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Are You a Candidate for Lasik Surgery?


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Issue 24 Q3 2005

Are You a Candidate for Lasik Surgery?

You may have seen the ads for LASIK vision correction. You’ve probably talked to friends and family members who have had it. They’ve boasted of the “miraculous” results — throwing away their glasses forever, the vision of their youth, etc. If you have diabetes, you wonder if you’re a safe candidate for LASIK, too. The answer is…. maybe.

LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. A surgeon uses a very precise laser to change the shape of the cornea in order to correct vision problems such as nearsightedness or astigmatism. Performed correctly with proper equipment, it is a safe and painless procedure that has benefited millions of people worldwide. Many of the people who have had successful LASIK surgery are also managing diabetes.

However, one study¹ found that 47% of people with diabetes had complications after the LASIK procedure. Among people without diabetes, fewer than 7% had complications. This alarming statistic highlights the extra caution that must be exercised when dealing with LASIK surgery in people with diabetes.

For instance, at one point in the LASIK procedure, suction is applied to the eye. This suction causes increased pressure in the eye, and can potentially be harmful in some people with diabetes. In addition, people with diabetes have noticed shifts in their vision after LASIK. This can be related to fluctuating blood glucose levels. Fluctuating blood glucose levels can also lead to an improper visual correction being performed. You are not a candidate for LASIK if your glucose levels aren’t under control. Finally, many LASIK surgeons will not perform the procedure if a person has advanced retinopathy, which is a leading cause of vision loss in people with diabetes.²

If you are interested in LASIK surgery, talk to your doctor, and consult an experienced, highly qualified LASIK surgeon. Make sure the surgeon is aware that you have diabetes, and discuss your safety concerns. Together, you can decide if this procedure is right for you.

1. Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon.

2. my.webmd.com/hw/diabetes_1_2/tf1311.asp and www.lasersighteyecare.com/questions.html

Important note: The content of this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Do not disregard your doctor's advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this website.

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