If you want to get rid of your glasses and contact lenses permanently, Lasik eye surgery could be the best option. This procedure uses lasers to reshape your cornea. First eye surgeons will create a corneal flap in your eye. Next, they pull back the flap to reveal your cornea. After that excimer lasers are used to treat refractive errors and allow you to see better. The final step is putting the corneal flap back in place.
The procedure began to be used around 1991 in Europe. According to an article published by the New York Times, 9.5 million Americans have undergone Lasik eye surgery. However, not everyone is a good candidate for these procedures. Your eyes have to be healthy to get Lasik surgery. If your pupils are naturally large, you are likely not a good candidate for this procedure.
It’s most commonly used to correct vision problems like myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. Myopia is the inability to see objects that are far away. Hyperopia is more commonly called farsightedness; this means people have a hard time seeing objects that are near them. Astigmatism involves seeing multiple images in your retina, it usually comes in tandem with hyperopia or myopia.
Benefits of Lasik Surgery
The main benefit of Lasik surgery is obvious; it can correct your vision problems. Another benefit is that it can be done very quickly. Most procedures are completed in less than 30 minutes. Lasik procedures don’t require total anesthesia, and patients are given only a local anesthetic. You also don’t need to spend any time in the hospital after the surgery is complete. However, it is best to take a few days off work and allow your eyes to fully heal at home. After Lasik eye surgery 80 percent of patients don’t need to use glasses or contact lenses to see clearly.
Lasik Eye Surgery Risks
- Lasik surgery can cause your eyes to become dry. This is the most common side-effect of these procedures. In some cases, the dryness can be permanent.
- It can worsen the quality of your vision. Some people have difficulties distinguishing details in darker settings. Other patients say that their vision became distorted after Lasik eye surgery.
A major risk after Lasik surgery is that the cornea doesn’t fully heal. Lasik eye surgery can damage the protective collagen bands in the eyes.
- Lasik surgery can leave patients more vulnerable to cataracts. This means that patients can go through several cataract surgeries during their lifetime.
- One of the biggest risks is having Lasik surgery on both eyes. This can increase the likelihood of losing vision in both your eyes.
- Some of the severe complications of Lasik surgery include detachment of the retina, corneal haze, and flap dislocation.
- The effects of Lasik eye surgery are rarely permanent. There is no guarantee that you won’t have to wear glasses when you get older. The positive effects of Lasik surgery lessen over time, so most patients still have to wear reading glasses after they turn 40.
- The FDA allows Lasik manufacturers to keep the results of their clinical trials private. This means we can’t be sure if the procedure is safe.
- Lasik treatments can’t be reversed, and if you experience any complications you have only a few options to treat them.
- You can still improve your vision with the help of glasses or contact lenses. It’ll save you the trouble of having surgery and you don’t need to worry about any complications.
The Journal of the American Medical Association released a report in 2017 explaining the outcomes of Lasik surgery based on patient reports. This report states that patients often experience new symptoms after having Lasik eye surgery. The FDA recently started monitoring the work of eye care clinics and sent warning letters to 17 of them for not giving complete reports on the complications of their procedures. Due to so many people experiencing complications after Lasik eye surgery, the FDA finally started monitoring medical practices more closely.
Another downside of Lasik eye surgery is the price. A consultation with an ophthalmologist can cost you around $500. The price of the procedure ranges from $1000 to $5000. But luckily many clinics offer several payment plans for patients who undergo Lasik surgery.
Despite all the downsides, there are still a lot of people who are satisfied with the results of their Lasik surgery. The most important thing is to have realistic expectations about the results of the surgery.
“Symptoms and Satisfaction of Patients in the Patient-Reported Outcomes With Laser In Situ Keratomileusis (PROWL) Studies,” Jama Network,