LASIK Eye Surgery Can Provide Invaluable Benefits
Rely on Your Own Eyes
While it may take up to six months for vision to fully stabilize, most patients experience an improvement immediately after the procedure is completed.
After LASIK surgery, you no longer have to scramble to find your glasses in the morning, and you can stop having to remove and replace your contacts throughout the day.
So what happens during the procedure?
LASIK by the Numbers
LASIK sounds amazing. Can I have it done?
Determining If LASIK Is Right for You
Be over 18
LASIK is only considered safe for adults.
Have the Right Corneal Thickness
If your corneas are too thin to accommodate a tissue flap, you may be better suited to PRK surgery or LASEK.
Be in Excellent Ocular Health
Be in Good General Health
Some autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis may disqualify you.
Have Stable Vision
If you needed a new glasses prescription in the last year, LASIK may not be a safe option for you at the moment.
Not Be Pregnant or Breastfeeding
The hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy and breastfeeding affect your vision. LASIK is not recommended until at least three months after stopping breastfeeding.
Not Have Overly Large Pupils
This trait can increase your risk of developing halos, glare, and night vision issues after LASIK.
But the Thought of Having a Laser Pointed at My Eye Makes Me Anxious...
Modern techniques give ophthalmologists the ability to perform LASIK and other refractive surgeries more safely than ever before. In fact, less than one percent of LASIK patients experience complications.
Your doctor will administer numbing eye drops and a sedative to ensure that you remain comfortable and calm during your LASIK surgery. Most patients describe only slight discomfort for a very brief period during the procedure.
Let's take a more detailed look at the procedure...
The corneal flap is traditionally created using a blade called a microkeratome. However, this approach is quickly being replaced by the use of a femtosecond laser. Using a laser instead of a blade to create the flap minimizes the risk of infection and induced astigmatism. It also makes flap thickness more predictable.
Wavefront and Corneal Topography
LASIK traditionally involves shaping the cornea to create the same effect that the patient's corrective lenses provide. However, glasses and contacts prescriptions are like shoe sizes; you may ideally need a size 9.25 shoe, but your options are limited to a 9 or a 9.5. Wavefront and corneal topography are two different methods of measuring the corneal surface to detect the most minute irregularities and provide a more customized degree of correction. These techniques can also correct or prevent issues such as glare, halos, and compromised night vision.
The excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea. It vaporizes small amounts of tissue to create the contours necessary to restore focus. Excimer lasers can check the position of the eye more than 200 times per second to ensure that each pulse contacts the cornea in the correct location. Any movement of the eye will automatically stop the laser to ensure patient safety and predictable results.
Corneal mapping techniques have made LASIK a more customizable procedure.
How long does surgery take?
A Short Outpatient Procedure
In total, you can expect to be in your doctor's office for about 90 minutes. Surgery itself takes about 10 minutes per eye, and the actual alterations to the cornea take less than one minute.
You will be provided with anesthetic eyedrops and a mild sedative to help you remain comfortable and relaxed.
Stabilizing the Eye
An instrument called a lid speculum will be used to prevent blinking. Next, a special vacuum ring will be placed onto the eye to prevent movement during surgery.
Creating the Flap
A laser or blade will be used to create a hinged flap of tissue in the corneal surface. The flap will be held open to expose the stroma, or inner third of the cornea.
The excimer laser will reshape the stroma and your surgeon will replace the tissue flap.
You will rest for a brief period before being discharged. You can expect a mild burning or itching sensation that will subside over the next few days.
Is the difference really that dramatic?
Most Patients Experience An Immediate Improvement
Your vision may be a bit blurry immediately after surgery, but most patients experience improved vision right away. Some patients can return to work the next day, but taking a couple of days off is usually recommended.
You will attend a follow-up visit with your doctor the day after surgery. He or she will assess your results and determine if you can safely drive without glasses or contacts. Some patients may need a few days for their vision to stabilize. In rare cases, it may take weeks.
What does LASIK cost?
According to Market Scope, LLC
Why is LASIK so expensive?
Factors that Affect Cost
The use of advanced technology will increase the cost of treatment. For example, LASIK performed using traditional methods will cost less than a bladeless procedure incorporating wavefront technology or corneal topography.
Choosing the right doctor is critical to the success of your surgery. You can expect to pay more if your surgeon has more experience, but this added investment can often mean a higher likelihood of a successful outcome. Beware of practices advertising LASIK at prices too good to be true.
Another important factor is your location. Keep in mind that areas with a higher cost of living will generally have a higher cost for LASIK due to the overhead costs of operating a practice.
So what exactly is it going to cost you?
Custom Bladeless Custom Bladed Traditional LASIK* Custom PRK
Costs are per eye, according to a report by Market Scope, LLC
Sounds amazing...but can I afford it?
Consider Financing, FSAs, and Other Options
LASIK is not covered by insurance, but ask your provider if they work with any in-network surgeons who might offer you a discount.
Special Military Rates
If you are in the United States military, special rates may be available. In some cases, the military will cover the cost for active duty personnel.
You can use flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts to pay for out-of-pocket procedures like LASIK with your pre-tax dollars.
Lenders such as CareCredit® and LendingClub® offer flexible low-interest financing. You can also use a credit card.
Start Calculating Your Estimated Cost
Based on national average costs, if you choose traditional LASIK for both eyes with no insurance discount, no down payment, and zero interest for 48 months, you can pay as little as $87 per month.
That's less than $3 per day - probably less than your morning coffee.
Clear vision is just a step away...What are you waiting for?
Bring the World into Focus
Corrective eyewear can allow you to focus, but this option involves many limitations and inconveniences. LASIK can provide a more permanent solution that simplifies many aspects of your life.
If you are tired of the hassle of glasses and contacts, LASIK is worth considering. Speak with a doctor to find out if LASIK or another refractive surgery procedure is right for you.
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