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Laser Eye Surgery (again, sorry)

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Laser Eye Surgery (again, sorry)

Old 12th Dec 2020, 09:08
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Laser Eye Surgery (again, sorry)

After attempting to search past threads, most offer advice on joining and not serving pilots.
Before going down the official doctor route, has anyone had surgery recently, and how did the Ďsystemí cope?
I need to carry reading glasses and itís a pain in the arse doing on/off whilst wearing a helmet. Canít adjust to varifocals.
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Old 12th Dec 2020, 09:16
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Bifocals are easier to get on with rather than varifocals: near plain glass at the top and reading prescription bottom half.
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Old 12th Dec 2020, 12:02
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AP1269A is your guide. There is a pretty comprehensive summary of the considerations around [email protected] eye surgery. There are certain procedures that are fine, others that are a problem so before you consider this route, seek advice from your MO and look at the AP.
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Old 12th Dec 2020, 13:16
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For what it's worth, keep trying with varifocals. Over the years I went from reading glasses to bifocals, and as you say, a pain getting on and off. I've had varifocals for many years now, and am very pleased with them. Go on first thing in the morning and come off last thing at night. No worries about where I put them.
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Old 12th Dec 2020, 16:15
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Originally Posted by jayteeto View Post
... Canít adjust to varifocals.
At the risk of translation errors from the other side of 30W, I also hated my first set of what we call progressive lenses.

However they come in different variations with different patents and different price tags. My results were much better when I went from a basic optometrist and basic progressive lenses to an optometrist who had some experience working with pilots and who fitted me with better [$$$/£££] lenses. In addition to the magic of money she also raised the focal point for the near correction slightly (I am sure that there is a better description of that). The end result is that I put them on in the morning and then don't think about them until I take them off at night.


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Old 12th Dec 2020, 16:48
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Same here, sold on varifocals. Unsure of the risks associated with [email protected] eye surgery etc.

Last edited by 57mm; 12th Dec 2020 at 16:49. Reason: Correction
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Old 12th Dec 2020, 17:03
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JT. Try half lenses; worked for me until I finished flying and now,35 years on, they are still handy for reading small print.
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Old 12th Dec 2020, 21:29
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A point to bear in mind is that you are needing glasses because your eyesight is deteriorating due to age, usually due to the lens loosing it's elasticity.. Yes, you could have [email protected] surgery which could/may solve the problem. However, your eyesight will still continue to deteriorate and in a few years you will probably be back to where you are now.
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Old 12th Dec 2020, 22:17
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Varifocals are great if you don't care about peripheral vision. After a while you stop caring. And then you try your old single vision or bifocals. And start caring again.
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Old 13th Dec 2020, 00:36
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Jayteeto, seen these from last year?

https://www.opticalh.com/blog/en/fir...tically-focus/

https://eandt.theiet.org/content/art...tically-focus/

just over a year away

https://eye-see-mag.com/en/high-tech...r-by-laclaree/
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Old 13th Dec 2020, 11:50
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Corrective surgery will not solve the need for reading specs, but might solve the problem for distance. I've had surgery and don't wear specs anymore - it's certainly much easier with helmets going on and off. I am expecting to become presbyopic within the next ten years and although my distance vision should remain good, I will need readers - the lens' ability to shift focus deteriorates as it stiffens with age.
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Old 13th Dec 2020, 14:38
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I wore CFS for many years as Iím slightly short-sighted before discovering the joys of contact lenses. I did speak to a doctor regarding corrective surgery but he said that was likely to make me long-sighted as I got older so Iíd simply be changing one form of correction for another.

Contacts worked well until I started to need reading glasses for near vision when wearing them. One night whilst flying on NVGs with the reading glasses perched on the end of my nose under them in order to read the map & TAPs I had a revelation as to how ridiculous this all was and started to wear the varifocals Iíd been issued with & not worn up to then.

Once I was used to them it was a big improvement, only one thing required and no putting them on & taking them off in flight. Their main disadvantage is having to look through the right part of the lens for the required correction, ie down for close & top for distance. Looking at the top panel I had to look over them otherwise it was fuzzy through the glasses & wearing an oxy mask could push them up slightly so that you are looking through a near vision part when youíre trying to look at distance. So it does need some tinkering to get right!

Or just accept that your eyes going is an inevitable part of getting old & leave the real flying to the youngsters!! Iíve gone day VFR with no top panel & that makes it much simpler!
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Old 13th Dec 2020, 17:16
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After I had hung up my headset at 58 years old I found that the mild cataract problem I had had got a lot worse. There came a point where I could not recognise people across the room and had to ascertain when it was reasonably safe to cross the road when the traffic lights one hundred metres either side were at red.

My eye medicals at the local hospital were a waste of time. Being a pilot the habit of a lifetime would come into play and I would memorise the sight chart as I walked in the door. Rattling off the bottom line scuppered any chances of having an operation.

I had spent a lot of time in China and there there were expats who had had eye surgery with fantastic results. I liaised with some friends in Shanghai as to what the situation was. It seemed favourable so I flew to Shanghai to suss it out.

I arrived on a Thursday; settled for twenty fours hours and the team started.

Monday, 0800 in the Shanghai Eye Hospital, a government organisation. There was a couple of dozen of us and it cost 9 yuan (£1.20) to have a basic eye check. This was not letters or number but arrows pointing in different directions. I failed that miserably and so I was shunted upstairs by my minders to the next stage.

Here there was a sit down and wait, after you had paid 29 yuan for this stage. During this time I was accosted by an elderly lady who suffered from extreme short sight. She had glasses that resembled two small binoculars which narrowed her vision to just about acceptable. She were incapable of differentiating between a Chinese or a Brit so I had a long harangue about the price of noodles, the pavements, landlords et al.

Eventually I fronted up for the full eye test. The was done by an ophthalmic surgeon; I know that because he did my eyes. He told my handler that I needed both cataracts and I had a choice of lens replacements. Both eyes for 1,100 yuan each with English lens or 1,400 with German lenses. Not wishing to look favourably on the EU I opted for the British ones. We discussed corrective lenses and I opted for one near and one distant unit.

They were going to have to be two weeks apart; the first one tomorrow.

Next morning at 0800 I pitched up and handed over 250 yuan for my pre-op medical. This consisted of a series of gorgeous nurses crawling over me taking blood samples, pressure etc etc. my blood pressure was slightly high but my handler explained the reason. With regret I passed that stage and then was briefed by my handler as to what I had to do during the operation.

'Keep still and look at the light.'

I was then on my own in the theatre waiting room. The was a couple of locals waiting as well but I could see the door of three operating theatres so the wait wasn't going to be that long. Meanwhile nurses were coming around and administrating eye drops. Then they were doing it again with a different nurse, and again and again. I found out from my handler that the nurses had only seen brown Chinese eyes before and were taking turns giving me eye drops so they could look into grey green foreigners' ones.

The operation was rapid with no conversation but the shock for me was when the filament of the light I was looking at suddenly came into focus.

My hotel was some distance away so I stayed the night in the hospital, The room was comfortable enough with a 28' TV that only selected Shanghai channels. We wont talk about the evening meal but I had a good nights sleep. Next morning there was a noodle breakfast and at 09:00 hrs they cleaned the place up.

At 10:00 hrs they were standing by the beds as Matron walked in.

She was like something out of the 'Carry on' series but she was in deadly earnest. She went round the room with the nurses quivering in their shoes. The room passed and she announced that I was free to go. They removed the bandage over my eye, gave me a quick eye test, a pair of sunglasses and shooed me out of the door.

Allofasudden I could see the shortcuts on my computer's home page.

Two weeks later they did the other eye and after another week with sunglasses everything was as it was thirty years ago. It was the start of a new life.
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Old 13th Dec 2020, 19:44
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Jay -
I have several eye defects. Would suggest you spend
a decent amount of money checking all possible (future) problems
before considering [email protected] treatment (had that).
In my case improved vision also hastened deterioration , still
I am 78 & can still read.
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Old 13th Dec 2020, 19:52
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Fareastdriver,
when I had cataract surgery, both eyes, really easy, no pain.
Took about 3 hours for both eyes at the Alicante eye hospital.
Do remember asking my wife as we drove (not me) through
the San Juan tunnel, 'were those lights always red'
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Old 13th Dec 2020, 23:32
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Thanks aardvark, that’s the type of information I was after. Immediate effects are obvious but long term aren’t always mentioned by those selling the service
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Old 14th Dec 2020, 07:56
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Originally Posted by jayteeto View Post
Thanks aardvark, thatís the type of information I was after. Immediate effects are obvious but long term arenít always mentioned by those selling the service
Get in touch with Professor Julian Stephens secretary at Moorfields eye hospital, arrange a private appointment and pay for the full examination from your own pocket (approx £300, very professional, seen by 3 experts and tested for about 90 minutes on various devices.) They'll tell you whether you are suitable for the surgery from a medical POV.
Then contact the Wg Cdr Ophthalmologist (Peterborough), send him a copy of your notes from Prof Stephens, and he'll do the RAF due diligence bit. Last I heard, you would expect to be unsuitable for flying duties (at least in FJ) for 6 months, although that number may perhaps change for multi crew environment.
Your initial consultation with Prof Stephens will probably involve a chat with him, he's a fascinating guy with plenty of good yarns to spin, especially about some of the close links he has made with various military units. I think he has a bit of a soft spot for UK Mil, and sometimes offers a very generous discount. He's widely considered to be one of the worlds leading experts, and helped with the introduction of [email protected] eye surgery for USN Aviators. If you do consider one of the high street brands, do your research carefully.
Results were, and continue to be nothing short of exceptional. A real life changing move which I wish I'd taken earlier rather than messing around with combinations of contact lenses, glasses and NVGs etc
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Old 14th Dec 2020, 08:03
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Never had a problem with Varifocals either.

Just had Cataract surgery privately in London.

Special lenses with both eyes done at same time and now only need reading glasses for the small print in obituary column of the Telegraph!
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Old 14th Dec 2020, 09:23
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Bugger, the 6 month grounding wouldn’t work for me. I’ll ask the Q anyway
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Old 14th Dec 2020, 09:26
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Special lenses with both eyes done at same time and now only need reading glasses for the small print in obituary column of the Telegraph!
Kindle is your friend - you can get the DT downloaded & adjust the font size as required!
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