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Vital Signs

Fall 2008

Focus on LASIK

Vital Signs Fall 2008 Newsletter: Focus on LASIKSince LASIK was approved 10 years ago, millions of people have undergone the outpatient procedure to improve their vision.

Today, LASIK surgery utilizes lasers instead of blades to create a thin flap in the cornea of the eye and then precisely custom sculpt the cornea to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, explains D. Rex Hamilton, M.D., director of the UCLA Laser Refractive Center. A recent study by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery finds that more than 95 percent of patients who have undergone LASIK are pleased with the results, andDr. Hamilton notes that most patients experience minimal discomfort from the procedure, which is done under topical anesthesia and takes just seven to 10 minutes per eye.

While LASIK can be successful in many cases, not everyone who wants to give up their glasses or contact lenses is a good candidate, Dr. Hamilton says. In addition to the amount of correction that is required, Dr. Hamilton explains, the anatomy of the eye, such as the thickness and shape of the cornea, among other factors, is also an important consideration. Other ocular health problems such as cataracts or untreated glaucoma may also contraindicate the procedure.

Dr. Hamilton counsels patients who are considering LASIK to look at not only the experience of the surgeon but also at the quality of the equipment that the surgeon is using. The most current equipment, such as that used by the UCLA Laser Refractive Center, enables the surgeon to better tailor procedures to each individual patient. “You want to choose a place that spends a lot of time on the diagnostic side and that has the right equipment to determine what is necessary,” he says.

To view a video, go to: http://streaming.uclahealth.org/lasik

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