1. Have Many People have had LASIK Surgery?
More than 5,000,000 Americans have had the LASIK procedure and the number continues to increase substantially every year.
2. Is LASIK Safer Than Contacts?
More than 30 million Americans use contact lenses. Contact lenses do present potential risks. In a recent study, which included an advisory member from the FDA, suggested that prolonged use of contacts can represent a risk to eye health. In the past six years the FDA has posted an increasing number of advisories concerning risks associated with contact lenses. Concerns range from corneal ulcers and eye infections that usually develop quickly and can in some rare cases, lead to blindness.
3. Can I Really Get Rid Of My Glasses?
Most people over age 18 who suffer from farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism can be helped. If you are over 40 years of age and wear reading glasses, or have bifocals, you may need to continue to wear reading glasses following LASIK surgery. A technique called monovision correction may allow you to reduce the need for reading glasses. A thorough eye exam is the best way to determine if LASIK can achieve your expectations. The exam would include an accurate refraction, corneal thickness measurement and pupil size measurement to ensure that LASIK is right for you. Your doctor would discuss your goals and expectations, as well as the risks and benefits of the procedure.
4. Am I a Good Candidate for LASIK?
LASIK surgeons screen their patients very carefully. Mainly because not everybody is a good candidate for LASIK and surgery performed on a poor candidate is more likely to give poor results. By using pre-operative technology for screening candidates for the procedure, a LASIK surgeon lowers any risk of complications. Though most people are good candidates, there are some conditions which would preclude one from being able to have LASIK. If you have a pre-existing eye condition – such as advanced glaucoma, advanced cataracts, corneal disease, or a corneal thinning disorder – you would not be a good candidate. Conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus and other immune disorders are also a no no.
5. Will it Hurt? When Can I Return to Work?
LASIK is virtually painless. A preoperative sedative pill takes the edge off the anxiety that some people feel before the procedure. Most patients report feeling pressure for a few seconds during the procedure. The LASIK surgery itself is very brief, only a few minutes for each eye. The next day most people will be impressed by how well they can see. Most people are able to return to work within 24-48 hours following their LASIK procedure.
6. What Is PRK?
Procedures such as “Epi-LASIK” and “LASEK” are forms of PRK: a type of vision correction where the laser treatment is done on top of the eye, instead of under the protective flap used in LASIK. PRK is necessary for certain eye conditions where the cornea is too thin to create a protective flap. The PRK procedure is less comfortable than LASIK. Although the outcome of PRK is the same, it can take longer to achieve the level of vision that LASIK can deliver.
7. Is all Laser Vision Correction the Same?
Many people are under the impression LASIK done by any surgeon is all the same. It is the surgeon’s experience, laser technology, diagnostic equipment and follow-up care which are vital when undergoing laser vision correction. Laser vision correction will affect the way you see for the rest of your life. You should make your decision to have laser vision carefully by choosing an experienced surgeon and a center that has stood the test of time.
8. What About Nighttime Side Effects?
Nighttime side-effects can include halos, starbursts, glare around lights, and blurry vision. These side effects are mostly reported in the early days of LASIK. Rarely some of these side effects can occur in the day. These problems usually diminish in the first few months as the eye heals. In extreme cases, additional touch-up (enhancement) procedures might be necessary.
With the advent of advanced FDA technology, treatment zones have been expanded, resulting in fewer nighttime side-effects. In fact, in FDA clinical trials, studies showed that four times as many people were satisfied with their night vision as they were with their glasses or contacts. In other words, the chances of long-term night vision problems were greatly reduced due to laser vision correction.
9. Can I Afford LASIK?
Although LASIK is a significant investment up front it compared very favorably compared to a lifetime of purchasing glasses and/or contact lenses, an exact cost estimate is only possible after an examination and consultation. Our office has several payment plans to make it affordable for every pocket.
10. What are the Risks?
Although LASIK complications are rare, as with any procedure there are some risks. Experienced LASIK surgeons report complication rates of less than 1%. Many ophthalmologists believe the long-term risk of wearing contact lenses can exceed the one-time risk of having LASIK by a factor as high as 5 times.