6 Things to Know Before Getting LASIK Surgery
LASIK can correct blurry vision caused by an irregularly shaped cornea.
You'd love to wake up in the morning without fumbling for your glasses. But LASIK eye surgery isn't for everyone. Here are six things you may not know about LASIK:
- It can't be reversed. LASIK uses laser energy to permanently reshape the cornea of your eye. You can't undo it.
- You may still need reading glasses. LASIK does not treat presbyopia, the normal vision changes due to aging. So while the procedure may correct near- or farsightedness and astigmatism, you may still need to wear reading glasses.
- Long-term outcomes are not known. Though millions of people have undergone LASIK, the procedure is still a relatively new one and long-term (more than five years) outcomes are not yet known.
- Your insurance probably won't pay for it. LASIK is considered elective surgery. Most insurance policies won't cover it because it's not medically necessary.
- Some jobs prohibit having LASIK surgery. Certain professions for which vision changes could be dangerous may prohibit you from having this procedure. Check with your employer first.
- You may not be a good candidate if you have dry eyes, big pupils or thin corneas. Other conditions that may exclude you include certain immune disorders (such as lupus, HIV or rheumatoid arthritis) and diabetes. Taking some types of medications may also exclude you. You can't have the procedure if you've had a change in your eyeglasses prescription in the last year or are pregnant - your eyesight may be unstable.
What is LASIK?
LASIK corrects blurry vision caused by an irregularly shaped cornea. The cornea is the clear covering in front of the eye that bends light rays to help focus them precisely on the retina in the back of the eye.
During the procedure, the surgeon cuts and lifts a flap of thin tissue off the outside of the eyeball. The surgeon uses a laser to reshape the cornea and then replaces the flap. Each eye takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
Hindsight is 20/20
While millions of people who are good candidates have successful LASIK, a few have new problems. Some people might not see as clearly at night or in fog as they did before the treatment. Others have dry or scratchy eyes or are more sensitive to light. Blurred vision, infection, corneal scarring and haloes or starbursts around lights are some other possible complications.
Talk to your eye doctor about all of the pros and cons of LASIK surgery to see if it is right for you.