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Legatus Magazine

Cover Story
Susan Locke | author
Nov 01, 2010
Filed under Your Health
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Clearing up America’s vision

Susan Locke, MD, takes an up-close look at LASIK — the risks and the potential . . .

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LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is the most common refractive surgery. A cutting laser reshapes the cornea, allowing light rays to focus more precisely on your retina. The goal of the surgery is to produce sharper and clearer vision, often reducing or eliminating the need for corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses in 80% of patients.

LASIK is often appropriate for individuals with a moderate degree of nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) or astigmatism (disrupted focus of near and distant vision).

LASIK is performed under local anesthesia in less than 30 minutes. Patients can expect to wait two to three months until the eyes heal completely and vision stabilizes. Eyes may itch, burn and/or water post-surgery. Additionally, blurred vision may occur immediately after surgery.

As with any surgery, there are potential risks, including undercorrection, overcorrection, astigmatism, glare, halos, double vision, dry eyes, infections, excess tears and/or swelling.

Most people in their 40s or older with presbyopia (difficulty reading small print) adjust by wearing reading glasses. However, LASIK may be able to correct monovision where your dominant eye is corrected for distant vision and the other for near vision. Not everyone is able to adjust to or tolerate monovision. A trial with contact lenses is recommended before having a permanent surgical procedure.

LASIK surgery carries higher risks if you have immune system disease, an uneven corneal surface, abnormally shaped cornea, unstable vision or persistent dry eyes. LASIK surgery may also not be the best choice if:

• Your job requires precise vision

• Your finances cannot cover the cost (most insurance policies do not cover LASIK)

• You actively participate in contact sports

• You have severe nearsightedness

• Your vision is fairly good (it may not be worth the risk)

• You have large pupils (after LASIK surgery you may develop symptoms of halos, glare or ghost images)

The decision to have eye surgery is one worth the research — and the added assurance of knowing you’re being treated with the most advanced technology there is. To find out whether you’re a good candidate for LASIK surgery, consult your ophthalmologist or call Healthnetwork for a referral to one of the most-respected eye centers in the nation where your eye sight will be in good hands.

In addition, a number of Legatus members also perform LASIK surgery. They’ve banded together with the top specialists in the country at this website: TrustedLasikSurgeons.com

Susan Locke, MD, is Healthnetwork’s medical director.

Healthnetwork is a Legatus membership benefit, a health care “concierge service” that provides members and their families with access to some of the most respected hospitals in the world. One Call Starts It All: (866) 968-2467 or (440) 893-0830. Email: help@healthnetworkfoundation.org

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