LASIK is highly successful and there’s very little pain, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. That’s why JacksonEye in Lake Villa has begun conducting a genetic test to determine whether LASIK surgery is a safe procedure for their patients.
“If someone was identified as positive for the genetic mutation I would advise against having the surgery and encourage them to take protective measures,” said ophthalmologist Mitch Jackson, founder of JacksonEye.
Since 1993, Jackson said he’s has performed more than 32,000 LASIK surgeries and 20,000 cataract surgeries.
Carrie Newsom, a busy Lindenhurst mom of four young children, went to JacksonEye to address vision problems related to astigmatism. Contacts weren’t an option because of her allergies. She wore glasses for 25 years but became frustrated how they made daily activities, like exercising and playing with her kids, more difficult. And getting up in the middle of the night fumbling around for the glasses wasn’t fun either, she said.
“I’d go to the gym and have to take my glasses off to workout and I couldn’t recognize people I know or see the TV in from of me,” Newsom said.
Newsom’s cheeks were swabbed for DNA and her test came back negative for Granular Corneal Dystrophy, meaning she was able to go forward with LASIK surgery. “It’s amazing. I can see clearly,” Newsom said. Admitting she was skeptical at first, she called the surgery “life-changing.” The staff gave her a teddy bear to hold while each eye was treated, a three-second process for each eye. “It’s so quick,” Newsome said. “The worst part was to see the doctor cleaning your eyeballs.”
Dr.Jackson explained that Granular Corneal Dystrophy type 1 (GCD1) and type 2 (GCD2) is an eye disease that causes cloudiness, from grey-white granular protein deposits on the corneas. It can lead to loss of clear vision, he said. “The Avellino DNA test for LASIK safety reduces the risk of patients with the GCD mutation having post-operative impairment in their vision,” Jackson said.
While only one in 1,000 people worldwide will test positive, he still insists anyone considering LASIK surgery get tested. “I’ve had no one testing positive so far, but based on statistics and genetics, we will eventually see one,” Jackson said.
Newsom said she’s thrilled with her new outlook on life. Now she’s able to hop on a bike for a bike ride with her children and they don’t have to wait around for mom to find her glasses. “I don’t need to worry about the dog chewing on them or forgetting them some place. I can just go,” Newsom said.