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Health Beat: Seeing clearly: What's your vision IQ?

Seeing Clearly: Vision IQ

BOSTON - Glasses, contacts, even surgery, we'll try anything to improve vision.

"The best thing to do in either, for either case, is to do your homework before you see a doctor," said Dr. Ernest W. Kornmehl, medical director, Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates.

But what's your vision IQ? True or false: LASIK is a one-time procedure.

False. About 10.5 percent of LASIK patients in the U.S. require a re-treatment or enhancement. This applies to patients who have severe cases of eye conditions.

"You should ask, 'What kind of re-treatment rate do you have?'" said Dr. Sheri L. Rowen, director of ophthalmology, Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.

True or false: as long as your eye prescription is stable, you're a good candidate for LASIK. 

False. Those with thin corneas and diabetics with reduced corneal sensation should avoid LASIK.

What about contacts? If your contact is dried out, you can use saliva in a pinch. Doctors said with all the bacteria in your mouth, you're just asking for an infection.

"Infections are brutal," Rowen said.

Finally, true or false: sleeping in your lenses is okay as long as they're approved for that purpose.

"No patient should ever sleep in their contact lenses. It's well documented there's a seven times higher risk of corneal ulceration," Kornmehl said. It could also lead to loss of vision.

Contacts and laser surgery aren't your only options for improved vision.

Consumer Reports found implantable lenses had similar benefits to laser surgery, but implants are reversible and there's no risk of damaging your night vision. No procedure, however, is risk-free. Implantable lenses may increase your risk of cataracts.

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