Common Eye Surgery Myths: I cannot have surgery because I am nursing
Can I still have eye surgery even though I am nursing?
While nursing mothers were excluded from LASIK and ICL FDA trials because of the theoretical risk of change in prescription after hormones change when nursing is discontinued, I have performed countless vision correction procedures on nursing mothers with stable results. While these treatments are “off-label,” I have never seen significant refractive changes when the mother has stopped nursing. While I will not do surgery on pregnant women—both because of the risk of vision changes related to changes in blood sugar associated with pregnancy, and because of the risk to the fetus related to relaxing medication at the time of surgery—the same thing does not hold true for nursing mothers. In many circumstances, I have successfully treated mothers who are looking to grow a large family; these women typically serially nurse and then get pregnant, and would essentially never have the opportunity to correct their vision until much later in life if FDA
labeling was followed. If a sedative like valium or Xanax is taken, it is important that the mother store milk prior to the procedure for use after the procedure, as these medications are secreted in the breast milk for up to 48 hours.
Dr. Paul J. Dougherty
Medical Director – Dougherty Laser Vision