LASIK: Definition, Risks, and Benefits

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For the major league baseball fans, LASIK is another baseball term.

With Dan Uggla's improving vision of 20/15 post eye surgery, the term LASIK headlined in almost all baseball-related news in August.

Uggla is the second baseman of Atlanta Braves. He took a 15-day disabled list, which started on Aug. 13, to undergo a LASIK surgery as he struggles to perform with the drawbacks of astigmatism. Today, Uggla and his team have high hopes about the baseman's improved productivity and hitting performance.

Baseball is not the only field needing a close-to-perfect vision. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), adequate visual skills are central to the job performance of police officers, firefighters, antiterrorist units, air traffic controllers, pilots, and train and boat operators.

For those who tried eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other eye treatment, but failed to improve visual acuity, LASIK may prove to be a great choice.

What is LASIK?

According to Medicine.Net, Lasir in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is a type of refractive eye surgery designed to treat astigmatism, farsightedness, nearsightedness and shortsightedness. Developed by a Greek named Ioannis Pallikaris in 1991, LASIK utilizes a type of laser that emits a very concentrated ultraviolet (UV) light to adjust the shape of the cornea and treat refractive errors. This procedure can be applicable to people with corrective eye problem whose job nature makes eyeglasses or contact lenses taxing while performing job duties including those listed by OSHA.

What are LASIK's Risks?

LASIK has been proven to be a very effective procedure. Like Uggla, most patients who underwent LASIK surgery reported satisfaction and improved vision. However, like any type of surgery, LASIK is not without risks. Those considering undergoing a LASIK surgery should be aware of the risks and complications before proceeding. Below are some of the risks associated with the procedure:

  1. Dry eye. Dry eye is the most common type of risk. It may persist and get worse. Usually, a medication to improve tear production solves this problem.
  2. Subsequent surgery. A second surgery also called enhancement procedure may be needed to achieve the desired acuity of vision. This was usually performed after giving the eyes enough time to heal.
  3. Lost vision. This rarely happens, but this doesn't mean it will not happen. Cornea-related complications, equipment malfunction, and/or infection may lead to a loss in vision.


What Are LASIK's Benefits?

Despite the risks mentioned above, LASIK remains to be an effective means to treat correctible eye problem. Below are some of its benefits:

  1. Speed. It usually takes around 10 minutes to perform a LASIK surgery. Additionally, it is painless and does not require any hospital stay.
  2. Precision. Since a LASIK procedure is computerized, the result is usually accurate.
  3. Effectiveness. While a possibility for enhancement procedure is not ruled out, a single treatment usually achieves the desired visual acuity.


Given the aforementioned risks and benefits, patients are advised to know their treatment options and the type of laser that will be used and the ophthalmologist's reason for choosing the said type of laser.

 

Sources:
Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information (n.d.). The Basics of LASIK Eye Surgery.http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0062-basics-lasik-eye-surgery#risks

MedicineNet.com (n.d.). LASIK Eye Surgery. http://www.medicinenet.com/lasik_eye_surgery/article.htm

Sports Illustrated. (2013 Aug. 28). Braves Activate Uggla After LASIK Surgery. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mlb/news/20130828/dan-uggla-activated-eye-surgery.ap/

 

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