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What is LASIK?
People with vision issues often turn to LASIK eye surgery as an alternative to glasses or contact lenses. If you want to improve your visual acuity, LASIK may be a good choice for you.
LASIK is among the most popular choices for laser vision correction. LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. It is a procedure that permanently changes the shape of the cornea with an excimer laser.
LASIK is a type of refractive eye surgery. These procedures correct vision problems from refractive errors, including:
- Myopia (nearsightedness). Distant objects are difficult to see and read.
- Hyperopia (farsightedness). Distant objects are clearer and easier to see than close objects.
- Astigmatism. An imperfection in the curvature of the eye’s cornea.
- Presbyopia. Age-related vision changes, including farsightedness.
Is LASIK Worth It?
For most people, the answer is yes. LASIK surgery has a strong reputation for success. More than 90% of people who are good candidates for LASIK achieve excellent vision without corrective lenses.6
LASIK costs about $2,200 per eye, and most insurance plans won’t cover the full cost. This may seem expensive, but it’s a one-time cost that leads to a permanent improvement in your vision.
Compared to the $9,300 to $17,020 average lifetime cost of treating nearsightedness with glasses, contacts, and routine exams, LASIK is more economical.7
However, not everyone should get LASIK. Additionally, some people who get it still need to wear reading glasses when they grow older. So, you may be wondering, is LASIK worth it for you? There are some things to consider before deciding to get LASIK.
Questions about LASIK? Call NVISION to speak with an experienced Patient Counselor who can answer all your questions and set up a free consultation. No commitment required.
Who is an Ideal Candidate for LASIK Surgery?
Only certain people are eligible for LASIK surgery. However, most adults with mild vision problems, who wear glasses or contacts, will achieve better vision from LASIK surgery.
A good candidate fits the following 8 criteria:
1. Good General Health
If you have an autoimmune disease or degenerative condition that makes it harder for your body to heal, you might not qualify for LASIK.
2. Healthy Eyes
Certain conditions and eye diseases can affect your eyes' ability to heal or respond to refractive eye surgery.
3. Vision That Falls Within a Specific Prescription Limit
If your prescription is too high, your eye doctor may advise against laser surgery. However, each eye surgeon will have their own limits on LASIK vision requirements. Most surgeons offer a free consultation to determine if you're a good candidate.
4. Stable Vision
Your vision prescription needs to remain stable for at least 12 months.
5. Normal Cornea Thickness
The LASIK procedure removes part of your cornea. Your cornea needs to be sufficiently thick to achieve the desired results.
6. Not Pregnant
If you are pregnant or nursing, you should delay the procedure.
7. Normal-Sized Pupils
People with extra-large pupils have an increased risk of side effects.
8. Have Realistic Expectations
LASIK surgery has a very high success rate. However, you should be fully aware of the potential side effects and complications.
99 percent of patients achieve 20/40 vision or better, but only some achieve perfect vision.
What are the Pros and Cons of LASIK Eye Surgery?
Like any laser refractive surgery, LASIK has pros and cons that anybody considering the procedure should consider.
- Quick Procedure. The surgery is quick, taking only 20 minutes on average.
- Safe and reliable. LASIK is safe. It received FDA approval more than 20 years ago and continues to produce good outcomes.
- Fast results. You’ll notice an improvement in vision as quickly as a few hours
- Convenience. Live life without needing glasses and contacts and enjoy an easy eye care routine that is much less time-consuming.
- Better vision. Last but not least, the biggest benefit of LASIK is clearer vision.
- LASIK is not for everybody. For example, many people over age 40 are deemed unsuitable for surgery. Older patients with presbyopia can still receive LASIK but need reading glasses after surgery or can elect monovision LASIK.
- Side effects of LASIK LASIK may cause dry eyes for up to three months in some people. Other common side effects include seeing glares and halos.
- Risk of corneal injury. The flaps created during LASIK can get injured and dislodged during the healing process.
- The potential need for a second surgery. The chances are slim, but you may need LASIK more than once
NVISION Eye Centers offer custom LASIK, affordable pricing plans, and a lifetime guarantee. Learn More
Who Should Not Have LASIK Eye Surgery?
Some people aren’t good candidates for LASIK. You shouldn’t get LASIK if:
- You’re under 18
- You’re pregnant
- You have a thin or uneven cornea
What Health Issues Can Disqualify Someone From LASIK?
Generally, laser eye surgery is appropriate for people with moderate refractive error and otherwise healthy eyes. Medical conditions that can cause complications or poor results after LASIK include:
- Dry eyes
- Eye injuries
- Eyelid disorders like blepharitis
- Eye infections
- Eye inflammation, such as keratitis or uveitis
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Any disease that affects your immune system, such as rheumatoid arthritis
As always, it’s important to consult with your ophthalmologist before embarking on any surgical procedure.
How Much Does LASIK Cost?
The average cost of LASIK surgery in the United States is approximately $2,200 per eye or $4,400 for both.
Most health insurance plans do not cover LASIK surgery. Most health insurance companies deem laser eye surgery an elective procedure — meaning not medically necessary. Neither Medicare nor Medicaid pays for elective eye surgery like LASIK surgery.
Alternative Vision Correction Options
There are several alternatives to the LASIK procedure on the market, including:
Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)
Like LASIK, PRK adjusts the cornea’s shape to improve vision.
PRK can treat myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. PRK is considered a better laser eye surgery than LASIK for people with active lifestyles. There is no cutting a flap of the cornea during PRK, reducing the healing time and risk of post-procedure accidents.
Glasses and Contact Lenses
The traditional approach to vision problems is getting glasses and contact lenses. While people have been doing this for decades, they often get tired of keeping up with their eyeglasses and contacts and turn to more modern approaches, like LASIK, to fix their vision.
Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)
During this process, an eye surgeon will remove the eye’s natural lens and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens. This procedure corrects farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is LASIK safe?
Yes, LASIK eye surgery is considered safe with a very low risk of complications.
The risk of complications from LASIK is very low. Less than one percent of patients experience serious complications like eye infections, detached retinas, vision loss, or chronic eye pain.
Is LASIK painful?
Numbing eye drops are placed into both of your eyes before the procedure. Therefore, LASIK is not painful.
Does LASIK last forever?
LASIK can last your entire life. However, some patients need to undergo LASIK more than once.
Is LASIK worth it over 40?
The ideal age range to get LASIK is between 19 and 40. This is when your eyes are the healthiest. If your vision is not stable enough, LASIK may not be recommended over age 40.
- For most appropriate candidates, LASIK eye surgery is worth it
- LASIK surgery costs about $2,200 per eye or $4,400 for both
- Because LASIK is a one-time investment, it saves money over time
- LASIK is a well-established type of laser eye surgery with a sound record of successful outcomes
- Some people aren’t suitable candidates for LASIK, and some may need a second surgery
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