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Dr. Lloyd's blog has now been retired. We appreciate all the wisdom and support Dr. Lloyd has brought to the WebMD community throughout the years.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Your LASIK is Perfect, Here Are Your New Glasses!

Advances in technology and surgical technique (but mostly technology!) have led to very successful, predictable LASIK outcomes in appropriate surgery candidates. It can truly be the right operation for the right person.

Two areas of LASIK that deserves more attention are patient counseling and clear communication.

One huge misunderstanding experienced by all LASIK candidates is that they will never need to wear eyeglasses or contacts ever again. That statement is very inaccurate.

Truth be told, most LASIK patients will need glasses later in life. Here’s why:

  • The LASIK procedure may not fully correct the preoperative refractive error. This is common for extremely nearsighted (myopic) folks. LASIK will, however, convert them to thinner, lighter eyewear.
  • Perfect LASIK throws you into the swimming pool with all emmetropes (folks needing zero correction at distance). This sounds great but there’s a catch. Around age 40 emmetropes begin to experience symptoms caused by age-related loss of near focusing (presbyopia).
  • The LASIK procedure may generate imperfect results. Residual (or new) amounts of refractive error may require post-op correction.

In all fairness, some of these outcomes can be managed with more LASIK at a later time. Adults over 40 may opt for LASIK distance correction in one eye and LASIK near correction in the fellow eye – a strategy called monovision.

The important point to remember is that if you seek LASIK to eliminate eyeglasses or contacts make sure you and your surgeon share common expectations. Surprises are best reserved for wedding engagements and birthdays.

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Posted by: Bill Lloyd MD at 1:20 pm

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