to get mine done by a military doctor who had done many thousands. He did pilots, divers and SEALs, or rather people going into those fields. I think now days they accept the flap for pilots but still only do PRK for divers and SEALs but I could be wrong, I last checked a number of years ago. Much harder to find a civilian doctor who has a lot of experience with PRK so that needs to be taken into account. The difference is one they make a flap and ablate the eye, in the other they ablate the eye without a flap. I don't want to sound negative because I am not. I would do it again in a heart beat. If you are a contact wearer, I was, it can be healthier for your eye to get the surgery. There are other options out there and you should look at all of them and then make a careful, informed decision. While the chances of a problem are slim, it is not 0 and you could come up on the short end of the stick. Probably the most common problem, is dry eye. That is a more common problem with the flap over PRK but still the incidence of it happening are relatively low. I think 99.9% of the doctors out there will recommend the flap. Results and healing are quicker. Because I used to compete in karate and scuba dive, I picked PRK which was the doctors recommendation considering the things I did. I was very prepared for the longer healing period and it was not an issue for me. I have very large pupils and I was left with one thing. On very dark nights, green traffic lights look fractured a bit from a distance. This is due to how large my pupils get at night. The Doc said it was odd that it only happens with traffic lights and only the green ones but what can I say. Other green lights like on Christmas trees or on boats don't do that. I don't really notice it any more unless I think about it. It is the only anomaly, if you want to call it that, I was left with. I consider it insignificant and as I said I love the results and would do it again. My sister got the flap done and is also happy with the results. She did lose some ability to see contrast that I did not. 20/20 on a black and white chart is only one measure, there are many and she was not aware she would lose some contrast though she is still happy. It is most apparent with green and white signs or black on grey. The advantages of no glasses or contacts are innumerable for me. My only point in this very long note is that as great as the surgical results can be, there is always some risk. In my opinion you should do your best to minimize them but not ignore them. I wish you the best in what ever decision you make.

MuddyWaters
01-09-2015, 00:06
Double post

MuddyWaters
01-09-2015, 00:12
My husband had his done a couple of years ago. He was getting to the point where he almost had to have 3 sets of glasses - far away, computer and reading. Surgery has eliminated the far away and computer, but he cannot see up close without the reading glasses - at all.



This is a really good point.
When you are in your 40s+ and very nearsighted, and getting presbyopia too, you can still read without glasses. Put on glasses and cant.

I dont wear bifocals, i just take my glasses off for desk work. If i put them on i need reading glasses, ie bifocals.

With my regular glasses, i can look under them to read my watch. If i wear large coverage wraparound prescription sunglasses, i cant reaf my watch without lifting sunglasses, it gets old. If i had lasik, i would need reading glasses to read my watch, or do desk work.

You will end up with one, the other, or both eventually.
I

Almost There
01-09-2015, 10:42
Had it done in 2005, was at almost a 7 prescription for both eyes at the time, ended up with better than 20/20, and still about there almost ten years later. I had lasik done at LasikPlus...cost me about $5000 total at the time and that includes touchups for life, which I haven't needed yet. Might be some of the best money I've ever spent. Slight scratchiness to the eyes that night, but I could watch TV without glasses that night. All healed in a week. I am now 40, and my eyes are better than many half my age. Go for it.

jdc5294
01-09-2015, 11:46
I got LASIK a few months before I did it, it was for the AT but also because I was joining the military and didn't want to have to bother with glasses. Best desicion I've ever made.

Firefighter503
01-09-2015, 15:31
I spent just over $4000 (all inclusive, plus free touch up for life) to have mine done in the Fall of 2012 while home from Afghanistan for a few weeks. Landed/had my pre-op on day 1, surgery on about day 6, and then post ops on day 7 and 14. Headed back overseas after that with no adverse problems. Best money I have ever spent on myself. 20/15 vision in both eyes, no reading glasses needed (for now).

I wore glasses/contacts starting late in high school and for about 9-10 years and jumped on Lasik the first chance I had. I tried all of the different types of contacts while backpacking (longest section was 650 miles in 2011) but my eyes always seemed to be irritated/dry/infected from touching them while out on the trail, and eventually I ran out while on the trail and glasses in the rain were a pain in my ass.

gumball
01-09-2015, 21:08
I had it done about 5 weeks ago. My vision was 20/400, and I am 51. It took me years to get to this point, but I'm so glad I had it done. Yes, I need reading glasses, but that was an issue before I got this done. I don't sit and read a lot while I'm hiking and I hate dealing with contacts and glasses--I used to carry so many disposables when we were out for several days and glasses--feared I'd ruin a lens and not be able to see. I can see in the middle of the night and I don't have to fumble around for glasses.

I paid $3800, Laser Eye Surgery of Erie. I never felt pressured and I am certain, had I not been a good candidate, I'd have walked out with new contacts, not new eyes. A very personal decision, but worth every penny to me.

Sheriff Cougar
01-13-2015, 00:42
Had lasik done many years ago and I loved it. But after having it done I always had to use reading glasses. So, you may find you will have to do the same unless you are one of the few that won't. Good luck whatever you decide.

Just Bill
01-13-2015, 11:58
No complaints, one of the best things I have done period.
Infinitely nicer hen on the trail though as well.

sympathetic joy
01-13-2015, 14:41
Had it done in 2005, was at almost a 7 prescription for both eyes at the time, ended up with better than 20/20, and still about there almost ten years later. I had lasik done at LasikPlus...cost me about $5000 total at the time and that includes touchups for life, which I haven't needed yet. Might be some of the best money I've ever spent. Slight scratchiness to the eyes that night, but I could watch TV without glasses that night. All healed in a week. I am now 40, and my eyes are better than many half my age. Go for it.

This is almost my story exactly - except for the fact that I'm 45. I also went to LasikPlus and watched a bit of TV very late the first night. I drove myself to the follow up visit the next day.

10 years later my farsighted vision is still awesome. I am starting to wear reading classes around the house however but that's a normal part of aging.

Getting LASIK surgery was the best thing I've ever done for myself. I'm amazed that whenever the issue comes up in conversation there is always someone else who had the surgery and they're also always happy. Because of my results my sister had the surgery, and because of her story someone she knew had the surgery.

Only 2 points I'd like to add.

1. Before the surgery I had better than normal close up vision. I believe this is common because the shape of the eye is what causes the farsighted issue. The LASIK surgery fixed the shape of my eye so I could now see things far away better but I lost that amazing close up vision. For me it wasn't an issue. But if you're someone that does things on a minature level (small models, circuit board stuff, jeweler maybe) then the loss of close up vision may be an issue.

2. If you're going to do it then do it as soon as possible. The value is greater the longer you get the benefit. If you're 20 and get the surgery you'll have about 25 years before you need to worry about wearing any glasses for reading. If you're 35 then you have 10 years of no glasses at all. Etc.