Pros and cons of LASIK eye surgery

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Pros and cons of LASIK eye surgery

One of the most popular elective surgeries in the United States is LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) surgery. When laser eye surgery first came out more than 25 years ago, it seemed like a dream come true for anyone who required glasses or contacts to wear. To be able to wake up in the morning seeing clearly without having to slip on glasses or do the daily routine and expense of contact lenses, quickly made this procedure very popular throughout the world.

To date, more than 17 million people worldwide have had LASIK eye surgery with the majority throwing away their eyeglasses or contacts. Each year around 700,000 LASIK surgeries are performed in the United States, however that is down from a peak of 1.4 million in 2000. 

What is LASIK surgery?

LASIK surgery is a procedure which uses a laser to vaporize portions of the cornea and reshape it to improve vision.  LASIK surgery can correct nearsightedness and farsightedness, as well as astigmatism which is an imperfection in the curvature of the eye that can cause blurred vision. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 95% of patients who have the surgery are who are pleased with the results. The procedure itself is quick: only 15 minutes or less to perform.  But it does come at a rather steep price tag of around $4,500 or more. Many clinics do offer discounts and coupon deals for the surgery that may reduce the procedure by $2,000.    

Complications of LASIK surgery

Though the appeal of no longer depending on eyewear to see better is strong, LASIK surgery, like any surgery, can have possible complications. To achieve 100% perfection in any surgery performed is impossible.  Complications can happen and there is always the chance of risk involved of something going wrong for various reasons. Most people considering LASIK surgery are well aware that sometimes the results may not turn out as they expected. 

Examples of possible long-term complications include eye infections, vision loss, chronic pain, and detached retinas.  Other possible side effects from LASIK can be dry eyes, glare, halos, and starbursts.  It is imperative that anyone considering LASIK surgery to do their research on not only what the surgery entails but also the experience and rate of surgery success of the ophthalmologist they choose. Just like everyone should do their research before they buy a new TV, it is especially wise to do the same when it comes to eye surgery.

Pros of LASIK surgery

The good thing about LASIK surgery besides being able to help the vast majority of patients see clearly without using eyewear, is that technology of this procedure has greatly improved over the years. New lasers are more precise and fewer patients have the side effects associated with LASIK. LASIK surgery is considered to be the safest, most effective procedure in ophthalmology.

Another improvement is that the screening process to determine who is a good candidate or not, has been intensified. Surgeons screen potential patients based on medical records and personality.  Those who have unrealistic expectations about the outcome of the surgery may not be a good fit.

When a patient has a good outcome after the surgery, one of the biggest benefits and usually the main reason why this surgery is sought out, is how it changes life for the better.  People want the convenience of not having to wear glasses or deal with the hassle of contacts.  They like being able to see clearly with no eye aids whether when they first wake up in the morning or go to bed at night. 

What to look for in a surgeon who performs LASIK surgery

Since LASIK surgery is elective and not a type of procedure that has to be done right away, this gives any patient the luxury of finding the right surgeon for them. The single most important thing about LASIK surgery is to find a good, well-experienced surgeon to perform the surgery. Most of us what a proficient auto mechanic to work on our vehicles; we should expect no less of a surgeon who is going to perform eye surgery affecting our ability to see.

Here are five key qualifications to look for in an eye surgeon according to the American Refractive Surgery Council:

1.  Ask the surgeon how many LASIK surgeries they have performed.  Choose one that has experience of at least 10,000 successful surgeries.

2. Check to see if the surgeon meets industry standards with their LASIK screening process.

3. It is important to feel comfortable with the surgeon when talking with them.  Are they easy to talk to and do they provide detailed information to questions you ask of them about the surgery.

4.  If the conversation with the surgeon feels more like a sales pitch or that they are pressuring your to have it done, you probably should not choose them.

5.  Proceed with caution if the surgeon over-promises on the outcome of the surgery.  In other words, LASIK is intended to improve vision, not necessarily perfect it. They should provide realistic results including possible side effects.