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How do I decide to have refractive surgery?

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This is a decision you should make carefully and seek the advice of your optometrist.  The main reason people do LASIK is because they dislike wearing glasses and contact lenses.  The second reason is they enjoy a lifestyle where their glasses and contacts get in the way. The third reason is reduced tolerance to contact lenses.

While LASIK can correct myopia, astigmatism and hyperopia, the final vision achieved is generally more perfect in near-sighted(myopic)   persons than far-sighted (hyperopic) persons.  While a perfect correction may not be achieved in any type of problem, nearly everyone is pleased with their result.  

Age is a factor when deciding to have LASIK.  While you can have LASIK any time from 18 years of age and upward, the most PERFECT time to consider LASIK is late 20’s to mid 30’s as you will enjoy the longest period of lasting vision.   A stable prescription for a couple of years is necessary and in your best interest as this enables the surgeon to have a stable target prescription.  While LASIK is still possible in the forties and fifties and upward, it generally lasts less time the older you are.  Eventually, nearly everyone is back to at least part-time glasses wear  at some point, although it most likely will never revert to what you were before surgery.

As a patient ages, the best type of refractive surgery may be a refractive lensectomy, where the surgeon removes your natural lens and replaces it with a new synthetic lens that has corrected the power you need in glasses and contact lenses.  The result can be amazing, and could also include correction for astigmatism, or a multifocal for reading and distance without glasses.  While the cost is much higher than LASIK, this is a more permanent solution.

See your optometrist and discuss the specifics of your situation.  We are on your side and will help you decide what is best for you.

Written by Cheryl Everitt

Cheryl M. Everitt, OD, received her Doctor of Optometry degree from the Southern California College of Optometry in Fullerton, California in 1994. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from California State University, Fullerton. Dr. Everitt takes a special interest in treating patients with a variety of difficult eye conditions, such as chronic headaches and migraines. Dr. Everitt has been a conference speaker on topics ranging from contact lenses to practice management to trigeminal dysphoria. She has also participated in a mobile eye clinic in Riverside, and medical missions to Mexico. Dr. Everitt is one of the original founders of 20/20 Vision Associates Optometry and has practiced for 25 years. She was an associate research scientist for 4 years prior to becoming an optometrist. She is also an active member of her church.
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