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Are You a Good Candidate for Lasik?

Lasik is not for everyone. You should be at least 18 years old (21 for some lasers), since the vision of people younger than 18 usually continues to change. You should not be pregnant or nursing as these conditions might change the measured refraction of the eye. You should not be taking certain prescription drugs, such as Accutane or oral prednisone. Your eyes must be healthy and your prescription stable. If you're myopic, you should postpone Lasik until your refraction has stabilized, as myopia may continue to increase in some patients until their mid- to late 20s. You should be in good general health. Lasik may not be recommended for patients with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, glaucoma, herpes infections of the eye, or cataracts. You should discuss this with your surgeon. Weigh the risks and rewards. If you're happy wearing contacts or glasses, you may want to forego the surgery. Understand your expectations from the surgery. Are they realistic? Ask your doctor if you're a candidate for monovision - correcting one eye for distance vision and the other eye for near vision. Lasik cannot correct presbyopia so that one eye can see at both distance and near. However, Lasik can be used to correct one eye for distance and the other for near. If you can adjust to this correction, it may eliminate or reduce your need for reading glasses. In some instances, surgery on only one eye is required. If your doctor thinks you're a candidate, ask about the pros and cons.

Customized Operation

Do you prefer custom tailored or off the rack? You may soon be answering this question, not at your favorite clothing store, but at the Camino Medical Group Vision Care Center. Until recently, if your prescription was the same as your friend's, both of you would receive exactly the same type of laser vision correction treatment, even though there are differences in the size and shape of your eyes.

In the October 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the excimer laser to perform customized laser vision correction for selected patients. In May 2003, this new technology became available to the public.

"This is an exciting advance in laser vision correction," says Dr. Yichieh Shiuey, M.D., "for the first time, we are able to take the individual variations of a person's eyes into account when we perform LASIK. This should further improve upon the already excellent results that we are achieving."

Customized LASIK allows the correction of aberrations in the optical system of the eye, which are unique for each person. These aberrations can cause blurring, difficulty seeing in dim light, or halos and starbursts around lights, which are not correctable with either glasses or soft contact lenses. This means that a patient receiving Customized LASIK not only has better vision on the eye chart, but better quality of vision as well. In clinical trials, patients who had the customized LASIK procedure achieved 20/20 vision or better. Approximately 15 percent of patients reported that their vision was significantly better after Customized LASIK than what they had previously with glasses or contact lenses.

Customized LASIK is now possible by combining technology that was originally developed for NASA and astrophysicists. A beam of light is shined into the eye. When the beam of light is reflected out of the eye, all of the unique characteristics of that eye's optical system are then captured by a device called a wavefront sensor. This information is then put into a computer that translates the data into a customized laser treatment. The customized laser treatment is then delivered accurately to the eye with a laser that can track the eye's movements. According to Dr. Shiuey, "Custom LASIK is an excellent example of how Star Wars technology can now make the lives of ordinary people better."