10 Myths About LASIK

1. LASIK can’t fix astigmatism

Actually, it can. Well probably. If you have an astigmatism, you likely already know what it is and have used the football analogy to describe it to people who have no idea what you’re talking about. But, can LASIK turn your football-shaped cornea into a basketball? (Okay, we promise no more sports talk.)

LASIK works by using a highly focused laser to reshape the cornea, and people with mild to moderate astigmatism can be candidates for the procedure. However, you first must be a candidate for LASIK, which one of our doctors can determine.


2. It hurts!

Many people avoid LASIK out of fear of the pain involved. Well, we have good news. Thanks to modern medicine, you may experience a lot less discomfort than you might expect. Prior to the procedure, you’ll receive eye drops to numb your eyes. And while the discomfort varies from person to person — some experience none at all — you’ll likely feel a pressure that usually lasts no longer than a minute.

But what if you’re still anxious? We’d recommend talking to your doctor. He or she can give you a medication prior to the procedure to calm your nerves. We also encourage you to ask all your questions up front. You’ll find the more you know, the less there is to be afraid of!


3. It’s dangerous

It’s not. While there are known potential side effects, which you can read more about at the bottom of this story, complications from the procedure can usually be managed with follow-up care. The frequency and severity of complications vary, depending on how much nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism you have prior to the procedure and other factors.


4. Everyone is a candidate for LASIK

LASIK can yield excellent results when performed on the right patient, but it is not for everyone. If you have collagen vascular, an autoimmune disease, or an immunodeficiency disease, you should avoid LASIK, as they affect the body’s healing ability. Additionally, if you are pregnant or nursing, experiencing corneal thinning, or taking medications with eye-related side effects, you should not get LASIK. When in doubt, check with your doctor. Some more information on what makes someone a good candidate for LASIK here.


5. There is one kind of LASIK

Did you know that there is actually more than one kind of LASIK, one being blade-free LASIK? Hold on a minute… LASIK involves blades? Well it can, but it doesn’t have to. When preparing your eye for the procedure, a doctor can use either a microkeratome blade or a femtosecond laser (blade-free). We encourage you to ask your doctor about the blade-free option.


6. LASIK involves one laser

LASIK typically involves two lasers — the aforementioned femtosecond laser, which is used to prep your eye for the vision correction part, followed by an excimer laser, which is used to correct the corneal tissue to fix your vision.


7. I have to pay for LASIK up front in full

On average, LASIK can cost $4,200 for both eyes, or $2,100 for each. And, while we are talking about your eyesight here, we realize that’s not exactly pocket change. Fortunately, many LASIK surgeons recognize this and offer payment plans either directly through their office or through a third-party provider. Learn about this and other ways to pay for LASIK here.


8. I have to put my life on-hold to recover from LASIK

Well this one is sort of a myth because it depends what you do with your life. For example, if you’re a swimmer or someone that does high-impact sports, you’ll want to talk to your surgeon about when it’s okay to resume these activities. If this doesn’t sound like your typical day, then it’s safe to assume that you’ll be able to go back to your daily routine within a few short days. As with any surgery, side effects and recovery time can vary from person to person, so it’s best to keep in close contact with your doctor to ensure your eyes heal properly.


9. I have to keep my eyes open for a long time

Scientists have shown that the average person blinks between 15 and 20 times per minute. Knowing this, your eyes are likely already starting to water thinking about how long you’ll need to keep them open for LASIK. But, there’s no need to shed tears over this. Remember those numbing eye drops we mentioned earlier? Those will also help reduce your impulse to blink. And your LASIK procedure won’t take that long — in fact, less than one minute is spent on each eye!


10. If I move my eye, I can mess up the procedure

Another concern that you can cross of your list. The laser used in the procedure has built-in technology that tracks and accounts for the eye’s movements, including the tiniest of involuntary movements. This keeps the laser on track to correct exactly the right spot. By exposing the myths behind LASIK, we hope you feel more comfortable and knowledgeable about the procedure. You likely still have questions, which we encourage you to ask!

Now there are also side effects associated with LASIK. While they are rare, they can include eye dryness, which may be severe, loss of visual acuity or the need for glasses or contacts after surgery, and visual disturbances like halos (hazy rings around lights), glare, starbursts, double images and other visual irregularities that may be debilitating.

You can also get full safety information here, and this is a good subject to bring up with your doctor about what you can expect to experience and anything you can do to manage side effects.

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