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LASIK and the New Year 2007

With the New Year 2007, many people must be wondering what changes can be expected to come out this year in San Jose, San Francisco, and the Bay Area. Let me offer my opinion on this.

LASIK eye surgery is safe and effective and has been for many years now. While there are certainly changes that will occur in the next few years, there are not likely to be any monumental improvements that radically change the future of LASIK eye surgery. Because LASIK eye surgery has advanced as far as it has, it is much more difficult to significantly improve on the results of the surgery. An average LASIK surgeon can achieve excellent visual results with regularity. Honestly, the greatest improvement in LASIK surgery could occur by increasing the number of patients seeking excellent surgeons and fewer patients having surgery with mediocre LASIK surgeons.

Another great step forward in the next couple years will occur in the field of intraocular surgery particularly surgery for highly near-sighted patients and patients with significant far-sightedness. While LASIK has become seemingly routine for patients with low to mid-range myopia, those with high myopia and excessive far-sightedness have not fared as well. Glare and night vision problems continue to bother those with high prescriptions prior to LASIK. Many LASIK surgeons avoid patients with high prescriptions now to avoid having bad results.

Today phakic intraocular lenses (sometimes called ICL for either implantable contact lenses or implantable collagen lenses) can often correct much higher levels of near-sightedness. It can be expected that phakic lenses will be available soon that will correct both astigmatism and far-sightedness. These improvements should allow many more people to have their vision corrected to be able to be free of glasses and contact lenses.

Presbyopia will continue to see advances in correction as well. LASIK and CK (conductive keratoplasty) can help some people with a method known as monovision but many people find that using one eye for near and the other for distance is not satisfactory. New intraocular lenses, such as ReStor, Rezoom, and Crystalens have made great strides in decreasing the effects of presbyopia on cataract patients but we can probably look forward to newer lenses that will likely provide better vision at both distance and near. Many of these advances might be as much as five to ten years into the future however.

In the short term, it is probably best to seek out the best surgeon available in your area. This, more than anything, can help provide you with the best results. While improvements in technology will occur in 2007, we will not expect these technologies to replace the skill of a trained surgeon.

Best wishes for 2007.