LASIK surgery is one of the most beneficial elective surgeries out there. It restores nearly perfect vision, allowing people to throw out their glasses and contacts and embrace a freer lifestyle.
Like any surgery, there are myths and misunderstandings about the process. You can’t always believe everything you hear or rely on one person’s story to give you an accurate picture of the procedure. When you’re ready to have LASIK surgery, know the difference between reality and fake news.
Here are seven common misconceptions regarding the procedure.
1. Anyone can have LASIK surgery.
Unfortunately, LASIK is not fit for everyone, although many people are able to benefit from it. First, patients must be in good general health without damage or defects to their eyes. This is essential to a successful procedure with minimal recovery time.
Additionally, patients should be between 21 and 60 years of age. Any younger than that, and the eye has not fully developed, rendering the procedure futile. Any older than that, and the eye has likely experienced macular degeneration, making it difficult to accurately fix the problem.
Ask your ophthalmologist if you’d make a good candidate for the procedure.
2. You’ll get 20/20 vision.
It’s true that most patients will come out with 20/20 vision within 48 hours of the procedure. However, this is not possible for all patients.
Those with a high prescriptions and thin corneas may not be able to achieve 20/20 vision. About a third of those with high prescriptions will gain perfect vision. The technology for LASIK is constantly improving, but there are still limitations.
That being said, your vision will dramatically improve with LASIK. If you’re a good candidate, you could go from coke-bottle, tri-focal glasses to needing only reading or light-prescription glasses, a welcome change!
3. LASIK hurts.
In fact, LASIK is a pain-free procedure. The doctor will use a numbing eye drop so that you don’t feel a thing. If you’re still nervous, some doctors offer Valium to take the edge off.
You may have also heard that the laser can burn you, but LASIK lasers are “cold,” so they cannot burn any part of you.
In some very rare cases, you may experience pain after the procedure for a short time. Your eyes may also be dry, indirectly causing pain, but that can be solved with eye drops. If you experience any pain, speak with your doctor right away, as this is not the norm.
4. If the procedure goes wrong, you can go blind.
This is one of the most blatant misconceptions out there with no truth behind it. The laser used in the procedure only penetrates the front flap of the eye—it cannot go deep enough to cause real damage to the eye.
5. All doctors performing LASIK surgery are equal.
It’s true that the process of LASIK surgery is standardized, and automated technologies play a big part in the outcome. However, not all surgeons have the same skill level, so the outcome can vary.
Additionally, every doctor has a different personality and bedside manner, which can make a huge difference in your comfort levels. For both your comfort and the success of the procedure, perform adequate research to find the best doctor in your area.
6. LASIK surgery is way too expensive for most people.
Many people don’t consider LASIK surgery because they know their insurance won’t pay for it. It’s an elective, cosmetic surgery, so you’ll have to foot the bill, and you may have been told it’s only for the rich.
It’s true that some surgeries cost as much as $3,000 per eye. However, as the technology advances, the rates are becoming more competitive. In some areas of the country, the surgery could cost as little as $500 per eye—much more affordable than you might have thought!
7. You should expect uncomfortable side effects following the procedure.
Some of the rare side effects of LASIK surgery include dry eyes, nighttime glare, and halos. These problems can happen, but they’re extremely rare. Often, they can be treated and corrected.
Dry eyes are the most common symptoms and can last for a couple months following the procedure. However, this problem is easily treated with eye drops and is not permanent. Most people enjoy excellent vision with no side effects within 48 hours of the operation.