We asked David Harman, MD, the ophthalmologist behind Harman Eye Center in Lynchburg, a few essential questions about this potentially life-changing procedure.
Q. What are the main types of corrective eye surgery options?
Dr. Hartman: LASIK has the largest range of vision correction and it is usually the go-to procedure when correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism in patients that are 18 or older. Patients that have the beginning signs of cataracts, usually 55 years and older, would need to undergo cataract surgery. During cataract surgery, the surgeon removes the natural lens of the eye, which has turned cloudy due to cataracts, and then replaces it with a lens tailored to the patient’s unique pre-operative measurements. The lenses can correct even the most severe cases of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. We now have lenses called premium near vision lenses that can reduce or eliminate the need for reading glasses or bifocals following cataract removal. In fact, most patients that receive these lenses can do most things most of the time without glasses.
Q. Who are the best candidates for LASIK these days?
Dr. Hartman: Patients that are between the ages of 18 and 59 who want to reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contact lenses and haven’t had any previous eye surgeries.
Q. What should a patient consider before getting laser vision correction?
Dr. Hartman: Patients may not always know which procedures might be best for them. That is why they should select a surgeon that has dedicated a large portion of their practice to laser vision correction. Most surgeons that perform LASIK offer free, no-obligation consultations. During the consultation, a series of eye tests are conducted to determine if LASIK is right for them. The benefits of vision correction include possibly being able to have a lifestyle that doesn’t involve glasses or contact lenses, waking up in the morning with clear vision, and buying off the shelf sunglasses. As with any surgical procedure, there are risks. However, LASIK is one of the safest and most widely performed elective procedures available. LASIK is so safe and accurate that it is approved by the military for its pilots and NASA for its astronauts – and most patients that undergo the procedure see 20/20 or better.”
Q. How should age and lifestyle affect someone's choice of corrective eye options?
Dr. Hartman: We do not perform LASIK on a patient that is under the age of 18 because their eyes may still be changing. We often wait until a patient is at least 21 to ensure their vision is stable, which can be determined during the free consultation. There is really no upper age limit. However, once a patient has the beginning signs of cataracts, LASIK is no longer the best option. Once the cataract begins to negatively impact a patient’s vision, cataract surgery can be discussed.
LASIK is usually more beneficial for patients that have an active lifestyle. Imagine not having to wear glasses or contacts when playing sports or enjoying the beach. It’s also great for moms. Not having to worry about your toddler grabbing at your glasses can be well worth the investment.
Put your Eyes to the Test!
Are you a good candidate for LASIK? Here’s a quick quiz! Circle YES or NO and then read the results below.
1. Are you at least 18 years old? Yes No
2. Has your vision been stable for the last few years? Yes No
3. Are you cataract-free? Yes No
4. Have you had any previous eye surgeries? Yes No
If you answered ‘yes’ to every question, you may be a good candidate for LASIK, but only a doctor can give you a professional, medically sound opinion.
If you answered ‘no’ to every question, you are probably not a good candidate for LASIK, but only a doctor can give you a professional, medically sound opinion. Schedule a consultation today to find out.