Lincoln Sailors Benefit From Laser Eye Surgery


Story Number: NNS090729-09Release Date: 7/29/2009 4:38:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Recruit Adam Randolph, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) are benefiting from corrective eye surgery at Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB), one of only seven refractive surgery centers throughout the United States capable of providing Navy personnel with vision correction procedures.

Lt. Cmdr. Robert Gustafson, a member of Lincoln's Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department, recently received laser assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK), at NHB.

"Before the procedure my vision was 20/400, now I'm reading 20/20 after 30 days," said Gustafson.

Gustafson also said the NHB refractive surgical team was professional and competent.

"After setting up an appointment with the optometry clinic, you'll get a very extensive eye exam to determine eligibility. If eligible, the team will educate you on the risks and different procedures available," said Gustafson.

Currently the Navy uses two refractive procedures, LASIK and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), both available at NHB.

With LASIK, the cornea is split with a blade to form a flap. The inside of the cornea is then treated with an excimer laser.

PRK combines the use of a surgical blade and the excimer laser to remove tissue from the surface of the cornea.

Although both procedures may seem painful, they are, at most, mildly uncomfortable.

"I wouldn't say there's any pain with LASIK," Gustafson said. "Before surgery, you'll get a post-op appointment where medication will be prescribed, and they'll go over procedures about exactly what will happen during the surgery."

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW) Dennis M. Capiendo works in Lincoln's Health Services Department as an aviation medicine technician.

Capiendo says he usually provides between 2-3 people a week with information regarding the surgery.

"Over the past three weeks, roughly 30 personnel have picked up a handout, but less than 10 have actually turned in their paperwork and are scheduled to have the exam done," said Capiendo.

Corrective or refractive eye surgery aims to correct visual acuity, with the objective of reducing or eliminating the need for eyeglasses or contacts.

The surgery not only corrects vision, but also increases mission readiness by eliminating the risk and hassle of wearing glasses in high-risk areas such as the flight deck.

For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.

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RELATED PHOTOS
Capt. Joseph Pasternak, an ophthalmology surgeon at National Naval Medical Center Bethesda, lines up the laser on Marine Corps Lt. Col. Lawrence Ryder's eye before beginning LASIK IntraLase surgery.
Official U.S. Navy file photo.
August 2, 2007
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