Making the decision to get laser eye surgery is an important step in improving your vision, eliminating the need for corrective lenses, and improving overall quality of life. Every year, thousands of people across the age spectrum opt for LASIK (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis) as the solution for their vision problems.
Advancements in laser eye surgery technology have made the entire procedure quick, straightforward, and relatively painless. However, there are some notable side effects that come along with having the procedure done, and there is a chance that it may need to be performed again at a later date.
These, among other concerns, are just a few facts about LASIK you should know before getting laser eye surgery. Read on to get the full scoop.
LASIK Safety and Effectiveness
First things first: LASIK has been shown to be very, very safe. Complications that result from having the surgery done are few and far between, and when the procedure is performed in a clinical environment with sterile equipment, major complications are even rarer.
LASIK is also very effective. Most of the people who have had the procedure done report very high satisfaction ratings, even years down the road.
This all being said, it’s worth noting that there is a very real risk of blindness or infection, though the incidences of these serious complications are incredibly rare. When it comes to minor complications, though, the reality is that LASIK does come with a relatively high rate of annoying side effects. For most, these minor effects are just that: minor.
These can include:
- Dry eye (sometimes chronic). It’s common for LASIK patients to need eyedrop supplementation in the days and weeks after having the surgical procedure performed. In some cases, ongoing use of specially formulated, lubricating eye drops is required.
- Haloed vision (light rings). Seeing halos or blurry rings around light sources is a very common side effect for those who’ve had the LASIK procedure performed on them. This effect can be more noticeable at night, and unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done about it.
- Inflammation and swelling. While swelling and inflammation is minor and often resolves fairly quickly, it is still a notable side effect that should be taken into consideration before deciding to proceed with the surgery.
One of the most common misconceptions about the LASIK procedure is that it is a permanent fix for vision issues. This is not true. LASIK can be incredibly beneficial at restoring vision clarity for many people (even those with astigmatism), however, it’s positive effects are not lifelong.
As we age, the cornea and other layers of the front of the eye will naturally degrade over time. For this reason, even those who have had LASIK performed in the past may need reading glasses or contacts as time wears on.
What about having another LASIK procedure performed at a later date? This is definitely an option, and some patients wind up having two or even three or more procedures conducted over a span of multiple years.
After the third or subsequent LASIK surgeries, there comes a point when the LASIK procedure will not offer any benefit to the patient. Everyone is different, which is why it’s crucial to speak with an ophthalmologist prior to getting in touch with a LASIK surgery center, just to see if you’re a candidate for the procedure in the first place.
Who Is the Ideal LASIK Candidate?
Those individuals who are between the ages of 25 and 40 who use corrective lenses like contacts or eyeglasses are located in the ‘sweet spot’ for having an effective LASIK procedure. After the early 40s, natural degradation of the cornea can be prohibitive for LASIK surgery.
Also—it’s important to remember that very few insurance companies, if any, are going to cover the costs required for the procedure. And, speaking of costs, LASIK costs can vary quite widely, depending on where you look. There are plenty of LASIK surgery centers that claim to offer the procedure for as little as a few hundred dollars per eye, however, it’s highly suggested that you don’t go looking for the cheapest possible LASIK provider.
And, as always, do your due diligence in looking at patient reviews, Better Business Bureau standings, and other consumer satisfaction-related information before you agree to make any sort of prepayment for the surgery.
At the end of the day, LASIK eye surgery can be an incredibly beneficial procedure for many people. Hopefully, this article has given you a few things to think about before taking the leap and going under the laser.