Today we wanted to take some time to answer some of the most-Googled questions about LASIK. With so many options in laser vision correction today, having an in-person conversation with a highly qualified surgeon is the best way to get the information you need. However, we thought you would find it helpful if we put together a quick FAQ about LASIK:
Is LASIK safe?
More than 20 million LASIK procedures have been performed in the U.S. with remarkably high patient satisfaction in visual outcomes. The high rate of patient satisfaction, more than 96 percent according to the most recent clinical data, is due in part to the extremely low risk of complications from the surgery.
Based upon the research into and clinical experience with LASIK, the rate of serious complications from LASIK eye surgery is estimated to be less than 1 percent, which makes it one of the safest elective surgical procedures available today.
Is LASIK worth it?
Only you can decide if laser vision correction is a good choice for you. Part of making an informed decision is to have a complete eye exam and a thoughtful consultation with an eye doctor specializing in laser vision correction. It is also helpful to talk to friends and family who have had the procedure. You may find comfort in knowing that one of the largest providers of laser vision correction procedures is the U.S. military for its personnel, including Air Force and Navy Jet pilots. Having excellent vision at the ready, without prescription lenses, is essential to these mission-critical servicemembers.
Am I a candidate for LASIK?
The good news is that most people are good candidates for LASIK or another laser vision correction procedure. However, about 15% of people who want LASIK are not good candidates. The only way to know for sure is to have a thorough eye exam to evaluate the health of your eye and vision correction requirements. It is also important to review your health history and any medications you are taking with your eye doctor during your LASIK consultation.
Is LASIK painful?
This is definitely a question about LASIK most people considering the procedure want to know. LASIK eye surgery is relatively painless because numbing drops are used to anesthetize the eye before and during the procedure. Patients may experience some pressure from the eyelid holder used to prevent blinking, but otherwise, they are made comfortable with numbing and lubricating drops. After the procedure, some patients will have mild discomfort which typically lasts about 5 hours on average.
Is LASIK permanent?
It is surprising that people still believe LASIK is not permanent and that it may only last a few years. In fact, LASIK permanently corrects the vision problems – nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism – that are caused by a misshapen cornea, the surface of the eye.
There are, however, vision changes that occur with age that typically begin around the age of 40. The lens of the eye loses its ability to focus on objects close up. The lens sits behind the cornea – the cornea is the part of the eye that is reshaped with LASIK – so it is a different part of the eye anatomy that is responsible for vision changes due to age. Even if you were born with good vision in both eyes, you will likely need reading glasses in your mid-forties – the same is true for people who chose to have their vision corrected with a procedure such as LASIK.
Is LASIK covered by insurance?
If your health insurance includes vision benefits, you may wonder if your insurance will cover the cost of LASIK, because part of choosing an elective laser vision correction procedure is deciding how to pay for it.
The good news is that some vision policies do offer benefits for vision-correcting procedures like LASIK. However, because health insurance companies don’t consider laser vision correction a medical necessity, rarely is the entire cost covered.
Health insurance providers point to the fact that glasses and contacts offer adequate, safe vision correction. But if you are one of the thousands of patients struggling with glasses and contacts, it is perfectly natural to want to explore your vision correction options.
Are LASIK centers near me open?
Yes, eye care is essential and practices across the country are open. If you have been searching for answers to your questions about laser vision correction, now is a good time to reach out and make an appointment with an ophthalmologist for your annual eye exam and a conversation about your options. Many practices are offering virtual visits, which can be a terrific opportunity to get many of your questions answered and get important information about becoming a candidate for laser vision correction.
Is LASIK right for me?
It is an important question about LASIK to ask. After all, this is an elective surgical procedure, so you want to take your time and think it through. Making sure you are a good candidate and have all the information you need to make a solid decision is the first step. After that, it is a matter of weighing the benefits of clear vision without relying on glasses or contacts against the risks that come with any medical procedure. Talking to your eye doctor, as well as friends and family who have had LASIK, can help but ultimately the choice to move forward is yours.
Are there LASIK alternatives?
While LASIK may be the most common laser vision correction procedure, not everyone is a candidate. However, there are LASIK alternatives, including SMILE and PRK, that make laser vision correction a good choice for more people. These procedures use the same advanced laser technologies in LASIK to reshape the cornea and improve its focusing ability. PRK uses an excimer laser to reshape the surface of the cornea. With SMILE, a femtosecond laser is used to create a thin disc of tissue within the layers of the cornea which is then removed to reshape the cornea. You can learn more about LASIK alternatives here.
If you have more questions about LASIK and laser vision correction, including finding a surgeon, finding ways to pay for LASIK, and learning what to expect from a LASIK consult and recovery from the procedure, check out our blog.