To risk it or not?
Technology has come to our rescue time and again to remedy our problems. Despite its benefits, there are always certain risks one should weigh. A...
There is much debate over whether lactating mothers should undergo laser eye surgery or not. It is important to weigh the risks and effects it could have on the child, and choose the best option for both mother and child
Technology has come to our rescue time and again to remedy our problems. Despite its benefits, there are always certain risks one should weigh. A procedure that involves laser results in cause for worry, for one wonders about the effects it might have.
There is debate over whether laser treatments are advisable for lactating mothers. Several doctors recommend expectant mothers to avoid laser eye procedures because there are chances of it affecting the child. Dr Kasu Prasad Reddy, Chief Surgeon and Chairman, Maxivision Eye Hospitals says, “In medical terms, there are two types of contraindications – absolute and relative. While absolute stands for one that is life-threatening and should be avoided, relative is that which is acceptable. I consider it as an absolute contraindication in this case.”
LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) surgery requires the use of steroids afterwards, and it is these steroids that can be transmitted through the mother’s milk to cause harm to the child. However, for those who don’t mind risking it, an alternative – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAI) procedure is performed. Dr KP Reddy says, “I am cautious about performing the surgery on a lactating mother.
Although it is rare that you hear of a major problem related to it, medical research advises against it, and so do I. Instead, ICL (implantable collamer lens) is an alternative.” He further explains that it is not the laser itself that causes harm, but the effects from the usage of steroids post-surgery. He advises that mothers can undergo the procedure immediately after the lactation ends.
Points to note for anyone who wishes to undergo LASIK procedure:
- First find out if the treatment is suitable to you or not. 33 per cent of people are born with ‘pink cornea’, where the thickness of cornea is not enough to perform surgery. The thickness needs to be 500 microns or above.
- Go to a doctor who has all the technologies available –from ICLs to LASIK – so that he can advise alternatives if required.
- Surgery can be performed only for certain age groups. After the 19th birthday for girls, and after the 20th birthday for boys.
- More importantly, one should go for a check-up every year after the surgery.