Most medical fields deal with their share of common myths, including ophthalmology. When it comes to Laser Vision Correction surgery (LASIK), there are a number of myths we’ve encountered over the years that we feel should be addressed.
- Nearly every person has anxiety and “fear” about things that are new to them. This is especially true for anything involving eyes. Because of the light sedation given at the time of LASIK, anxiety is greatly reduced. Nearly everyone says after the procedure, “That was it? That was nothing?”
- Laser vision correction, at its heart, is about lifestyle. There is a cost to improvements in lifestyle in many areas of life. To have some degree of glasses and contact independence in our active lives is hard to put a price on. Whether it is outdoor sports, playing with our children, or driving without restrictions, everyone can describe ways that their lives would be enriched if they didn’t need glasses or contacts to see well. The added bonus…you are truly saving money when you think about a lifetime of investments in glasses, contact lenses, solutions, and yearly exams.
- The effects of laser vision correction are permanent on the corneal surface. Sometimes in the first year or so, an enhancement to improve the effect is done. Generally, if vision ever changes over time, it is aging changes in other parts of the eye. The lens of the eye can stiffen and become hazy. This is the most common cause of visual changes after LASIK.
- The usual sensation after laser vision correction is dryness and irritation. This is improved with artificial tears and time. If there is more than just mild irritation, then Tylenol or Ibuprofen can lessen it in the first few days.
- After over 25 years, laser vision has shown to be an extremely safe procedure with a high success rate. Most people can eliminate their need for glasses or contacts. The risk of severe vision loss from scarring is negligible.
Doesn’t Correct Astigmatism
- Laser vision correction is well known to correct high levels of regular astigmatism. Modern lasers are extremely accurate in this type of correction.
All Procedures Are The Same
- There are different ways to correct nearsightedness and astigmatism with lasers. Some are corneal surface treatments (PRK or LASEK) and some are corneal flap treatments (LASIK). The success rate between the two procedures is the same, however, the laser system used can be different in the various treatments. Alcon Wavelight, VisX Wavefront Optimized, and Nidek are the major lasers in use in the US.
- Although there are individual human variables, most people reach good vision within the first days or weeks after the surgery. At times, an enhancement of the laser surgery effect is needed. This is not usually done until the cornea healing is stable. This healing can take a year.