For those that wear glasses or contacts, the thought of ditching your lenses seems almost too good to be true. But with LASIK surgery, many are throwing out their corrective lenses and never looking back.
And with a success rate of 99 percent of patients achieving better than 20/40 vision and over 90 percent at 20/20 or better, the stats make it sound even better.
But how do you know if the procedure will work for you? And ultimately, is LASIK worth it?
Let’s look at what the procedure is and some of the pros and cons you should consider when deciding if LASIK is right for you.
What Is LASIK Surgery?
LASIK surgery is a laser eye surgery and one of the most commonly performed procedures to treat farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism.
It works by reshaping the cornea to let light enter the eye and focus correctly onto the retina. This results in clearer vision.
During the procedure, a flap is created in the cornea which folds back to allow the doctor access to the underlying cornea. Corneal tissue is then removed to help reshape the cornea so that it can more accurately focus light onto the retina.
Once that is complete, the flap will lay back into place and the eye is given time to heal.
Pro: Your Vision Will Improve
Many LASIK patients can regain 20/20 vision after the procedure. Though results will vary depending on the strength of the prescription. But most patients should expect to achieve the quality of vision they had with their glasses or contact lenses.
Even if you have a higher prescription and aren’t able to achieve the 20/20 vision, your vision will still be greatly improved. There’s a very good chance LASIK will have you functioning without the use of glasses.
Con: You May Need LASIK Again in the Future
Vision can still change over time, especially for those who have the higher prescription before surgery.
A minor decrease in vision may happen. But even if it does, it will never go back to the same degree it was before surgery.
Having a second LASIK procedure to correct any vision changes is a discussion you should have with your eye doctor. A second procedure carries increased and different risks.
Pro: You Get Fast Results
Your vision may be a little blurry directly after the procedure while your eyes adjust, but many patients notice clearer results within a few hours.
By the next day the results are even better. And within 48 hours, most normal activity can resume.
Con: There Are Risks with the Procedure
As with any medical procedure, there are risks involved you should be aware of.
Dry eyes are a common side effect. Patients may experience it for up to three months after the procedure. Rarely does it become permanent.
Others will have problems seeing at night. There might be a glare or halos around bright lights. Again, many who experience this only have the problem for up to a few weeks after the procedure.
Pro: You Can Put Away Your Contacts and Glasses
Gone are the days of having to wake up and put on your glasses just to see the time on your alarm clock.
No more fumbling with contacts and having to stick them in your eyes on a daily basis.
You’ll be able to enjoy activities, such as swimming, without worry. Your newfound freedom from both your glasses and contacts will feel life-changing.
Con: Your Flaps Can Get Injured
The flaps created in your eyes during a LASIK procedure are not secure. So it makes sense that patients shouldn’t rub their eyes while the flaps have time to heal.
What most people don’t realize is that the flaps can still get dislodged, even years after the procedure.
A simple poke of the eye with a fingernail is all it takes to dislodge the flap from the eye. If that should happen, contact your eye doctor immediately.
Pro: It Is a Fast and Safe Procedure
LASIK is an outpatient procedure that typically takes about 20 minutes to perform. You don’t have to worry about it being an all-day procedure.
And while many people have fears of a laser procedure to the eye, it’s really quite safe. The machines will shut off in the event a patient makes any sudden movements. So the risk of error or injury is very low.
Con: Not Everyone Is a Good Candidate for the Procedure
In general, LASIK works best on those who do not have unusual vision problems. And for those with up to a moderate degree of refractive error.
Also, once you reach 40 and over, LASIK is unsuitable. Aging eyes tend to become more stiff and can have difficulty seeing things up close.
If you find you are not a good candidate for LASIK, talk to your eye doctor. There may be other procedure options that will work for you.
Pro: It’s Cost Effective
Think of how much you’ve paid out for new glasses or contacts every year. Now add in all the solutions and accessories that come with it. And how many times have you had your glasses repaired or replaced?
Chances are, the cost of LASIK surgery is very comparable to what you’re already spending on glasses and contacts over time. Plus, that cost can be decreased if your insurance helps pay or you have a Flexible Spending Account.
Con: Most Insurance Plans Will Not Cover the Cost of Procedure
Unfortunately, most insurance plans consider LASIK to be an elective procedure and will not cover the costs.
Check with your particular insurance company to be sure. And if they tell you they don’t pay for laser eye surgery, don’t worry. Many LASIK facilities have payment plans and financing available to those who qualify.
Be sure to know the cost and what your options are.
Is LASIK Worth It?
When asking yourself “Is LASIK worth it?”, be sure to talk to your eye doctor. They can help answer any questions and help you weigh the pros and cons of having LASIK surgery.
Ready to find out if LASIK is right for you? Find the location nearest you and schedule an appointment today!