Would you trust a LASIK surgeon who wears glasses?
The question nagged at Dr. Jennifer Melton when she was a nearsighted young surgeon in training.
At the beginning of her career, Dr. Melton, now a board-certified ophthalmologist at Mann Eye Institute in Houston, had decided she probably wouldn’t ever have laser vision surgery herself, although her vision was bad. After all, her very career (and mountain of student loans) depended on her ability to perform surgery – a task that requires sharp vision as much as it requires steady hands. “I figured I would play it safe and just stick with my glasses and contacts,” she said.
But six months into an intense LASIK fellowship, Melton began rethinking her master plan. Long nights studying followed by even longer days on rotation at the hospital made her contact lenses burn her eyes. Her glasses – when she could find them – gave her a headache.
What she thought was playing it safe, was actually just the opposite. Young Dr. Melton learned in her studies and clinical rotations that statistically speaking, contact lens wearers have higher eye infection rates than those who don’t wear them. Leading researchers concluded that contact lens users are actually more likely to develop complications that lead to vision loss over time than patients who have LASIK surgery.
At the same time, the ophthalmology textbooks she had been pouring over for the last six years came to life right before her eyes with the real-life training with world-class LASIK surgeons and teachers. She took note of patient after patient experiencing life-changing results after vision correction surgery.
The LASIK Decision
Ultimately, she decided to have LASIK herself. “I would have never had it done if I wasn’t completely confident in the safety and the results,” she said. “Working day in and day out with all the surgeons and patients just convinced me that I would be better off personally and professionally after LASIK.”
That was seven years ago. Today, Dr. Melton has performed thousands of LASIK procedures in her career (and with 20/15 vision, thanks to her own LASIK so many years ago).
Laser eye surgery has successfully treated millions of patients and has high patient satisfaction rates. Long-term safety of LASIK has been excellent and continues to improve with technological developments.
“The evolution in the technology of this procedure has just been incredible,” said Melton. “We are able to address things that we couldn’t have touched even five to 10 years ago. It is impressive.”
Perhaps most importantly, has the technology improved over the last 18 years? “Absolutely,” said Melton. “Today, it’s a safer procedure with better results. LASIK is overwhelmingly a very successful procedure. With the decades of research on refractive surgery we now have, we better know what to look for and we are better able to interpret data.”
Does Melton ever regret her decision to have LASIK? “Never,” she said. “I’m grateful every day to have the vision I have. And I am grateful to be able to help other people achieve the vision they desire as well.”
Jennifer Melton, MD, specializes in the treatment of corneal disease and performs advanced Corneal, Cataract and Refractive surgery procedures, as well as Comprehensive Ophthalmology. She is Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology.