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Heat, Humidity and Your LASIK Surgery

Jul 16, 2008
Are you considering getting LASIK surgery to correct your vision? Or maybe you've recently undergone the procedure and are just getting used to your new, better eyes. The question in either case is this: Do you live in a hot, humid part of the country? And if so, can that heat and humidity have an impact on your ultimate LASIK outcome?

It's possible, in some circumstances. Recently, researchers at Wake Forest University conducted a study on this very subject. In the study they observed 191 patients (representing 368 eyes) during and after their LASIK procedure. The study concluded that in some instances, heat and humidity could affect the patient's outcome.

The study was done in North Carolina, a state where both humidity and heat can get pretty high in the summer months, especially July and August. In the study, 12 variables were examined that might affect the patient following surgery. If these, it was found that humidity played the biggest part in determining the patient's outcome. In fact, according to the researchers, a ten percent increase in the treatment room's humidity translated into nine percent more patients requiring a follow-up procedure. Furthermore, outdoor humidity in the few weeks prior to surgery also influenced the procedure's results.

Of the eyes treated with the LASIK procedure, 15.5 percent of those in the humid environment needed a second LASIK done. However, very few of the eyes treated needed a follow-up procedure during the drier months of winter, compared to fifty percent who were treated in the most humid months. In the winter, over-correction was common, while in the summer, under-correction was more likely.

It's not clear why the discrepancy exists, although it's believed that the extra moisture in the air and also in the cornea might affect the laser's power and ability to get rid of the right amount of tissue.

So does this mean that you must not have LASIK surgery during the hot weather? That's not necessarily the conclusion of the researchers. However, the study does indicate that surgeons should at least consider the effects of the humidity and heat on the patient's corneas. And the fact is, even during summer, the surgeon can have the LASIK equipment adjusted to compensate for the heat or humidity in the air.

So what does this mean for you, the patient? If you intend to have the procedure during hot, humid weather, talk with the eye surgeon first about the possible effects. Make sure that they monitor the equipment and adjust for the heat and humidity. If you don't like the answer, find another surgeon. But even if they tell you that they do monitor the equipment, have a candid discussion about what you should do after the operation to minimize the effects that the heat and humidity might have on you and the newly reformed corneas. The weather will not destroy your chances of new, improved vision. Just take the necessary precautions ahead of time, and you should be fine.
About the Author
Phillip Dye is the creator of Lasiksurgeryrx.com . Lasiksurgeryrx.com covers information from Lasik , All About Lasik to Epi LASIK.
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