Advances in medical technology allow us to do things we only dreamed of just ten years ago. New procedures and devices save and improve the quality of lives around the globe. Among elective procedures that have made leaps and bounds in the last decade, Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis or lasik eye surgery is among the most commonly performed.
It is estimated that more than six hundred thousand lasik surgeries are performed each year in the US alone for the treatment of nearsightedness farsightedness and astigmatism. Most LASIK patients report being satisfied with the results of their surgery as with any surgery however there are risks involved that’s why it is important to be fully informed before you decide to have lasik surgery.
The FDA reviews clinical data from lasik laser manufacturers showed that the benefits outweigh the risks when used properly, and on the right patients. Lasik is not for everyone. For it to be safe and effective eye doctors must carefully evaluate their patients to determine if they are good candidates for the procedure factors that may prevent you from being a good candidate for lasik include having changes in your contact lens our eye glasses prescription in the past year.
Having a conditions such as diabetes or taking medications that may affect wound healing such as corticosteroids like prednisone, and having a current or past history of eye disease, such as glaucoma, herpes infection or inflammation inside the eye or history of eye surgery or previous eye surgery. When considering lasik, patients should make sure their eye doctor is aware of any eye or medical conditions they have because these may contribute to a bad outcome.
In addition, doctors should check for dry eyes, large pupils and thin corneas, since these have led to serious complications. Even if you are a good candidate, LASIK can have complications. These complications include dry eyes, sensitivity to light, blurred vision and other visual symptoms such as glare, halos, starbursts, and double vision. such symptoms are commonly mild and temporary, but can become severe and permanent leading to loss of vision, interference with your usual activities and pain.
Your vision may not be fully corrected after the procedure and so you may require additional surgery to get the desired outcome. Also, the vision correction you get may not be lasting and could worsen over time. These are just some of the risks associated with lasik. After lasik surgery, patients may still need to wear glasses to perform certain tasks. Also lasik can’t reverse presbyopia, that’s the difficulty with near vision that comes with aging so patients they need to wear glasses for close work and reading, even if they didn’t need them before surgery.
Ask your doctor to provide you with your eye measurements before the lasik surgery. You should keep them with your other important papers in case you need cataract surgery in the future. They will help you doctor calculate the lens implant power. You can find a sample form on the internet by going to geteyesmart.org for “K Card”. Before discussing lasik with your eye doctor, review the information on the FDA’s website. The information can help guide your discussion. When talking to your eye doctor, make sure to discuss the risks and benefits in your case and your alternatives to getting lasik surgery.
Patients should talk to their eye doctor about what they expect to gain from the surgery. Before committing to surgery, be sure to get the laser’s manufacturers patient information booklet (or labeling) for your lasik treatment from your eye doctor or FDA’s website. It provides more information on the risks and benefits, and what to expect before during and after the procedure. Read the consent form carefully and ask questions about anything you don’t understand before signing it.
Remember lasik is surgery. Patients should get the facts before deciding whether the procedure is right for them. For more information on LASIK go to fda.gov/lasik