Thursday, October 03, 2019

Dr. Michael Lange Analyzes the Pros and Cons of Corrective Laser-Eye Surgery

(AdobeStock - Licensed 10/3/2019 | File #64432840)
For many patients, wearing either glasses or contact lenses has become a routine part of daily life, and the thought of having 20/20 vision without them is almost unfathomable. Luckily for most patients, 20/20 vision has become a reality with newer technologies and the advent of laser eye surgery, allowing for patients to undergo a one-time procedure to give them near-perfect vision without the need for corrective lenses. As an optometrist, Dr. Michael Lange of Ocala, Florida understands that many of his patients may be compelled to undergo corrective surgery, but he does warn that as is the case with almost any medical treatment or surgery, there are both benefits and risks – which Dr. Michael Lange has outlined below:

Reduced need for corrective lenses

One of the most obvious reasons and benefits for undergoing laser eye surgery is to reduce or completely become free from the need to use corrective glasses or contact lenses. While all patients may have their own reasons for wanting to take away the need for glasses, most will agree that waking up in the morning without having to fumble around looking for glasses can definitely be added to the pros list. For many patients, glasses and contacts are a nuisance in daily life; especially for those partaking in physical activity, and laser eye surgery gives patients more freedom allowing them to do what they want to do without having to worry about their vision.

Better visual acuity quickly
Laser eye surgery provides a precise correction of vision, and most patients are able to see just as well without the need for glasses or contacts within 24 hours, with vision improving in as little as a few days to weeks. Depending on the type of procedure being done, it can be as quick as 20 minutes per eye, and most patients are able to go home the same day. Dr. Michael Lange explains that those patients with lower to mid range prescriptions generally see the best results, while those patients with fairly high prescriptions may not see at 20/20 but will have greater vision without the need for corrective lenses.

Permanent pain free vision solution
Another big pro of laser eye surgery is that it provides a permanent solution to a patient’s vision needs, compared to glasses and contact lenses which are temporary and are replaced fairly often. Dr. Michael Lange assures the patients who express concerns about pain tolerance and discomfort, that the procedure is relatively pain-free as they receive anesthetic eye drops for the procedure, and most patients only experience a mild amount of discomfort during the healing process.

Not perfect vision

Some patients may find that their vision is not as good as it was when wearing glasses or contact lenses, and this can worsen over time. Known as ‘myopic regression’, a patient’s prescription may actually continue to change over the years, sometimes warranting the need to wear glasses or even the need to redo the procedure. According to Dr. Michael Lange, patients with higher initial prescriptions have an increased risk of this and should talk to their optometrist or consulting laser eye surgeon about concerns prior to surgery. It does become more difficult to redo a laser eye surgery, and patients should understand that it is not a cure for poor vision. Some patients may find they require glasses for particular tasks, such as meticulous tasks or for nighttime driving. Sometimes surgeons may overcorrect on purpose to negate the effects of myopic regression, and these patients may find difficulty in reading and may require reading glasses.

Laser eye surgery is not cheap, sometimes costing thousands of dollars per eye, and while some argue that it is cheaper in the long run, the other cons, such as need for redoing the surgery, should be kept in mind. One thing that Dr. Michael Lange notes is that some patients do not realize that most private insurance does not cover laser eye surgery, and a majority of the cost is out of pocket.

Side effects and other risks
As with any surgery, there are associated side effects and risks present. One of the most common side effects is the dry-eye that patients will experience during the healing process. Although symptoms typically go away after a couple of weeks, some people can develop long-term dry eyes due to the procedure. Another common side effect is a glare or halo around lights, especially during the night, and again is something that will usually disappear within the first few months following surgery. Other risks include surgical site infection and bleeding, while serious complications such as loss of movement and loss of vision can occur, although Dr. Michael Lange states this very rarely occurs. One common worry for patients is getting subconjunctival hemorrhages after the procedure, which are small bleeds that occur in the white part of the eye due to the procedure itself. These fortunately are not cause for worry and are similar to bruises and self-resolve within a few weeks.

Dr. Michael Lange’s Final Thoughts
Thanks to technological advancements in the medical equipment used, corrective laser-eye surgery is safer and easier than ever. Of course, there are risks to this procedure, but they are manageable, and the more severe risks are rare. Dr. Michael Lange noted “as with any medical procedure, the viability and safety comes down to patient health and fit. The only way to determine if you are eligible for corrective laser-eye surgery is to visit your optometric physician for a consultation.”

This is a guest blog entry.

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