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Eye Care Articles

Ask the Eye Surgeon

Q. I have had RK surgery in the past and the results are not satisfactory. Can I now have LASIK?

A. Yes. LASIK can be performed one year after RK surgery. The results are generally very good, but there may be a slight increase in surgical risk. Also, not all blurred vision after RK surgery can be corrected by more refractive surgery.

Q. What are the side-effects of LASIK?

A. Potential undesirable side-effects include dry eyes, problems with night vision and halos or ghosting of vision. Most of these symptoms will clear in weeks or months and some patients say that the night vision or halos are no worse than they experience with their contact lenses. For reasons that are not completely understood, the eyes are dryer than normal for six months after LASIK. This is, of course, more of a problem at our high and dry climate, requiring frequent use of lubricating drops and sometimes temporary plugs to keep the eyes "wetter". Other less common side-effects are explained during our pre-operative patient education.

Q. Can LASIK be done if I have diabetes?

A. Yes, LASIK can be done for patients with diabetes, as long as the diabetes is under good control. LASIK should not be performed if the patient has complications related to diabetes such as diabetic retinopathy and hemorrhages.

Q. How long must I be out of my contact lenses before having LASIK?

A. You must have discontinued your hard contact lenses for three weeks, and soft contact lenses for two weeks, prior to your pre-surgical consultation. Contact lenses, especially hard contact lenses, alter the shape of your cornea. A stable refraction is needed to ensure a good result. Going this long without contact lenses may be impossible for some patients. Hard contact lenses may be temporarily switched to soft contact lenses to shorten this time table. Sometimes, we can work with one eye at a time by discontinuing the contact in first one eye and later in the other eye.

Q. What are the side-effects of LASIK?

A. Potential undesirable side-effects include dry eyes, problems with night vision and halos or ghosting of vision. Most of these symptoms will clear in weeks or months and some patients say that the night vision or halos are no worse than they experience with their contact lenses. For reasons that are not completely understood, the eyes are drier than normal for six months after LASIK. This is, of course, more of a problem at high and dry climates, requiring frequent use of lubricating drops and sometimes temporary plugs to keep the eyes "wetter". Other less common side-effects are explained during our pre-operative patient education.

Q. Are there medical contraindications to LASIK surgery?

A. Yes, LASIK should not be done in patients with keratoconus. In some patients, the cornea is too thin to perform LASIK. LASIK cannot be performed on a patient who has an active eye disease. LASIK can be performed on a patient with diabetes, but not a patient with active diabetic retinopathy. Active autoimmune disease such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, because it affects healing is a contraindication to LASIK surgery. LASIK cannot be done while on Cordarone or Accutane.

Q. Are there newer surgical methods or better lasers on the horizon?

A. There have been rapid improvements in both the laser and microkeratome to make the flap. Improvements are expected for patients with unusual problems such as thin cornea, extreme farsightedness and extreme nearsightedness. LASIK does not work as well for patients with these problems. If you have these difficulties, your eye doctor will discuss with you your best options.