Judith Whitehead lives in Amherst, N.Y. and has
worked in the ophthalmology field of medicine for
over 30 years.
Refractive Surgery…is it for me?
I have been working in the medical field of Ophthalmology for the last 30 years and I have seen numerous advances in the field; one being refractive surgery. Refractive surgery is a process in which
the surgeon can reduce a persons’ nearsightedness or farsightedness or astigmatism with treatments to the cornea, in a free standing surgical suite in a matter of minutes.
There are several ways to correct this including Lasik, laser assisted in Situ Keratomileusis, which is one of the most popular in our area.The eye is numbed with a local anesthetic and the cornea is carefully sculpted into a shape that requires little or no prescription to see clearly. The laser actually changes the shape of the cornea therefore changing your refractive error or prescription needed to see clearly. This treatment is being constantly improved on and becoming more streamlined every year. Also the price for the procedurecan vary among professionals as well as their skill set.
People have this procedure done to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses but there are many things to consider before jumping into this procedure. Age is a big deciding factor and should be carefully
considered. If you are above the age of 40 there will be a strong possibility that you will need reading glasses afterwards. If your natural near sight is being corrected permanently, you will no longer be able to read closely without your glasses; your natural near sight will be gone. Distance will be improved upon but not reading for the presbyopes. If you have very dry eyes this may not be the procedure for you.
This surgical correction may make the dryness worse and more difficult to treat and cause other complications with an unpredictable outcome. If you are developing cataracts and foresee the need for surgery in the near future to remove them, then wait until that time to alter your refractive outcome. Just by removing the cataract, or lens of the eye, you will then have the chance to get rid of your near or far farsightedness at that time.
Lastly and most importantly, choose your surgeon carefully. You want to pick an ophthalmologist that has done many many procedures and does then regularly. If you choose a surgeon that just “dabbles” in the procedure, you are risking a successful outcome. Price is not always the deciding factor when you
are dealing with your precious eyes, competency and perfection comes first.
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