Many people who are dependent on glasses or contacts to see well have at least considered LASIK. Making a decision to undergo or forego the procedure is a personal choice, and there are a number of factors to consider. How much are you annoyed by putting in your contacts in the morning or searching for your glasses while squinting at the alarm clock? How do you feel about being awake during a surgical procedure? Is the cost prohibitive?
Whether you’re seriously contemplating LASIK or whether you occasionally, fleetingly consider it, here are some pros and cons to ponder:
PRO: LASIK is quick and safe. The outpatient procedure usually takes about 20 minutes, and while patients are awake, they’re often prescribed valium to calm their nerves. The laser used to perform the operation is also designed to shut off if there are any sudden eye movements that could cause injury or error.
CON: Not everyone is eligible. Most people who are turned away are over 40, and their eyes have become presbyopic. This means the lens of their eye has become stiffer, and the procedure may no longer be effective.
PRO: Fast results. Many patients report noticing clearer vision within a few hours of completing the operation, and most normal activities can be resumed within 48 hours of the operation.
CON: There are risks. As with any surgical procedure, there are possible negative side effects. Dry eye is a fairly common complaint, although this can usually be managed with artificial tears and usually goes away within three months. Nighttime glare or halos around bright lights at night is also not unusual.
PRO: No glasses or contacts. That one doesn’t really need much explanation. It just simplifies your life.
CON: Flaps can be injured. During the operation, flaps are created in the cornea, to allow the surgeon reshape it. This is why it’s important that patients not rub their eyes until healing is complete following LASIK. However, even years later, the flaps can become dislodged, which will result in a visit to your eye health professional of choice. Immediately.
PRO: Your vision will be greatly improved. But don’t expect perfection. Only about 20 to 30 percent of LASIK patients achieve that sought-after 20/20 vision. You’ll be able to see really well without glasses or contact, but it’s not going to make you, like, Supergirl or anything.
CON: It’s not always a one-stop shop—there’s a chance you’ll need LASIK again. Especially for people who needed a higher glasses or contact prescription prior to LASIK, there can be myopic regression. It’s quite unlikely your eyes will regress to pre-LASIK condition, but it may be necessary to undergo the operation again to continue seeing as clearly as you were shortly after the procedure.
While we at HBR don’t perform LASIK, we do handle pre- and post-operation appointments, and we like to think we’re pretty knowledgeable. If you have any questions or need a referral to an ophthalmologist, let us know. We’d be more than happy to sit down and discuss pros, cons and all the details in between.