How’s your vision? Do you ever wonder if LASIK or laser surgery would help? The first time I ever heard of LASIK was from a friend who decided to have it done in the 90’s when it first came out. She went to Canada for a couple days and stayed in a hotel to recuperate because it was approved in Canada before the US.
I thought that was CRAZY! Then she said, “In the recovery room, when they told me to open my eyes and read the clock I said, ‘Oh, it’s 3 o’clock’ and then I started bawling like a baby. I’ve had really poor vision my entire life – we’re talking contacts, thick glasses, etc. since I was a little kid. Now, I could see everything perfectly – just minutes after the surgery. To me, it was an absolute miracle.” At that point, her actions didn’t seem so crazy to me.
But, does everyone have that experience? Could it work for you? I had a chat with some friends from Qualsight LASIKwho helped answer some FAQs.
1) How do I know if it would work for me?
Good candidates have a mild to moderate refractive error – in other words, you’re nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism. If you’ve worn glasses or contact lenses with a stable prescription for at least one year, you could be a good candidate. There are some risk factors that will disqualify you…
**If you’re under 18, your eyes aren’t ready yet.
**If you’re preggers, your body is going through too many hormonal changes, so wait.
**If you have large, thin or scarred corneas, it might not be possible or as successful.
**Other factors that may affect your eligibility to successfully undergo LASIK can include cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment, dry eyes, keratoconus, ocular herpes, and diabetic retinopathy. Certain medical conditions, such as autoimmune diseases, immunodeficiency states, diabetes and some medications may further interfere with the healing process after LASIK. I don’t know what all that stuff is, but if you have it, you probably do!
Keep in mind that some people still need an additional eye treatment or will wear corrective lenses after LASIK eye surgery. For instance, LASIK eye surgery typically doesn’t correct the need for reading glasses. The bottom line: the best way to find out if you’re a candidate is to have a visit with a LASIK doctor.
2) I’ve heard there are different types of laser surgeries. What’s the scoop?
There are multiple laser vision correction surgeries available, such as PRK, LASEK, Monovision LASIK, and all-laser Bladeless LASIK. Again, an exam with a LASIK surgeon will determine if LASIK surgery is right for you or if there is a different solution based on your eyeballs.
3) Will I have the ability to fire an optic blast from my eyes like Cyclops from X-men?
No. Total bummer.
4) What is the actual process like?
If you’re considering LASIK, watch this 8 minute video that walks you through Ashley’s experience from the first step to the 20/20 end. If the idea of LASIK makes you nervous, here’s an interesting fact: the time in the surgery suite with the doctor is 15 to 20 minutes. The actual laser treatment time is approximately one minute per eye. ONE MINUTE PER EYE! You can endure anything for one minute – especially with a potentially great outcome like Ashley had, right?
5) Is it painful?
Yes, it’s excruciating. Seriously? No. Hi, this is America. The medical community knows that none of us will go through an elective procedure if it’s uber-painful – even if it is miraculous and cost-effective. Oh wait, I forgot about tummy tucks and the like which ARE excruciating and people still opt for them. But, I digress.
Now, I’ve heard the words “minor discomfort” from doctors a few times in my life and every time they are usually LYING about the “minor” part. But, based on the video above and what I’ve heard from real people who’ve had LASIK – the procedure itself isn’t painful due to the great meds and the after-effects are truly “minor.”
Here’s what the FDA has to say about the post-procedure experience: “Immediately after the procedure, your eye may burn, itch, or feel like there is something in it. You may experience some discomfort, or in some cases, mild pain and your doctor may suggest you take a mild pain reliever. Both your eyes may tear or water. Your vision will probably be hazy or blurry. In addition, you may experience sensitivity to light, glare, starbursts or haloes around lights, or the whites of your eye may look red or bloodshot. These symptoms should improve considerably within the first few days after surgery. You should plan on taking a few days off from work until these symptoms subside.”
6) How long do the effects of LASIK last?
LASIK is considered to be a permanent way to correct your vision, but vision naturally changes over time. As a result, you might need a “touch-up” procedure. You can take some precautions to help reduce the need for this: choose a highly skilled surgeon who chooses candidates carefully and be sure they’re using the latest technology. Still, a retreatment might be needed. Be sure to check with your provider – will there be a charge or is there is a grace period during which you can have a retreatment at no charge.
7) What if it doesn’t work?
First, a 2008 American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery study based on 10 years data found a 95.4% patient satisfaction rate among LASIK patients worldwide. That said, as with any medical procedure, there are risks such as…
**under- or over-correction
**reduced vision at night or in a darkened environment
**extreme eye dryness
**vision glare (halos or auras around lights)
**click here to read more
In many cases, time or additional surgery can fine tune or enhance the initial results.
8) How much is it?
I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t have been your last question, but…first, a little math:
A: Estimate how much you spend on contacts, solution, eye drops, glasses, etc. in a year:______.
B: Subtract your age from 74 (this is the average life span of an American):_______.
C: Multiply answer A by answer B.
This is the approximate savings you can expect from having the surgery. Now, compare that to the price of LASIK while considering the risks and rewards discussed above.
While charges for LASIK procedures vary widely by practice, type of procedure and region of the country, the reported national average price is between $995 and $2,200 per eye. This is definitely a procedure to price and quality compare – you should also consider a discount plan like freshbenies that includes concierge savings networks like Qualsight. For members, Qualsight has set contracted pricing of 40-50% off with experienced, quality doctors throughout the US.
My friend who had LASIK in the 90’s is still very happy. She says, “I still think the LASIK surgery was money well spent! I never had any issues and my long distance vision is excellent. However, as I age, my close up vision is not as clear. That’s just part of aging. I was told at the time of my surgery that this would probably happen. So now, I have a cute pair of reading glasses for computer work and reading.”
Now, it’s your turn! Did you have a laser surgery? What was your experience? Would you do it again? Comment or ask questions below or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!