Lasik Eye Surgery
Laser Vision Correction has taken the world by storm. 4.1 million procedures have been done in the United States alone to date. This number only represents 0.9% of the United States population. In the U.S., there are 160 million people that would benefit from refractive surgery. *LASIK, a specific form of laser vision correction, is the number one procedure being performed today and for good reason. This revolutionary surgery frees people from the hassles of glasses and contact lenses enabling them to enjoy sports and life unencumbered. Millions of people around the world have successfully pursued LASIK surgery for a multitude of reasons. Athletes, such as Tiger Woods, Tony Dorsett, and Troy Aikman, have taken advantage of this amazing technology to improve their performances. Celebrities such as Cindy Crawford and Michael Bolton have lined up to gain visual freedom. Police officers, firefighters, physicians and surgeons are having it done. Why? Because it works!! It is believed that laser vision correction will one day be a rite of passage. One will get his braces at age thirteen and his eyes 'fixed' at eighteen and very few people will still be wearing visual appliances. A world without glasses? This may become reality sooner than you think!
Who is a candidate? Unbelievably, most people who wear glasses and contacts to see at a distance are. The Excimer laser can treat myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, or any combination of those. Presbyopia (an aging change that necessitates reading glasses after the age of forty) cannot be treated with the laser or any other surgical procedure at this time. Therefore, if you only need glasses to read and not to see at a distance, you may not be a candidate for laser vision correction at this time. Don't despair! We are presently developing a surgical procedure to definitively treat this condition. We should have an answer for all the Presbyopes in about three to four years so keep your eyes open.
LASIK, an acronym for Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomilieusis, is a surgical procedure that involves making a thin hair-width flap in the cornea and using the Excimer laser to sculpt the cornea into a normal shape. In most cases, it takes less than a minute for the laser to do this. In fact, the patient is usually in the laser room for less than fifteen minutes having both eyes done. The surgery is painless and the recovery relatively quick. When the surgery is completed, excitement fills the room as the patient sits up and, for the first time, sees things around the room that were just a blur prior to the procedure. The crispness and clarity continue to improve for several days after the procedure. Most patients go back to work and resume their normal activities the very next day.
With all the advertising going on about Laser Vision Correction, choosing a surgeon and center can be quite confusing. There are both experienced surgeons and inexperienced surgeons performing LASIK. There are surgeons who care for their patients from start to finish and those who meet you as you climb onto the table. There are discount centers or premier centers of excellence to choose from. Some Centers profess to have the 'better' laser. All the advertising sounds the same. How does one reasonably make the right choice? After all, these are your eyes and you only have one set of them. Here are a few questions to ask.
- Is your surgeon a board certified Ophthalmologist?
- What is your surgeon’s background and education?
- How is your surgeon’s “bedside manner”? (Most patients are extremely nervous about the surgery. It helps if the surgeon has a calming demeanor)
- How many LASIK procedures has the surgeon performed (over 1000 preferably)
- Who does your pre-operative and post-operative management? Is there continuity of care? (The pre-operative information is used to program the laser so accuracy with pre-operative measurements is key to a great result)
- Is the Center clean and organized?
- Is the laser and ancillary equipment up to date?
- Is the staff knowledgeable and friendly? (Also helps allay the fear)
- What is the price and what does it include? (Usually includes the surgery, management for several months, and“touch-up” surgeries)
- Are there affordable financing plans available?
- Is the Laser FDA approved?
- Does the laser have an eye tracker? (An eye tracker will ensure better centration of the laser treatment)
- Does the laser have the ability to treat a patient with larger pupils?(Larger treatment zones decrease one’s risk for post-operative side effects)
- What does your surgeon recommend for you? (The surgeon has the knowledge of all lasers to make a more informed decision)
It is important to do your homework to ensure the optimal result. LASIK surgery is a life changing operation. It will change everything about your life from waking up and seeing the clock, to driving and participating in sports without glasses. You will enjoy this newfound freedom for the rest of your life. We are indeed lucky to be living during a time of incredible technology!! I invite you to learn more about LASIK and See What You've Been Missing!
*Statistical Data supplied courtesy of Marketscope at http://www.mktsc.com
Jacqueline .D. Griffiths, MD, a board certified Ophthalmologist and LASIK surgeon, is the owner and medical director for NewView Laser Eye, Inc. She can be reached at NewView Laser Eye, 12110 Sunset Hills Road, Reston, VA 20190.
Tel: (703) 834-9777 or 1-800 294-1001. Fax (703) 834-8187.