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Vidyya, from the Sanskrit "vaidya," a practitioner who has come to understand the science of life.

Volume 1 Published - 14:00 UTC    08:00 EST    10-December-2000      
Issue 241 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST    11-December-2000      

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Back To Vidyya LASIK Surgery Checklist

FDA Approved LASIK Candidate Screening Tool

    Career impact - does your job prohibit refractive surgery?
    Cost - can you really afford this procedure?
    Medical conditions - e.g., do you have an autoimmune disease or other major illness? Do you have a chronic illness that might slow or alter healing?
    Eye conditions - do you have or have you ever had any problems with your eyes other than needing glasses or contacts?
    Medications - do you take steroids or other drugs that might prevent healing?
    Stable refraction - has your prescription changed in the last year?
    High or Low refractive error - do you use glasses/contacts only some of the time? Do you need an unusually strong prescription?
    Pupil size - are your pupils extra large in dim conditions?
    Corneal thickness - do you have thin corneas?

Know all the risks and procedure limitations

    Overtreatment or undertreatment - are you willing and able to have more than one surgery to get the desired result?
    May still need reading glasses - do you have presbyopia?
    Results may not be lasting - do you think this is the last correction you will ever need? Do you realize that long-term results are not known?
    May permanently lose vision - do you know some patients may lose some vision or experience blindness?
    Development of visual symptoms - do you know about glare, halos, starbursts, etc. and that night driving might be difficult?
    Contrast sensitivity - do you know your vision could be significantly reduced in dim light conditions?
    Bilateral treatment - do you know the additional risks of having both eyes treated at the same time?
    Patient information - have you read the patient information booklet about the laser being used for your procedure?

Know how to find the right doctor

    Medical Doctor - is your doctor an ophthalmologist?
    Surgeon - will you be seen by the surgeon at all visits before and after surgery?
    Experienced - how many eyes has your doctor performed LASIK surgery on with the same laser?
    Equipment - does your doctor use a FDA-approved laser for the procedure you need?
    Informative - is your doctor willing to spend the time to answer all your questions?
    Long-term Care - does your doctor encourage follow-up and management of you as a patient?
    Be Comfortable - do you feel you know your doctor and are comfortable with an equal exchange of information?

Know preoperative, operative, and postoperative expectations

    No contact lenses prior to evaluation and surgery - can you go for an extended period of time without wearing contact lenses?
    Have a thorough exam - have you arranged not to drive or work after the exam?
    Read and understand the informed consent - has your doctor given you an informed consent form to take home and answered all your questions?
    No makeup before surgery - can you go 24-36 hours without makeup prior to surgery?
    Arrange for transportation - can someone drive you home after surgery?
    Plan to take a few days to recover - can you take time off to take it easy for a couple of days if necessary?
    Expect not to see clearly for a few days - do you know you will not see clearly immediately?
    Know sights, smells, sounds of surgery - has your doctor made you feel comfortable with the actual steps of the procedure?
    Be prepared to take drops/medications- are you willing and able to put drops in your eyes at regular intervals?
    Be prepared to wear an eye shield - do you know you need to protect the eye for a period of time after surgery to avoid injury?
    Expect some pain/discomfort - do you know how much pain to expect?
    Know when to seek help - do you understand what problems could occur and when to seek medical intervention?
    Know when to expect your vision to stop changing - are you aware that final results could take up to months?
    Make sure your refraction is stable before any further surgery - if you don't get the desired result, do you know not to have an enhancement until the prescription stops changing?

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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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