LASIK - Corneal Flap & Flying

If you are thinking about having Lasik, IntraLasik, PRK, LASEK, Epi-Lasik, RLE, or P-IOL eye surgery, this is the forum to research your concerns or ask your questions.

LASIK - Corneal Flap & Flying

Postby hermit » Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:30 pm

Hi I am booked in to get LASIK Surgery in 3 weeks (July 31st). I was wondering firstly, Do you have to wait any specific times before you can resume air travel (as a passenger). I was just wondering about cabin pressure at high altitude etc...

Also, in relation to the actual flap that is created - I will be begining a new profession as A police officer in March 2007 - this is the primary reason for getting Laser Surgery - I understand that the cornea will be weak for quite some time compared to pre LASIK eyes, however, will this really still be the case in 5 years time or does the cornea return to its natural strength over time. I'm most worried about rubbing my eyes in 3 months time or a year and dislodging the flap
I'm -1.25, -1.75.

Thanks

Niall
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Postby LasikExpert » Tue Jul 11, 2006 12:28 am

In my opinion you should be considering a surface ablation technique like PRK, LASEK, or Epi-Lasik rather than Lasik or IntraLasik.

Your refractive error is well within treatment range for these surface ablation techniques. Your recovery after surgery will be much slower than with Lasik, but you would have no possibility of a Lasik flap related problem after surgery. US Special Forces and fighter pilots are not allowed Lasik or IntraLasik, but can have PRK, LASEK, or Epi-Lasik.

I recommend you read Epi-Lasik

Commercial airlines are pressurized so you should not have a problem in that regard, however the air conditioning system will dehydrate the air. Take along several vials of preservative-free artificial tears and hydrate your eyes often while you are flying.
Glenn Hagele
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Postby hermit » Tue Jul 11, 2006 12:42 am

Glenn,

Thank you very much for the information I am very grateful. I must admit I am very worried in some ways because opinion seems to be very varied on the type of laser surgery to get. The consultant I seen for my consultation is very aware of my intentions to be a police officer and has said that the cornea (flap) will be fully healed within three years and in terms of practical everyday life will be as strong as it had been previously.

I was wondering though in terms of surgeon experience. Two surgeons in the clinic I intend to have the surgery have performed over 30,000 refractive procedures betweem them. However, for the most part these are LASIK procedures. If I were to proceed with LASEK, would this mean a great deal of difference in terms of the surgeon's experience as most of their experience is with LASIK.

If I am to be honest I would rather have LASIK surgery but my worry is that in a few years time in the line of duty I may get a punch in the face that would damage the corneal flap? Is the cornea reduced to such a sensistivy that it could damage/separate/detach from a simple blow to the head?

My apologies for the length of the reply

Thank you for your help
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Postby LasikExpert » Tue Jul 11, 2006 2:49 am

The consultant is correct that the Lasik flap heals adequately for everyday life, but a police officer does not have an everyday life.

Although the flap heals, it does not heal like a cut on your arm. Once you have had Lasik you have always had Lasik and that difference will remain. It is possible for the Lasik flap to dislodge with trauma, such as a direct blow to the eye or a sweeping motion across the eye. It may not be very likely, but it is possible. You may want to read about Lasik Flap Healing.

If a flap becomes dislodged it is normally possible to reposition the flap and have good vision recovery, but you would experience immediate pain that could put you in a compromised position on your job.

It is all a matter of probabilities. If you have Lasik or IntraLasik, it is possible that the flap will be dislodged but the probability is relatively low. If you have a surface ablation the possibility of the flap being dislodged is nil. The probability is zero.

Beyond the issue of flap trauma, many studies have found that the long-term outcome with a surface ablation is slightly better than with Lasik or IntraLasik. The combination of a low refractive error, higher risk job, and greater probability of a good outcome indicates that you should consider surface ablation seriously.

One the issue of which surgeon, I recommend that you use our 50 Tough Questions For Your Lasik Doctor to evaluate a potential surgeon. It is easy to start chasing numbers, but after about 100-250 procedures, a surgeon will have an adequate amount of practical knowledge. It is not likely that procedure 251 is going to be much different than procedure 199.

Lastly, if you are near or past age 40, you may want to keep that low myopia. It is very handy as presbyopia creeps up on you. Visit Lasik and Presbyopia
Glenn Hagele
Volunteer Executive Director
USAEyes

Lasik Info &
Lasik Doctor Certification

I am not a doctor.
LasikExpert
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