There is a lot to think about before getting LASIK surgery, and smelling nice isn’t usually at the top of the list. Smell and sight are too different senses right? What does one have to do with the other? Well here’s why as part of your pre-op LASIK instructions you will be told not to wear perfume or cologne.
LASIK surgery is a very precise and controlled surgery. While we can’t control how your eye will respond to the treatment, we can make accurate predictions. We can control how the laser is programmed and how the treatment is delivered. And we do control those things very precisely. We deal in microns. A micron is a millionth of a meter. To give you an idea of the size of micron, your hair is about 50 microns. And anything smaller than 40 microns you can’t even see.
While we can’t control your eye’s response, we can and do control other things. The air the laser passes through before it treats your eye is a factor. We monitor the temperature of the air, the humidity in the air and the purity of the air. The laser only passes about 12 inches through this air. But the laser we use is a short wavelength laser. The laser “fixes” or treats the first thing it comes in contact with. It doesn’t penetrate substances well. When we calibrate our laser and design our treatment we take this passage through air into account.
Because the smells are actually particles in the air, perfume can change this air. If everyone wore exactly the same perfume and the same amount we could account for this in our treatment. But that’s impractical and it’s best to have just “clean” air which we have calibrated for.
Skipping the perfume the day of the surgery allows for a more accurate treatment and more predictable results. Enjoy some of the cleanest air you’ve every smelled during your surgery and save the perfume for after surgery.
LASIK Myths & Facts
Most everyone has heard of nearsightedness and farsightedness, but, presbyopia isn’t quite as familiar to most people.
Remember nearsighted is when you can’t see in the distance. And, farsighted is when you can’t see up close. Both of these problems are due to the incorrect length of your eye so the image doesn’t land in the correct spot on your retina.
Presbyopia starts when you are about 40 years old. It is when you have difficulty seeing up close. What makes it different than farsightedness is the reason for the problem. Presbyopia is because the lens of your eye can no longer focus enough to place the images on the correct spot of your retina.
Presbyopia develops because of the process of aging. Think of it as farsightedness brought on by aging. The root of the word “presbyopia” actually means “old eyes” in Greek. Everyone gets presbyopia. You can circumvent the need for glasses to focus up close, if you’re nearsighted. Taking off your glasses “resets” your eyes to near and you don’t need to focus.
Refractive surgery such as LASIK effectively corrects nearsightedness and farsightedness by reshaping the cornea. It does not treat the lens, and in turn doesn’t correct presbyopia. LASIK surgery can help presbyopia vision by leaving a small amount of nearsightedness, similar to the trick of a nearsighted person taking off their glasses to read.
Eye drops instead of reading glasses?
Recently two kinds of eye drops are being tested to enter the market to help presbyopia. If these drops pass clinical trials patients may be reaching for drops instead of reading glasses. As with any type of treatment or medication there are pluses and minuses. Not needing glasses to read is the obvious plus.
The first type of drop being tested is called a miotic drop. It makes the size of the pupil smaller creating a “pinhole effect.” This effect limits the out-of-focus light entering the eye, making both near and far things clearer. Headaches, limited night vision and a decrease in contrast have been reported as side effects. The drops take effect 30 minutes after administration and last four to seven hours.
The second type of drop softens the lens of the eye. As the lens becomes more flexible, as it was in the younger eye, it becomes easier to focus up close again. The drop won’t return the lens back to its peak at eighteen years of age, but it will turn the clock back ten years. The drops must be taken over a period of days or weeks to achieve results.
We’ll keep you posted
Neither of these drops are available to the general public at this time. Neither drop appear to be the “magic bullet” in treating presbyopia. Your eye doctor will likely need to determine which, if any, is correct for you.
Read more about LASIK & Presbyopia
It’s that time of year again.
Decorative Contact Lens
Halloween is a great time to get into costume to display your alter ego or just to have some plain old scary fun. Over the last few years, decorative contact lenses have become part of these costumes. And, with familiarity comes complacency. The fact that decorative contact lenses are safe when dispensed and used properly, leads to cutting corners on their care.
Contact lenses, both the decorative type and the type that help you see, are medical devices, licensed and regulated by the FDA. They are regulated just like heart pacemakers, hip implants and other manufactured equipment used on and in the body. Selling contacts without a prescription is illegal.
Even though costume contact lenses for Halloween have no corrective vision power for nearsightedness or farsightedness, they still require a prescription from a doctor.
Dr. Moran likes to use the expression that some things are a “victim of their own success”. Since contact lenses are for the most part safe and effective, slacking in their care may allow you to “get away with it” without consequence. The problem isn’t with the lenses themselves but how they’re used. The stakes are high and cutting corners is not a risk you should take. Poor fitting lenses and improperly used lenses could lead to corneal ulcers, which could actually lead to permanent blindness.
To be safe in wearing decorative lenses you should do several things:
1. Get an eye exam.
2. Never buy contacts without a prescription.
3. Never share contact lenses.
4. Don’t sleep in your lenses.
For more information you can visit the FDA’s website regarding decorative lenses.
It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t wear contact lenses, has worn contact lenses in the past, or knows someone who wears contact lenses. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has declared August 19th to the 23rd contact lens health week. https://www.cdc.gov/contactlenses
Soft contact lenses
That’s right…the CDC is concerned about contact lenses! Contact lenses are medical devices, just like a heart pacemaker or an insulin pump. Contact lenses have been in use for over 100 years and during that time the technology behind them has progressed and been perfected. For that reason, complications and problems with them are less common. However, that only applies if they are used as prescribed.
Human nature is when you are comfortable with a situation, you may take some shortcuts regarding safety. Because contacts are considered so safe, most contact lenses users are prone to intentionally and unintentionally cut corners. Take the advice of Dr. Tang, Dr. Moran, and the CDC: DON’T TAKE SHORTCUTS!
Here are a few key reminders on handing and wearing your contact lenses.
- Don’t sleep in your lenses.
- Tap water, hot tub or swimming pool water are not good for your contact lenses.
- Wash your hands before handing your lenses.
- Follow your eye doctors instructions for use of your case and disinfecting solutions.
- Replace your contact lenses case every 3 months.
- Replace your contact lenses as prescribed.
- See your eye doctor as recommended.
Contact lenses are safe when used appropriately, but things can go very bad if they are used improperly. You INCREASE your risk of permanent vision loss when you don’t follow the instructions above! Be safe and enjoy your contact lenses: follow the rules.