If you were to ask me what one thing would dramatically improve my life, my answer would very likely be “to have perfect eyesight”.
At the same time, however, I have always been uneasy with anything to do with eyes. For example, those movie scenes where a sharp instrument comes agonizingly close to piercing the eye have always sent shivers down my spine. This probably explains why, despite wanting to have better eyesight and it being a fairly common procedure these days, I haven’t really explored the option of LASIK eye surgery up until now.
Why Consider LASIK Eye Surgery
Anyone who wears glasses or contact lenses will know what a hassle they can be, especially for things such as playing sport, reading fine print and driving at night.
LASIK eye surgery can dramatically improve a patient’s vision by reshaping the corneas of their eyes. Many people report perfect or near-perfect eyesight after the operation, meaning they can throw away their glasses and contact lenses. I should point out, though, that patients over 40 will still need reading glasses to see up close.
As you can tell, laser eye surgery truly has the potential to change a person’s life. Indeed, this has been the case for the few people I know who have undergone the procedure. And a search on this topic on various Internet forums turned up many similar experiences (for example see these responses on 43 Things).
Every surgical procedure poses inherent risks and in this respect LASIK eye surgery is no different. According to the LASIK page on Wikipedia, the incidence of LASIK surgery patients having unresolved complications six months after surgery is estimated to be between 3% and 6%. I must admit this number was higher than I expected. Some potential complications include: dry eyes, halos and double vision (see the aforementioned Wikipedia page for further complications that could arise).
In regards to technology, Your 5-Minute Guide To LASIK Eye Surgery says “there has never been a better time to have laser eye surgery, as advancements in technology have made today’s procedures safer and more effective than those available just a few years back.” Indeed, the technology available sounds very impressive. I have to wonder, though, if the improved technology that will inevitably be developed in the coming years is worth waiting for.
I think the risks associated with the procedure are well summarized by in the below quote, taken from USAEyes Forums.
Although Lasik is considered safe and effective by medical standards and has a relatively low complication rate, there is no such thing as perfect surgery, a perfect surgeon, or even a perfect patient. Things can, and do, go wrong. Problems may not occur very often, but one must always remember that to achieve the convenience of a reduced need for corrective lenses, one must accept some element of risk.
The Best Advice I Found
The following were the best pieces of advice I found for anyone considering the surgery:
- Before going to a clinic that performs corrective eye surgery, get an unbiased opinion from an eye specialist who has no connection to these procedures.
- When it comes to eye surgery, don’t be cheap. Pay for the best treatment possible.
- Take the time to find an experienced doctor who you trust. The following is a great way to screen potential doctors: 50 Tough Questions to Ask Your Lasik Doctor.
- Research, research, research. Make sure you understand the procedure and its full range of potential complications (I mentioned only a few of them earlier).
So then, have you had corrective eye surgery? Or would you consider having it done? If not, then why?