What is LASIK Eye Surgery?
Laser Vision Correction Surgery, LASIK, or Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis, is the world’s most popular vision correction procedure. LASIK is a procedure that permanently alters the shape of the cornea which allows light to reflect properly onto the retina (the light-sensitive patch of tissue at the back of the eye) leaving you with clear vision.
LASIK is a safe, quick and effective way to improve your vision with little to no dependence on glasses and contact lenses. If you are frustrated with the constant maintenance, costs and inconvenience of glasses and contact lenses, LASIK may be for you. More than 40 million LASIK procedures have been performed to date making it the most common elective vision procedure in the United States.
Am I a Candidate for LASIK Eye Surgery?
LASIK eye surgery is not right for everyone. The qualifications of a good candidate for refractive or laser eye surgery generally include but are not limited too:
- At least 18 years of age
- No significant medical or eye problems
- Stable eyeglass and contact lense prescription for at least 2 to 3 years
- Eyeglass prescription within certain limits set by your eye surgeon
- No significant dry eye
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Answer a few simple questions to find out if LASIK Eye Surgery is right for you.
LASIK vs. PRK
- LASIK is a procedure that involves making a flap in the superficial layers of the cornea and then placing the laser vision correction ablation under the flap.
- Advanced surface ablation, also called PRK, LASEK, Epi-LASIK, or Photorefractive keratectomy, delivers the laser vision correction part of LASIK right on the surface of the cornea without a flap. By not making a flap, the correction is placed more superficially in the cornea.
- PRK is safer for patients who have thinner corneas. This is because during LASIK, corneal tissue is removed. If you have thinner corneas, removing even a small amount of corneal tissue could be devastating. PRK delivers comparable results to LASIK, without needing to remove any tissue from the cornea.
How Much Does LASIK Eye Surgery Cost?
One of the most common concerns among patients who are considering LASIK surgery is how much the procedure will cost. The cost of LASIK eye surgery can range from $1,000 to $4,000 per eye. At SightMD you will be provided with a free consultation to determine eligibility. Once eligibility is determined, we will review the cost of surgery lasik eye surgery with you, as well as the available payment options. The cost of LASIK eye surgery varies from provider to provider and depends on a several factors. These include:
- your location
- experience of the surgeon
- what technique will be used
- what costs are included
- your individual eye health or vision problems
Is LASIK Covered by Insurance?
Is LASIK covered by insurance? The short answer is that LASIK is an elective surgery and not typically covered by insurance plans, but there are options available to help cover the cost of LASIK eye surgery. At SightMD we offer financing options through CareCredit. CareCredit® is a program available through the financial arm of General Electric that provides financing for elective medical procedures. The program allows patients to undergo laser eye treatment, and then make monthly payments that won’t weigh heavy on their wallets. Depending on your credit, you may even qualify for one of the program’s interest-free payment plans. Extended payment plans are also available at competitive rates.
How long is the LASIK procedure?
The LASIK procedure itself is very fast. Your appointment length and the time it takes to perform the LASIK procedure on each eye is very different and varies from patient to patient. LASIK eye surgery typically takes less than 10 minutes per eye but procedure time can vary from patient to patient. This is very reassuring information for patients who are nervous or anxious about the prospect of laser vision correction. We ask you to come in an hour before your procedure, and we monitor you for about an hour afterwards, making the entire process last only a few hours.
Are LASIK Results Permanent?
LASIK can last a anywhere from 10 years up to a lifetime. The lasting effects of the procedure depend upon multiple factors which include the age of the patient at the time of the procedure and medical conditions that one may develop overtime that may affect eyesight. While LASIK is known for its permanence there a limited number of cases where some nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism can return over time, causing blurry vision. The reason being that nothing can prevent natural changes that your eyes go through throughout your lifetime. LASIK can only fix vision problems that existed before the procedure, not after. So while LASIK corrects vision and has the ability to give patients 20/20 vision or even better visual acuity, it cannot prevent the natural ocular aging progression.
What are the Risks of LASIK?
All surgeries have potential risks and complications, LASIK being no different. However, technological advancements have made the incidence of significant LASIK complications uncommon. Risks of LASIK surgery include:
- Flap complications – Since the flap is extremely delicate and thin there is a risk of complications. Some complications are the flap wrinkling up, becoming displaced & debris becoming trapped under the flap. Any damage to the area where the flap has been created causes the corneal tissue as a whole to be weaker and more susceptible to problems.
- Dry eye – Dry eye is a fairly common condition that seems to be more prevalent in LASIK eye surgery patients. Dry eye occurs when the reduced sensitivity of the corneal nerves from the laser procedure prevent your eye from recognizing that it needs lubrication. Therefore, the you can experience dry, scratchy and uncomfortable eyes. The effects can last days, weeks or in severe cases, even months. Dry eye syndrome is usually treated with eye drops, but sometimes anti-inflammatory medications are also recommended.
What are the Benefits of LASIK?
LASIK surgery offers a wealth of benefits for the average eyeglasses wearer. If you’ve been wearing eyeglasses for a long time, consider the benefits of LASIK.
- Improved Vision – The most obvious benefit of opting for LASIK is improved vision. While there is no guarantee that you will have perfect eyesight after the procedure, majority of patients who choose LASIK achieve 20/20 vision. Those who don’t still find that their vision is dramatically improved, and find themselves using eyeglasses or contact lenses much less frequently post surgery.
- Safety – Although no procedure is entirely risk-free, LASIK is now safer than ever before.
- Fast Healing – The healing time from a LASIK procedure is typically around 24-36 hours. There is also no need to wear uncomfortable bandages meaning that you can get back to your job and driving with minimal downtime.
What does LASIK Fix?
LASIK is performed to fix the refractive errors of nearsightedness, farsightedness, presbyopia and astigmatism. Refractive errors are the way the eye focuses light and are not considered an eye disease, because it is actually based on the way your eye is shaped or structured. LASIK fixes the corneal shape that causes these refractive errors so light can focus directly on the retina. If you are interested in correcting your refractive error you should be thoroughly evaluated by a LASIK surgeon.
Why Should You Get LASIK Eye Surgery at SightMD?
State-of-the-art Laser Centers: Unlike most in-office laser centers, our laser suite has been constructed as a separate entity designed to provide optimal conditions for performing laser surgery while making the experience more comfortable and luxurious for our patients. Patients enter through a separate entryway into our serene, spa-like setting. Our LASIK eye surgery center allows factors such as humidity, temperature, and air quality to be carefully monitored, controlled, and maintained. Every room in the center is kept pristine to ensure patient safety and optimal outcomes.
Professionally Trained LASIK Surgeons
Our LASIK surgeons have been certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. In addition our LASIK surgeons are always working to stay up to date on new techniques and technology. Each LASIK surgeon at SightMD has years of experience and an impressive record of success. Experience is a key factor when it comes to choosing the best LASIK surgeon for you.
The Latest LASIK Technology
Our laser eye treatment technology offers an exemplary level of safety, precision, and customization, which allows all LASIK procedures to be tailored to each patient’s visual imperfections. The digital scanning technology at our laser vision center was originally developed by NASA for use in high-powered telescopes in outer space. The scientific system has most popularly been adapted to medical practices to aid in the detection of diseases and serious medical conditions which impact the health of the eyes. Now, that same technology helps our world-class surgeons identify and analyze minuscule imperfections in the eyes.
When you undergo LASIK surgery at select SightMD locations, you are securing your vision health for years to come. In the event that any type of enhancement is necessary following your procedure, our surgeons will provide follow-up, same-technology treatment at no cost to you. We take pride in the care that we provide, and want you to feel confident about your vision quality both during and after your laser procedure.
The cost of LASIK eye surgery varies depending on several factors, including the provider. Key factors influencing the price include:
- Required Vision Correction: The cost tends to be higher for individuals with severe vision impairment. The price varies based on your specific prescription needs.
- Laser Technology: The cost is also affected by the type of laser technology used. Advanced technologies like custom LASIK usually cost more. This is partly due to additional fees that laser device manufacturers charge surgeons, which may be passed on to patients. The specific laser surgery type recommended by your surgeon, aimed at ensuring the best outcome for you, can also affect the cost. It’s important to ask for a detailed price breakdown of the LASIK procedure you’re considering.
- Surgeon’s Experience: The skill and experience of the surgeon performing the LASIK surgery can also impact the cost. Highly experienced surgeons often charge more due to their higher skill level.
Individuals aged over 40 or 50 can still significantly benefit from undergoing LASIK surgery. This procedure represents a worthwhile investment when compared to the lifelong use of glasses or contacts. Undergoing LASIK at this stage of life can offer enhanced vision for many years following the surgery. However, it’s crucial to maintain realistic expectations about the outcomes.
Typically, there is no upper age limit for LASIK surgery. Eligibility hinges on several factors: maintaining overall good health, having a stable vision prescription, appropriate corneal structure, and being over 18 years of age. Therefore, each patient is assessed individually to determine if they fulfill these criteria. This means that you could potentially be a candidate for LASIK whether you’re 27 or 87 years old.
LASIK eye surgery is unique in that it doesn’t require general anesthesia; actually, it’s essential for you to be awake during the procedure. Here’s why staying awake during LASIK is important:
- The procedure is incredibly quick, usually taking just about 10 minutes for both eyes, with the LASIK process itself lasting only one to two minutes per eye.
- The surgeon needs your active cooperation to achieve the highest precision during the surgery.
- General anesthesia is typically used for more invasive surgeries to prevent pain, but LASIK involves minimal discomfort. Numbing eye drops are used before the surgery to alleviate pain and suppress the blink reflex.
- General anesthesia carries its own risks and is reserved for procedures where it’s absolutely necessary. LASIK, being a less painful procedure due to numbing drops and mild sedatives, doesn’t warrant these additional risks.
Generally, the majority of individuals undergoing LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) eye surgery attain vision of 20/20 or better, which is sufficient for most daily activities. However, as they age, many of these individuals will still require glasses for specific tasks like night driving or reading.