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The Doctors Lounge - Primary Care Answers

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Forum Name: Eye diseases (Ophthalmology)

Question: Lasik


chrisy - Thu Nov 13, 2003 9:46 pm

Hi!
I'm a 18 year old female with very bad vision. I wear glasses. The last time I went to an eye-doctor, he said my eyes are still deteriorating. I'm really interested in Lasik, but am afraid of the surgery. I don't even wear contacts! I'm concerned about the safety, but more about the likelihood that 5 years from now eye surgery will become safer and less invasive, that I should've waited. Thanks.
-Christina
Dr. Tamer Fouad - Sat Nov 15, 2003 10:44 am

Chrisy,
Surgical procedures aimed at improving the focusing power of the eye are called refractive surgery. In LASIK surgery, precise and controlled removal of corneal tissue by a special laser reshapes the cornea changing its focusing power.

It is associated with risks and its not for everyone.

You are probably not a good candidate for this procedure if:
    You are not a risk taker.
    Some jobs prohibit certain refractive procedures.
    You required a change in your contact lens or glasses prescription in the past year. This is called refractive instability. Patients who are: In their early 20s or younger, Whose hormones are fluctuating due to disease such as Diabetes, Who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or Who are taking medications that may cause fluctuations in vision,
    are more likely to have refractive instability and should discuss the possible additional risks with their doctor.
    You have a disease or are on medications that may affect wound healing; such as autoimmune diseases (e. g., lupus, rheumatoid Arthritis), immunodeficiency states (e. g., HIV) and Diabetes, and some medications (e. g., retinoic acid and steroids) may prevent proper healing after a refractive procedure.
    You actively participate in contact sports. (boxing, wrestling, martial arts).
    You are not an adult. Currently, no lasers are approved for LASIK on persons under the age of 18.
Precautions
Do NOT have LASIK surgery if you have a history of any of the following:
    Herpes simplex or Herpes Zoster (shingles) involving the eye area.
    Glaucoma, glaucoma suspect, or ocular Hypertension.
    Eye diseases, such as uveitis/iritis (inflammations of the eye) and blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids with crusting of the eyelashes).
    Eye injuries or previous eye surgeries.
    Keratoconus
Other Risk Factors
    Your doctor should screen you for the following conditions or indicators of risk:
    Large pupils.
    Thin Corneas.
    Dry Eyes.
Being only 18 years old, I think you should wait, maybe 5 years as you suggested; because clearly its not an ideal procedure for everyone. You don't want to do something that brings on more problems than it solves.
Regards,
chrisy - Sun Nov 16, 2003 5:00 pm

Thank you Doctor, I think I'll wait.
-Chrisy

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