What You Need to Know about LASIK
Since it was approved by the FDA in 1995, almost 20 million patients have undergone LASIK eye surgery in the United States. Of these patients, the vast majority (well over 95%) has reported satisfaction with the results of their procedure, with most achieving uncorrected vision of 20/40 or better. However many still have questions about the safety and efficacy of LASIK procedures. In order to alleviate concern and better understand exactly what LASIK eye surgery entails, you should understand a few key considerations.
Know the Risks
Certain complications, such as chronic dry eye or the loss of night vision acuity, do arise among a small percentage of patients. Hence, some jobs do prohibit certain refractive procedures. Be sure to check with your employer, professional society, or military service before to make certain that undergoing the procedure will not jeopardize your employment. Also, because the procedure involves the creation of a flap in the outer cornea, physical trauma to the eye can, in some cases, cause significant complications to those who have LASIK surgery. If you participate in boxing, wrestling, martial arts, or other activities in which blows to the face and eyes are a normal occurrence, LASIK surgery may not be right for you.
Know Your Eyes
LASIK is used to correct nearsightedness (myopia) and astigmatism but can, currently, do little to alleviate the gradual deterioration of close range, detail vision caused by macular degeneration or presbyopia. The more nearsighted you are, the more likely it is that you may require a repeat procedure in order to achieve optimal results. Additionally, if you had to have your contact lens or glasses prescription changed in the past year, it may be an indication that you are experiencing refractive instability. This condition, often present in patients under twenty or the result of hormonal fluctuations caused by disease, pregnancy, or certain medications, can make the outcome of any refractive procedure unpredictable. Understanding your own specific refractor error and the precise nature of your vision needs can allow you to better manage your expectations and determine what procedures are right for you.
Know the Procedure
As with any form of surgery, it is vital to understand the specifics of the procedure you are planning to undergo as well as whether or not you are a suitable candidate. Most refractive procedures change the eye’s focusing power by reshaping the cornea, so patients with unusually thin corneas are generally not suitable candidates for the procedure. Furthermore, patients with larger than average pupils are somewhat more likely to experience certain side effects, such as increased glare, halos, starbursts, and ghost images. Finally, approximately 20% of potential patients are deemed ineligible for LASIK due to preexisting health conditions. People with severe dry eye, certain corneal diseases or previous eye injuries, or diseases that may affect wound healing, like autoimmune diseases, should not undergo LASIK surgery.
Know Your Doctor
Consistently, the best results in LASIK eye surgery are achieved by experienced, board-certified ophthalmologists, like Dr. William Segal. Some studies, including a 1998 report on Canadian practitioners published in the journal Ophthalmology, have shown that the rate of complications also decreases with more experienced physicians.
If you are interested in LASIK surgery or any of the other services offered at Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons, please contact us today. Be sure to follow Dr. Segal and Dr. Marc Lay on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips for healthy eyes.