My experience with Lasik

T+ 11 years (07.05.2013)

Same as last update – still everything fine, and a sight test last year confirmed my eyesight is still perfect. :)

T+ nearly 6 years (16.01.2009)

Nothing has changed in the last 5 years – my eyesight is still perfect.  I still have a little bit drier eyes than I used to, but haven’t used gel/drops for years now.

T+ about 1 year, 4 months (03.08.2004)

So on the 26.08.2003 I had the second operation on my left eye. It was much quicker than the first, and healed much faster too.
Since then I’ve had very good (probably about zero dioptre) sight with both eyes, no halo effect – I’m fine with night driving.
Now a year on I’d say it’s been one of the best investments ever for me.
The things I’ve gained:

  • Snowboarding: no glasses fogging up under goggles, or getting broken on tumbles
  • Swimming: I can see everyone! Wow – what a lot of nearly-naked-people! :-]
  • Running, jumping, playing… I don’t have to worry about dropping/breaking/scratching my glasses any more! :)

The down sides:

  • I’ve still got dry eyes. This is not usual, but a possible side effect. It’s not so bothersome though; just have to put gel in my eyes in the mornings, and sometimes late at night if I’m tired
  • Less protection for the eyes: must remember to put on safety goggles when grinding!
  • I’m more sensitive to bright light… though I think the UV filter I had in every normal lens till now may have made the difference, and now it’s just the effect of having nothing between my eyes and the sun (apart from a few kilometres of mixed gasses…)
  • I’ve got to use a magnifying glass to do any really fine soldering.

T+16Weeks (16.07.2003)

Went for another check up – right eye is still good and will be left as is, left eye is reasonably stable with a 0.5 astigmatism. Going to have this corrected on 26.08.2003.


Spent a whole day in bright sunshine without sun glasses… don’t know if it was as a result of the operation, but I got what I can only describe as sunburn on the lower half of my eyeballs – went pink and hurt like hell later that night… :-/
It all cleared up over the next couple of days.

T+6Weeks (06.05.2003)

Ok – six weeks on and things are starting to settle down. Yesterday I went to the 6-week check-up.
Summer time has come and driving the car with air-con on would dry out anyone’s eyes – mine especially… I only put gel in my eyes about twice a day now, though should probably do more.
In the bright sunshine there is a slight fuzziness about everything – halo effect I presume.
At the check-up yesterday the doctor found that my right eye is pretty much perfect, but my left is still slightly short sighted, and has a mild astigmatism. This causes a very mild shadow-effect on noticeable when there’s a high contrast – Zoomed in it looks like this:Shaddow - big
On the text you’re reading now though it’s more like: Shaddow - small
i.e. you can barely notice it, but over time it does tire the eye…
Dr. Ludwig says this may still be dryness causing that symptom, or a real slight astigmatism, in which it is still correctable, but he would like to wait a few more months till it is not changing state at all any more.
Night time halo effect makes something like this:
The Halo effect
Colan (friend who also had Lasik) says this was mostly gone within 3 months.

T+13Days (07.04.2003)

I think today was one of the first days where it all felt pretty much normal all day. My eyes seem to be creating enough moisture themselves now so I only twice had the need to use the gel.
Sight: my right eye is now really good – I’d say better than before. My left eye is still a little short sighted. That’s still fluctuating a bit from barely noticeable to very noticeable. Mostly I only notice it when driving or suchlike that signs in the distance are only clear on the right.
I went out running again this evening, and observed the lights on the way home – yes, I do still have noticeable halo on lights. Not as bad as before, but still there… and they do warn that some halo may always remain after the operation.
The one thing I have really started to notice now is the “not-having-to-clean-the-lenses” – I was always particularly niggly about having squeaky-clean lenses, so it’s great not having that any more.
Running outside is very different as well – unaccustomed wind blowing in my eyes… I blink a lot!

T+1Week (01.04.2003)
Had meeting with doctor again this morning. He was very happy with the way it was healing/had healed.
My right eye is indeed as near 0 dioptre as one can get, but my left has something between -0.25 and -0.5 dioptre and a very mild astigmatism. This is just a little away from perfect, but if it tends towards -0.25 by next check-up he would probably advise leaving it at that (because it could do more harm than good to fiddle with it). If it tends towards -0.5 it might be possible/advisable to do a second operation on that eye to finally correct it.
We shall have to wait and see….
First though he would like it to completely stabilise, which should happen within the next 3 weeks or so – my next check-up is in 5 weeks.
Feeling better today – my eyes are a bit tired and blurry towards the end of the day, but not as much so as yesterday.

T+149Hours (31.03.2003@19:19)
[Sonia]: so what’s it like now? where’s your vision at? what about night vision?
Right eye is pretty much perfect – I’d nearly say better-than-before at times, but is still fluctuating., left eye however is remaining slightly short-sighted… I’ve got a check-up tomorrow morning so I’ll see then what is likely to happen/be done about that – maybe they still have to do some touching up on the left one… :-/
Night time is… noticeable. There is a significant halo on bright things. This is also getting better, and while it is a little annoying driving is still ok.

T+67Hours (28.03.2003@09:12)
By now my sight is beginning to stabilise. Right at this moment it’s rather fuzzy again, but at times between it is very good: perfect on the right eye, slightly weaker on the left.

T+22Hours (26.03.2003@12:40)
Have been to the first check-up, doctor is happy with my progress – says I’ve got ~80% sight back already which is good for this time – sight should stabilise within the next couple of days.
Back at work now, but it’s a bit awkward because while I can type fine, reading is still rather difficult…
As you can see though I had enough site this morning already to type this page (mostly with eyes shut though).

T+17Hours (26.03.2003@08:40)

Wow… I don’t think I’ve had this much sleep in ages!
My right eye is still a little sore – It feels like the inside of the eye-lid got a little scratched by the metal thing or something: just up in the top-right corner.
I can see pretty ok now, but still got a slight global-out-of-focus: I can see things in the distance just as good as things up close, but they’re both slightly fuzzy. Bright/high-contrast things like the computer screen are more difficult to focus on/look at.
Other than that I feel grand – had a shower, went to the bakery, had breakfast…
Going for the first check-up at 11:00.

T+10Hours (25.03.2003@23:00)

So I woke up again to put in the next lot of eye-drops (anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and anti-dry). By now I can open my eyes with a bit more ease. Things are noticeably clearer, though after putting in the drops every thing’s a bit watery again. Had dreams exclusively about loosing glasses, not being able to see right with or without glasses, … :-/

T+5Hours (25.03.2003@20:30)

It’s 5 hours after the OP now – I’ve slept for about 3, just got up to have some toast and cheese.
Now it feels like someone’s poked me rather roughly in both eyes (though more in the right). Everything’s still very blurry when I can open my eyes for a couple of seconds, but it’s blurry over all the distance – things far away are also only a bit blurry. :-) (good thing I can touch-type! 😉 )
Ok – now I’m going to go sleep some more.

How short sighted were you?

I was about -5.25 dioptre with a mild astigmatism.

How old were you when you had the operation?

I was 25-and-a-bit years old.

Why did you want rid of the glasses?

To name but a few reasons:

  • being outdoors in the rain (nasty blobs on glasses)
  • coming in from the cold (..and they fog up)
  • cooking (..and the oil vapours make a glarey film on the lenses)
  • sports (glasses are always in danger of or getting broken)
  • swimming (I have goggles with lenses, but they’re crap, get scratched, and it’s no fun running around on the beach with blinkers on)
  • traveling off the beaten track, or anywhere really – a constant fear of “I’m fucked if my glasses get broken now!” (at -5.25 dioptre I was pretty lost without glasses)

Is there anything you’ll miss when you aren’t short sighted any more?

Hmm… a couple things I guess…
Not being able to see detailed electronics etc. without the aid of a loupe, and not always having built in eye-protection (my glasses have saved me from burning sulphur spray, metal shards etc. many times in the past…).
More to that in a couple weeks when I have the experience of life without glasses!

How much does it cost?

That depends – in 2003 when I researched I heard of prices from about 3000EUR in London, to 5000EUR in Ireland.
In Germany most of the clinics seemed to be between about 3800EUR and 4000EUR.
I went to Aris (website is just a business card) who charge 3988EUR. for the whole procedure (including second operation if necessary/possible).

What made you choose the clinic you did?

I chose Aris as a combination of

  • They’re close to where I live
  • The machine they use is (AFAIK) one of the newer/better ones (and incidentally is made in the same industrial estate as I work) – The whole clinic is new and run by Prof. Dr. Ludwig who was head of the department for refractive surgery at the Uni in Munich.
  • I got a good vibe from the people and place, and I guess given how scared I was of the whole thing that was the most important thing.
  • Prof. Dr. Ludwig (who would carry out the operation) seems like a straight-forward guy, and the presentation was more real-world than the “And as if by magic you’ll be able to see again!” show some of the other clinics gave.
  • and as a last point: the nurses/assistants were cute! 😉

What was the actual operation like?

The operation was one of the scariest things ever – not because there was much to be scared of, but because I’m a scaredy-cat and they were fiddling with my eyes.
I’m really grateful for the one nurse who held my hand the whole time – when all you see is lights flashing and all you hear is the doctor talking to the assistants and asking you to look at the blinking green light it was nice to have contact with someone who wasn’t as scared as I! (I must find out who she was and give her some flowers or something – when I was in there they all looked the same in green’n’white and I couldn’t see much anyway).
The entire procedure, including a 5 minute wait between the eyes took only 30 minutes. They did one eye at a time, first covering the rest of the face, then sticky-taping my eye-lids back. They put in a metal wire to hold the lids in place – that was a bit wierd. The first really scary thing was when he cut the flap of the cornea with this super-thin knife device (a “microkeratome”). First they suck the device onto the eyeball, then everything goes dark, there’s a wirring sound like a dentists drill, it moves a bit, and then they take it off again. I’m glad it had a good grip on my eye and stopped me moving around while it was working!
Dr. Ludwig then flapped back the cornea (with something like a pair of tweezers as far as I could tell) – everything went more blurry – told me to concentrate on the flashing green light (the “Eye-tracker”), and the laser started. A rather bizar red strobe which made strange patterns and light fields…
I could smell the burning flesh (second scary bit).
After that they washed it out, flapped back the cornea, and took me out from under the laser to wait a bit before starting the same thing again with the second eye. When it was all over and they asked me to sit and stand up my feet felt numb and my head light – I don’t think I was breathing much during the OP.
Everything was very blurry and grey – I had a pair of protective lenses stuck over my eyes to stop me poking them or things getting in them.
The Prof still had another look at the eyes 20 minutes later to confirm that the flaps had settled ok, and then I was free to go!
Borys collected me a little later and drove me home.

Great customer service: Petzl

Last time my praise went to Primus, this time to Petzl.  About 3 or 4 years ago I bought one of their high-end head lamps – the Myo XP.  It’s a great lamp and served me well for many hours of camping, but then a few weeks ago (just using it to hang the washing up at home), it got a wobbly connection… it flickered on and off, and after a while just stayed off. :(  Usually I’d try and fix it myself, but I didn’t have a torx bit small enough to open the case so I used the contact form on the Petzl website to ask if there was anything they could do to help: I had bought it about 4 years ago in Canada, am now living in Germany, and have no idea where the receipt is.  I got a email back from Krah (their German partner) the next day, and after a few short checks I got an address to send it in to.  Just three days later I already had the replacement: a brand new Myo RXP headlamp, at no cost to me!  The RXP isn’t so much different to the XP from the exterior design, but it’s got a more powerful lamp, programmable levels, and the default “flash” setting is a continuous SOS signal.  A nice upgrade!

These headlamps aren’t cheap (about 80EUR), but they’re the best I’ve tried for my needs, and I love a company who stands behind its products like that.

Stick drive simulator

Just posting this so that in 20 years I can say I had the idea first…
Electric car motors are generally direct transmission (without gears) because they are effective over a much wider range than internal combustion (IC) engines.  As a result they have a much smoother acceleration, no transmitted pulse from the individual strokes of the engine, and most importantly: no gear shift.  I think that some nostalgics will miss the feel of a manual gear shift IC driving, but with complex motor control circuits it will only need a software upgrade to implement  a stick drive simulator.

Stick-Simulator ™ details:

  • The package will include a software upgrade for the on-board control system adding the Stick-Simulator option to the drive profiles
  • The package will also include a gear stick and clutch pedal which can be installed in most vehicles with a modern equivalent of today’s USB interface to interface with the on-board control systems.
  • When the Stick-Simulator drive profile is activated it will:
    • Pulse the electric motor to simulate the strokes of an IC motor.  The pulses will be the same as if
    • Reduce the engine torque to that of an IC motor at the speed/gear (virtual gear that is) you are currently in
    • Simulated stall if the simulated RPM of the engine is too low
  • Advanced packages may also include:
    • Speakers and amplifiers to simulate the motor sound
    • An electromagnetic vibrator to simulate engine vibrations in the car
    • An exhaust pipe stub with exhaust simulation
    • Push-start mode where you have to push the car to a required speed, drop the clutch and hope the engine fires…
  • Profiles may include
    • Simulation of various motor types, from highly tuned sports cars to back-firing old timers
    • Simulation of automatic and semi-automatic transmission IC engines.
    • Simulation of specific engine quirks: pre-heating for a diesel before starting, choke for old petrol engines, …

Why am I not patenting the idea?  Because I can’t be bothered.  Chances of me actually marketing the idea are very slim, but if I put it out in the public domain now, maybe one day someone will make it happen, and then I can claim some credit for it. :)

Kodak imposes copyright

For Christmas I ordered some photo prints (original photos, taken by me) from an online mail-order service.  The quality was great, and they arrived 2 days after submitting the order, but one thing bugged me about them – on the back of each photo was a watermark from Kodak, advertising that this photo has been printed on “Kodak ProfessionalEnduro ” paper (fine by me if they print that on there – that way I’ll know for future reference if I want to have that paper again!), but also some blurb about copyright:

“Professional images are copyright protected”

“Do not copy”

It’s the second one which really bothers me – how does Kodak presume to know whether I want this image copyright protected or not, and more over presume to know that I don’t want it to be copied!  I guess that most photographers are indifferent or happy about these texts printed on the reverse of their photographs, but I see it as a part of the sickness of the current trend of copyrighting everything, and for ever – whether it makes sense or not!