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Refractive Surgery: Is It Right for You?

Successful refractive surgery may free you from glasses or contacts. But, before choosing this surgery, talk with your eye doctor. Get all the facts. Find out what refractive surgery can and can’t do. Knowing the risks will help you make the right decision for you.Man having eye exam.

The Choice Is Yours

Refractive surgery can improve your eyesight. But it has risks and limitations.

  • Even after surgery, you may sometimes need glasses or contacts. If you’re over 40, you may need reading glasses. This is true even if you don’t use them now.

  • After surgery, recovery will take weeks or months. During this time, you may not be able to do certain things. This can include driving and certain sports.

  • If your first surgery doesn’t work the way you want, you may need a second procedure. This is called enhancement.

  • Any surgery involves risk. Be sure that you understand the risks and possible complications before making a decision.

What You Should Consider

Know the pros and cons of each type of refractive surgery. Discuss your medical history with your eye doctor. Refractive surgery may not be for you if you:

  • Do not have stable vision.

  • Have a vision problem that is too severe.

  • Have a condition that slows healing or increases your risk of infection.

  • Have an eye disease, such as advanced glaucoma or cataracts.

  • Are taking certain medications.

  • Are pregnant or nursing, or are planning to become pregnant in the near future.

If You’re Over 40

With age, the eye’s lens becomes stiff. It can’t easily accommodate (change shape to focus light). This can lead to presbyopia (difficulty focusing on nearby objects). Refractive surgery can’t treat presbyopia. So if you’re over 40, you may need reading glasses even after surgery. Another option for coping with presbyopia is monovision. To create monovision, refractive surgery is used to adjust one eye for near vision. The other eye is adjusted for distance vision. This option is not for everyone. Talk to your eye doctor. A trial period of monovision using contact lenses may be used. This can help you decide if it’s right for you.


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