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San Jose resident with glaucoma wanting LASIK

Recently we had a patient from San Jose with glaucoma curious if LASIK was an option that could help correct his vision. He had been told previously by another Jan Jose LASIK surgeon that due to the elevated pressure within his eyes, he was not considered a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery. Can this San Jose resident be considered a candidate for LASIK?

First of all, the prospect for LASIK eye surgery must undergo a complete eye examination, including a retinal exam. This patient performed the LASIK examination at our San Jose location but Turner Eye Institute has 4 locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Concord, San Leandro, San Francisco, and San Jose. During the examination, we will make many critical observations and measurements to determine if LASIK is a possibility.

Glaucoma is a disease that results in a degeneration of the patient’s optic nerve. Generally this is caused by a high intra-ocular pressure though there are cases of glaucome that exist while the pressure in the eye is considered low. One of the best indicators of glaucoma is simply viewing the optic nerve and judging its health. Imaging machines can be used to measure the thickness of the nerve fiber layer to give an indication of the health of the optic nerve as well.

Glaucoma can be treated a number of ways but generally medication is the first method. The goal is often to decrease the pressure within the eye to relieve the damage done to the optic nerve and the nerve fiber layer.

LASIK can still be an option for a patient with glaucoma, particularly if the pressure within the eye is considered to be under control. The surgeon might pick between PRK and LASIK but both are similar forms of laser vision correction. PRK generally causes less of a pressure increase during the surgery so is sometimes the favored method of laser vision correction.

Our San Jose patient was tested and found to be a good candidate for either LASIK or PRK. His intraocular pressure was discovered to be controlled well with medications and the optic nerve is still healthy.

Following LASIK or PRK, a glaucoma patient must be aware that future measurements of a patients eye pressure must be adjusted to determine a true reading. While this is not difficult, it is simply one extra consideration to ensure that the glaucoma treatment is still effective. Prior to LASIK a glaucoma patient might have an eye pressure of 18 mmHg. Following LASIK, the pressure might be measured to be 15 while in reality it is still 18. An experienced glaucoma specialist will be able to adjust to the measurements taken as long as the doctor is aware that the glaucoma patient had LASIK in the past.