Posts Tagged ‘LASIK myths’

Am I Too Old (or Young) for LASIK?

LASIK surgery and age

Emory’s LASIK surgeons review every patient on an individual, case-by-case basis, but there are some basic considerations to think about regarding your age and its role in LASIK surgery:

Children 18 and younger

The FDA has approved LASIK surgery for people over the age of 18. Young eyes don’t fully develop and are constantly adjusting and changing shape. Our surgeons, therefore, advise patients who are 18 and under to wait until their eyes have fully matured before considering LASIK surgery.

Middle-aged adults

LASIK is a safe and effective way to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism at any adult age. As we get older, however, new vision problems can develop. The most common age-related vision problem – presbyopia – occurs when the eye becomes less flexible and makes it difficult to change focus between near and far objects. This is why most of us will need reading glasses at some point.

If you’re middle-aged, you may want to consider LASIK surgery with blended vision (where we treat one eye for distance viewing and the other for close up vision). See what blended vision surgery looks like live!

Seniors

LASIK surgery may not the best option for older patients who suffer from age-related conditions such as cataracts. Cataracts occur when the natural lens in the eye becomes cloudy, resulting in blurred vision. It is one of the leading causes of vision loss among older people. Our surgeons at Emory Vision are board-certified ophthalmologists who are also experts at performing cataract surgery – where the eye’s natural lens is replaced by an artificial lens. If you have cataracts, I encourage you to contact the Emory Eye Center at 404 778-2020 to schedule an appointment.

Still have questions about the right age for LASIK? I’m happy to try to guide you in the right direction!

LASIK Myths Debunked

Think you can’t have LASIK surgery? Think again!

If you’ve been told in the past that you couldn’t have LASIK surgery, it’s time to come to Emory Vision. During the last five years, LASIK technology has made a huge leap forward—and you may find that you’re now the perfect candidate. I’d like to take a moment to address two reasons you may have been told you can’t have LASIK.

#1- If you wear gas permeable contacts, LASIK is not for you (UNTRUE!)
Gas permeable lenses change the shape of your cornea to correct your vision. In fact, many eye doctors prescribe them to correct astigmatism. What you may not know, is that LASIK can actually be a way to treat the condition of astigmatism permanently.

What does this mean for you? It may be time for LASIK surgery! To find out, just take a three-week break from your gas permeable lenses, to allow your eyes to go back to their original shape, and then come in for your initial exam.

#2 – If you wear bifocals, you can’t have LASIK (UNTRUE!).
Do you wear bifocals—or are you nearing a time when you will? Have you longed for LASIK surgery but been told you’d still need to wear reading glasses? Now bifocal wearers can enjoy the benefits of LASIK surgery with blended vision—and put aside those reading glasses.

Blended vision means that, rather than treating both eyes for distance, we treat one eye for distance viewing and one for close up. Your eyes then make the necessary adjustment depending on your activity. Still not convinced? Come in for an initial exam at Emory Vision, and we’ll let you try out how blended vision works and feels before you have surgery using a special pair of glasses that simulates the effect.

Myths Surrounding LASIK Surgery

If you’re considering LASIK surgery and consulting your friends and colleagues about it, you may hear a range of opinions. Do you know which is fact or myth? I’m Rhonda Brown, and I’m a certified ophthalmic technician and patient advocate at Emory Vision. In this post, I’ll help you separate LASIK fact from fiction.

MYTH: LASIK should be done once your eyes change in your 40s. As we age, we find it harder to read – a condition called Presbyopia. LASIK has come a long way, and doctors can now treat one eye for distance and one eye for near vision— a process we refer to as ‘blended vision’.  While it isn’t 100% perfect, patients have remarkable improvements in functioning vision for seeing both near and far. Some patients may need glasses for limited tasks such as night driving or reading a menu in low light. However, after surgery, at least 95% of life activities can be enjoyed without glasses.

MYTH: If you have astigmatism, you’re not a candidate for LASIK. This is a common misconception, and definitely a myth.  Having astigmatism means that the eye’s front surface, or cornea, is shaped more like a football rather than a basketball.  In most cases, LASIK can reshape the eye to make it look more like a basketball, which is ideal for improving vision. Technological advances now allow newer lasers to safely treat it.

MYTH: You should get a “lifetime guarantee” on your LASIK procedure. You wouldn’t ask for a lifetime guarantee on your heart valve, would you? The same is true for LASIK. Although it’s elective, it’s still a surgical procedure, and doctors are working with soft tissue that can respond, heal and age differently from person to person.  If a center is offering a lifetime guarantee, consider whether its doors will be open 5 years from now. Sometimes these guarantees are only good if you have poor vision in both eyes – or only for a specific window of time, which is why it’s so important to read the fine print.

TRUTH: LASIK isn’t for everyone. This is true. If you are looking for a guarantee of perfect vision, you may not be an ideal candidate. No one can promise an exact outcome for LASIK surgery, and certain conditions affecting the eye prevent some people from being an ideal candidate. However, according to statistics, nine out of 10 patients can see 20/20 or better following LASIK.

And now I’d love to hear from you—what LASIK-related myths have you heard about? I would be happy to debunk them for you.

Five Things You May Not Know About LASIK

If you’re considering LASIK, you’ve likely heard that the vast majority of patients are extremely satisfied with their new, improved vision. For many, the results are life changing. Knowing as much as possible about the procedure will help you to have realistic expectations, which is why I’m devoting this post to ‘Five Things You May Not Know About LASIK’:

  1. The definition of an “ideal candidate” for LASIK can vary from practice to practice. Emory Vision devotes 2 ½ hours to determining whether you’re a candidate. Some centers take as little as a half-hour. Why the difference? We look at 10 factors when we meet with patients. A decade ago, looking at curvature of the eye and prescription was sufficient. Now physicians are able to tell which candidates will receive the best results.
  2. As you evaluate where you’d like to have your LASIK procedure performed, it’s important to know how the surgeon defines a “successful outcome.” At Emory Vision, our benchmark is 20/20 vision, which is the final result for the vast majority of our patients.
  3. LASIK doesn’t cause cataracts. Some patients mistakenly believe that over time their surgery is wearing off, when in reality they’re developing cataracts. LASIK doesn’t increase the chance of cataracts; birthdays do. Just as we get gray hair, we develop cataracts, typically in our mid 60s. You’ll know cataracts are the source of your poor vision if your condition doesn’t improve with glasses. For patients who have had LASIK, it’s important to know the curvature of your eye prior to having  cataract surgery.
  4. The type of laser used by a LASIK practice is extremely important. At Emory Vision, we use the most advanced technology available—the Allegretto Wave® Eye-Q with Perfect Pulse Technology™. Clinical studies involving patients who have had surgery with the Allegretto show that 87% of patients have 20/20 vision or better one year after the procedure, and 99% have 20/40 or better, which is the standard for driving without glasses in most states. While it is possible to experience good results from an older laser, advanced lasers allow physicians to customize your treatment. Newer lasers, coupled with a thorough patient evaluation minimize complications such as halos and starbursts.
  5. The chances of you losing your vision due to LASIK surgery are truly minuscule. To put it in perspective for you, there is less than a 1 in 5 million chance of vision loss with the procedure. In fact, you have a greater chance of losing your eyesight from wearing contact lenses than from having LASIK. Patients rarely experience complications after LASIK surgery; however, approximately 3-5% may encounter minor difficulties, such as dry eyes and nighttime glare. For more information, visit the Frequently Asked Questions section of emoryvision.org.

And now I’d like to turn the conversation over to you—I know that many of you are curious about LASIK, and you may have questions beyond what I’ve covered here. Fire away!