LASIK is the most common refractive surgery in the United States. However, there is still a lot of misinformation floating around that may be preventing patients from seeking the treatment. Let’s debunk some of these myths. This will help you make an informed decision as you seek treatment for your vision problems.
Myth #1: Anyone is a Candidate
Fact: NO, not everyone is a candidate. First off, you must be 18 years or older to be a candidate. Although, sometimes it is recommended to wait until you are even older than that. Secondly, there is no upper age limit for the procedure. However, older patients have special considerations such as the inability to see at near. Your doctor, after performing a screening, should inform you whether or not you’re a candidate. If you are, your doctor will give you options on which procedure is best.
Myth #2: LASIK is Too Expensive
Fact: Laser eye surgery does come with a price tag that can seem out of range for some people. However, this doesn’t mean that the procedure is expensive, especially if you compare it to the cost of regular glasses exams and purchasing glasses and/or contact lenses for the rest of your life. Almost always, LASIK is cheaper in the long run. Moreover, there are various payment plans for patients to take advantage of. Find out how much you can save by opting for LASIK eye surgery over wearing glasses and contacts for the rest of your life.
Myth #3: The Procedure is Too Painful
Fact: LASIK is not painful. Yes, patients might experience a degree of discomfort during the procedure, but with a few numbing drops this is usually quite minimal.
Myth #4: LASIK Has a Long Recovery Time
Fact: This is also incorrect. The recovery time for LASIK surgery varies from one patient to another, but most people will notice an improvement within as little as 15 minutes after the procedure and experience nearly complete recovery within 24 hours. Regardless, your doctor is likely to advise that you get plenty of rest and a thorough vision check before resuming vision-intensive tasks such as driving.
Myth #5: LASIK Can Cause Blindness
Fact: NO, LASIK cannot cause blindness. First off, we don’t know of a single case where a patient went blind because of going through a LASIK procedure. In fact, a recent study found that you’re 34-times more likely to go blind from contact lens infections. Most importantly, when a complication does occur it is usually because the patient did not follow the doctor’s directions during the healing process or the patient was not a good candidate but was not evaluated properly before the surgery. That’s why it is extremely important to go to a reputable surgeon with the latest equipment to decide if you’re a good candidate.
Myth #6: LASIK Can Forever End a Patient’s Need for Glasses
Fact: LASIK has been proven to be extremely effective in reducing dependence on contact lenses and glasses. The degree of improvement depends on the individual. So, whether or not you’ll need glasses after the procedure depends on how well you heal, the severity of your original prescription, and other variables. In most cases, patients with mild to moderate prescriptions attain 20/20 vision or within 1 to 2 lines of 20/20 vision on the eye chart after the procedure at distance. Whether the procedure can help you reduce your need for reading glasses depends on your age and other factors. That’s why it’s important to have a good long discussion with your surgeon about your options before having the procedure.
Myth #7: LASIK Doesn’t Last
Fact: Yes, it does. LASIK is in fact categorized as a permanent procedure. In rare occasions, nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism may return after the procedure, though it’s highly unlikely. What you must keep in mind though is that LASIK doesn’t prevent age-related vision changes. This is one of the reasons some people question the effectiveness of the procedure. LASIK doesn’t and wasn’t designed to prevent age related vision changes such as developing cataracts or macular degeneration. Rather, its sole objective is refractive correction. And here, it provides permanent results.
These LASIK myths show that generally LASIK laser vision correction surgery is a safe way to reduce your dependence on glasses or contact lenses. But to get the best results, you should discuss the procedure in detail with the LASIK surgeon after a thorough work-up to make sure you’re a good candidate and to know what your options are.