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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Considering Laser Vision?

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Incredible success rate in suitable candidates

LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis. It is an elective, visioncorrecting surgical procedure with more than 20 years of clinical data supporting its safety and efficacy. LASIK uses laser technology to reshape the cornea to reduce or eliminate the irregularities that contribute to nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

Whenever the time comes around to refill contact lens prescriptions or get a new pair of glasses, many people will start to wonder if there is an alternative. Many contact lens and eyeglass wearers think they are not candidates for LASIK because they have high eyeglass prescriptions.

Modern laser platforms today work to correct a variety of common vision problems for suitable candidates. Myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism (irregular cornea) can all be treated with LASIK. The best way to find out if you’re a candidate for LASIK is to have a thorough evaluation. Your surgeon will consider your prescription plus perform a complete eye exam with ancillary testing to advise you whether LASIK is a good idea for your case in particular.

LASIK improves your vision by reshaping your cornea – the surface of the eye that helps focus light to create an image on the retina. If your cornea is too thin or has a suspicious shape, then you may not get the results you want. In this case, your doctor may recommend other solutions for vision correction.

It is important to bring your old glasses or prescriptions for glasses to your consultation so that your doctor can assess how stable your prescription is. Usually, your prescription should be stable for at least one to two years before LASIK to be considered a candidate. In most people, this stability, or ocular maturity, happens by your early 20s. It is also essential to confirm that eyes are healthy and free of other problems before proceeding.

In the general population, dry eye is extremely common. An estimated 55 million Americans are affected by symptoms that impact their quality of life. Dry eye symptoms have been reported by up to 30 percent of patients three months after LASIK. Recent research also shows more than half of patients (59.2%) who had symptoms of dryness before LASIK reported their symptoms went away within three months after LASIK.

Does LASIK wear off? LASIK permanently corrects your vision prescription. Like all living things, your eyes can continue to change throughout your lifetime. It would not be reasonable to expect to buy a pair of glasses and have them last your entire lifetime, but your eyes should not drift back to previous insufficiencies present prior to LASIK. Another basis for this myth is the reality of presbyopia. Presbyopia usually begins in the early 40s, when the lens of the eye (not the cornea that was treated with LASIK) loses its ability to focus on close objects (reading). Even those born with perfect vision will start to need reading glasses at some point in their 40s. It is important to note that LASIK does not make presbyopia worse or make it happen any sooner!

The LASIK success rate is well understood, with literally thousands of clinical studies looking at visual acuity and patient satisfaction. The latest research reports 99% of patients achieve better than 20/40 vision and more than 90% achieve 20/20 or better. In addition, LASIK has an unprecedented 96% patient satisfaction rate – the highest of any elective procedure. (Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery, Vol. 42, Issue 8, August 2016, Pages 1,224- 1,234).

It is understandable to have questions on the health of your eyesight. What do you hope to get out of laser vision correction? Why does great eyesight matter to you? How are your glasses or contacts getting in your way? How do they keep you from living life the way you want?

The next step is to sit down with a LASIK surgeon. It’s only by posing your questions about LASIK and the LASIK success rate with a qualified surgeon in a patient consultation that you can determine whether you’re a good candidate for the surgery. The surgeon can help you understand what to expect from the procedure, what the experience will be like during and after surgery, and how your life and your lifestyle will change.

Dr. Clay Bundrick specializes in laser cataract surgery, LASIK and comprehensive ophthalmology. He was born and raised in Shreveport and received both his MD and eye surgery training at LSU. Some of the procedures Dr. Bundrick performs are LASIK, laser cataract surgery, dysfunctional lens replacement (DLR), upper and lower eyelid surgery and PRK/advanced surface ablation. He is accepting new patients. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Bundrick, contact Highland Clinic Ophthalmology, 471 Ashley Ridge Blvd., Shreveport, 318-795-4770.

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