We can only imagine the curiosity and amazement people experienced when the first pair of eyeglasses were invented.
Then along came contact lenses and people were skeptical that they would even work and concerned that putting something directly into your eye could be dangerous.
Now we have LASIK surgery, a quick and painless operation to correct our vision. All three of these options are now quite commonplace.
Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up and be able to hit the alarm without having to fumble around searching for your glasses, never worrying about what you’re going to do if you break them, remembering to buy contact solution, or making a yearly eye doctor appointment? This could all happen if you get LASIK surgery.
LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) surgeries have been performed millions of times over the 20 years it has been available. A cool beam of light is used to reshape the the cornea for those with myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. Ninety five percent of patients are completely satisfied with their results.
Before you can have the surgery, your ophthalmologist will give you an exam to map out your cornea to see if you are a good candidate for LASIK. Make sure they are board certified and have a good track record of successful LASIK surgeries.
You must be at least 18 years old (some doctors prefer 21 years), neither pregnant nor nursing and in good health. Dry eye syndrome, thin corneas, or other issues such as diabetes may exclude you from receiving LASIK.
LASIK is performed as an outpatient surgical procedure. The surgeon will give you eye drops to numb your eyes, which makes the surgery completely painless. Average time for the operation is about 15 minutes per eye.
You’ll get another type of eye drop afterwards to help prevent infection. No stitches are used, making recovery time very short. You may be able to leave in as little as 30 minutes after the surgery.
A protective cover or patch will be placed over your eyes, so naturally you’ll need to have someone with you to help you along and drive you home.
Many people return to work the very next day, however it is suggested you take a few days off if possible to give your eyes a chance to rest. Also, you typically must go to a follow up appointment the day after surgery.
As with any surgical procedure, there is some risk involved. Under corrected, over corrected, or reduced night vision and dry eyes can occur. Blindness is listed as a possible risk, but there has never been an actual recorded case of this happening.
With the advancement of technology over the years, risks have been diminished greatly, largely due to that fact that instead of the surgeon guiding the laser, they are now computer guided.
The price for a LASIK procedure can vary from $299 to $4000 per eye, with the average cost in 2014 being $2,500 per eye.
Most insurance policies will not cover LASIK because it is considered elective cosmetic surgery. Check anyway to make sure, as some have decided to add LASIK to the things they will cover.
If you have a FSA (Flex Spending Account) or an HSA (health Savings Account) you can use it to pay for LASIK surgery. Some ophthalmologists will finance the procedure for as low as 0%.
You should weigh the cost of yearly exams, glasses, contacts, and solutions against the price of a onetime LASIK procedure to help you decide if this is right for you.