How Heat And Humidity Can Affect Your Laser Surgery

Heat Humidity and Lasik Can living in a hot, humid climate affect your LASIK outcome? It's possible. At least, that's what researchers at Wake Forest University suggest. According to a small study of 191 patients (368 eyes) receiving LASIK procedures, heat and humidity may affect patients' outcomes.

The study, conducted in North Carolina, where the heat and humidity is often quite high in the summer, sheds new light on patient after-care needs following surgery. Twelve different variables were evalutated in the study, and of these, indoor humidity played the largest role in determining patient outcome. In fact, the study found that a 10% increase in treatment room humidity meant 9% more patients would require a follow up procedure. Outdoor humidity in the weeks before surgery also influenced LASIK results.

Overall, 15.5% of the eyes treated required a second LASIK procedure. Almost none of the eyes needed follow up surgery during dry, winter months, compared to 50% of those treated during the most humid month. Overcorrection was more common during the winter, while under-correction was more likely during the summer months.

Why the discrepancy? Additional moisture in the air and in the cornea can affect the power of the laser and its ability to remove the proper amount of tissue.

Should You Avoid LASIK In Hot Weather?
The study does not suggest that patients should avoid surgery during summer months, however it does suggest that LASIK surgeons consider the effects of heat and humidity on their patient's corneas.

The good news is LASIK equipment can be easily adjusted to compensate for changes in the cornea resulting from heat and humidity. In fact, the companies manufacturing LASIK equipment provide specific instructions that suggest surgeons should monitor room temperature and humidity and adjust their equipment when performing surgery in hot and humid conditions to optimize patient outcomes.

What You Can Do To Protect Your Eyesight
To avoid the risk of under or over correction, if you plan to have surgery when the weather is hot and humid, make sure you talk with your eye surgeon at length about the outcomes of surgery and possible effects of heat and humidity. Ask them if they monitor their equipment and adjust their procedure for patients undergoing LASIK during hot and humid months.

If your doctor does not provide you with an adequate answer, seek out another surgeon, one familiar with the effects of heat and humidly on LASIK eye surgery. If you are uncertain about having LASIK performed in the hot and humid months, wait until the winter to have your surgery. This is the simplest, easiest and most sensible way to avoid problems associated with under or over correction following LASIK surgery during warm summer months.

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