If you wear glasses but love the idea of crystal clear vision without them, you may want to consider a type of eye surgery called laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. More commonly known as LASIK, this eye surgery uses a laser to reshape the cornea and correct refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism.
If you don’t know a lot about LASIK but would like to learn more, here are the answers to five frequently asked questions.
1. How Common Is LASIK?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved LASIK surgery in 1999. Since that time, the procedure has been performed on 10 million Americans. According to Market Scope data, about 700,000 LASIK surgeries are performed each year. There are other types of refractive surgeries, but LASIK is the most common one.
2. What Are the Benefits of LASIK?
The greatest benefit of undergoing LASIK is that the vision improves immediately following the procedure. About 95 percent of patients improve their vision to 20/40 or better. An estimated 85 percent of patients improve their vision to 20/20.
Other benefits of LASIK include:
- It is a noninvasive procedure that does not require stitches or bandages.
- It only takes about 30 minutes to complete for both eyes.
- It is an outpatient procedure that does not require a hospital stay.
- There is usually no pain associated with the surgery and minimal eye discomfort the day after.
- Many patients no longer need to wear glasses or contact lenses following the procedure.
Besides the many benefits, LASIK is a great option for those who can’t comfortably wear glasses or contact lenses.
3. What Are the Risks of LASIK?
As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks involved with LASIK. Some complications of the procedure could possibly result in complete loss of vision. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, these complications are very rare.
Some of the most common risks associated with LASIK include:
- Undercorrections due to not removing enough tissue.
- Overcorrections due to removing too much tissue.
- Astigmatism due to uneven tissue removal.
- Vision problems such as not seeing as clearly or sharply.
Some eye issues following LASIK will diminish over time. For example, dry eyes might only be an issue for up to six months following the surgery. This is because LASIK can temporarily decrease tear production. Double vision and sensitivity to light may disappear within a few days or couple of weeks. For many people, the benefits of LASIK far outweigh the risks.
4. How Much Does LASIK Cost?
According to recent analytics, the average cost for LASIK per eye is $2,246. If you are shopping around for LASIK prices, you might see bargains, such as $1,000 per eye. You need to be aware that this price might only cover cases of mild nearsightedness. This price might not cover other refractive errors such as severe farsightedness or astigmatism.
The low cost might not cover the initial consultation or follow-up visits, either. It’s common for surgeries at these low prices to be performed with older technology, which increases the risk of complications.
Unfortunately, LASIK is considered a cosmetic procedure, which means most vision insurance plans will not cover the cost. However, you can use a Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) or Health Savings Accounts (HSA) to pay for LASIK.
5. Where Can I Go for LASIK?
The best place to go for a LASIK procedure is a trusted ophthalmologist. They have the training and resources necessary to perform the procedure with the most current equipment and methods.
If you live in the Carlsbad, CA or the surrounding area, contact Davies Eye Center. We will help you determine if LASIK is right for you. We offer a free consultation as well as affordable pricing.