For years, 30-year-old Mariel Berio dealt with the nuisance of bad vision. “I couldn’t do anything without contacts or glasses,” she recalls. “I couldn’t see anything—even if I held my hand just in front of my nose, it was blurry.”
That all changed in May of last year when she decided to have LASIK surgery. An active-duty National Guard soldier who also works full-time for her National Guard unit, Berio is grateful for
the advances in corrective eye surgeries that now make them an option for members of the military.
“The military’s main concern is the visual outcomes of corrective eye surgery,” says David Castellano, MD, director of Refractive Surgery. “With the advent of femtosecond laser, wavefront-guided LASIK, we can consistently achieve much better results. It was approved by NASA for its employees in 2007 and is now considered the gold standard for most patients.”
During LASIK surgery, the surgeon uses a laser to create a thin flap of the cornea so it can be lifted. Then the surgeon uses a laser to reshape the patient’s cornea. The flap is then returned to its original position where it quickly heals.
“With wavefront-optimized treatment, we take measurements of the entire eye and are able to customize the corneal reshaping to give each patient better results,” says Dr. Castellano. “This technique helps us reduce many of the complications, like glare and halos, that sometimes occurred with earlier techniques. It also allows us to create better contrast sensitivity, further enhancing our patients’ post-surgical vision.”
Berio, who is also the mother of a 5-year-old daughter, decided to research her options when her allergies began to bother her so much that wearing her contacts was impossible.
“I was getting headaches when I had to wear my glasses, and I hated wearing my glasses in the field when I was doing National Guard training,” says Berio. “I found Dr. Castellano and was pleased with everyone in his office; they were so friendly. Some of the nurses have had the same surgery, so they could share with me their firsthand experiences.”
“The procedure took about five minutes and then I went home and slept for a few hours to rest my eyes. After that, my vision was perfect. I could drive the very next day and haven’t had any problems,” says Berio. “I absolutely love the results—especially during allergy season.”
Spotlight on Laser Surgery
While LASIK is the most common corrective eye surgery, other options are better suited for some patients. Patients with corneal dystrophy, which is when the normally clear cornea is opaque, have better results with a procedure called PRK or photorefractive keratectomy. PRK uses the same laser as with LASIK surgery, but rather than first creating and lifting a flap in the cornea, PRK surgery reshapes the outer surface of the cornea. PRK is also a good option for patients with thin corneas.
Ask Your Advocate
Q. Am I a candidate for LASIK?
A. Most people are good candidates for LASIK if they are able to see well with their glasses or contact lenses. There are a few reasons patients are not good candidates, which include corneal shape and thickness issues, various corneal disorders and some auto-immune conditions. The only way to determine if your eye and cornea are healthy enough to undergo LASIK (or other refractive surgery) is to have a thorough eye exam and consultation.
Find the OSU Havener Eye Institute location nearest you.