If you or a loved one is considering LASIK, you probably have a lot of questions. This basic guide to LASIK provides an overview and lets you focus on what is most important- deciding if LASIK is right for you.
LASIK is an elective procedure. No one needs to have LASIK. But many patients seek LASIK to achieve 20/20 vision without eyeglasses or contact lenses. Just like other fields of medicine, a patient should consider the non-surgical solutions before looking in to LASIK.
Most LASIK patients are frustrated with their need for eyeglasses. Usually LASIK candidates are not interested in contacts, and/or contact lenses are just not for them any longer due to discomfort, dryness or just the hassle.
LASIK treats nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism (the anomalies found in a normal eyeglass prescription). LASIK works by reshaping the curve of the eye’s cornea (the cornea is where a contact lens is placed on the eye). Patients wear eyeglasses and contact lenses because their corneas are not the correct curve for the length of their eyeball.
LASIK makes the patient’s corneal curve more appropriate for the length of the patient’s eye. Once the eye’s corneal curve is treated, the patient customarily has less of a refractive error (eyeglass prescription). This usually results in the patient seeing 20/20 or better without their eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Here are 10 things a LASIK patient should know before having LASIK. The most important factor required for a LASIK patient to have an enjoyable LASIK experience is that they feel comfortable with the LASIK provider that they select to perform their LASIK procedure.
10 Things to Know Before You Have LASIK
1. The quality of your candidacy for LASIK is a key factor in predicting your success with LASIK. Be sure to choose a LASIK provider that specializes in LASIK diagnostic testing and treatment.*
2. LASIK is a “patient-friendly” procedure. LASIK is an in-office, outpatient procedure performed in about 15 minutes. There are no needles used (just eye drops), no stitches, and in most cases, the patient only experiences mild discomfort.
3. Over 90% of people who wear contacts lenses or eyeglasses are good candidates for LASIK. Advancements in technology allow many patients that were not candidates in the past (larger pupils and most astigmatism) to successfully have LASIK.
4. LASIK is one of the safest elective medical procedures performed in the world today. Statistically, the risk of serious complication is less than one half of one percent. *
5. The most common side effect of LASIK is dry eye, and for most patients it is temporary. Pre-operative testing and treatment (if necessary) are critical to giving the patient the best care. *
6. Custom LASIK (FDA approved in 2003) is the most advanced form of LASIK technology available and has shown to provide better visual results than the 1990s (standard or traditional) LASIK technology. *
7. It is customary to expect that 90% of LASIK patients reach 20/20 vision within 24 hours of their procedure. Most patients feel they can drive a car safely and go back to work the next day.
8. There is a wide range of fees for LASIK in any marketplace, and, because LASIK is not the same everywhere, the differences between these fees commonly reflect differences in technology used. and the care that is provided which can impact your visual result and eye health. It is important that you understand these differences and then make the decision that is best for you.
9. Monovision LASIK is an option for patients usually 40 years of age and older to allow patients to see both at distance and at near without the use of eyeglasses. *
10. Night vision has improved for patients who have LASIK. Wavefront-optimized treatments may actually improve a patient’s night vision. *
*None of these statements above replace a doctor’s consultation and they are not intended to be used in place of medical advice from a licensed eye doctor.