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Great River Medical Center Begins Offering LASIK Eye Surgery

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Great River Medical Center will begin offering LASIK this spring. The outpatient eye surgery improves vision by permanently changing the shape of the cornea, the clear covering on the front of the eye. Many patients who have LASIK end up with 20/20 vision.

LASIK stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. It can correct near-sightedness, far-sightedness and astigmatism, the main reasons people need glasses or contact lenses.

“We’re using the best technology,” said Jordan Gross, MD, Eye Specialists-Great River Medical Center. “It allows greater precision. We are scanning each eye to create a custom treatment, which wasn’t available to earlier LASIK patients. This leads to more consistent results and further reduces the risk of complications.”

Vision improvement usually is immediate, although there is a recovery period before the complete effect is measured.

Before having LASIK two years ago, Dr. Gross was dependent on corrective lenses because of a relatively severe level of nearsightedness. He no longer needs contact lenses or glasses.

“LASIK is a low-risk procedure with proper consultation,” said Dr. Gross. “Not everyone who wears corrective lenses is a candidate.”

Dr. Gross said people in their 20s and 30s are the best candidates for the procedure because they will get the most long-term vision benefit. People in their 40s and 50s also may have LASIK, but there is greater likelihood of needing reading glasses after surgery because of eye changes related to aging.

Reasons people cannot or should not have LASIK include:

  • Severely dry eyes
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Frequently changing corrective lens prescriptions
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Family history of corneal disease

About 10 million people in the U.S. have had LASIK since it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the late 1990s. According to the American Refractive Surgery Council in 2017, “99 percent of patients achieve better than 20/40 vision and more than 90 percent achieve 20/20 or better. In addition, LASIK has an unprecedented 96 percent patient satisfaction rate – the highest of any elective procedure.”

Before the surgery, patients receive medicine to help them relax, and anesthetic eye drops numb the surface of the eye. LASIK is a two-step outpatient procedure. In the first step, a laser creates a thin, circular flap in the top layer of the cornea. In the second step, a different laser reshapes the middle layers of the cornea to correct the vision problem. The flap is placed back in position, where it heals naturally without stitches. LASIK can be done on both eyes during the same session.

Eye Specialists is offering free LASIK consultations to determine patients’ appropriateness for the procedure. To make an appointment, call 319-768-4500.