by admin | July 9, 2019 8:40 am
You’ve spent countless hours doing research on the best solution for your vision problem, spurred by your frustration with the other options offered to you.
Finally, you stumble upon something that looks promising: LASIK surgery. But there’s one caveat: It’s not for everyone.
If you are looking into undergoing LASIK for your farsightedness, astigmatism, or nearsightedness, the first crucial step that you need to take is to determine if you are indeed a suitable candidate for this corrective procedure.
There have been some instances wherein patients went to their optometrists, hopeful of finding a long-term solution to their vision woes, only to be told that LASIK wasn’t right for them.
These same patients were later told by a refractive surgeon that they were, in fact, suitable to undergo LASIK surgery. What’s with the disparity in the medical opinion?
The answer lies in specialization. A refractive surgeon cannot give you proper advice on contact lenses simply because that is not his field of expertise. Similarly, an optometrist cannot provide you with appropriate information about LASIK surgery because he is not an expert in that field.
Simply put, if you are seriously considering undergoing LASIK surgery, you must see a refractive surgeon, not an optometrist. Only a refractive surgeon can determine if LASIK is right for you or if you should explore other options.
During your LASIK consultation, you will need to undergo a series of tests to determine if you are an ideal candidate for the procedure. Undergoing these eye exams will help your refractive surgeon determine the best path for you.
Here’s a brief list of some of the exams you may need to take.
The autorefractor machine uses infrared light to determine the best eyeglass prescription for eyes to see clearly.
The lensmeter gives your refractive surgeon your current eyeglass prescription and provides insight into how your eyes focus.
While many of the equipment used to test vision rely heavily on computers and algorithms, the phoropter includes the patient’s personal preferences in the equation.
Like the autorefractor and lensmeter, the phoropter also measures your prescription. The critical difference is that you can tell your refractive surgeon precisely what you like.
The pentacam is used by refractive surgeons to gain critical insights into a patient’s cornea, including the thickness and location of astigmatism. Additionally, it is also used to assess if a person is an ideal candidate for LASIK surgery.
The fundus camera is a specialized camera that takes pictures of the inside of the eyes without dilation. For prospective candidates of LASIK surgery, the camera is used to take a picture of the retina as well as the veins and arteries.
The retinal OCT provides a three-dimensional scan of the retina at a cellular level. Refractive surgeons rely on this equipment to determine potential problems which may have an impact on LASIK surgery.
The lenstar machine measures both the length of the eye as well as the distances between its parts by using light rays.
The anterior chamber OCT is used to determine the size of the lens needed for each eye. Through the use of lasers, this device enables your refractive surgeon to customize your treatment plan by taking into account each eye’s individual anatomy.
Why do you need to undergo so many tests?
These exams provide your refractive surgeon a depth of information needed to evaluate your suitability for LASIK surgery. To some, the number of tests may seem redundant. However, each test can only provide a snapshot of a bigger picture, and the more information your surgeon has, the more accurate his evaluation will be.
But beyond diagnostics, your chosen refractive surgeon should be able to explain to you what all these tests and results mean in a language that you can understand. Only then can you make an informed decision about LASIK surgery.
Joel Hunter, MD is an Ophthalmologist, Refractive Surgeon, and the Founder of Hunter Vision in Orlando, Florida. A recognized and respected specialist in vision correction who has performed thousands of refractive surgeries, Joel gives lectures across the country and trains fellow doctors in the newest LASIK surgery techniques.
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