If you told your optometrist that you are tired of wearing glasses and are seeking a minimally invasive treatment to improve your vision, he or she may have recommended that you consider LASIK surgery. While most patients who undergo this procedure enjoy an uneventful recovery, there are certain things that may lead to complications after your eye surgery. Here are four things that may complicate LASIK surgery and what you can do about them:
If you smoke cigarettes, it may be in your best interest to quit before you undergo your LASIK surgery. Cigarette smoking can lead to diminished circulation and blood vessel damage. It is important that you have optimal circulation in your eyes, and that the small ocular blood vessels behind your retina are healthy in order to enjoy a complication-free recovery after your procedure.
If the blood vessels in your eyes are damaged, or if you have poor circulation as a result of cigarette smoking, healing may be slowed after your LASIK procedure. You may also be at a greater risk for infection if you smoke. If you are unable to quit or cut down on your smoking on your own, talk to your health care provider who can recommend effective smoking cessation therapies such as nicotine patches or chewing gum, oral medications, biofeedback, or hospital-based support groups.
If you take large doses of aspirin to manage an arthritic condition or if your doctor has recommended that you take a daily aspirin to reduce your risk for heart attack, blood clots, or stroke, you may experience abnormal bleeding during and after your LASIK surgery.
Aspirin decreases platelet aggregation, and while not considered a blood thinner, it makes your platelets less sticky and less likely to clot effectively during and after surgical procedures. Before undergoing your LASIK procedure, your ophthalmologist may request that you stop taking aspirin a week or so before your scheduled eye surgery.
If you take aspirin because you are at a high risk for a cardiovascular event, do not stop taking it unless you have been cleared to do so by your cardiologist. Abruptly discontinuing aspirin therapy can heighten your risk for developing a dangerous cardiac arrhythmia, blood clot, or cerebral vascular accident.
Diabetes causes blood sugar levels to rise to abnormal levels. Consistent elevations in blood sugar levels can lead to an eye condition known as diabetic retinopathy, which refers to damage or abnormalities in the blood vessels of your retina.
If you have diabetic retinopathy, you may experience blurred or diminished vision after your LASIK surgery. While maintaining tight control over your blood sugar levels through diet, exercise, and taking your prescribed medications can help prevent future blood vessel damage, these interventions will not reverse existing ocular damage caused by diabetic retinopathy.
Certain autoimmune disorders can cause problems with your tear glands, leading to extremely dry, gritty eyes. It is important that your eyes are well-lubricated by enough tears so that potentially infection-causing microorganisms can be flushed out of the eyes after surgery.
If your eyes are too dry, talk to your eye doctor about a lubricating eye drop that will help restore moisture to your ocular tissues. This may help reduce your risk for a post-operative infection after your LASIK surgery and will also make your eyes feel more comfortable.
If you are considering LASIK surgery and smoke cigarettes, take aspirin, or have diabetes, tell an eye doctor at clinics like Cornea Consultants of Nashville. The more he or she knows about your lifestyle choices and medical history, the more likely you will be to have an event-free recovery period after your eye procedure.