DEAR SUN SPOTS: Can you answer a question for me? Someone told me that once you have LASIK surgery on your eyes, you can never have cataract surgery later on. Is this true? If it is true, then what happens when they get cataracts later in life? — No Name, No Town

ANSWER: From reading on the Internet Sun Spots was pretty sure that this was an urban myth, but thought she ought to check and make sure. She spoke with Teresa of Riverside Eye Center, who consulted with surgeon Martin Whitaker, M.D. Dr. Whitaker said that it can be more difficult “to keep the patient independent of glasses” if LASIK surgery has been previously performed but cataract surgery can be done.

This is all very complicated and you will want to consult with Dr. Whitaker or another ophthalmologist before proceeding with any surgery, but this is what Sun Spots (who is obviously not a doctor) understands.

In LASIK surgery (LASIK is an acronym for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis), the cornea of the eye is operated on with a laser to flatten it (nearsighted) or to create a steeper slope (farsighted). In cataract surgery, the lens of the eye, which has become cloudy, is actually replaced with an inner-ocular lens, in other words glasses inside your eye.

Developments in cataract lenses also mean the surgeon can repair your vision when they fix your cataract. (Sun Spots’ favorite aunt had her near vision fixed when she had her cataracts done and hasn’t worn glasses since.) One of the newest developments is multi-focal lenses. This means that if you wear bifocals or progressive eyeglasses, your corrective cataract lenses can also fix those problems, as well as astigmatism.

There is a catch: Insurance companies consider these more expensive lenses as cosmetic surgery, so there are some out-of-pocket expenses. Lastly, remember, there is no guarantee with any surgery. Your vision may not be perfect or it may change again as you age, so consider your options carefully and consult a doctor who is board-certified in the procedure you intend to undergo.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have a Sentry safe, one that is a floor model with wheels. My problem is I can’t open it. The combination has been lost. I have no idea where it was bought. I was wondering if anyone out there who knows anything about this kind of safe. I have no papers on it. Maybe you or someone can give me a list of who sells these safes. Any help would be helpful. Thank you. — S. Tracy, Livermore Falls

ANSWER: Sun Spots spoke with Moe at Fortier’s Security Center (784-5085), Central Maine’s expert on safes. Moe said that providing that it’s still the original combination (hasn’t been changed) or a safe bought as salvage, the combination can be retrieved. For a $30 fee, Fortier’s will retrieve the number for you from Sentry.

Here is the procedure: First you find the serial number. Moe said that this is usually on the face of the door on the bottom or bottom right, but in some cases can be behind the handle, in which case you can use a mirror to read it. You give Moe (or another of Fortier’s employees) that number and they get the combination for you.

There are some security arrangements; otherwise, any old person could take in a serial number and then open your safe. Once the combination is retrieved, you will need to present yourself and identification at Fortier’s to get the combination.

Now, if the combination is not the original one or your safe was salvage (purchased at Marden’s, for example), the procedure is a little more complicated. Sentry destroys the records for safes that are salvaged after the event (fire, flood), which led to an insurance claim, so the safe is no longer warrantied and the combination is not available. Also, if the combination was changed, Sentry may not have any record of that.

Sometimes one of the experts at Fortier’s can still open the safe. If you take it to them, they will see what they can do for $75. If they have to come to you, the cost ranges from $150 to $200 for house calls.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be e-mailed to [email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.