Dr. Robert Maloney believes that a well-informed patient is key to successful vision correction surgery. He wants to be sure that you fully understand what you can expect from your procedure you choose. He wants to help you care for and preserve your eyesight in the best way possible. Here, you can find the information that you need to help you make informed choices about health care for your eyes.

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Because you have opened this book, you probably don’t see as well as you’d like to. And perhaps you dislike wearing glasses or contact lenses. Maybe you love being active, and your glasses are an inconvenience when you exercise vigorously. Perhaps you love the water, but your contacts wash out when you open your eyes.

Are you tired of your glasses fogging up when you open the dishwasher or when you come inside on a cold day? Do you want to be a policeman, a fireman, or a Navy SEAL, but you cannot even be considered because of your poor vision? Maybe you don’t like the way you look in glasses. Whatever your personal story is, you’re seeking a way to achieve better vision without glasses or contact lenses.

From my own experience, I have a pretty good idea how you feel. I was nearsighted for twenty-six years. I hated wearing glasses because of their appearance and my limited peripheral vision. Contacts were tolerable, but I disliked the inconvenience of caring for them, and carrying around all the paraphernalia I needed to maintain them. Mostly, I hated being blind. I wanted the freedom of opening my eyes in the morning and seeing perfectly all day long. I became a specialist in vision correction surgery largely because I disliked my own poor vision and wanted something better. Then, in 1996, I had the LASIK procedure, and I’ve had perfect vision ever since.

Some eye doctors discourage people from considering LASIK and other vision correction procedures. They say you shouldn’t consider vision correction surgery if you can wear glasses or contacts. I disagree. To me, that is like telling a man with a bad knee on crutches that he shouldn’t get the ligaments in his knee repaired. If your eyes aren’t functioning properly, modern medicine offers the technology to fix your eyes safely. You shouldn’t have to continue depending on glasses or contacts.

When I started doing vision correction surgery more than twenty years ago, the technology and procedures were relatively primitive. My colleagues and I who were pioneering this field had relatively modest goals for our patients: we hoped to get the majority of people seeing pretty well without glasses. When our patients needed perfect vision after surgery, we expected they would still wear glasses.

It was a pleasant surprise when a patient got 20/20 vision. However, with advances in technology and surgical techniques, the results we get today with vision correction surgery have completely changed. Our expectation now is that almost everyone who has vision correction surgery will be able to see 20/20 without glasses. The only exception is that some patients might need reading glasses; otherwise, almost everyone who undergoes vision correction surgery won’t even own a pair of glasses anymore. In fact, the majority of our patients now see better than 20/20—a result we refer to as “super vision” or “supranormal vision.”

This brings me to the first theme of this book: if you are like most people, you can get rid of your glasses safely and permanently. There are a variety of surgical procedures that can enable you to get rid of your glasses; these include procedures such as LASIK, PRK, refractive lens exchange, and contact lens implants. With the right procedure, you can wake up in the morning with clear vision every day. You can open the medicine cabinet and scoop all the contacts lens solutions directly into the trash can. You can lose your glasses…on purpose.

I should note, however, that not everyone should have vision correction surgery. Some people have medical conditions that disqualify them. Others have needs or expectations that simply can’t be met by today’s surgical procedures. Also, although these procedures are remarkably safe, there are risks, such as night-vision disturbances. These risks need to be balanced against the benefits of surgery in each person individually.

The second theme of the book is: even though vision correction surgery is a modern miracle, the decision to have it should be made carefully, and you need to choose a vision correction procedure that is uniquely customized for you. Every pair of eyes is different. What is right for one person is not right for another. Most people want optimal distance vision, but for others, close-up vision for reading is more important.

If you are contemplating vision correction surgery, you will want to explore which procedure is best for your eyes, your needs, and your overall health. I encourage you to learn exactly what is involved in a procedure, find out what results you can expect, and also learn about all the possible risks and complications. Finally, make sure you choose an experienced, qualified surgeon—someone you can really trust.

I wrote this book to provide you with an easy to understand educational tool that will answer your questions about today’s most popular vision correction surgical procedures, including LASIK, implantable contact lenses, and everything in between. I hope you’ll find it helpful.

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