NASA Approves LASIK

Nasa Astronauts Lasik

For all those who looked at their spectacle lenses as a barrier to their dreams of becoming a pilot and perhaps even astronauts, there is finally some good news. NASA has followed in the footsteps of the Navy and Air Force and has finally approved the use of advanced LASIK surgery to correct vision defects and qualify people for space missions.

It didn't come easy and NASA did a huge amount of their own research in the subject before coming to the conclusion that All Laser LASIK technologies were good enough to be implemented on astronauts. NASA spent years reviewing large amounts of military clinical data. The result of their research is that a combination of femtosecond lasers for LASIK flap creation, combined with wave front guided excimer lasers for corneal sculpting offers the best safety standards and provides the best results.

It took NASA a long time to come to this conclusion. LASIK procedures were approved for general consumer use over a decade ago and as per latest estimates over 12 million LASIK procedures have been performed in the US since then. This makes it the most popular elective surgery in the country, far ahead of the "nose job."

LASIK procedures have been continually improving over time and with the development of the all laser procedure, NASA thought that it was time to consider widening their astronaut pool by seeing if it would be possible to include those who have vision defects that could be rectified by LASIK treatment in the ranks of those who could travel into space.

The fact that NASA has finally approved the use of LASIK procedures means a great deal to laymen. NASA has approved the treatment for all its astronauts - mission commanders, pilots, and mission and payload specialists. These people, from the time they blast off, to the time they return to Earth days, and sometimes weeks later, face extreme conditions. From the high G forces of take off to the zero gravity conditions of outer space they experience it all. Their work in space, whatever it may be, requires perfect eyesight and the ability to work under stressful conditions (including stress of the eyes) for long periods. And remember if something goes wrong in space, there is no emergency room around the corner to go to.

NASA had to be absolutely, unconditionally satisfied that LASIK procedures would not only give their astronauts the perfect 20/20 vision they needed but that there was no risk of any problems developing later on. NASA's approval of the procedure provides proof that modern LASIK technology exceeds all the required safety and effectiveness standards for even the most arduous applications. That means that for the average man in the street there is now nothing left to fear. Yes, LASIK is a surgical treatment, but with its proven track record it is one of the safest ones around. These standards of safety and effectiveness of LASIK procedures is the highest possible. And that applies not only here on Earth, but in outer space as well. The first man to set foot on Mars may be someone who had a LASIK procedure before starting out on his long journey.

The modern LASIK procedure is called the all laser one because the femtosecond laser now replaces the hand held microkeratome blade that was previously used. Using this computer guided, ultra accurate and ultra fast laser to create the corneal flaps - the first step in the process - virtually eliminates the possibilities of any sight threatening complications. The femtosecond laser creates the optimal corneal surface below the flap. This means that the second step, involving the wave front guided excimer laser first mapping and then custom correcting the vision is almost fool proof. And the sophistication of this system means that the result is a huge improvement in the quality of vision as compared to using glasses or even contact lenses. Those who had 20/20 vision with their glasses on and who have undergone the LASIK procedure say that their vision is now far better than what they had with their glasses and the degree of comfort that they now have is something they could not have imagined earlier.

And by the way, if you are planning to have a LASIK procedure done and apply to NASA, you had better do it fast. There are millions like you who thought that their eyesight had denied them a chance to try to travel into outer space. Now they all have the same chance that you have. And they will also be having the procedure done and applying to NASA. You're going to have a lot of competition!

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