I also wanna say thank you to everyone who told their story. Back when I developed an allergy to multipurpose contact lens solution (though I didn't know what was causing my contact lens intolerance at the time), I was considering LASIK because I have an active lifestyle and glasses just fall off my face when I sweat and move about. I got to the point of visiting a LASIK clinic and discussing it with them. My instinct didn't quite trust them, they seemed to gloss over complications and other possible "side effects" (e.g. I logically thought that correcting my myopia could lead to loss of my excellent close-up vision. When I asked if that was possible and they said "not at all", I got suspicious). So I didn't make an appointment right then but went home to do research online. What I researched seemed to all support the "safety" of LASIK and so I was still seriously considering it.
Then the following blessings saved my vision:
1) A random woman I met at a conference, when I mentioned that I was thinking about getting LASIK, vociferously warned me against it, stating that her friend was now on permanent disability and unable to work due to nonstop corneal neuralgic pain, dependent on very strong pain management, and in serious debt, and seriously depressed and feeling like his life was ruined. I actually almost didn't believe her because until that point, I had never heard of such serious complications from LASIK. She saw that I didn't really believe her and became even more earnest in getting me to believe her, intent on helping save the sight of a perfect stranger. JUST LIKE ALL OF YOU HEROES ON THIS PAGE. Her earnestness struck me even though at the time, I didn't completely believe that LASIK could cause such debilitating permanent pain. I mean, the LASIK clinic didn't mention anything like that, and I hadn't read anything about that in my research!
2) My ophthalmologist (who I see every 2 years due to my family history of retinal detachment- yup, the LASIK clinic didn't say this was an issue, nor did they think my history of various eye infections was an issue either, that is how far from the Hippocratic oath that LASIK providers have gone!)... anyway, my trusty ophthalmologist, when I told him I was thinking of getting LASIK, said "WHAT?! WHY would you let anyone cut into your healthy eyes? LASIK is terrible and I don't recommend it for you or for ANYONE. Keep your glasses!" (yay for honest ophthalmologists!)
3) A friend of mine told me my contact lens intolerance might be an allergy to the solution, and suggested that I try Clear Care hydrogen peroxide contact lens solution, and - voila! - I was able to wear contact lenses again!
---- but most importantly ---
4) After my ophthalmologist so vehemently trash-talked LASIK, I put more effort in my online research, and discovered the LASIK Complications website. What I read was shocking. I couldn't believe that with all of these terrible, severe consequences of LASIK, that is is still allowed. Mostly I am angry that it is NOT easy to find this out, that LASIK providers are so dishonest. How can they call themselves doctors, when they are harming their patients? Turning healthy corneas into diseased corneas? Thank you, all of you activists (because that is what you are), for helping get the truth out there. My deepest sympathies for your struggles. I can't imagine having to deal with such serious and permanent injury to the eyes. I now view my glasses and contacts (and my crisp, clear, comfortable vision with them) with even more gratitude than I ever had before.
My only regret is that I didn't learn all this sooner. My sister had undergone LASIK earlier (her "success" spurred me to think about doing it), and while she seems to have dodged short-term complications, I am worried about her long-term eye health. I am learning things from this website and group that can help me help her - e.g. the fact that she needs to get a copy of her medical records NOW for any future cataract surgery she'll need (the forms you provide are awesome!)
My mom had undergone RK 2 decades ago.. and not only suffered from retinal detachment many years later, but the quality of her vision has deteriorated so much lately that I am worried about her future ability to function.
So, this group is really important to me because it is helping me learn how to support my family members who've had unnecessary and dangerous elective refractive surgery.
Oh yeah, and I've already talked 2 friends out of getting PRK and LASIK. I am spreading the word!