For an emergency response team—police officers, firefighters, paramedics, the military, and emergency medical technicians—good vision can be a matter of life and death.
First responders who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses often find them a hindrance, or even a hazard, that can interfere with their ability to do their job. A police officer can lose his or her glasses while attempting to arrest a suspect, placing their lives and those they are protecting in jeopardy. This isn’t a general example; it has already happened.
The harsh environments endured by firefighters in an emergency response team, with smoke, water and debris flying around, can make contact lenses blurry and the heat during a fire can make lenses uncomfortable to wear.
For these reasons, many emergency responders are turning to vision correction surgery, such as LASIK, in order to perform their jobs more safely and effectively. For those who are thinking about having the procedure, here are some commonly-asked questions and answers:
- What is LASIK? Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) uses laser technology to reshape the cornea to reduce or eliminate the visual irregularities that cause nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism. Many patients see better after LASIK than with their glasses or contacts.
- Is the surgery safe? LASIK is a safe and effective vision correction option. In fact, LASIK is safer than contact lenses. Clinical data reports that the risk of vision loss due to infection is much higher with contact lenses than LASIK.
- Is everyone a candidate? While today’s LASIK technology means more people than ever can take advantage of its vision correcting abilities, not everyone is a candidate. Approximately 20 percent of patients are not candidates for the procedure.
- How can I find out more? Because it is an elective procedure, LASIK is a personal choice and one that should be thoroughly considered. Become an informed patient by carefully researching the procedure so you understand what LASIK can and cannot do. You can find more information here.
- What type of surgeon is right for me? Do your research about LASIK, schedule consultations, and select the most highly-qualified surgeon, one who has experience with emergency response teams and their needs, if possible.