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Is Lasik the Superior Option for You?

Thursday, April 3, 2014 @ 07:04 AM
Author: Amit Mathur

Is Lasik the Superior Option for You

Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) eye surgery has become a very popular option for corrective vision. In fact, Duke University says that more than 8 million people have gotten the surgery.
However, LASIK surgery is not for every person who experiences vision problems. To understand who should get the surgery, it is first important to understand how vision works and what the surgery entails.
The cornea is the part of the eye that helps to focus light, which is then routed to the retina, which produces an image. When the cornea is misshaped, it can cause problems with that process, leading to blurry images. LASIK surgery involves creating a flap in the cornea so that a laser can go inside and reshape the cornea, helping to create better focus in the eye.

Ideal LASIK Candidates

Determining who is the ideal LASIK candidate requires assessing a patient’s vision and overall health. Ideal LASIK candidates should:

1. Be at least 18 years of age.

2. Have a moderate degree of nearsightedness (only able to see objects clearly up close), farsightedness (only able to see objects clearly from a distance), or astigmatism (overall blurry vision). Candidates will have to have a prescription with a minimum strength.

3. Have pupils that are no more than 8.5 mm when measured in the dark.

4. Have experienced no changes in their vision or their prescription for at least one year.

5. Have a healthy retina and eye pressure.

6. Have the money to pay for the surgery. Most insurance companies do not pay for LASIK surgery, which can cost an average of $2,000 per eye.

7. Not be pregnant or nursing.

8. Not be engaged in contact sports, such as boxing, football, wrestling or martial arts.
Every candidate for LASIK surgery should be evaluated by an experienced eye doctor to determine his or her current vision issues, eye health and overall health. Only a qualified eye doctor can make the final determination on who is a good candidate for LASIK surgery.

Who Should Not Get LASIK

Though LASIK eye surgery has become common, it is still a surgery and there are still risks. Therefore, there is a much longer list of who should NOT get LASIK eye surgery.

You should not get LASIK eye surgery if you:

1. Have a problem with dry eyes. One of the potential side effects of LASIK surgery is that it can make your eyes dry. If you already have this problem, getting LASIK surgery can make it even worse, making them painful.

2. Have ongoing problems with your vision. If your vision is worsening, or if you are experiencing vision problems off and on, you won’t be able to get LASIK surgery. Your vision must be stable before the problem can be addressed. If the pressure in your eye is too high or is fluctuating, you also won’t be able to get LASIK surgery.

3. Have misshapen eyes. There are many problems with the shape or your eyes that could prevent you from being a candidate for LASIK. For example, if you have an irregularly shaped cornea, or if your cornea is too thin, you won’t be able to get LASIK. Also, if you have eyes that are set very deep or have oddly shaped lids that could be problematic during surgery, you will likely not be a candidate for LASIK eye surgery.

4. Have an autoimmune disease. With LASIK eye surgery, doctors will be cutting into your body. If you have an autoimmune disease, you may not be able to heal as quickly from the surgery, and you may be more at risk for infection. Autoimmune diseases include HIV, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

5. Have other poor health conditions. Those with diabetes and other conditions may not be good candidates for LASIK surgery.

Overall, it is important for those considering LASIK surgery to have an honest discussion with their eye care providers about the surgery and about the risks and benefits for their specific case. Some may realize that their vision has not yet progressed to the point where LASIK is a good option. Others may decide that the risks of LASIK surgery do not outweigh the potential benefits, such as those who have severe nearsightedness, who could wind up with even more severe vision problems from side effects of the surgery.

Risks of LASIK Surgery

Even those who are considered to be good candidates for LASIK surgery should still consider the risks before deciding whether to proceed with the surgery. Some risks of LASIK surgery include:

• Blepharitis. With this condition, the eyelids become inflamed and the eyelashes become crusty. The condition can increase the risk of infection or can contribute to inflammation of the cornea.

Dry eyes. As previously noted, LASIK surgery can increase the risk of dry eyes, even if you did not experience the condition before the surgery.

Enlarged pupils. After surgery, patients can experience double vision, glare, halos and starbursts. Not only can this be uncomfortable, but it can also take away from quality of life, such as inhibiting a patient’s ability to drive a car at night or in adverse weather conditions.

• Blindness. If you have thin corneas, having LASIK surgery can increase the risk of complications that could lead to blindness.

It is important to thoroughly evaluate all the risks associated with the surgery before making a decision. Though LASIK eye surgery can be life-changing, you must be sure that you are the right candidate for the procedure. Otherwise, you could suffer from debilitating side effects that could actually worsen your vision or bring down your quality of life. Make sure you work with your eye doctor to determine the best course of action for your eye health.

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