3 Facts about Myopia and What You Can Do For Your Child

Myopia, often referred to as nearsightedness, is an eye disease in which the eye elongates more than it should, causing light to be focused in front of the retina instead of on the retina’s surface. Essentially, your child’s eye is growing too long.

Because the eye elongates and grows with the rest of the body, naturally, it stops elongating once the rest of the body stops growing in early adulthood. This also means there may be times in a child’s development where they experience growth spurts—suddenly requiring a higher prescription due to an increase in their myopia.

The hallmark symptom of myopia is blurred distance vision, but it can also cause headaches, eyestrain, and difficulty seeing at night. 

What Causes Myopia? 

Several factors lead a child to develop myopia, including genetic, environmental, and even socioeconomic status. 

Excessive ‘Near Work’ 

More than ever before, kids all over the world are focusing their eyes on near objects for the majority of their day, whether reading a book, or using a smartphone, computer, tablet, or another device. 

Numerous studies have shown that doing near work, especially in excess (more than 3 hours per day), contributes to the onset and progression of myopia. 

Some findings suggest that the intensity and duration of near work are also important factors. For example, reading a captivating novel for 45 minutes straight will impact a child’s eyes more than skimming a magazine a few minutes at a time.  

Genetics 

A child is more likely to be myopic if one of their parents is nearsighted or myopic as well. If both parents are myopic, those chances increase even greater. Be sure to get your child’s vision checked if you or your spouse are myopic. 

Not Enough Outdoor Time 

Spending at least 2-3 hours outdoors has been shown to delay or prevent the onset of myopia in children. Make sure to send your children outside to play every day, especially if they’re at risk of developing myopia!

What Can You Do?

The good news is there are many things you can do you help slow or stop the progression of myopia. 

Get Regular (annual or semi-annual) Eye Exams 

Even if both parents aren’t myopic, it’s still recommended to get an annual eye exam for your child. You can schedule a myopia consultation with a Treehouse Eyes provider near you. Many pediatricians are able to complete basic eye exams – be sure to ask them to check for myopia!

Encourage Breaks from Excessive ‘Near Work’ 

More than ever before, kids are focusing their eyes on near objects for the majority of their day. Encouraging breaks from near work such as reading and electronic devices will help your child’s eyes and give them a chance to get back outside as it warms up.

Spend More Time in Natural Sunlight

As you encourage your child to take a break from near work, one of the best ways to enjoy that newfound time is to get outside! Natural sunlight, even in the classroom, can be protective of myopia. Be sure to wear some sunblock as well!

If Your Child Has Myopia, We Can Help!

What many don’t realize is that myopia can seriously affect a child’s future eye health and vision. Having myopia in childhood significantly increases the risk of developing serious eye diseases and conditions like glaucoma, retinal detachment, cataracts, and macular degeneration in adulthood. 

The good news is that myopia can be effectively managed to reduce the risk of future eye disease. You can prevent serious, sight-robbing eye diseases by scheduling your child’s myopia consultation with us today. Visit Highlands Ranch HD Eyecare (303-794-2020). Help your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!

3 Facts About Myopia You Should Know

Given the rapid increase in childhood myopia being seen in the U.S., the American Academy of Ophthalmology and American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated their guidance on managing myopia in children. Both organizations now recommend children play outdoors more to delay the onset of myopia and support proactive treatment of myopic children to reduce the progression and eye disease risk associated with higher myopia later in life.

What is Myopia?

Myopia is a disease where the eye grows too long, resulting in blurry distance vision and increased risks of serious, sight-threatening eye diseases, such as glaucoma1, cataract2, or retinal eye diseases3. An estimated 1 in 3 children in the U.S. have myopia and the prevalence has grown dramatically over the last 30 years4. Research has shown lack of outdoor time for kids and more near work, like reading and time on screens, drive the massive increase we are seeing in myopia5-7.

Myopia Progresses As Your Child Grows

Myopia generally begins in childhood and progresses throughout the school-age years, usually stabilizing into the late teens.

Because the eye grows in tandem with the body, it’s only natural that it stops elongating once the rest of the body stops growing in early adulthood. This also means there may be times in a child’s development where they experience growth spurts and suddenly require a higher prescription. There are ways to effectively treat myopia in order to prevent it from progressing as the child grows. Slowing myopia early on can make all the difference to your child’s eye health as they age.

Natural Sunlight Can Help

Myopia incidence is rising in kids. Less time spent outdoors and more time on near work such as reading and device use has led to higher instances of myopia. This is a global phenomenon that is most acute in developed countries, and current estimates state half the world’s population will be myopic by 2050. 

In fact, a recent study found that increased exposure to outdoor light reduces myopia development.

There Are Now Treatments for Myopia

There is hope for parents is there are several treatments now available that can slow or even stop the progression of myopia in children. These treatments, usually involving a customized contact lens or prescription eye drops, are proven to slow down the elongation of the eye so a child’s vision does not deteriorate as quickly. Parents should talk to their eye doctor about their child’s risk for myopia and if their child is a good candidate for treatment. 

You can prevent serious, sight-robbing eye diseases by scheduling your child’s myopia consultation with us today. Visit our appointment request page or call us at 303-794-2020 Help your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!

References:

  1. Ophthalmology, 118(10), 1989-1994.systematic …
  2. Ophthalmology, 112(8), 1395-1401
  3. Japanese journal of ophthalmology, 32(3), 310-315.
  4. Arch Ophthalmol. 2009 Dec;127(12):1632-9.
  5. Ophthalmology . 2008 Aug;115(8):1279-85.
  6. Ophthalmology . 2013 May;120(5):1080-5
  7. PLoS One. 2015 Oct 20;10(10):e0140419

Myopia Control and Prevention: 3 Different Types Of Myopia Control Explained

Before discussing potential “cures” and ways to control for myopia it is important to ensure we define it correctly. A myopic eye is one that grows too long front to back. We know this because we measure it using special equipment that calculates the length of the eye from the front (cornea) to the back (retina). This distance is known as the axial length, and with advanced equipment we can now measure this down to fractions of a millimeter. So myopia is an abnormal elongation of the eye – if a normal eye is shaped like a basketball, then a myopic eye would more resemble a football. 

Once an eye is too long, there are currently no known treatments or cures which can cause the axial length of the eye to reverse. Refractive surgery performed on adults, such as LASIK, does not “shrink” the eye, but rather reshapes the front surface of the cornea to enable clear vision without corrective lenses. While the patient who has successful refractive surgery can now see clearly, they still have an elongated eye, so still have the risks associated with the disease. 

The Dangers of Having Myopia

There are different types of myopia as well. If a child develops myopia at a young age, we know that they are at higher risk to develop high myopia and even pathological levels of myopia. High levels of myopia can lead to an increased risk for diseases of the eye such as retinal detachments, glaucoma, and myopic maculopathy. Unfortunately, those diseases can all lead to permanent vision loss. These life-altering diseases are another layer of danger besides the obvious need for optical correction in glasses or contact lenses in order to see clearly.

When you have pathological or degenerative myopia, other signs can form on your eyes that your eye doctor needs to monitor over time. Lattice degeneration and lacquer cracks of the retina all show signs that the retina is under duress because the eyeball has grown excessively long. Ask your doctor about these signs and other ones such as a tilted optic nerve head disc and choroidal neovascularization that happen exponentially higher in cases of extremely high levels of myopia.

What are the Best Ways to Treat Myopia?

The best treatment is to first prevent myopia if possible. More research is being conducted in this area, but as a general rule, eye doctors are encouraging at least two hours of outdoor activity per day. More outdoor activities under natural sunlight have been associated with a lower risk of developing myopia in the first place. If your children have to do intense studying or reading, it is recommended to do as much reading as possible when the sun has set versus reading during the day. 

Regular checkups with your eye doctor to diagnose myopia as early as possible are also critical. By catching myopia at an early age, there can be many different types of interventions to prevent myopia from worsening. Myopia typically begins in school-aged children and can worsen until the leveling out usually in your mid-twenties.

As far as the visual component is concerned, usually, a pair of glasses or contact lenses are sufficient. Once the eyes have stopped growing, refractive surgery procedures can be employed as well. But keep in mind that simply correcting your vision will not stop your eyes from getting worse. The root cause of myopia, an eyeball that continues to grow excessively long during our youth, needs to be addressed.

Special pharmaceutical agents such as atropine have been shown to slow down the progression of myopia considerably. Special contacts such as orthokeratology lenses worn at night are effective as well. Even soft contact lenses and glasses designed with special optics different from the traditional pair of glasses can be effective to slow down the rate of myopic progression. 

 

Custom Orthokeratology or Overnight Contact Lenses

Orthokeratology involves using a specially designed contact lens to gently reshape the cornea. The lenses are worn only while sleeping and are removed upon awakening in the morning. There are other names for orthokeratology such as corneal reshaping treatment, gentle vision shaping system, and custom retainers. The technology works by gently flattening the curvature of the cornea to redirect light directly onto the retina. 

While initially created to help improve vision so that children and adults can see more clearly, studies have shown that the technology is extremely effective in reducing the rate of myopia progression. The theory is that light is focused in front of the retina in your peripheral vision. This effect changes the optical signals the eye receives to stimulate eye growth. Like all contact lenses, patients need to be diligent in handwashing and cleaning and disinfecting the lenses for safe use. However, studies show that with proper hygiene ‘ortho-k’ is an incredibly safe and effective treatment for treating children of almost any age.

Atropine

Atropine is a pharmaceutical agent that can be made into an eye drop. This eye drop has been used for many years to treat children with amblyopia, sometimes called a ‘lazy eye’. It can be used to dilate the pupils of the eye and also used to treat uveitis as well. What we’ve learned as well is that the use of a diluted concentration of atropine can also slow down the speed of myopia progression. The mechanism of action is still little known, but we believe that it blocks certain signals of the eye to reduce the signal to grow longer. By slowing down the speed at which the axial length increases, this can directly impact the rate of myopic progression.

Custom Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses

More contact lenses are being designed and FDA approved to slow down myopic progression. The MiSight contact lens is an example that has been shown to slow down the rate of myopia by almost 60% compared to control groups. These lenses have different powers throughout the lens that optically focuses light in front of the peripheral retina. By designing these special powers, a patient can wear a simple contact lens during the day to treat both the vision problems associated with myopia as well as prevent the eye from growing too long.

Special Myopia Treating Eyeglasses

More glasses are coming out that can also redirect light in a similar fashion to orthokeratology and soft multifocal contact lenses. This is a particularly exciting alternative for patients who cannot tolerate contact lenses and are wary of putting pharmaceutical drugs into their children’s bodies. From large bifocal eyeglasses to lenses with specialized rings of power in them, lenses are becoming more and more advanced to prevent axial length elongation.

Treehouse Eyes Can Help Prevent Myopia Progression

The good news is we help prevent or slow down myopia progression in kids—just like yours—so they can have their best shot at academic and social success! Above are four of the best ways we treat myopic progression once your child has been diagnosed with myopia. Orthokeratology involves reshaping the eye gently with a contact lens while sleeping. Atropine involves an eye drop that can signal the eye to grow a little slower. Custom soft multifocal lenses are worn during the day. And even specially designed glasses are on the horizon to improve the progression of myopia.

The Treehouse Eyes eye doctors use state-of-the-art equipment to develop a personalized treatment plan for your child. Our non-invasive treatments include customized contact lenses and special prescription eye drops. Moreover, data shows that our patent-pending Treehouse Vision System® treatment plan can decrease myopia progression by 78%. 

Give your child the tools they need to succeed! To schedule your child’s back-to-school eye exam, visit our scheduler or to see a list of all providers near you visit Treehouse Eyes today.

What Does Myopia Mean?

You’ve probably heard the term myopia before. But what exactly does myopia mean? Is it a disease? How should I cure or treat myopia? If I wear glasses, will it make my myopia even worse? This article covers everything you need to know about what it means to have myopia.

The Classic Definition of Myopia

Classically defined myopia is a vision condition where you will see objects up close much more clearly than objects you see far away. Another word to describe myopia is nearsightedness and these words are used interchangeably at times. Myopia happens when the eyeball is too long or if the front part of the eye called the cornea is too steep. The majority of the time, however, myopia occurs because the eyeball size, or the axial length, is too large. When this happens, a clear image doesn’t land far enough back onto the back of the eye called the retina.

Recent research shows that myopia affects more than 42% of the United States population. This number has been increasing every year at epidemic levels worldwide as we expect half of the world to have myopia by 2050. While many scientists initially believed that genetics were the primary cause for developing myopia, we now know that the environment in which we grow up can tremendously impact the level of myopia we have as adults. Increased digital device usage, lack of outdoor activity, and too much near work have been associated with developing high levels of myopia.

The Dangers of Having Myopia

There are different types of myopia as well. If a child develops myopia at a young age, we know that they are at higher risk to develop high myopia and even pathological levels of myopia. High levels of myopia can lead to an increased risk for diseases of the eye such as retinal detachments, glaucoma, and myopic maculopathy. Unfortunately, those diseases can all lead to permanent vision loss. These life-altering diseases are another layer of danger besides the obvious need for optical correction in glasses or contact lenses in order to see clearly.

When you have pathological or degenerative myopia, other signs can form on your eyes that your eye doctor needs to monitor over time. Lattice degeneration and lacquer cracks of the retina all show signs that the retina is under duress because the eyeball has grown excessively long. Ask your doctor about these signs and other ones such as a tilted optic nerve head disc and choroidal neovascularization that happen exponentially higher in cases of extremely high levels of myopia.

What are the Best Ways to Treat Myopia?

The best treatment is to first prevent myopia if possible. More research is being conducted in this area, but as a general rule, eye doctors are encouraging at least two hours of outdoor activity per day. More outdoor activities under natural sunlight have been associated with a lower risk of developing myopia in the first place. If your children have to do intense studying or reading, it is recommended to do as much reading as possible when the sun has set versus reading during the day. 

Regular checkups with your eye doctor to diagnose myopia as early as possible is also critical. By catching myopia at an early age, there can be many different types of interventions to prevent myopia from worsening. Myopia typically begins in school-aged children and can worsen until the leveling out usually in your mid-twenties.

As far as the visual component is concerned, usually, a pair of glasses or contact lenses are sufficient. Once the eyes have stopped growing, refractive surgery procedures can be employed as well. But keep in mind that simply correcting your vision will not stop your eyes from getting worse. The root cause of myopia, an eyeball that continues to grow excessively long during our youth, needs to be addressed.

Special pharmaceutical agents such as atropine have been shown to slow down the progression of myopia considerably. Special contacts such as orthokeratology lenses worn at night are effective as well. Even soft contact lenses and glasses designed with special optics different from the traditional pair of glasses can be effective to slow down the rate of myopic progression. 

Myopia Roundup

Regardless of your age or background, it is important to get educated about myopia because it is a widespread disease of the eye. Seeing your eye doctor or chart a proper course of action to prevent or treat myopia is incumbent on every parent in this new digital age. It is not just the digital age as well, results coming from studies of children after the COVID year of 2020 give strong evidence that the environment that COVID induced with social distancing may be causing the largest spike in myopia amongst children we’ve ever seen. Myopia is now viewed as a disease worth treating

Treehouse Eyes Can Help Prevent Myopia Progression

The good news is we help prevent or slow down myopia progression in kids—just like yours—so they can have their best shot at academic and social success! Above are four of the best ways we treat myopic progression once your child has been diagnosed with myopia. Orthokeratology involves reshaping the eye gently with a contact lens while sleeping. Atropine involves an eye drop that can signal the eye to grow a little slower. Custom soft multifocal lenses are worn during the day. And even specially designed glasses are on the horizon to improve the progression of myopia.

The Treehouse Eyes eye doctors use state-of-the-art equipment to develop a personalized treatment plan for your child. Our non-invasive treatments include customized contact lenses and special prescription eye drops. Moreover, data shows that our patent-pending Treehouse Vision System® treatment plan can decrease myopia progression by 78%. 

Give your child the tools they need to succeed! To schedule your child’s back-to-school eye exam, visit our appointment scheduler or to see a list of all providers near you visit Treehouse Eyes today.

5 Ways to Get Your Kids Outdoors This Winter and Save Their Vision

Just because the weather is cooling down, it doesn’t mean that your kids should be kept indoors all winter long. In fact, there are many reasons to have them spend time outdoors, not least of which is to protect your child’s vision. Studies show that children who spend time playing outdoors in the sunshine experience less myopia progression than those who stay indoors. Moreover, encouraging more outdoor playtime is important for promoting overall health and wellbeing in your kids.

Below we’ll explore some fun outdoor activity ideas to try with your kids and discuss why spending time outdoors may slow a child’s myopia progression or even postpone its onset.

5 Outdoor Activities to Do With Your Kids This Winter

1: Snow Play

If you live in a snowy region, bundle up your kids in warm layers and have them:

  • Build a snowman
  • Enjoy a snowball fight
  • Paint the snow with some food coloring or watercolors
  • Make a snow maze
  • Build an igloo
  • Build snow castles (the same way you would sand castles)
  • Make snow angels
  • Collect snowflakes during a snow flurry and study their beautiful shapes

2: Blow Ice Bubbles

Kids love playing with and popping bubbles. If temperatures are low enough, they might freeze in mid air! They’ll get a kick out of watching them freeze and possibly catching or popping them.

To make your own bubble solution, mix 1 part water with 4 parts dish soap and a few drops of light corn syrup. It’s best to try this activity when winds are calm, as harsh breezes can cause the bubbles to pop before they freeze.

Once the bubbles have landed on a surface and are completely frozen, they are beautiful to photograph — which can be part 2 of this activity. 

3: Go Sledding

Sledding is a classic winter activity that your child will love. To go sledding, all you need is snow, a sled, and a hill! Easy enough.

But before you hit the slopes (or hills), be sure to follow these safety guidelines:

  • Choose a sled that can be steered and can brake
  • Wear a helmet
  • Dress warmly, but be careful as the scarf can get caught under the sled
  • Children 5 years old and under should sled with an adult

4: Go on a Winter Scavenger Hunt

A winter scavenger hunt is a wonderful way to explore nature with all of your senses. Before you head out, make a list of things to see, smell, listen for, and feel. Ask your child to check each item off the list.

For example, your list can include listening for the sounds of birds chirping, footsteps crunching in the leaves, or water babbling in a nearby stream. On the list of things to look for, you can include different types of trees, animals, animal tracks, cloud shapes, birds’ nests, and more. Take your camera along and let your child take pictures of what they find.

You can also leave an empty space on the list for your child to fill as they explore new things on their own. 

5: Decorate a Tree with Edible Ornaments For Animals

This activity is an unconventional twist on building a bird-feeder and perfect for those who live near a forest. The idea is to make edible ornaments and hang them on a tree (or potted plant in your garden) for wildlife to feed on during the winter.

Your ornaments can be made using various seeds, peanut butter, dried fruit, and popcorn. It’s best to use biodegradable materials to hang your ornaments, and don’t use fishing lines, as  birds can get caught in it.

What’s the Connection Between Time Outdoors and Myopia? 

There is increasing evidence that children who spend extra time daily playing outdoors have a reduced risk of developing myopia; and if they already have myopia, time spent outdoors could slow down the worsening of this condition, also known as myopia progression.

These findings are significant, as having myopia significantly increases a child’s risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases later in life. Moderate to high levels of myopia make a child more susceptible to developing cataracts, retinal detachment, macular degeneration, and glaucoma later in life.

At Treehouse Eyes, our mission is to battle childhood myopia by providing myopia management to nearsighted children. Our myopia management treatments can effectively slow down your child’s myopia progression and reduce their future risk of eye disease.

If your child has myopia, or if you need your first consultation, contact us today to schedule a myopia eye exam.

Wishing you and all of our patients a healthy and enjoyable winter season!

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Cataracts Awareness: What You Need to Know

Cataracts occur when the lens in one or both of your eyes becomes cloudy. Usually this happens with age, and the condition is very common in older people. More than half of all Americans will experience symptoms of cataracts by the time they reach 80.

Why Does it Happen?
The lenses in our eyes are made mostly of water and protein. The protein in our lenses is arranged in a way that makes the lens clear. Our lenses have to be transparent for the structures in our eyes to focus properly and display crisp images. When cataracts form, it is because clumps of protein build up and reduce the light that reaches inside our eyes. Also, as lenses age, they can become discolored and take on a yellow or brownish tint. Gradually vision is affected by this shading along with the cloudiness that can cause vision to blur.

What are the Risks?
Other than normal wear and tear of aging, there are several factors that increase your risk of cataracts. Those include:

• Diseases including diabetes
• Smoking and alcohol use
• Environmental factors including high exposure to sunlight and UV rays

What are the Symptoms?
Most people will notice the cloudy or slightly blurry vision as cataracts start to form. Additionally, people may realize that colors seem faded. Your prescription may change frequently. One major symptom that can pose a threat to your safety is poor night vision and difficulty seeing at night. The cloudiness can cause headlights and other bright lights at night to glare or appear with distracting halos.

What is the Treatment?
Thankfully, there are options for people living with cataracts to see clearly again. In early stages, new glasses, larger print or magnification, and changing environmental surroundings like lighting can help. If these are not sufficient, or if the cataracts get worse, surgery may be an option. Surgery can remove the affected lens and replace it with an artificial one that is crisp and clear.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, an eye doctor can detect cataracts with an eye exam. Generally, a visual acuity test, dilated eye exam, and tonometry can aid the doctor in making this diagnosis. Contact us if you have questions about this or any other eye condition!

Gone in 40 Seconds… PART 3

Since I last wrote about my laser eye surgery many things have happened. My eyes healed up nicely and I can ski and golf without prescription glasses or contacts. I still choose to wear glasses in the office because of the high visual demands of the computer screen and the dim lights in the exam room. To date it has been a great freedom not to have to wear glasses or contacts all the time.

Now I know what our patients have been experiencing since laser eye surgery began here in 1994. It is truly a great freedom to be able to see without glasses and contacts most of the time.

I use the golf analogy about trying to get to the green on a very long 250 yard shot. Most people know that they’re not going to land right next to the cup so they choose to use two shorter distance shots. For example, a 150 yard shot and then a 100 yard shot to put it very close to the pin, that way they can score better. That’s what I did with my PRK surgery because I had such a long distance or large amount of correction to take care of.

My first laser PRK took care of most of my correction and then I did enhancements on each eye. My left eye was enhanced in September 2014 and my right eye was enhanced in June 2015. Those last two enhancements were those shorter shots to get to the point that I wanted to be. Now my right eye sees distance and my left eye helps me see at the computer distance. Now I can go without my glasses even more often. I still choose to wear my glasses in the office part time to be able to focus in many different distances with accuracy and to see with HD vision.

Having only to wear glasses part-time is a huge freedom since I have been wearing glasses since first grade!!

If you have experienced this type of life-changing, visual freedom please write back and tell me about your experience.

Thanks,
Dr. J

Gone in 40 Seconds… PART 2

By Dr. Lawrence Jacobs

As I sat in the recovery room I was surprised at how well I could see compared to my expectations. My wife picked me up to go home for my drug induced nap. My eyes felt a little scratchy, but no pain that day or the next day. On the third day there was a lot of blurry vision and more scratchiness.

My PRK procedure was done on a Friday and I was back seeing patients the next Tuesday. My prescription went from four units of farsightedness to four units of nearsightedness. PRK patients are overcorrected for the first two weeks because the healing process continues to change the prescription and will eventually become the desired correction. I used temporary glasses to help with my nearsightedness.

Being nearsighted was very strange. I kept having to move forward to see the computer instead of backwards prior to the procedure. There was some scratchiness the first five days, but it was definitely tolerable. On the fifth day, the bandage lens was removed. It was bizarre to be able to read without glasses. I was put eye drops in every 30 to 60 minutes, because I knew I would have the best results if my eyes stayed moist.

While patiently waiting for my eyes to heal, I measured at three units of nearsightedness at the third week. By the fourth week, I measured at two units of nearsightedness. After 25 years of explaining vision at various levels of nearsightedness, I was seeing first-hand what it was like. Reading was awesome but my distance vision was a very soft focus. My favorite experience was the light show while driving at night. Tail lights had all these streamers and a kaleidoscope looking appearance, because I was not fully healed. I knew this would eventually go away.

My wife kept asking when I would be able to see at a distance without glasses. I explained that some people heal quicker than others and in two to three months, I would be able to go without glasses most of the time. I was able to return to the racquetball court about five weeks after the procedure. I had temporary safety glasses made with a mild amount of nearsightedness in them, to be able to see the ball. It was great to be able exercise at full speed on the racquetball court again!

At eight weeks, my nearsightedness decreased to about one unit. Now, I could walk around the office without glasses and not get a headache. My computer screen was easy to see and I only wear my temporary glasses to drive. I was still using moisture eye drops five times per day, but life was getting much better visually. Now, my right eye sees distance a little better, my left eye sees better for reading and I rarely wear my glasses.

Gone were the headaches that I got trying to do anything without my glasses prior to the procedure. My eyes are still getting better each week with fewer problems with lights at night.

It only took 20 seconds for each eye to be reshaped and now I can function without glasses or contacts!

Gone in 40 Seconds… PART 1

By Dr. Lawrence Jacobs

In 1994, the FDA approved Lasik and PRK (PhotoRefractive Keratectomy) in the United States. Doctors in Canada were the first to perform these procedures in 1987. I was one of the first doctors in Colorado to assist my patients through their decision, education process, and care after the laser procedure.

Patients would ask if I had the Lasik procedure on my own eyes. At that point, technology had not quite caught up to how bad my prescription was. I have worn glasses since the first grade and contact lenses for astigmatism since eighth grade. In the 90’s, we could do most nearsighted prescriptions and up to two units of farsightedness. My prescription had four units of farsightedness. So I had to wait. In my opinion, it seems that Dentists have bad teeth; Eye Doctors have bad eyes… It’s the Psychiatrists that you have to worry about!

After I had helped thousands of other patients with their laser procedures, Alcon developed a new laser, the Allegretto. This laser is able to go up to six units of farsightedness. The Allegretto has many advantages over other lasers. Less actual laser time produced a better profile near the edges of the cornea and therefore less distortion after surgery. With this new advanced technology, I finally had a possibility of getting the procedure myself.

After a few measurements with the Allegretto software, I discussed my options with my associate, Dr. Quinton and with Dr. Jackson, the optometrist at the laser center. My cornea was the right shape to have the procedure! Now the decision was to choose which laser procedure was right for me, Lasik or PRK?

With Lasik, the surgeon creates a corneal flap and then applies the laser, producing results in just one day. With PRK, the laser is applied to the front surface of the cornea without creating a flap, which takes longer to heal and yields final results in about two months. There are pros and cons with either procedure. I knew that PRK would take more patience, but I really wanted the best and most safe results I could obtain. I decided on PRK because of my family history of retinal detachment and glaucoma.

I wanted the procedure completed between golf and ski season. On August 24th 2012, I arrived at the surgery center. The surgeon, Dr. Johnson and his staff were very professional and friendly. As I lay looking up, Dr. Johnson talked me through each step of the procedure. It was like watching a movie from the camera’s perspective and my eye was the movie screen. The front part of my eye was prepared, the laser fired for 20 seconds, my eye was cleaned and a bandage contact lens was put on for me. I just laid there squeezing my stress/distraction ball. The other eye went through the same thing. I did not feel any pain during the procedure. After 40 seconds of the laser working, I sat up and I could see across the room. It was not completely crisp vision, but a whole lot better than 20 minutes ago!

Check in next week for part 2 of my Laser Eye Surgery story