If you need glasses or contacts in order to see your way through life, it is likely at some point, perhaps in a moment of struggle with your eyes, vision or lenses, you’ve thought about what life would be like without a vision problem. In that moment, you’ve probably thought about LASIK vision correction surgery. And then you say to yourself: “Yeah…someday.”
Having LASIK is a choice and so is putting it off. Every choice comes with certain outcomes – even putting something off. With a decision like vision correction, you may not think about the consequences of NOT having it done, but here are a few:
You Might Be Wasting Money
A lifetime of vision correction expenses adds up to a surprisingly large amount of money – thousands of dollars. LASIK is an investment, but very doable for most budgets with the very economical financing options available today. And every day, week, month and year you don’t pay for glasses, frames, lenses, solution, cases, etc. is a day you are recouping your investment in your vision. So, the sooner you have vision correction surgery, the sooner you begin saving money. Those who make the investment in their 20s and 30s can expect at least a decade or two of excellent vision (eventually everyone needs reading glasses), meaning they will certainly save more than they spend on the cost of LASIK.
You Might Be Compromising the Health of Your Eyes
This is particularly true if your choice of vision correction is contact lenses. Contacts require diligence. Maintenance is mandatory. The fact is, a lot of people abuse their lenses and put their eyes and vision at risk from infection. We see this frequently in young adults who take their health for granted. The reality is the risk of sight-threatening infection from long-term contact lens use is greater than that of LASIK. And choosing eyeglasses doesn’t eliminate risk – ask anyone who has fallen or been hit in the face while wearing them. The fear of damage and injury due to broken frames or lenses is very real.
Importantly, two recent research studies show that contact lens wearers who choose LASIK are much happier with their vision after surgery, while the longer people wear contacts, the less satisfied they are with them. In fact, patients under the age of 40 report being especially satisfied with LASIK as opposed to wearing contacts or glasses.
You Might Be (Artificially) Limiting Your Life
Do you like to travel? Are you into playing sports or working out? Do you like camping and hiking? What about going to the beach?? Each of these circumstances and scenarios should be the fun part of life – and they are, even when you wear glasses and contacts. But let’s be honest, they do present a challenge. Dirt, sand and water threaten the safety of contacts. Hauling contact lens supplies around is a hassle. Prescription sunglasses are expensive and fashions change pretty frequently. The list of compromises you are making in life with glasses and contacts can be pretty long. If you are fortunate enough to pursue your passions in life, you owe it to yourself to experience it all without the limitations of corrective lenses.
So if you’ve been thinking about have LASIK “someday,” these are just a few of the reasons to think again and make your vision and lifestyle a priority. Today’s modern technologies make LASIK a safe and terrific vision correction option for nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism – the latest research confirms up to 96 percent of patients are satisfied with their results. There really has never been a better time than now to find out if you are a candidate for the procedure and if LASIK is right for you.
See Eric D. Donnenfeld, MD featured on CBS’s report on a new lens for Cataract Surgery here: FDA Approves New Lens For Cataract Patients
People Who Choose LASIK After Contact Lenses Are More Satisfied with Their Vision and Remain Satisfied Over Time
A lot of our patients who are interested in LASIK are currently wearing contacts. Here’s news of a recently clinical research study about how LASIK patients who used to be contact lens wearers think about their vision (HINT: They are happier than the study participants who stayed in contacts…by a big margin).
To learn more about the results of this study and how LASIK might be a better option for your vision, visit the American Refractive Surgery Council Insight blog.
As we age, so too do our eyes. A new study, published this year in the JAMA Ophthalmology journal, estimates that with Baby Boomers entering their golden years, the number of Americans who struggle with vision problems will double by 2050, effectively bringing the number to nearly 25 million. In this post, Dr. Eric Donnenfeld discusses the impact as well as potential solutions. Continue reading
Your eyes need specific nutrients to stay healthy and function well. Good nutrition is important for your overall health and wellbeing, but many don’t realize the importance it has for the eyes where specific nutrients can help prevent or delay the onset of certain conditions as well as protect an investment in vision correction procedures such as LASIK. The good news is that today it is easier than ever to make good, healthful diet choices that help you make sure you get all the nutrients your eyes and vision need.
Not surprisingly, it starts with lots of fruits and vegetables. We often talk about “eating a rainbow” every day, because the compounds that give fruits and vegetables their colors are chalk full of powerful nutrition for your overall health and vitality, including your eyes.
But the eye diet doesn’t end there. Certain foods contain nutrients that are important for helping to reduce your risk of age-related eye diseases and conditions including cataracts and macular degeneration, which are leading causes of blindness and visual impairment in the world.
So what should you be adding to your grocery shopping list to ensure you have a healthful eye diet? Below you will find a list of the nutrients that offer the most eye health benefits and the foods that are rich sources:
Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E help protect cells against damage from exposure to harmful elements such as UV rays, cigarette smoke and air pollution. Dark leafy green vegetables like chard, broccoli, spinach and collard greens and citrus fruits and berries such as oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, blueberries and apples (with the peel). Almonds, egg yolks, sunflower seeds and wheat germ oil are other good sources.
Carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin, are a class of nutrients that make up the bright red, yellow and orange hues in many fruits and vegetables. Remember the rainbow we spoke of eating earlier? Lutein and zeaxanthin may help protect against cataracts. There is some evidence that people with high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin in their diet have a reduced need for cataract surgery. Beta carotene has been shown to help the retina and other parts of the eye to function properly. Foods rich in carotenoids include carrots, leeks, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts, kale, egg yolk, and orange peppers.
Minerals like copper, zinc and selenium are vital for eye health. Selenium, found in Brazil nuts, tuna, eggs and cottage cheese, can help prevent cataracts. Zinc and copper need to be taken together for proper absorption and a recent study into age-related eye diseases found that taking them in combination with high doses of antioxidants or carotenoids can slow the progression of the wear and tear of retinal cells, known as age-related macular degeneration.
Liver, shellfish, wholegrain cereals, nuts and legumes are all excellent sources of copper. You can find zinc in red meat, shellfish, dairy products and eggs.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been a popular topic of study, particularly for their benefits in supporting the healthy development of eyes and vision in infants. Omega-3 fatty acids may help protect adult eyes from macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome, which has been linked to low levels of DHA, a fatty acid found in the retina. For diabetics, omega-3 fatty acids are important for preventing retinopathy, a prevalent complication of diabetes that leads to vision impairment. To bolster the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, choose fatty fish such as salmon, which are rich in DHA, dark green leafy vegetables, walnuts, soybean oil and avocadoes.
Polyphenols are powerful plant-based micronutrients that can help defend against the damage to your eyes caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation – primarily from sunlight.
Polyphenols can be found in some of your favorite foods and beverages including dark chocolate, tea, coffee and red wine. You can also find polyphenols in whole grain cereals and beans.
Vitamin B complex levels must be replenished every day, because the body doesn’t have the ability to store it. Protein from as eggs, dairy products, meats and poultry are important sources of vitamin B that help prevent and treat cataracts as well as reduce the risk of AMD. Vitamin B nutrients help support a strong cornea, the surface of the eye, which can delay the onset and progress of eye disorders such as keratoconus.
Ideally, all of your nutritional needs come from a healthy diet, but some people may benefit from taking vision supplements. As part of your annual eye exam, you should discuss your diet with us to determine if you should consider adding a supplement to benefit your eye health.
During the exam, it will be important to discuss any changes to your vision so we can evaluate and make recommendations for vision correction, if needed, as today there are surgical options for nearly every type of prescription.
For those of us who live here, Long Island is a paradise full of quaint seaside villages, historic homes, white sandy beaches, museums, parks, wineries…the list goes on. It’s a place where having good vision can enhance your experiences, both indoors and out. And having LASIK means your vision will let you do and see all the things you want to without relying on contact lenses or prescription eyeglasses.
We’re betting you’ll be surprised by your response to your new vision in everyday experiences and adventures such as these:
Head to the Great Outdoors
If you love spending time outdoors at places like Heckscher State Park, which is great for deer spotting and bird-watching, after LASIK you’ll have a new appreciation of Mother Nature. You’ll be able to see the breathtaking scenery, animals and birds all around you, with clear vision unfettered by glasses or contacts.
Invite Friends and Neighbors to a Barbecue
What a great way to celebrate your new eyesight: Invite all your neighbors and friends over for a barbecue. With you vision corrected with LASIK, not only will you not have to deal with babies knocking off your glasses, you can spend time at the grill or pool without worrying about your corrective lenses getting wet or steamed up.
Walk Along the Beach and Watch Wild Seals
After you have LASIK, you’ll be able to go to the beach – our favorites ones are Jones Beach, Fire Island and of course Cupsogue Beach, with its adorable wild seals – and not have to deal with your usual worries. Forget about getting sand in your contacts when you lie down to sunbathe, your glasses falling off while wading in the water, or stumbling along the shore with blurry vision because you decided not to wear corrective lenses. You’ll be able to see everything around you, including the beautiful colors of the ocean and sand, in perfect clarity wearing fun, stylish sunglasses (rather than your pricey prescription pair).
Camp and Watch the Sunrise and Sunset
Sunrises and sunsets are two of the most beautiful sights in nature. If you go camping at Wildwood State Park or ocean-front Hither Hills State Park, or one of Long Island’s many other campgrounds, after LASIK, you won’t have to bother with fumbling for glasses or putting in contacts. Instead, you’ll be able to immediately see the world in a new light full of the eye-catching yellow, orange, red and purple colors that spread across the sky at dawn and dusk. There’s plenty do – and enjoy with your improved eyesight – during the day as well, including swimming in the Sound, picnicking, fishing, hiking and cross-country skiing.
See Clearly from the Moment You Wake Up
Do you wish you could open your eyes first thing in the morning and immediately see the faces of your loved ones clearly, with no blurry vision? After LASIK, you’ll be able to see from the moment you wake up, without having to reach for eyeglasses or contacts. It’s an excellent way to start the day.
Play Sports Or Get In Shape Without Distractions
It’s true: glasses and contacts just don’t mix with sporting and athletic activities. They definitely don’t with contact sports like football, or recreational sports such as tennis and golf. The same goes for running or even just working out in an exercise class. It’s too easy for your contacts to get dislodged and hard to keep eye glasses in place. LASIK frees you from these distractions and your new clear vision will let you focus on what’s really important: enjoying yourself. And if you want to relax afterwards, we recommend heading to the North Fork wine trail to sample some vintage and new varieties.
LASIK vision correction offers a permanent solution to common vision problems including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. It’s a quick, and safe procedure that improves your vision so you don’t have to rely on contacts or glasses to see well. Interested in learning more? Give us a call and let’s talk about your vision correction options.
Contact lenses are a very popular vision correction option, but did you know they may not be the ideal vision correction for your summer plans? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration strongly advises against using them while swimming in pools, lakes, rivers hot tubs, or oceans to avoid the risk of contamination or severe vision threatening infection.
Many of our patients at Long Island LASIK are shocked to learn about the very real hazards related to wearing contact lenses while enjoying typical summer activities. People use contact lenses because glasses get in the way of outdoor fun, so it is natural to be disappointed in their limitations. The downside of contact lenses is one of the many reasons vision correction procedures like LASIK are so popular
The chief concern about wearing contact lenses in or around the water stems from the risk of contamination from bacteria and other microorganisms. These are present in all types of water including chlorinated pool water and tap water and pose a significant threat to eye health and vision. A few facts about the risk of contact lens use in water:
- A study by Indiana University showed that 100% of soft contact lenses used in pool swimming were contaminated when cultured.
- According to a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology (October, 2006), contact lens wearers have a one in 2,000 chance of contracting a sight-threatening eye infection.
- Lenses can absorb water as they adjust to the surrounding water content, which causes the lens to stick to the cornea.
- It can take up to 30 minutes after swimming for lenses and the tear film to return to normal and removal of the lenses before they equilibrate can damage the cornea, creating a passage for bacteria and potential infection.
Eyeglasses may not be a useful alternative to contacts. While sunglasses are summer mainstay, most people recognize that glasses aren’t really an option in the water. Even if you can put up with water spots on your lenses, the risk of losing your glasses as well as hurting yourself is significant. Even high-performance goggles with prescription lenses don’t stand up well to surfing, waterskiing and kayaking.
So if you love the water, being limited by contact lenses and glasses does not have to put a damper on the fun. Come in and let’s talk about your options and find out if you are one of the millions who can benefit from vision correction with LASIK.
When you look at a light source – like a headlight or a streetlamp – do you see a halo around or a starburst over it? Do you see glare or ghosted images at night? These night vision symptoms – glare, halos, starburst and ghosting – happen because light doesn’t focus properly into the eye. Everyone’s eyes naturally have microscopic imperfections of the cornea and lens, which can scatter, rather than focus light with precision into the eye.
Recent research shows today’s modern LASIK technologies significantly improve the quality of vision for the majority of patients, including fewer night vision side effects. In fact, night vision symptoms related to LASIK have recently been studied* and, when the latest technologies are used, the majority of patients find their night vision symptoms are reduced after LASIK. Here are some of the recent statistics related to LASIK and night vision symptoms:
Glare: 19 percent of patients developed new glare symptoms; 66 percent of patients reported their pre-existing glare symptoms resolve within 3 months after LASIK.
Halos: 35 percent of patients developed new symptoms of halos around light sources; 50 percent of patients reported their pre-existing halo symptoms resolve within 3 months after LASIK.
Starbursts: 31 percent of patients developed new symptoms of starbursts around light sources; 50 percent of patients reported their pre-existing starburst symptoms resolved within 3 months after LASIK.
Ghosting: 5 percent of patients developed new ghosting symptoms; 90 percent of patients reported their pre-existing ghosting resolve within 3 months after LASIK.
Just like any surgery, there are risks with LASIK to be aware of in order to make an informed decision. LASIK is an excellent procedure with an extremely low – less than 1 percent – risk of significant, sight-threatening issues. This is far less than the potential problems associated with contact lens use. During your initial consult, you should come prepared to discuss not just your vision, but the quality of your vision including your existing visual symptoms such as glare and halos.
*FDA Patient Reported Outcomes with LASIK (1 & 2) Study Findings – Presented at ASCRS 2016 Annual Meeting by Dan Durrie, M.D.
This post originally appeared on the ARSC Insight Blog.
At the May 2016 annual meeting of the American Society for Cataract and Refractive Surgery – the medical organization of surgeons specializing in vision correction and cataract surgeries – updates of several high-profile research studies of LASIK safety and performance, including the FDA PROWL study, were presented showing impressively and consistently high marks for safety, outcomes, as well as patient satisfaction.
What do these data mean for the person considering LASIK?
Ultimately, these studies support the overwhelming body of clinical evidence proving LASIK is a safe and effective vision correction option for those who qualify. Remarkably, these studies report the procedure is more likely to help symptoms of dry eye, glare, halo, starbursts and ghosting than it is to cause symptoms.
Two results of two studies in particular, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-sponsored “Patient Reported Outcomes with LASIK (PROWL)” and an evaluation of the available scientific literature worldwide on advanced LASIK entitled, “Modern LASIK Outcomes: A Review,” conducted by ASCRS president Kerry D. Solomon, M.D., have been much anticipated by vision correction surgeons.
“Although each take a different investigative approach, these studies provide some of the best data and insights into LASIK, particularly from the patient’s perspective,” said Daniel S. Durrie, M.D. and one of the clinical investigators for the FDA PROWL study. “One of the key findings, from both studies, is with modern equipment, modern techniques and well-selected patients, good surgeons can deliver terrific results with a high degree of safety. LASIK is a great procedure.”
The FDA PROWL research was conducted as prospective, post-market, observational studies designed to develop and evaluate a patient reported outcome questionnaire for use post-LASIK. Approximately 574 subjects (262 active duty military personnel, 312 civilians from 5 investigational sites) were enrolled and asked to fill out an online questionnaire before LASIK and 3-months after LASIK.
The “Modern LASIK Outcomes: A Review” updated the work from the “LASIK World Literature Review: Quality of Life and Patient Satisfaction published in 2009 by analyzing the impact of advanced treatment profiles in LASIK (employing femtosecond laser keratomes and wavefront diagnostic/guidance). In the current work, nearly 4500 clinical study papers on the topic of LASIK were evaluated for relevancy and authority. The final data set included 97 high-quality studies that combined represented 67,893 procedures.
These substantial studies made fresh inquiries into the basics of LASIK: Is it safe? Does the procedure improve vision? What is the potential for side effects? The findings from these studies affirmed the consensus of previous research into LASIK performance:
- Patient satisfaction rate of up to 98 percent.
- Nearly 100 percent of patients achieving at least 20/40 vision, with more than 90 percent achieving 20/20 vision.
- Less than 1 percent of patients lost two or more lines (on the eye chart) of best corrected visual acuity (BCVA).
There was particularly good news out of the FDA PROWL study about the potential for side effects, including dry eye and other visual symptoms such as glare, starbursts, ghosting and halos, post LASIK
- For dry eye, more than half of patients (59%) with dry eye symptoms before surgery reported having no symptoms of dry eye 3-months after LASIK. For those reporting residual dry eye symptoms, there were statistically significant decreases in the severity of symptoms at 3 months post LASIK
- For those patients with no symptoms of dry eye prior to surgery, approximately 30 percent reported experiencing symptoms at 3 months after LASIK. The typical clinical experience with dry eye post LASIK is a gradual improvement of symptoms throughout the healing process, up to one year after surgery.
- LASIK also benefitted those with visual symptoms (glare, starbursts, ghosting and halos) before surgery. More than twice the number of patients reported their pre-operative visual symptoms were gone at 3-months than those who reported an increase in symptoms at 3-months.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, more than 600,000 LASIK procedures are performed every year in the United States. And with an impressive success rate (98 percent), this laser vision correction surgery shows no signs of losing popularity. If you’re one of the many people who are seeking clearer sight and freedom from glasses and contacts, then LASIK may be the solution for you. Dr. Eric Donnenfeld has been providing LASIK surgery for over 25 years to patients in New York and the surrounding area. In this blog post, Dr. Donnenfeld answers the most frequent questions patients ask about the procedure. Continue reading