About 700,000 Americans get LASIK vision correction surgery each year, making it the country’s most sought after refractive surgical procedure. Still, misconceptions about LASIK confuse many folks, so we thought we’d clear up the most common myths about LASIK to help you decide if laser vision correction might be the right option for you.
Myth #1: LASIK is a new procedure with unknown long-term consequences.
Truth: Millions of LASIK surgeries have been performed over the past 25+ years. LASIK has been FDA-approved since 1999, and has an amazingly high 96% satisfaction rate among patients, the highest rating of any elective surgical procedure.
Myth #2: I’m too old for LASIK.
Truth: As long as your eyes are healthy and free from conditions like cataracts, laucoma and macular degeneration, you are likely a candidate for LASIK. The procedure is popular among people in their 40s, 50s and 60s, but has also been performed successfully on folks in their 70s who are tired of being dependent on prescription lenses.
Myth #3: LASIK is mainly for nearsighted people.
Truth: Modern LASIK can correct a range of refractive errors, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, even astigmatism. Many patients have the option of elect custom correction to achieve monovision, blended vision and multifocal vision, relieving some people of the need for glasses altogether.
Myth #4: LASIK is painful.
Truth: LASIK is quick, taking only minutes per eye, and is painless. Prior to treatment, numbing drops are instilled in the eye to prevent discomfort. While some patients report feeling some mild pressure for a second or two, it is brief and not painful. People who may feel anxious about the procedure can request a mild sedative beforehand.
Myth #5: LASIK can result in blindness.
Truth: Easily the scariest and least accurate myth is that LASIK can cause blindness. Of the millions of LASIK procedures performed around the world, there hasn’t been a single recorded occurrence of LASIK causing blindness. LASIK refractive surgery treats only the surface layer of the eye to correct the shape of the cornea. Complications from LASIK are exceptionally uncommon and are usually correctible, and again, none have resulted in blindness.
Myth #6: Recovery takes a long time.
Truth: Absolutely not! This outpatient procedure produces vision improvement in as little as 15 minutes after it is over, with full recovery within 24 hours. Immediately after surgery, the treated eye may feel mildly irritated. Most people take it easy for the rest of the day following their procedure and wake up to dramatically improved vision that will continue to get even better over the following few days, providing the vast majority of LASIK patients with 20/20 vision. Nearly all LASIK patients resume normal activities the day after surgery.
Myth #7: The results don’t last long.
Truth: The vast majority of LASIK surgeries result in permanent vision correction. LASIK cannot prevent future age-related changes in vision, such as presbyopia, cataracts and macular degeneration, which may occur with normal aging.
Myth #8: With LASIK, I’ll never again need prescription lenses.
Truth: As stated above, LASIK can’t stop the progression of normal age-related changes to the eyes. Most people over 40 require reading glasses at some time in life and some may still require lenses for low-light activities such as driving at night.
Myth #9: I can get LASIK for $250 per eye.
Truth: Sadly, this is a marketing scheme. Ads touting cheap LASIK are a ploy designed to lure you in so the upselling can begin. Want eye-mapping to accurately correct your specific vision problems? That’s extra. Want current laser technology instead of outdated methods that are less effective and may not be as safe? Also extra. Crucial follow-up care? Again, extra. By the time you sign up for what you actually want (safe, effective vision correction), the price ends up being far more than advertised, and often comes with an inexperienced surgeon – after all, what experienced, respected LASIK surgeon would want to be involved in that kind of bait-and-switch trickery?
Check out the satisfaction ratings of so-called discount LASIK centers on consumer protection websites and you’ll find some very unhappy outcomes – and not much in the way of savings.
Myth #10: I can get top-quality LASIK for $1000.
Truth: It’s also common to see LASIK promoted for about $1,000 per eye, and it’s all laser surgery, so it’s probably the same, right? Sadly, no. That low price applies only to the correction of mild nearsightedness. More common problems, like significant nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism will cost substantially more, and may be treated with older, less precise technology. And again, that low price won’t cover necessary “extras” like follow-up care and any fine-tuning of your vision. When it comes to your one-and-only set of eyes, it’s imperative to choose quality, safety and accuracy over possible (and questionable) “savings.”
Myth #11: LASIK is too expensive for my budget.
Truth: Advances in refractive surgery technology have made LASIK affordable for more people than ever before. Over the long term, LASIK may prove to be more affordable than other forms of vision correction, such as contact lenses. LASIK may be covered in whole or in part by vision insurance coverage, and Lake Eye offers financing plans designed to compliment nearly any budget.
Myth #12: LASIK is the same procedure everywhere.
Truth: Lake Eye’s Board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Vinay Gutti has performed thousands of successful refractive surgeries, and is the first local eye surgeon to utilize iDesign custom eye-mapping technology, which is 25 times more precise that standard eye measurements, for unparalleled accuracy and clarity. iLASIK presents a one-of-a-kind custom elevation in LASIK vision correction tailored specifically to your eyes and vision goals.
We hope this article has answered your questions about LASIK, but if you’d like to know more, please call Lake Eye for more information. Our friendly staff is always happy to help.
352-775-1533 . LakeEye.com