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Lasik: Do The Benefits Outweigh The Risks?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on May 1, 2008

Is Lasik Surgery Worth The Risk? — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at Qvisory)
I recently did a post on the news frenzy surrounding Lasik Eye Surgery. It seemed like the alarms were sounding, and we were going to soon find out that this procedure was much more risky then once thought.The Los Angeles Times points out that the FDA is going to review reported side effects from Lasik eye surgery:

Almost 8 million Americans have had the procedure, and most ended up discarding their eyeglasses or contact lenses without long-term complications, according to doctors and health officials. But a small fraction complain of serious side effects that have left their eyes painfully dry and their vision marred by ghostly shadows or starbursts of color. Some say their sight is so poor they can’t watch a movie or drive at night.

But after researching the news and facts on Lasik surgery, I came to the conclusion that the benefits of this surgery (at least for me) far outweigh any risk. Every person who I’ve talked to that has had this procedure was happy with it. Even the people who suffered with side effects for months after their surgery, still had no regrets.

Like Miriam from The Moh You Know:

Last November I got Lasik surgery and have never seen better! Of course, there were a few side effects the first couple of months after which included:

  • the first night was tough and painful, but the next morning I was pain-free
  • very minimal dry eye
  • halos and rings during night time driving
  • light sensitivity


It all wore off within a few months and I haven’t seen better. It’s the best thing I’ve done to myself.

So, what is Lasik? And how do you know if it’s right for you? This is from the FDA website:

LASIK is a surgical procedure intended to reduce a person’s dependency on glasses or contact lenses.

LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis and is a procedure that permanently changes the shape of the cornea, the clear covering of the front of the eye, using an excimer laser. A mechanical microkeratome (a blade device) or a laser keratome (a laser device) is used to cut a flap in the cornea. A hinge is left at one end of this flap. The flap is folded back revealing the stroma, the middlesection of the cornea. Pulses from a computer-controlled laser vaporize a portion of the stroma and the flap is replaced. There are other techniques and many new terms related to LASIK that you may hear about.

At WebMD, you can also find a section about some of the disadvantages of this eye surgery:

  • Changes made to the cornea cannot be reversed after LASIK laser eye surgery.
  • Corrections can only be made by additional LASIK laser eye surgeries.
  • LASIK laser eye surgery is expensive, typically costing $2,200 to $2,250 per eye; though compared to the cost of glasses and contact lenses, the price is reasonable.
  • LASIK laser eye surgery is technically complex. Problems may occur when the doctor cuts the flap, which can permanently affect vision.
  • LASIK laser eye surgery can cause a loss of “best” vision with or without glasses at 1 year after surgery. Your best vision is the highest degree of vision that you achieved while wearing your contacts or eyeglasses.

For the record there is no surgery that has zero risk, and that goes for Lasik eye surgery as well. So, if you are considering having this procedure done, you need to make your own decision about whether it is worth the risk. If you decide that you want to have this surgery, then the most important step becomes finding a good Lasik doctor:

This is probably the hardest choice to be made after the initial decision to have refractive surgery. Factors such as word of mouth, reputation, certifications, and membership in associations are clearly important.

What the educated patient needs is a surgeon and center that not only minimizes the risks as much as possible, but also does everything possible to maximize the visual outcome. Although it is tempting to assume the surgeon or center that advertises the most is probably the best, in many cases this is not true.

What if you’re not sure about Lasik? Are there any other alternatives? Of course there are. This is from an Associated Press article about alternatives to Lasik:

Frightened by headlines about Lasik side effects? Lasik gets all the advertising, but there are half a dozen alternate eye surgeries — from a simpler laser approach to implantable lenses — that might solve your squint.

They all have their own risks. A key is finding a surgeon who doesn’t have a favorite but is qualified to evaluate patients for all of the options, to find the best fit.

If you’re like me and blind as a bat without your glasses, you might want to look into Lasik. Don’t let the media hoopla frighten you; make your decision based on facts, not fear.

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27 Responses to “Lasik: Do The Benefits Outweigh The Risks?”

  1. I find this huge Lasik eye surgery push very interesting. What is strange though is you don’t really hear any other method of surgery being advertised, well at least where I am from there isn’t. I wonder that that means? It isn’t as good, or that lasik isn’t as good and needs to advertise to get more business. I guess time will tell 🙂

  2. I am not having the surgery, and it isn’t because of any potential side effects. Nope, I am not having the surgery because my glasses make me look distinguished. Without them I would just be an undistinguished dork.

  3. Lisa said

    There are many things to consider for before, during and after the surgery. Like you, many of my friends who have undergone this procedure in my country, the Philippines, with highly qualified doctors and top of the line equipment, have no complaints.

    🙂

  4. goldenferi said

    Thanks for the post. I’ve been trying to convince my daughter as her vision is 20/600 something. So far she will not budge.

  5. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Consistently.

  6. these days we get real good contact lenses which are good substitutes to surgery

  7. I think when people are persuing vision correction, they should take a look at all of their options. Lasik Surgery for example is getting more and more popular, and can be done in less than 10 minutes. However, whethere a person decideds to wear glasses, contacts, or have Lasik surgery, they should ask their friends and do their homework first to see which option fits them best.

    Lasik surgery isn’t right for everyone, and I would say that before you go that route, you should find a Doctor that will charge you what it really should cost. You get what you pay for, and anyone offering to do it for $500 or less is someone I wouldn’t recommend dealing with.

    Check out video testimonials from Lasik Eye Patients at

  8. I have a friend who performs lasik procedures. Her patients are very much in favor of promoting the success stories and widespread results. As other views reveal, it makes sense to investigate options and pros and cons concerning your own health before you make any personal decisions.

  9. C N said

    I had lasik surgery done by Mark Cohen at downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I must say this is the stupid and fatal decision which I will end up regretting for the rest of my life. I had an irritating dry eye pain every single day. I see halo, starbrusts around the light bulbs and headlights. Don’t listen to what the industry lies because once you see these things there is a good chance they will become permanent. The flaps once is being cut will never heal. The staff are crooks that they will say whatever to get you hook for the surgery. So I am just paying $4000 to acquire a permanent disability. Don’t trust any staff and even the doctor. Do your own research. I missed my trusted glasses but may be in another lifetime. You can contact me at 4162735204.

  10. […] 4. Lasik: Do the benefits outweigh the risks? […]

  11. Zac said

    I’ve recently gone through with lasik surgery and don’t regret it. Although there was some brief discomfort for a few days after, having natural 20/20 vision and not needing glasses or contacts is so refreshing i’d definitely recommend the proceedure to anyone on the fence about it.

  12. lasikexpert said

    For most of our patients whom we have surveyed, it has definitely been worth it.
    DishlerLaserInstitute

  13. Thank you for best article and If you want to know information about LASIK procedure, laser eye surgery complications, cost, alternatives, online directory of Laser Eye Surgeons that connects prospective patients with a surgeon in their local area. Go to lasikeyesurgeryfaq.com

  14. I am new to this blog and wanted to take a moment to let you know that I think it is wonderful. I just subscribed to your feed and look forward to more updates.

  15. Abdel said

    it is great when it works, but if failed, your life is destroyed. surgeons do not give you the exact complication rate and full picture. check lasikcomplications.com for info

  16. I know a few people who have had this procedure done with success. No more glasses for them.

  17. Lasik said

    Hi great blog post thanks for all the details. I am wondering whether i could do some guest blogging on your blog you appear to have some excellent posts and i would like to share original professional articles to your audience. lookforward to hearing from you kind regards
    Dave

  18. wooow good

  19. Hey everyone! so I have worn glasses my whole life and I can’t stand wearing contact cause i have a stigmatism and the contacts drive me crazy! I had to suffer all through school as a four eyes. But I recently got Lasik eye surgery done at the Lasik vision institute. I paid less then $800!

    I found this amazing website-referer.us/2/f5Psi that offers you free consultation plus they have a Lasik special starting at $299 per eye! They have tons of nationwide locations and they can offer easy financing.

    I just hope you can see the world how I see it now!

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  24. Dan said

    There is a wide range of costs depending on exactly which type of laser eye surgery you go for/are suitable for. Cost is also only one factor to take into account.

  25. The reputation of the clinic and the surgeon who is to carry out the laser eye surgery operation are also important matters to consider.

  26. tara said

    My father had lasik ten years ago and is still doing fine…def get a good doctor, don’t go for cheap or specials, but if you have the money, it’s worth it!

  27. Great information on Lasik Surgery. I hope this blog inspires people to make the leap!

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