Dr. Davidorf recently performed all laser LASIK, using the Allegretto Wavelight Excimer Laser, for a patient who was tired of constantly taking her glasses on and off. She was mildly nearsighted with mild to moderate astigmatism, which meant she could see without glasses up close, but was bothered by everything being blurry at distance without her glasses.
When people with low amounts of nearsightedness (myopia) are younger (under the age of 45), they can wear their glasses and see just fine at all distances. After the age of 45 (and most certainly after the age of 50), this ability diminishes. In the case of this patient (53 years old), we were able to treat just one eye, correcting it for the best possible uncorrected distance vision we can achieve. Her other eye, untreated, will enable her to still read without glasses. As a teacher, she should be able to function for most (if not all) of her tasks without glasses. Sometimes these patients will wear a thin pair of glasses to drive at night (ie: in unfamiliar areas, or when it’s raining outside), but, for the vast majority of activities, they remain glasses free.
This patient had one other interesting finding on her preoperative exam. In the center part of her retinas, she has drusen. The drusen are mild, but they do represent a risk factor for the development of macular degeneration. LASIK does not affect one’s risk for developing macular degeneration. In the case of this patient, because her vision (with glasses) before the procedure was very good, LASIK was still a viable option. It will remain important for her to follow-up postoperatively over the coming years (just like she would if she had not undergone the procedure) to have her ocular health monitored.
Points for Patients:
- Patients around the age of 50 years old who hate putting glasses off and on (whether for distance or near) are usually great LASIK candidates
- These same patients often only need one eye treated
- Astigmatism is easily treated with LASIK
- Drusen is a risk factor for macular degeneration that does not contraindicate LASIK
- Patients need to have routine, dilated eye exams to have their ocular health monitored.