Is lasik eye surgery for you?

By Abigail Keefe
February 17, 2005

Cecelia Francisco

Hate your glasses? Don’t like putting your contacts in every morning? Recent advances in laser technology have allowed this change.

Lasik Plus in King of Prussia said that most people who come in are from ages 25 to 45. The cost of the procedure can be anywhere from $1,200 to $1,699.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), contact lens-wearers should stop wearing them before the baseline evaluation. Wearing contacts up until the surgery date may result in inaccurate measurements conducted during the evaluation, resulting in “poor vision after surgery.”

Before surgery, the eye is numbed with eye drop anesthesia and a lid speculum is used to hold the eyelids open. A ring is placed on the eye to create suction to the cornea. The doctor uses the blade of a microkeratome, which is attached to the suction ring, to cut a flap in the cornea, exposing corneal tissue to be removed.

During the procedure, the patient will have to stare at a fixed light. This allows the eye to remain focused once the later comes on. A computerized ultraviolet light is then used to reshape the inner surface of the eye. “Each pulse of the laser removes only a minute amount of corneal tissue- about 1/500th of the thickness of human hair,” according to LasikPlus Vision Center. The procedure for both eyes usually takes between five and 15 minutes. After the procedure is complete, the flap over the corneal is replaced.

No stitches are needed to hold the flap in place and a shield is usually placed over the eye. This is done so no accidental pressure is put on the eye and protections the patients eye from any accidents that may occur. The doctor would remove this during the postoperative visit.

Patients usually report minimal discomfort during the procedure and some have reported itching and burning after the procedure. According to LasikPlus, “No long-term side effects have been discovered. Chances of having a vision-reducing complication are less than one percent. There have been no reported cases of blindness.”

Results are most often immediate and full results typically are noticed within six weeks. Persons having this procedure usually return to work or school the next day.

The FDA says the doctor should be seen within “the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery and at regular intervals after that for the first six months.” During the first visit, the doctor may give “one or more types of eye drops to help prevent infection and/or inflammation.”

According to the FDA the majority of patients are satisfied with their surgical results. There are risks involved in the surgery however. The FDA lists them on their website, “Some patients lose vision. Some patients develop debilitating visual symptoms. You may be under treated or over treated. Some patients may develop severe dry eye syndrome. Results are generally not as good in patients with very large refractive errors of any type. For some farsighted patients, results may diminish with age. Long-term data is not available.”

When choosing a doctor, patients should always base their decisions on many factors. The FDA suggests you compare various doctors in your area and “don’t base your decision simply on cost and don’t settle for the first eye center, doctor, or procedure you investigate.” Also, “Be wary of eye centers that advertise ’20/20 vision or your money back.'”

How do you know if LASIK surgery is not for you? The FDA says if “you are not a risk taker, it will jeopardize your career, cost is an issue, you required a change in your contact lens or glasses prescription within the past year, you have a disease or are on medications that may affect wound healing, you actively participate in contact sports, or you are not an adult.”

For more information. risk factors, and a LASIK checklist, visit

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Abigail Keefe

Abigail Keefe is a Cabrini College student studying communications, enjoying her time in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Abbie loves working for the school newspaper, the Loquitur, and is also passionate about everything that the communication field has to offer.

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