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July 2010, Volume 40 Number 7 , p 48 - 51


  • Denise M. McEnroe Ayers MSN, RN


AN ESTIMATED 153 million people worldwide have refractive errors that require correction with eyeglasses or contact lenses.1 Newer surgical procedures such as LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) can improve or correct vision for selected patients with refractive errors.Patient satisfaction is generally high due to a short recovery time, low level of pain or discomfort, and the resulting good vision, which occurs almost immediately, although it can take 3 to 6 months for the improved vision to stabilize.2 In 19 research studies representing 2,200 patients, 95.4% were satisfied with their results. Patients who weren't satisfied reported a poor quality of life, depression, and dry eyes.3LASIK surgery is one of the most commonly performed laser-assisted refractive surgical procedures.4 This article prepares you to discuss this procedure with patients and provide appropriate nursing care.Both patients with myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness) can benefit from this procedure. The surgeon's goal in a patient with myopia is to flatten a cornea that's too steep; in hyperopia, the object is to make the cornea steeper. In some patients with astigmatism (a distortion of an image on the retina caused by irregularities in the cornea or lens), LASIK can reform the cornea into a more normal shape.2,4 In a patient with presbyopia (the inability to focus as objects are moved closer because of an age-related reduction in lens elasticity), LASIK can be performed to correct the distance vision in one eye and to correct near vision in the other.2The surgeon may perform the procedure on one or both eyes at the same time. Although more convenient for the patient, having LASIK surgery on both eyes at the same time is considered riskier than having two separate surgeries. For example, the surgeon and patient won't be able to see how the first eye responds to surgery before the second eye is treated.2In general, the surgery takes less than 30 minutes

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