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Is laser vision surgery safe for Indians?

Q: My age is 17 years and my problem is related to my eyes. I had very bad vision and I am suffering from myopia. My number is around -5 and it has been progressing at a fast rate. Suggest me how can I stop this rapid progression of bad vision. Can I get laser operation on my eyes? It has been said laser operation is not suitable for people in India and side affects of laser operation are also there. Please help me to get out of this trouble.

A:In general, laser vision surgery is approved for patients who are 21 years of age or older. This was the cutoff age for which data was presented to the FDA for laser surgery approval in the US. It is not that people under 21 are not suitable for surgery, it just means that for people under 21 years of age there is no credible data available that can predict how well they would do. Your eyeglass power may increase as you are growing. Usually it stabilizes in early 20s. It is wise to wait until the power stabilizes. There is no point in treating a moving target. If there has been minimal change in your eyeglass power over the last 1 to 2 years then it may be reasonable to proceed with surgery. In your case at age 17 and with a eyeglass power that is changing every year, it would be wise to wait until there is not much eye power change over at least a year. There is really nothing you can do to slow the progression of nearsightedness. Of course, maintain a healthy lifestyle -meaning having a balanced diet with adequate vitamins, using good illumination while reading and wearing eyeglasses with current prescription will allow for comfortable vision. These or any other measures such as eye exercises will not slow your progression of nearsightedness. It is COMPLETELY WRONG to suggest that laser vision correction is not suited for Indian eyes. This statement reflects ignorance about the surgery. Part of the reason for this statement may be poor outcomes at some centers, where I am sure it is the surgeon or laser factors that are to blame. A thorough eye exam, measurement of corneal thickness and the desired correction, all are taken together to enable an opinion of whether you are a candidate for surgery. The issue of corneal thickness is the one that people misunderstand most. The bottom line is that there is no race -Indian or any other - that, as a generalization, are not suited for laser vision correction. Anyone who says so is misinformed.

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