Lasik Q & A

Why Accutane Blemishes Your Potential for LASIK Surgery

LASIK has been a life-changing procedure for thousands of patients with imperfect vision. However, no procedure is perfect, and any responsible doctor will advise you against taking unnecessary risks. If you suffer from acne and are using Accutane to treat your condition, you may want to think twice about LASIK surgery.

Doctors have long advised that patients with structural abnormalities in their eyes or diseases or conditions that affect the health and regular functionality of the eye may not be suitable candidates for refractive surgery. Now, thanks to a study conducted by the University of Columbia-Missouri, doctors believe that Accutane use also poses an added risk.

Accutane, a product of the Roche Company, is one of the most popular acne medications on the market. But eye surgeons believe that Accutane may encourage the development of conditions like dry eye, and that the prolonged use of Accutane may lead to dangerous complications after LASIK surgery. The University of Columbia study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology’s January edition, showed that most ophthalmologists neglect to determine if their patients are also Accutane users. This oversight can lead to disastrous results.

The use of Accutane as far back as six months prior to refractive surgery may complicate the procedure and post-op recovery. LASIK candidates that are determined to have the procedure should stop use at least six months in advance and should discontinue use until at least six months following surgery. This gives your eyes an adequate time frame for recovery. Your dermatologist may be able to recommend an alternative medication for the year surrounding your operation.

The risk also extends to patients that have already had the surgery. If you have had LASIK within the last six months and your dermatologist has prescribed Accutane, you may want to delay starting treatment or seek other treatments.

Both acne treatment and refractive surgery are constantly advancing sciences, so it is possible that a less cumbersome solution will soon be available to patients that wish to participate in both treatments. You may choose to wait and see if a better option is available, or consult with your skin and eye doctors to confirm your risk level. Do not hide this information from your surgeon, as he has only your best interests in mind. If LASIK surgery is a personal priority, then the safest plan is to either stop or change your use of medication. Many LASIK patients think perfect sight is worth the inconvenience.

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