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angieleduc

Skydiving after Lasik Surgery

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Just had Lasik & am wondering how long I should wait before heading back out to jump again. The doctor never had someone ask that type of question before :P He indicated that waiting one month would be the absolute safest thing to do, but couldn't necessarily say that going after a couple of weeks would be that risky (it supposedly takes 7 days for the flap to heal after the surgery). I am pretty anxious to continue working on my AFF before it gets too cold, but I've only got one set of eyes. Has anyone out there been through this same thing and have any suggestions?
Once in awhile you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right ~Scarlet Begonias~

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I made a base jump 12 days after mine but waited a little longer for skydiving. I had LASEK though not LASIK so i didnt have the flap.

PM peregrinrose. She is an eye dr and has LOTS of great info on the matter.
"If this post needs to be moderated I would prefer it to be completly removed and not edited and butchered into a disney movie" - DorkZone Hero

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I waited a month as per the Docs original Orders.
But at 2 weeks she thought I was all healed up and would be fine. The Flight Surgeon (who was also involved in the eye surgery portion of a long term study by the Army) concurred with her on the 2 weeks but weather stopped me and I ended up waiting the full month.

Never had an issue. Follow the Docs advice (orders) and you will be fine. One skydive is not worth losing your sight over. (Yes, I know the Irony of that statement!)

Matt
An Instructors first concern is student safety.
So, start being safe, first!!!

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I waited 2 weeks after Lasik, but I wore a pair of medical goggles under a full face helmet. I did that for two weeks and then went back to regular goggles and an open face helmet. That was two years ago and I have had no problems. Take care of your eyes!
Charlie Gittins, 540-327-2208
AFF-I, Sigma TI, IAD-I
MEI, CFI-I, Senior Rigger
Former DZO, Blue Ridge Skydiving Adventures

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Thanks for the insight everyone...I talked to my AFF instructor today and we've decided to play it by ear. I am almost definitely going to wait the full month just to be safe, but am going to talk to my local eye doctor about it after my next post-op exam next week...If I can get certification from him after a couple weeks that I'm 100% healed up, I may not wait the full month if there's no real medical necessity to do so. Cheers!
Once in awhile you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right ~Scarlet Begonias~

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Don't you think you should have asked about this PRIOR to surgery???? Yeesh.

Your flap will never heal down to 100%. The research shows that even 18 years after surgery, if you needed an enhancement (second procedure) done, they do not re-slice the cornea, they peel back the original flap and have at it.

Dislocated flaps do happen, not a lot, but they happen. Skydiving is a very contact-rich sport. This is why I recommend that my skydivers get PRK and not LASIK. No flap, long term better safety profile, and a lot of the refractive surgeons are switching back to PRK over LASIK.

I also suggest, for those who do opt for LASIK instead, to wait 2 months minimum. You want a good solid adhesion before taking a blow to the eye in freefall.

Do or do not, there is no try -Yoda

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Good link with pros and cons of each for anyone still on the fence:

http://www.the-lasik-directory.com/lasik_prk_chart.html

Just used Google to find it. I haven't had either, just clear lenses inserted for mono-vision 5 years ago. Love it!

After reading though about lasik, I would make sure to always wear good eye protection because of the occasional hits during 4-way.
Dano

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I had PRK prior to signing my contract into the USMC, so i did a lot of research on why they prefer PRK over LASIK, and require PRK instead of LASIK for pilots. While you won't be pulling the same g's that a pilot is during skydiving the pressure can add up and in some reported cases pilots had the lasik flap come loose during flight. Even combat occupations had reported cases of suffering an eye flap come undone after some sort of trauma. With that being said they are now allowing more and more lasik waivers to contract into the military as strictly non-flight contracts. I'd wait to jump just out of respect for the fact that you have a weak point on your eyes. You may feel comfortable in some protective goggles jumping but land hot with smack to your head and you can still be SOL.

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Peregrinerose...I DID inquire prior to surgery. I asked my local optometrist prior to scheduling the surgery, who used to skydive, who told me to talk to the surgeon. I asked the Lasik surgery center's optometrist prior to surgery, who speculated that one month would be safest, but who ALSO told me to talk to the surgeon, and finally, I asked the surgeon prior to surgery, who told me things usually heal up pretty well within two weeks, but that one month would be safest length of time to wait.
At no point was I ever told PRK was a better option in light of my extracurricular activities, and at no point was I told by any of these doctors that the flap would never heal. Considering the surgeon had performed over 16,000 surgeries, I trusted his input and went forward with surgery. Apparently, this issue is not one that surgeons need to address that often, as I was the first out of 16,000+ candidates who posed the question. I cannot undo it now, so the only thing I can do is be as safe as possible while jumping with the eyes I have...
Once in awhile you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right ~Scarlet Begonias~

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I waited about a month after I got lasik (luckily winter and crappy weather so it was easy :-) I haven't had any issues in the 10 years since... Wait 3-4 weeks and then just be extra careful for a while... My Lasik was like a miracle - before surgery I couldn't read the big E with my left eye (seriously) and I ended up 20/20. I would wake up at night actually being able to read my alarm clock and it was crazy. I spent a solid month just walking around being amazed what I could see without glasses/contacts.. It really felt like a miracle to me...

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I really liked my lasik. I was back and doing video within a month and have not had to use eye drops since the first couple of weeks. I've seen way too many people skydiving after PRK having to use eyedrops after every jump (even after a year) and constantly complaining about dry eyes etc. PRK seems to take longer to "heal" than lasik (especially intralase). After 2 weeks of having intralase cut the flap, the Dr. said he would have a really hard time pulling the flap back up. The newer methods of cutting the flap seem to almost create a velcro like cut, when the flap is dropped back down it almost snaps into place. Lasik facilities like you have gone to in big cities around the country are doing 100's of thousand procedures a day with the newest technology. PRK is a relatively old technology (hence why the military still does it). I wouldn't worry about your procedure, I had mine three or so years ago and have not had a single issue after tons of hours of tunnel and many skydives (including extremely hard openings (almost cracking my neck), wearing a 15lb helmet, and getting knocked every once in a while by someone). Not to mention hitting the wall in the tunnel, 180ft scuba dives, aerobatic paragliding moves, and normal Trunk drunken nights of debauchery.

It seems that Peregrinerose only does PRK hence what she knows. I hate to go against a professional, but a professional should know how many thousands of skydivers, paragliders, aerobatic pilots have gotten lasik and are extremely happy with it.

-Trunk
HYPOXIC

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It's obviously just a difference in opinion. My eye surgeon straight up told me I was NOT a candidate for LASIK because of my base jumping and skydiving. I opted for LASEK, which despite the similar acronym to LASIK is actually completely different from LASIK and more of a variation of PRK.

I am glad I opted for the LASEK. I dont have to worry about any additiona surgeries, no night blindness issues (in fact it fixed existing ones), and its just more peace of mind.

If i had to do it all over again...i prob would have gone with PRK. Only because it is proven and it really is the best in terms of results. All these new surgeries arent any better for your vision, they are just more comfortable with less healing time.
"If this post needs to be moderated I would prefer it to be completly removed and not edited and butchered into a disney movie" - DorkZone Hero

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Quote

Your flap will never heal down to 100%. The research shows that even 18 years after surgery, if you needed an enhancement (second procedure) done, they do not re-slice the cornea, they peel back the original flap and have at it.



I'm interested in this statement. I always heard and hear this. 1 year after I had LASIK done, I went for an annual eye exam and the optometrist said she could not detect any scar of any kind in one eye, and only a tiny scar in the other (using her instruments). She said she would not have known I had LASIK done if I hadn't told her.

Does the absence of a scar not necessarily indicate 100% healing?

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LOL!!! Your post made me laugh....

I don't do PRK, or any refractive surgery for the record. I do pre/post op work for a wide variety of refractive surgeries, including LASEK, LASIK, PRK, etc.

You are completely off-base about dry eye after surgery. With LASIK, all of the corneal nerves are severed, so the patient can't feel the dryness nearly as well... had a patient today with severe dry eye post-op LASIK and had no idea because of the corneal desensitivity. With PRK, there is no flap, so less damage to those corneal nerves, so the patient actually knows when their eye is dry... this is a good thing, not a bad thing, as untreated dry eye can cause a lot of long term problems.

http://www.eyemd.com/vision-pages/prk_versus_lasik.html Here's a link to a surgeon's web site too.

Do or do not, there is no try -Yoda

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Ideally, there should be little to no 'scar' after any refractive surgery. Some flaps are easier to see than others, but they are still there. Look into 'enhancement' LASIK. There's no re-cutting, just peeling back the flap. I've seen some really ugly flap interfaces, and some that were nearly imperceptible. What it looks like depends on the procedure, the pre-op Rx, the surgeon, and the individual.

Do or do not, there is no try -Yoda

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