The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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See sick?

LASIK surgery offers alternative to impaired sight

For people who have been wearing glasses or contacts all their life, LASIK surgery may be a solution to their problem. However, as with any reconstructive surgery, it’s important to understand the procedure and the risks that may be involved.

LASIK is a refractive surgery that removes and replaces corneal tissue by a precise and controlled laser. The cornea is the part of the eye that focuses the light that enters the eye. The light is then projected as an image on the retina. The cornea is comparable to the lens of a camera, which focuses light to create an image on film. Refractive surgery improves the eye’s ability to focus.

However, LASIK can only correct myopia (being nearsighted), hyperopia (being farsighted), and astigmatism (a distortion of the image on the retina caused by irregularities in the cornea or lens of the eye). Certain conditions can also affect one’s eligibility for the procedure, such as pregnancy and diabetes. The optometrist should be aware of the patient’s complete medical history so that a thorough evaluation can be conducted.

Apart from being eligible there are still certain risks involved. Not everyone achieves 20/20 vision. Patients can be under-treated or over-treated.. Many people end up wearing glasses or contacts even after the surgery, especially those who have a large refractive error. There is also the possibility that the results may not last, especially for farsighted patients.

“Lasik was truly an eye-opening experience,” said junior corporate communications and public affairs major Courtney Fox, who had the

procedure done during second-semester finals her freshman year.

Fox had worn glasses since she was six and contacts since age 12.

“Since I was living in the dorms, I always caught pink eye,” she said. “One weekend, I needed to see a doctor for my pink eyes, and since the health center was closed, I went to the hospital. The medicine they gave me caused me to have an allergic reaction, and I almost lost vision in one of my eyes.”

Fox said her parents were fed up with her eye problems and felt that it would be cheaper in the long-term to have my eyes lasered,” she said. “It was one of the most amazing things to open my eyes after the first morning and be able to see my alarm clock clearly.

“Even though this seems like such a simple thing, it was amazing at the time. I actually began to cry it was so exciting.”

One must always be aware of the risks involved. The possibility of losing all of one’s vision is small, but does exist. Eyes have rarely been damaged beyond the treatment of glasses, however. After the surgery a person may do well on the vision chart, but may not see well in situations of low contrast, such as at night or in fog. Some patients experience glare, halos or double vision. It’s even possible to develop dry-eye syndrome. After surgery the eye may not be able to produce enough tears to keep it lubricated and comfortable.

“The entire process took about 6 minutes, and I could immediately see better,” Fox said. “Almost a year and a half later, I still have perfect vision. The recovery process took about a week, and all I had to do was wear some really snazzy goggles to bed to protect my eyes.”

Fox said she thinks most people think they should wait to have LASIK done when they are older, but she thinks they should have it done any time.

“They need to realize that our eyes will always change,” she said.

When getting eye surgery, it’s important to shop around and find a doctor that caters to one’s specific needs. It’s essential to compare not only various surgeons, but also the equipment they use and the prices they offer. Investigating the manufacturers of the devices employed may be wise. This is a surgery which should not be taken lightly.

Inquirers should check out insurance options as well. Insurance may cover the procedure, but not the follow-up visits, or medications. They should make sure to know exactly what they are covered for and stay within an affordable range.

At the Christenbury Eye Center in Dallas, LASIK surgery ranges from $795-$1,995 per eye. This price also includes six months of post-operative care. IntraLASIK surgery, the most recent innovation in refractive surgery, uses two lasers and no blade. It is completely computer-controlled and has an excellent safety record. IntraLASIK starts at $1,495 per eye.

Women who are pregnant or nursing may not be able to receive LASIK. Other circumstances that can make LASIK dangerous are diabetes, glaucoma, or a history of excessive scarring from injuries and other surgeries. The operation is not recommended for people under 18 years old. For more information contact the Christenbury Eye Center at 877-702-2020 or visit www.LASIKinstitute.org.

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