What You Need to Know About Lasik Surgery
Lasik eye surgery is among the top elective surgery techniques in the United States. Since its approval by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), nearly 10 million Americans have had it done, which is an astounding figure considering the U.S. population of around 327 million.
What is Lasik Surgery?
In Lasik surgery, an ophthalmologist uses a laser to make refractive corrections in the eye so as to decrease or eliminate the use of glasses or contact lenses.
Often times, this laser surgery helps correct near-sightedness, far-sightedness or distorted and blurred vision (astigmatism) by using the laser to reshape the cornea of the eye.
Although people with eye conditions such as degenerative eye disease or physical injury to the eye might consider this surgery a necessity, the vast majority of Lasik eye surgeries are cosmetic in nature.
Important: Considering that the vast majority of Lasik procedures are considered cosmetic, except in the rare case of medical necessity, Lasik is rarely covered by health insurance.
What is the procedure like?
Using a specially designed medical laser, your ophthalmologist will create a thin flap in the cornea of your eyes. This flap is then lifted, and then using another laser, the underlying tissue is reshaped.
The actual procedure takes less than 10 minutes per eye, although you should plan on being there for about an hour and a half.
The procedure itself is painless, although you may feel a small pressure in the eye afterward. You can manage the pain by taking Tylenol or Advil.
In most cases, the procedure is permanent, although if you suffer from a degenerative condition, you may need to have this surgery performed again in the future.
Although risks are rare, particularly with modern lasers, it is possible to experience dry eyes, pain in the eyes and overcorrection of a sight problem. Discuss these carefully with your ophthalmologist carefully before getting Lasik.
Can anyone get Lasik surgery?
No. To qualify for Lasik surgery, most ophthalmologists require that patients have:
- At least 18 years of age.
- Had a steady eye prescription for the last two years.
- A corrected vision of around 20/40.
- No corneal problems.
- No current eye diseases.
How Much Does Lasik Surgery Cost?
Although costs may vary according to the doctor and the clinic you get the surgery done, in general, Lasik surgery costs a little over $4,000.
However, don't choose an ophthalmologist based on cost alone. Examine carefully their doctor's reputation, the clinic he or she works for, as well as the staff and products they use before making a choice.