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Lasik before med school?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by tgalper, May 4, 2007.

  1. tgalper

    tgalper 5+ Year Member

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    Hey guys, I wasn't sure if this was already addressed in a previous post, but I wanted to know if it is worth getting Lasik surgery before entering school?
     
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  3. Steiner

    Steiner 10+ Year Member

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    I've thought about this also.
     
  4. njbmd

    njbmd Guest Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

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    Whatever you do before college, works before medical school. There is nothing magical about getting Lasik surgery before, during or after medical school if you planned to undergo this surgery in the first place.
     
  5. BeatrixKiddo

    BeatrixKiddo Guest

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    I would say no since this surgery is kind of controversial and if you're going into surgery, it may not make your vision perfect so that might count against you.
     
  6. ms. a

    ms. a Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    If you really feel you need it, wait until you're in school. You could very well get a student discount on the procedure. I had it after my first year, and got ~$1,500 off by being a student (it was still done by a very well-experienced attending). I loved it. Up and driving the next day. Not a problem since. I never have to worry about contacts drying up on long days on rotations, glasses fogging up in the OR, or any of that stuff.
     
  7. colbgw02

    colbgw02 Delightfully Tacky 10+ Year Member

    Do it before you realize that your career may be on the line when you go under the laser.

    I did it between first and second year. If I had waited until I knew I wanted to do radiology, I don't I would have had the cahones to put my future at risk.

    That said, it was a fantastic decision. For as long as I wore glasses or contacts, it's now difficult for me to remember what it was like.
     
  8. Avenue Q

    Avenue Q Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Wait. A huge number of students in my class either had major changes in their rx or got their first pair of glasses over the course of first year. don't waste money on it right before entering into a time when your eyes may worsen after you do it.
     
  9. mudphudwannabe

    mudphudwannabe Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    I think a big clue here is that many (most?) ophthalmologists are still wearing glasses or contacts. I wouldn't risk it, especially before medical school since you will be depending on your eyes a lot. There is still a reasonably high risk that you will have halos, trouble with night vision, or still need some correction after the procedure. I wear contact lenses (glasses if I'm feeling lazy in the morning), and it's really not any more of an issue in med school than it would be any other time. Most people have some kind of vision correction, even if it's just reading glasses. If I were spending more time away from home studying, I'd probably want to carry my glasses, some solution and a lens case with me, or just plan on wearing my glasses more (I'm pretty much blind without them. But it's really not a big deal.

    Anyway, if you're planning on doing it at some point, I'd recommend waiting a few years to see if they work out some of the kinks in the procedure itself, or at least talking to an ophthalmologist you trust (who doesn't do lasik) to get their opinion. I don't feel that wearing glasses/contacts during med school is really a hinderance in any way.
     
  10. Brown429

    Brown429 Junior Member 2+ Year Member

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    i posted this question on the optho forums. everyone told me to wait AFTER medical school....EVERYONE said that to me.

    end result

    you can get it before and after medical school if you want...
    but just wait till after.
     
  11. Tristy

    Tristy BairesYarnCreation @ etsy 5+ Year Member

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    Kindof like how I feel about it. I might wait until medschool is over to get it done.
     
  12. BeatrixKiddo

    BeatrixKiddo Guest

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    True, i know an opthalmologist who wears glasses, (why, when he does tons of corneal and corrective srugeries a day) and also my eye doctor wears daily disposal contact lens, i'd trust them.
     
  13. Sol Rosenberg

    Sol Rosenberg Long Live the New Flesh! 10+ Year Member

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    I'm still chicken to get LASIK. From an expected value point of view, even though the risk of complications is low, the value of those complications to me is essentially -Infinity. -Infinity * (some really small, but non-zero number) = -Infinity. So I stick it out with contacts.
     
  14. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Agree with this. Plus the majority of med students wear glasses anyhow so you might as well fit in and look the part.
     
  15. jdh71

    jdh71 epiphany at nine thousand six hundred feet Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Getting refractive surgery done before medical school is greta idea, but I would get PRK instead of lasik, randomized trials have shown it's superiority, and make sure you go to a ophthalmologist that has a laser able to correct higher order aberations - most places call this "custom" lasik or PRK. If you're in the midwest Dr. Durrey out of KC is a guru in the field and has the newest lasers. Also, the best I had a chance to work with (I'm sure he won't mind the plug)
     
  16. tacrum43

    tacrum43 Behold the mighty echidna 7+ Year Member

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    Really, they give discounts?!? :wow: I wonder if my school does that...

    I've been thinking about this too, but my vision keeps changing. And medical school is only making it worse. I'm going to need new glasses soon anyway, so maybe I should just bit the bullet and get the LASIK. I don't like being dependent on glasses; especially, as someone mentioned, for the OR.
     
  17. babycapybara

    babycapybara Junior Member 5+ Year Member

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    I had epi-lasik done and its great. It's an updated PRK style procedure. It takes a bit longer to recover from than regular LASIK but lower risk of complications. I'm a bit older and my eyes haven't changed for years so I'm not worried about my eyes getting worse..though eventually I guess I'll need reading glasses. If you're only 21 or so, you might want to wait a few years.
     
  18. necrotic brain

    necrotic brain 2+ Year Member

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    is it possible to do LASIK if your cornea has a scar caused by a viral keratitis? ..what if the scar heals over time..but never quite goes away?
     
  19. Sol Rosenberg

    Sol Rosenberg Long Live the New Flesh! 10+ Year Member

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    Definitely sounds like a question for your Opthamologist.
     
  20. jdh71

    jdh71 epiphany at nine thousand six hundred feet Physician 10+ Year Member

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    It depends on corneal thickness, but yes . . . well, you'll need PRK most likely, but the newer lasers can correct over old scars and surgeries if you still have enough remain cornea.
     
  21. Sartre79

    Sartre79 10+ Year Member

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    I just had Lasik on my right eye, and PRK on my left (thursday actually). Your Doc will decide which procedure is best for you depending on the mapping of your eye, etc. I would recommend going with the Custom though despite the extra $$$. PRK also takes a while to heal and hurts/irritates more post surgery. I'm 20/20 in my right eye now, but my PRK eye is still blurry as it takes a couple weeks.
     
  22. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS 7+ Year Member

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    I had LASIK... it was the best thing I ever did. I would say do it now. Get a few opinions from a few different docs about which procedure would be best for you, then just go for it.

    PLUS.. if you do it before you start medical school, you are spending down on your savings. If you try to do it during medical school -good luck getting any financial aid help for it.
     
  23. megadon

    megadon 5+ Year Member

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    I had LASIK 8 years ago, and I'm still fine. I was in the Navy at the time, and another guy I knew had PRK. It took me twelve hours to recover, ie, I went home and slept, got up, crystal clear vision. My friend, it took a couple weeks, cause if you think about it, its a burn. I had a temporary disqual from subs because of it, but that was all taken care of quickly. They were worried about the flap busting open, because there are huge pressure changes in the atmosphere of a submarine, not because of the depth, but how we control the atmosphere. Three years on the boat, no issues.

    I will say that after a year into this med school thing, I am wondering if I am still 20/20. Is that because I'm now 31, or because I spend a great deal of my day reading or going over powerpoints, don't know.

    Bottom line, I would recommend LASIK, it's not some fancy cutting edge new surgery that we don't know the risks of, I had it EIGHT YEARS ago! PRK might be a good choice too, talk to the doc. I will say there is a pretty good argument for waiting, another that hasn't been mentioned is that it will probably be cheaper in four years. I (my parents) paid 4 grand, so 2 grand per eye. I know you can get it for three last I checked. So, don't be scared of the surgery, but maybe wait till after the first two years of med school warp your eyes some more.
     
  24. UVABranch

    UVABranch one of 6000 7+ Year Member

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    I'm not a med student (yet....hoping for HU to come through) but my sister is a lawyer and up until law school she had perfect vision, never needed classes...in her second year she needed glasses, and still does (glasses/contacts). Poetic justice from my standpoint since I've worn glasses since the 3rd grade (I'm 28 now), and got contacts in 10th grade. I too want LASIK since I'm really over putting my contacts in everyday, and the notion that some people see clearly everyday. I'm over blured vision w/o assistance, but I don't want to go through the surgery, and then my vision changes in school, and I need glasses again. I would wait, but good luck if you do it!
     
  25. Sartre79

    Sartre79 10+ Year Member

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    This isn't necessarily true. I talked to my Optometrist about this as a concern. He said to look at whether your eyesight changed a lot during your collegiate studies to get a good gauge as to whether your vision will change drastically. Also, I went through LasikPlus, and they offer a lifetime acuity plan. As long as you keep going in for your yearly exam...you can get it tweaked if your eyesight happens to change for free. This might be something you should look for when choosing a surgeon.
     
  26. UVABranch

    UVABranch one of 6000 7+ Year Member

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    Thanks! I'll look in that that! :D
     
  27. ndb

    ndb

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    I know dry eye sounds like a simple problem that can be treated easily, but for some people who have had Lasik, dry eye can become a debilitating condition that might/might not ever get better. Only 5% of Lasik patients experience dry eye long term/permanent, but it is something to consider since med school demands so much reading and long days.

    Check out www.dryeyezone.com and read how Lasik induced dry eye has affected many people.
     
  28. jdh71

    jdh71 epiphany at nine thousand six hundred feet Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Put in some drops . . sheesh . . .
     
  29. UVABranch

    UVABranch one of 6000 7+ Year Member

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    My dad and cousin actually suffer from dry eyes...my sister looks like she's heading that way. On day my dad's eyes were so dry when he opened them in the morning he tore his cornea...needless to say it wasn't a fun morning. I didn't know about that but will look into it!
     
  30. sendwich

    sendwich you rock! 10+ Year Member

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    i've heard about lasik increasing risk for all sorts of stuff later on. i dont have the link, but stuff like greater incidence of cataracts (the blinding kind). i'd say, wait. dont' do major construction just yet.
     
  31. naegleria brain

    naegleria brain 2+ Year Member

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    many ophtho's at will's eye (arguably one of the best ophtho institutes worldwide) wear glasses, despite doing many LASIKS. i wonder why. not up for the risk, albeit small?

    many kids have worsening vision thru med school. i was lucky to drop only .25, but others have already seen a 1.5 and greater drop. you'll be staring at books and laptops and ppt's all day for four years; expect it to get worse
     
  32. Dooooom

    Dooooom Member 5+ Year Member

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    I am/was also pushing lasik for myself, because I am horrible with taking contacts out and I hate glasses... but i feel like the risks/ the chance of having to get it done again (increasing the risks substantially) because of your prescription changing in medical school is pushing me to wait till after 2nd year. =(
     
  33. Bjams

    Bjams ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    That's exactly what I was told by my optometrist.
     
  34. megadon

    megadon 5+ Year Member

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    To point out, Lasik doesn't correct for accomodation, ie, you get older, still need reading glasses. Neither does PRK. As far as wetting drops, there is a pretty good argument that can be made that if you provide them, the body cuts back on producing. There are horror stories with every procedure, so you have to figure out if you are reading that, or mainstream truth.

    Once again, I'm an advocate for corrective surgery, however tempered by the fact that your head is going to be in a book or poor lighting for four years. Might be best to wait. However, the surgery is awesome (if you were 20/400+ before hand).
     
  35. Dakota

    Dakota Senior Member Physician 10+ Year Member

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    You might think this isn't serious, but some people develop severe dry eyes (think about putting drops in your eyes every 30 minutes or less for the rest of your life and waking up miserable every morning).

    And I agree with the observations about ophthos. Everyone I have met either has good vision (rare) or wears glasses. No contacts. No surgery. Hmm . . .

    Further agree with jota-jota, the risk is small but the consequences are so unacceptable to me that doesn't matter. I had considered trying for a job in federal law enforcement (kind of a family thing) but to be a special agent in most services they require uncorrected 20/100 or better (some only 20/60). They accept lasik usually but the risk just wasn't worth it to me.
     
  36. keitaiKT

    keitaiKT Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    I second the dry eye thing. I used to work in an optometric practice, and I can tell you the dry eye patients were MISERABLE. Also, DRY eyes are not the only problem. Some people's eyes respond to their dryness by getting watery. So not only did the patients feel miserable because their eyes were gritty and scratchy, but they also had water constantly flowing out of their eyes in response to the dryness.

    Most people who normally tend to have dry eyes are advised not to get LASIK for that reason.
     
  37. relema

    relema Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    I was waiting to get lasik until the end of 4th year but due to eye allergies i could no longer wear my contacts for more than a day or two in a row. So i talked to me doctor and went ahead and decided to do lasik. I did it right after my 2cd year finals ended and my vision is great a week out from surgery and its so nice to not deal with the headache my glasses gave me or the irritation my contacts caused. Plus i got the custom lasik with interlase for a hugely discounted price because i am a medical student. Good luck to you in deciding. I think the best time can only be decided by you.
     
  38. megadon

    megadon 5+ Year Member

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    as regards to the dry eye thing, I don't recall, no problems eight years later. However, a guy I worked with when I was a defense contractor had Lasik. He was addicted to eye drops, and then went cold turkey. He argument, his body stopped responding to the dry eye because he was doing it. Said it sucked for a couple days, and then got better and is know not a problem. I'm not professing physiclogic data here, just giving ONE example. By the way, he says the same for ChapStick.
     
  39. jdh71

    jdh71 epiphany at nine thousand six hundred feet Physician 10+ Year Member

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    It's not that I don't find dry eye "serious," but drops are the treatment.
     
  40. Dakota

    Dakota Senior Member Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Chapstick "addiction" is real. Your lips get used to you providing a waxy barrier, so when you stop the cells become hyperproliferative to make up for the barrier you are no longer providing, which leads to thick flaking.

    Now, chapstick is a great idea in environments that are extrodinary (think low humidity, high wind) and does indeed help prevent chapping.
     
  41. YourGoldTeeth

    YourGoldTeeth 5+ Year Member

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    I got LASIK last year, and I will enter med school this fall. I am happy with the results.

    That being said, my vision could change. If that happens, it will be back to glasses. I don't buy the assertion that 'all the reading in the first two years changes your rx.' Your eyes will either change, or they won't, and I don't think reading has anything to do with it.

    There can be complications. Dry eye would definitely suck. However, UNCORRECTABLE loss of visual acuity is quite rare. If you want to check the stats, have a look:

    http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/LASIK/lasers.htm

    (my laser was the Alcon LADARVision 4000)

    For instance, I found that for the laser used in my procedure, out of 331 people in the study, 0/331 had uncorrectable damage done to their eyesight (loss of BSCVA) 6 months out. This means that, even if they couldn't see 20/20 with LASIK alone, they could wear glasses and see as well as they could before the operation.

    That being said, go to a reputable doc that only does LASIK on good candidates. If you have had any serious eye problems, TELL THE DOCTOR.
     
  42. doctorp82

    doctorp82 Palpating preschoolers 2+ Year Member

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    I never needed glasses until I started medical school. Towards the end of this year (second year) I went for a vision exam and needed them to help see in focus things at a distance. There's a thread somewhere farther down not too far back addressing vision getting worse during medical school, and it's pretty true. I know of at least two other classmates who now have glasses for seeing better at a distance.

    I would wait until after medical school, and at the very least until after 2nd year. You will be spending so much time in those two years reading that you may need vision correction again anyway. All of that reading close up for most of the hours in a day decreases your eye's ability to readjust to seeing far, and as momma warned, your eyes will get stuck that way :laugh:
     
  43. bjackrian

    bjackrian Senior Member Physician Faculty 10+ Year Member

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    I'm going for a vision exam next week because my Snellen eye card says that my vision has gone from about 20/15 or 20/20 to 20/30 or 20/35 over the last couple of years, so I tried looking for anything to back up the "med school makes you blind" theory. The practice guideline from the American Optometric Association says that near work is a risk factor for myopia, citing a half dozen studies that have looked at the issue:
    link: http://www.aoa.org/documents/cpg-15.pdf
     
  44. doctorp82

    doctorp82 Palpating preschoolers 2+ Year Member

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    Clearly you should avoid Lasix then, if only to ensure your academic success.
     
  45. h0ck3ydo0od

    h0ck3ydo0od h0ck3ydo0od

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    Can I get LASIK if I have floaters in my eyes?
     
  46. YourGoldTeeth

    YourGoldTeeth 5+ Year Member

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    Careful... correlation is not causation. This could be because people with poor vision tend to have these traits.
     
  47. bjackrian

    bjackrian Senior Member Physician Faculty 10+ Year Member

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    True, though at least one of the studies they cite was of sailors at sea with a before and after approach. They found that sailors who spent a long time away from shore (where they presumably are doing a lot of near work since there's nothing to see in the distance) had vision that worsened while they were away.

    I'm not saying that it's iron clad or that every person who does near work will need glasses, but I think that there's a relatively strong circumstantial case that lots of reading and other close work is a risk factor for myopia.
     
  48. eikenhein

    eikenhein my cat is awesome Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I think floaters has to do with material in the vitreous humor. It shouldn't make a difference for LASIK.
     
  49. jdh71

    jdh71 epiphany at nine thousand six hundred feet Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Yes
     
  50. primadonna22274

    primadonna22274 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    I went for a consultation 2 wk ago after contemplating laser vision correction for a lot of years. I've been in contacts since I was 9, let's see, 25 years, and glasses since I was 7. The past 5 yr I can hardly wear contacts because of irritation that never gets better. I've worn em all...hard lenses, gas perm, soft daily wear, tried a bunch of brands, no good. So I'm stuck in glasses most of the time except when vanity strikes. Unfortunately I'm a pretty poor candidate for LASIK or even custom epi-LASIK because my correction is -9. They would have to remove like 30% of my corneal thickness and would still have a much higher than average risk of need for retreatment procedures. Bummer. So the doc tells me if he were me he would have ICL...contact lens implants. Whoa...also about twice as expensive as epi-LASIK. I guess I'll try another brand of CLs and stay in glasses until something else comes around.
    I did ask though whether it's a big deal to get it done before or after med school and the general consensus is probably not, but before pregnancy is a very big no-no as hormonal changes can cause huge differences in vision.
    Haven't done that yet either.
    sigh....
     
  51. UVABranch

    UVABranch one of 6000 7+ Year Member

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    hey madona, I'm in a similar boat (glasses since 3rd grade, contacts since 9th) but I don't seem to ahve the irritation...but my eyes are chronically red! Sooo not cute. I appreciate your vanity issues, my glasses were HORRIBLE think junior from the sopranos, but wirth "tortious shell brown)
    [​IMG]
    Not so cute. I also had horrible pink plastic frams because my mom said it brought out the pink in my lips, same size glasses though! Needless to say even once I got contacts I had pinkeye one summer and decided to wear one contact for a week!

    I had NO idea about the pregancny thing though. Great, yet another thing I have to think abuot (29 yo, no Bf or kids). I do know of a company in the DC metro area that gives lifetime "tuneups" so that could be an option I guess. I just though it would be best to do it now before shcool...I'll spend just as much $ on glasses, Rx sunglasses and contacts/sol'n by then anyway. Kinda bummed about the pregancy thing!

    I'd take permanent contacts though...whatever would work. hey my Dr. said there's some "reverse contact" (my termanology I don't remember what she called it). Anyway it's a contact you sleep in which changes/corrects the shape of the eye while you sleep so you take them out in the morning and have clear vision. You have to do this nightly because it's temporary which means the longer with out a "re-up" (Wire-speak) the less clear things are. Try looking into that!
     

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