Many people with poor eyesight are thrilled with the idea of getting LASIK eye surgery. The promise of freedom from those cumbersome glasses is too appealing to pass up. Others are on the fence, feeling a mixture of fear and excitement – the thought of someone prodding and poking in their eyes preventing them from taking the leap.
Is LASIK Safe?
Like all other types of surgery, LASIK is not without risks. Some patients may experience dry eyes, glare, starburst, and other temporary visual problems for a few weeks or months after surgery. In very rare cases, permanent vision changes are encountered.
There are some pre-existing health conditions that can affect the outcome of LASIK surgery. Autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or an immune system weakened by medications can increase the risk. Persistent dry eyes and recent changes in vision due to medication or hormonal changes are also factors to consider.
With that said, 96% to 98% of patients who undergo LASIK treatment end up with 20/20 vision. No other surgical procedure comes close in terms of success rate. What is more, the result is even better in 45% to 50% of the cases. As doctors and scientists continue to refine laser technology, these numbers would continue to improve, and the treatment would become more affordable.
Who Can Get LASIK Eye Surgery?
To ensure that there are no complications, doctors screen their patients rigorously before giving the go signal for the treatment. Generally, LASIK surgery is done to correct poor eyesight caused by improper focusing of light in the retina. This condition is known as refractive error and has three basic types.
Nearsightedness or Myopia
In this condition, the eyeball is slightly longer than usual, or the curve of the cornea is too sharp. Either way, the light is focused in front of the retina, blurring distant vision.
Farsightedness or Hyperopia
The opposite of nearsightedness. Either the eyeball is a bit short, or the cornea is slightly flat, focusing the light behind the retina and impeding near vision.
In this condition, the patient’s cornea is uneven, disrupting the focus of both near and distant vision.
Aside from these stipulations, there are other conditions that can determine further if LASIK eye surgery is right for you. The doctor will not recommend the procedure if one of the following is applicable:
- You are below 18 years of age
- You are nursing or pregnant
- You are taking certain types of medication
- You have thin or uneven corneas
- If you have glaucoma, very dry eyes, and other eye conditions
- If you have other health conditions that can increase the risk such as lupus, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis
What Are the Benefits of LASIK Surgery?
LASIK surgery is a painless way to correct your vision. Prior to surgery, the doctor will administer anesthesia in the form of eye drops. These drops are given repeatedly throughout the procedure to ensure patient comfort.
After 20 minutes or so of surgery, most patients will literally see the difference. For others, vision will improve further a day after. Patients can resume normal activities the next day except for swimming and eye makeup, which can be done two weeks after surgery.
While improved eyesight is the biggest appeal of LASIK surgery, it offers other hidden benefits. Primary is the convenience of not having to wear glasses, which leaves you free to take on more vigorous activities. It also saves you on related costs such as frame replacement, contact lens, eye solution, and other products.