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Laser Eye Surgery

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Nov 26, 2001
Would like to know if anyone out there has researched the negative effects (if any) of pressure on the eyes from freediving that could cause damge to the eyes if the diver has had laser (Lasik) eye surgery.??

I am contemplating the surgery to help out with all my water sports but do not want to go thru with it if deep freediving can increae the risk of injury to repaired eyes.


Hello JK,

One of the biggest risk of lasik and diving is infection while the lifted cornea re-bond to the eye tissue underneath. That is why you're not allowed to open your eyes in the shower for the first few days after the surgery, no swimming in the pool for 2 weeks, and no swimming in the ocean for at least a month. The eyes take a while to heal.

I had two surgeries in the past year to correct my near-sightedness, and a free diving friend had two surgeries as well. Both of us continue to dive with no ill effects (and loving it!)

To take a stab at your concern with pressure, I think that there should be no harm with deep diving as long as you equalize or avoid mask squeeze some other way because hydrostatic pressure compresses the eyeball tissue equally. There is much more danger with shear (no eye-rubbing for at least a month!), but there is little if any shear forces acting on the tissue in the surgery region coming from hydrostatic pressure alone.

But you don't have to take my word for it. Please feel free to ask my doctor, who's an avid scuba diver.

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Eye surgery

I have some friends who had eye surgery, and they were all very disappointed and angry afterwards. The main complaint was terribly dry eyes which lasted until now (years later), along with horrible reflections during night vision.

I have experimented with natural vision improvement and it works, but slowly. If you are very motivated to naturally improve your eyes, the time it will take in months will be about:
prescription * 3

i.e. -5 D = 15 months, minimum, spending 1-2 hrs a day.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
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Thanks for your input. Still fence sitting at the moment and will continue researching the options for now.


this a bit out of thread topic, but I still want to ask:
By Natural Vision Improvement, are you trying to train your eyes to see immersed, without any mask or goggles at all? This would be very cool.
Or maybe it is impossible, if the light speed (ie. index of refraction) is equal in the lens of eye and in water (I don't know is it).
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It may be a LOT too late to reply to this but since i just found the site, I will do it anyway.

I had LASIK done in November of 1998 (a wedding present from my wife). While we were in Hawaii last winter (December 2001) we did a LOT of diving off of the Kona coast (by LOTS, I mean that we did 2 dives a day every second day for 10 days which may not be a lot for an instructor or someone who lives in a diving area but Germany is NOT known for being a place to dive! :D )

Anyway, my old perscription was -6.25 +120 right and -5.75 +195 left meaning that I was blind as a bat and had astigmatism to boot. After the surgery, I was -0.25 in both eyes with no astigmatism.

I dive with an older model US Divers tri-Pane mask (Cousteau style thing) with the purge valve still closed. I had no problems at all while I was diving and that was regardless of the fact that my mask leaks (forgot to trim the moustache) so even with a little salt water intrusion, I had no problems.

What was really funny was that, even getting a few drops of salt water in my eyes didn't burn like it did before the surgery. Maybe that is because a lot of the nearves are dead. Of course, I worde hard contacts for 15 years too so that hasn't helped.

The bottom line is that I had no problems SCUBA diving, even down to 120' (one deep dive).....

no problems

I had it done in April of 99'.

I was very nervous about infection so I decided to stay out of the water for two months. This may have been overkill because I haven't had a problem.

I did have dry eye's for a while after the operation, but I had very dry eyes with my contacts to begin with.

I have done freedives and scuba dives since the operation. I was originaly worried about negative pressure from freediving, but that hasn't been a problem. I have also had no problems on any of the trimix dives that I have done.

Two friends of mine had it done who are commercial airline pilots, and scuba divers, one loved it and the other wasn't too pleased.
The one who wasn't too pleased was a bit older and had to go right into reading glasses, but his distance vision is fine.

For me it was worth it because my eyesight was pretty bad 20/600. Now it is 20/20 in my left eye and 20/25 in my right.

It also makes camping, skiing, and working out a lot easier than having to worry about glasses or contacts.

Just my $.02

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Had Lasik done to correct -6 in both eyes. I'm not 20/20 now, and I do get some wild Halo's after a lot of night driving, but i have no complaints. As well as being a freediver and Scuba Instructor I am a VERY avid whitewater kayaker. and nothing is worse then loosing a contact in the middle of a Class V run. this has happened a few times and I'm only around now out of pure luck. I wore contacts for 5 years prior and would NEVER go back now.

Glad to hear all the successful stories of lasik as I am considering eye surgery soon. I am planning on taking scuba diving classes as well so it will work out great to have the surgery done before I start.
This is a veeerryy old thread but what the hell rite, I also had lasik surgery when I turned 21. I was blind as a bat and had astigmatism aswell thats all better now 6 years down the line Im still very happy with the op, allthough I do notice a bit of a setback now but they said that could happen because of the condition that I had. My eyes werent dry at all infact they were very watery, but that could have been due to the fact that I wore prescription glasses that turned darker in light, I couldnt even take off my sunnies in shopping malls till about 3 months after the op. What Im interested in is the natural vision improvement, cause I dont want to go again so hopefully Eric will come back and let us know what he found. What Ive heard of natural vision improvement is that you sleep with small weighted bags on your eyes, this forces the eyes to a new shape or something like that :)
I had Lasik two years ago and went from -6 and not being able to find my glasses in the morning (and wearing contacts the whole time because my glasses we so thick and scary!) to better than 2020 vision

without a doubt the best money I ever spent. It didn't even hurt!

Re: Eye surgery

I have experimented with natural vision improvement and it works, but slowly. If you are very motivated to naturally improve your eyes, the time it will take in months will be about:
prescription * 3

i.e. -5 D = 15 months, minimum, spending 1-2 hrs a day.
Hey Eric,

I'm curious - how does that work?
I had Lasik two years ago and went from -6 and not being able to find my glasses in the morning (and wearing contacts the whole time because my glasses we so thick and scary!) to better than 2020 vision

without a doubt the best money I ever spent. It didn't even hurt!

Mine was sh*t sore, especially to wind and I could hardly open my eyes for the fist day. I also hated the fact that they had to work on my eyes while I was awake, the worst moment must have been when they flap the cornia back... It freaked me out completely rofl
Not that I regret doing it it was still the best decision ever.
Unfortunately, this surgery is not an option for me. I have glaucoma and, though it is well controlled with meds, the increased eye pressure that is required for lasik surgery would basically turn me blind. My optholomologist was an early researcher in corrective eye surgery and even did it on his wife but neither of us is an acceptable candidate. Yeah, he's got glaucoma, too. So, in response to the original question of eye pressure, unless your's is first class, I'd be very leary of the procedure. And believe me, I'd have it done in a second if I could.
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I would be wary of it, having read, I think, Seattle climber Ron Krauker's book on a disastrous series of incidents on Everest, in the late 90s/early millenium. One of the other climbers, who'd had eye surgery, went blind, high on Everest in deteriorating conditions, adding to the life threatening conditions already in play for several parties active high on the mountain at the time. I don't recall if he died or recovered but I think it was the former :( So ascending (high altitude climbing), as well as descending (diving) might cause problems.
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My last comment on this subject was thirteen years ago. Gawd, that's an old thread. However, to update, since then I have developed cataracts and had surgery for them. Replacing lenses is nothing like Lasik surgery but my surgeon did admonish me to keep any diving I did to the top twenty feet. So I would be very careful, myself, about going under if I had the procedure. But then, there are a heck of a lot of fish in the top twenty feet of the ocean!
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