Lately, it seems like ads for LASIK are popping up everywhere—DJ's are talking about it on the radio and newscasters sing its praises, especially if they didn't like wearing glasses on camera. And it's no wonder. The technology is incredibly precise, the operation is quick, and people are happy with the results. But still, it's not for everybody, and not every "deal" is really a good value—we are talking your precious, one-of-a-kind eyes, after all. So before you jump in, make sure you look for a board-certified ophthalmologist who explains every consideration.
Who's an Ideal Candidate?
"An ideal candidate for LASIK is someone with healthy eyes, age 21 or older, who has not had recent significant changes in his or her prescription," says Amy Lin, MD, and corneal specialist at the Moran Eye Center. "Low to moderate amounts of nearsightedness and astigmatism are best corrected by LASIK, but farsightedness can also be correctable. Overall, my happiest patients are those who were extremely dependent on glasses or contact lenses. They would be legally blind without them! After LASIK, it's amazing for them to have clear vision without putting in contacts or reaching for glasses."
"Even though LASIK is very successful in offering freedom from eyeglasses and contact lens wear for patients who want hassle-free vision, we still find that it is not right for everyone. There are a lot of things to consider prior to LASIK," notes Lin. "We make sure we explain them all in the preoperative visits so we can provide a customized experience for every single patient. For example, a key question to ask your surgeon would be about dry eyes after LASIK. People with a significant amount of dry eye may not the best candidates, but there may be other vision correction procedures available to them."
LASIK and other refractive procedures evolve over time, and it's important to choose a practice that offers up-to-date techniques and technology. The newest machines are faster and more accurate, which leads to fewer complications and more patient comfort
It's important to us that we offer patients the best care we can," says Lin.
FYI: Satisfaction Rates
A leading pharmaceutical company commissioned a consumer research study in 2014 of 1200 U.S. patients and potential patients between the ages of 25 and 40 to share their thoughts about their current vision correction. What was interesting in these results was that 70 percent are satisfied or very satisfied with their contact lenses and 43 percent are satisfied or very satisfied with their glasses. Within the same survey of people that had LASIK, their responses were that 91 percent were satisfied or very satisfied with their laser vision correction procedure and 96 percent said that LASIK met or exceeded their expectations.