There’s never been a better time to have LASIK. Thousands of people know that – which is why they’re lining up for it.
Why are they opting for LASIK? There are as many reasons as there are candidates. But all of them want what LASIK has to offer – superb vision correction without the hassle of glasses or contact lenses.
LASIK today is the best procedure it’s ever been, thanks to decades of experience and continuous improvement in technology and technique. Thousands of studies reflect the quality of LASIK, the high satisfaction rates of people who’ve had the procedure, and the extensive base of knowledge that refractive surgeons draw on when they evaluate candidates and perform the procedure.
How good is modern LASIK?
A recent review of more than 4,400 LASIK clinical studies conducted between 2008 and 2015 found patients are experiencing better visual outcomes than ever before. This vast data pool also showed the procedure has improved over time and, with the advent of modern technology and techniques, is among the safest and most effective surgical procedures. The LASIK scientific literature review also reports the global patient satisfaction rate has increased to more than 98 percent. People who’ve had LASIK seem to start out satisfied with the procedure, and stay that way over time. A recent three-year study showed that people who had LASIK were more satisfied with their vision than contact lens users, and that their satisfaction stayed high over time, while the satisfaction rate of contact lens users declined.
These findings are just some of the research that make LASIK one of the most studied elective procedures performed today. More than 9,000 patients participated in FDA clinical trials alone from 1993-2005. Over time, a tremendous about of clinical research into LASIK has been conducted – to date more than 7,000 peer-reviewed published studies, in fact – to confirm the procedure is both safe and effective. Results are overwhelmingly positive.
People who are thinking about vision correction seem to understand the advantages of LASIK. “Candidates who come to see us and discuss their vision correction options have done their homework,” said Dr. Kerry Solomon, President of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and member of the American Refractive Surgery Council. “They know that LASIK is safe and effective, and they know the advantages it offers over other forms of vision correction.”
Many reasons to consider LASIK today
What’s their motivation? What brings candidates in the door? There are as many reasons to consider LASIK as there are people who want to improve their vision, but there are some common themes. Some people have high demands for the quality of vision correction that only LASIK can provide. Some want the convenience of having their corrected vision always available, without having to fumble with glasses or care for their contacts. For others, LASIK is a lifestyle choice: athletes, outdoor enthusiasts, boaters, private pilots – for all of these people, the vision correction procedure allows them to pursue their passion, where glasses or contacts might literally get in the way.
“And for some, LASIK is a professional necessity,” Dr. Solomon says. “First responders have to work in harsh conditions where the ability to see clearly can be a matter of life and death, and where glasses or contacts just aren’t useable. If you’re a police officer pursuing a suspect through underbrush, stumbling and losing your glasses can mean losing the suspect. In these cases, LASIK can be a critical margin of difference.”
Considering LASIK? Take time to be informed
If you’re considering LASIK, take the time to become informed about the procedure and carefully research your options for a refractive – or vision correction – surgeon. To find the best in your area, get a referral from your eye care provider (optometrist or ophthalmologist) and consider contacting a major teaching hospital in your area. Don’t be seduced by flashy ads and discounts – LASIK is surgery, and you need to approach it with the same degree of care you’d bring to any medical procedure. For the best LASIK centers, you may have to be prepared to wait for a consultation, and to think seriously about alternatives.
“LASIK needs careful consideration,” says Dr. Solomon. “The process takes time – in particular because a reputable surgeon is going to be very selective about evaluating you as a candidate. Not everyone is a good candidate for LASIK. A range of medical conditions, including thin corneas and other eye deformities, can mean that the vision correction procedure won’t work well for you – it might lead to distorted vision or post-operative complications. We also want to talk to you to make sure you understand what the experience will be like – what happens in surgery, what you’ll experience afterward, how long until side effects disappear, and how your vision might continue to change over time.”
Careful screening is what you’d expect for a serious medical procedure. So allow time for it, think about what you want out of LASIK, and be prepared with questions to ask. Articles like this can help you get ready for your consultation. If it turns out that you’re a good candidate – and if you opt for the procedure and determine if it is worth it for you and your lifestyle – be prepared for unparalleled convenience and the best vision you’ve ever experienced.