LASIK Eye Surgery Pros and Cons

By Catherine Chase

LASIK is an acronym for Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis. LASIK surgery is a procedure that uses a laser on one or both eyes, with the goal of correcting vision. Laser eye surgery is used for people with myopia, or nearsightedness, as well as for those with hyperopia, or farsightedness. LASIK corrects your vision by reshaping your cornea to improve how your eye focuses. As with any surgical procedure, talk to your doctor about the possible risks and what to expect during recovery. Carefully weigh the benefits of corrected vision with the possible problems that may occur.


The cost of this elective surgery may prohibit some people from getting it. LASIK surgery costs will fluctuate depending on your location and the doctor that you go to. In 2009, the cost typically ranged from $1,000 to $2,000 per eye. Elective procedures are not usually covered by insurance companies. However, you may be able to obtain financing for the procedure; ask your doctor about payment options. Keep in mind that the total cost may increase if you experience any complications. For example, if you get an infection, you’ll need additional medical treatment.


Laser eye surgery may appeal to people who are tired of fussing with contact lenses or glasses. According to All About Vision, a median of 92 percent of people experienced results very close to their desired vision. However, some people may need an additional surgery to achieve the best results. Some people will also still need to use glasses following the procedure, although their vision will be better than before. Following LASIK surgery, it may take your vision three to six months to stabilize.


There are many possible risks associated with LASIK eye surgery. Be sure to find a reputable doctor with a solid track record who can discuss these risks with you. Possible risks may include infection, corneal scarring, a decrease in contrast sensitivity, severely dry eyes, glares or “halos,” scratchiness, reduced vision, light sensitivity, problems seeing at night, patches of red in the eye and permanent vision loss. Some patients may experience a permanent problem with the shape of the cornea, which renders wearing contact lenses impossible.


According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, LASIK eye surgery was approved in 1998. Because this technology is relatively new, the possible risks and efficacy of LASIK on a long-term basis is unknown. However, you may need additional vision aids as you age, especially if you are farsighted.


Recovering from this procedure may be difficult for some people. Your doctor will give you detailed post-surgery care instructions. For two to four weeks following surgery, you’ll need to avoid eye makeup, swimming, baths, hot tubs, contact sports and any lotions around your eye area. Some people may experience a burning, itching or discomfort. You will not be able to rub your eye. Doing so will move the flap in your eye. You are likely to have blurry vision for the day following the procedure. Do not drive until you’re able to see clearly.

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