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Does lasik work as well in older patients?

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Lasik is being used more often in older adults than it had been previously, but some studies have shown that, as patients age, the laser nomograms need to be adjusted. Thus, researchers from Harvard Medical School’s Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and from Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston and the University of Illinois at Chicago decided to look more closely at the efficacy of lasik in older patients.

They examined the outcomes in 424 patients between 40 and 69 years old. Between January 1999 and September 2005, a single surgeon performed the procedures with an IntraLase femtosecond laser or Hansatome microkeratome, and a Visx Star or Bausch & Lomb Technolas 217z excimer laser. Procedures were performed on 710 eyes, 511 nearsighted and 199 farsighted.

To compare differences tied to age, the researchers divided the patients into the following three age groups: 40 to 49 years old (average age 45), 50 to 59 years old (average age 53) and 60 to 69 years old (average age 63). They found a trend toward final best spectacle-corrected visual acuity worse than that in younger patients, as well as higher retreatment rates; however, safety, efficacy and predictability were comparable among the groups. At the final follow-up, the percent of eyes with 20/30 or better uncorrected visual acuity ranged from 80 to 100 percent for each age group in the study. No eyes lost more than two lines of best spectacle-corrected visual acuity, and only nine eyes lost two lines. The work is scheduled for publication in Ophthalmology.

May 2007
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