Posted July 18, 2018
Millions of people have had LASIK eye surgery since the procedure was performed nearly 23 years ago. But, many people still have questions about LASIK and wonder whether it’s safe. Here are seven things you should know about LASIK eye surgery.
What is LASIK?
LASIK, officially called laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis, corrects nearsightedness, astigmatism and farsightedness. Most people wear prescription eyeglasses or contacts to correct these vision issues. Another option is to correct these issues using LASIK surgery to change the shape of the cornea.
During the procedure, the surgeon cuts a flap in the cornea and flips it open to the middle area of the eye called the stroma. Laser pulses are applied to the stroma to correct the shape of the cornea. Following LASIK, most people no longer need eyeglasses or contacts.
Review this blog to find out more about other common eye and vision problems.
When was it introduced?
In 1987, the excimer laser was first used on the cornea to correct refractive errors. In 1995, Photorefractive Keratectomy was approved, and by 1996 the Food and Drug Administration authorized LASIK. Since then other types of laser surgeries have been introduced, such as Custom Wavefront LASIK.
What is the success rate?
Approximately 9.5 million Americans have had LASIK on one or both eyes. In 2017, over 700,000 procedures were performed. About 95 percent of people who’ve had the procedure are satisfied with the results of improved vision. Following LASIK, most eyes have 20/20 or 20/40 vision.
How long does it take to recover?
During the first few days after LASIK, patients often say their eyes felt irritated, uncomfortable, dry, and sensitive to light. Some also had night vision problems. But over time most of these symptoms disappeared.
What are the odds of it going wrong?
Eye doctors readily admit that LASIK does carry risks associated with surgeries. But only a small percentage of LASIK patients report that the side effects have significantly affected their lives. Some patients still need prescription eyeglasses at times to enhance their vision.
Can anyone have it?
An eye surgeon will determine whether you are a candidate for eye corrective surgery, such as LASIK or another laser procedure. About one in 2,000 people have a weak cornea. They are not good candidates for LASIK because their cornea may not withstand the procedure. People with cataracts are advised not to have the surgery.
Eye experts believe that the popularity of LASIK surgery will grow. Today, people are developing eye issues, such as nearsightedness, due to continuous use of digital devices. Often people stare at digital screens for several hours each day, without blinking or looking into the distance to give their eyes a rest. This can place undue stress on the eyes. Learn more about these vision problems by reading this blog.
Does insurance cover it?
LASIK is an elective procedure, so most people pay for the procedure out of pocket. But, check your vision and medical benefits, as some plans cover part of the cost.