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Lasik surgery – would it work for you?

What is a lasik surgery?

lasik eye surgery


The reason lasik surgery is so popular is that the procedure is relatively simple, the patient’s vision improves straight away (next day the latest) and there are no pain after the surgery.

During the surgery a surgeon creates a thin circular flap in the cornea using laser or microkeratome. Then, folding flap out of the way, he or she removes corneal tissue and reshapes the cornea. Reshaped cornea works better to focus light rays on the retina, which means improved vision for the patient.

Not everybody achieves 20/20 vision after the lasik surgery, actually only about 50% of all lasik patients are so lucky. However, in about 90% of cases a 20/40 vision is achieved, which is a good result as well.

What problems can be fixed by a lasik eye surgery?

If you wear corrective glasses or contact lenses, your vision can be corrected with lasik surgery in most cases. Non-perfect vision is caused by a “refractive error”. Refractive error means, that when light rays enter through your cornea they focus ether in front or behind the retina, instead of focusing directly on it.

There are four major types of the refractive error:

  • Myopia (shortsightedness) when the cornea is too steep and light rays focus in front of the retina. This causes blurring of distant objects.
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness) – the opposite case, when the cornea is not steep enough, so the light focuses behind the retina
  • Presbyopia – condition appearing in most people after 40, when your eye is unable to focus on near objects
  • Astigmatism – when the cornea has an irregular shape, as a result light rays are scattered and you see all objects blurred

Myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism can be corrected with lasik surgery.

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When lasik can’t be used

Even though most people with imperfect vision are candidates for lasik, there are conditions when lasik eye surgery shouldn't’t be performed:

  • If you are pregnant or breast feeding
  • If you have diabetes and autoimmune disease (such as AIDS, multiple sclerosis lupus, arthritis, rheumatoid, or myasthenia gravis)
  • If you have eye conditions such as glaucoma or keratoconus
  • If your prescription changed in the last two years. Lasik can only be performed on a stabilized eye
  • If you are younger than 18, for the same reason as above

There can also be other conditions that may prevent you from having lasik surgery. You have to talk the surgeon about any health problems you have and medications you take during the first consultation.

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How much does lasik eye surgery cost?

The cost of lasik is always stated per eye and varies dramatically from region to region and from clinic to clinic. Reputation of the lasik surgeon also affects the price. Don’t get too excited with the ads saying, from $300 per eye. This is really only a starter price.

Typically, tests before and after the surgery contribute more to the price than the lasik vision correction itself. Proper testing is very important because it reduces the risks of complications after the surgery. So when talking to the surgeon it is important to ask if all the tests are included in the price.

Recently lasik prices has been raising. The reason is that best surgeons use new technology called IntraLase. Intralase is a procedure when the doctor creates the lasik flap with a laser instead of using a microkeratome. This is much safer for the patient.

According to LasikPlus, the average price per procedure in the second quarter of 2005 was $1,344.

How to choose the best lasik surgeon

There are many lasik clinics advertising online and to make an educated choice you will have to investigate several of them.

It is important to select a doctor who keeps up with the recent technology. For this reason it is recommended to ask the surgeon if he or she is associated with an academic medical center (teaching hospital, for example)

When selecting the clinic, you will have an initial consultation with the lasik surgeon. This is the time to ask him or her several questions:

  • For how long do they perform lasik surgeries? (best if they have at least 3 years experience)
  • How many surgeries of exact same type as you require did he or she perform?
  • Are all the testing included in the stated price?
  • How many patients achieve 20/20 vision after surgery (50% is a good result)
  • Had the surgeon ever have malpractice insurance coverage denied or a license to perform surgery restricted or suspended?

After you get answers to all the above questions, it would be a good idea to get consultation in another clinic and talk to a different surgeon. You can make a safer decision if you can compare several options.

Is lasik better than using corrective contact lenses?

This is a matter of personal preference. Of course, having your eyes fixed permanently is convenient. You don't have to put your contacts in every morning and you always have a perfect vision even in the middle of the night. On the other hand, lasik can be dangerous and have complications. So many people prefer to stay with their contact lenses, because they know that the lenses are safe.

lasik surgery



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