Is Laser Eye Surgery a Good Idea?

Laser eye surgery has a good track record and is generally considered safe. Complications that cause vision loss are rare, and most people are happy with the results. However, certain side effects, such as dry eyes and temporary visual disturbances (such as glare), are quite common. The decision to undergo laser eye surgery requires careful consideration and evaluation.

Michigan Medicine eye doctor Dr. Hood explains that the thought of having eye surgery and staying awake during it can be frightening. The procedure, which involves cutting a small flap in the cells on the surface of the cornea to reshape the cornea below it, is also not suitable for everyone. Regardless of the concern, “we help (patients) weigh the risks and the benefits,” Hood says.

Patients who stay awake during the procedure can be given Valium to calm their nerves. For greater protection and peace of mind, the laser is designed to turn off if the patient's eye makes any sudden movement that could cause an error or injury. Many patients believe that this possibility can change their lives and is a way to enjoy even basic activities that were previously hindered by poor vision. The flaps that are created during laser eye surgery are not insured, so patients should not rub their eyes while they heal. Any trauma to a flap (such as a puncture with a tree branch or a fingernail) could evict it even years after surgery, Hood says.

See your eye doctor immediately if such contact occurs. Additionally, people with a higher prescription before surgery are more likely to see a slight decline in vision quality over time, a condition known as myopic regression. Laser eye surgery isn't a good idea for everyone, and results are known to vary due to many factors. However, if you really are a strong candidate, the results can change your life. A consultation with your optometrist will shed more light on your specific risks and benefits. More than 90% of people who are good candidates for laser eye surgery achieve excellent vision without corrective lenses.

Generally speaking, most eye surgeons with LASIK agree that 25 to 40 years is the ideal age range to apply for laser eye surgery for several reasons. By age 25, prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses have most likely stabilized. A stable prescription is one of the characteristics of a good candidate for laser eye surgery. Before age 25, your prescription may keep changing. Certain eye conditions and diseases can affect the eyes' ability to heal or respond to refractive eye surgery.

People with vision problems often resort to laser eye surgery as an alternative to eyeglasses or contact lenses. Most health insurance companies consider laser eye surgery to be an elective procedure, meaning it's not medically necessary. A professional evaluation will need to be done; depending on the degree of your possible problems, laser eye surgery may worsen your vision. It is a type of refractive eye surgery that corrects poor vision and reduces the need for corrective lenses. While laser eye surgery has been performed on children with severe vision problems, keep in mind that these cases are the exception to the rule.

Less than one percent of patients experience serious complications, such as eye infections, retinal detachment, loss of vision, or chronic eye pain. In general, laser eye surgery is appropriate for people with moderate refractive error and otherwise healthy eyes. Good general health, family medical history, and a stable prescription are the most important factors in applying for laser eye surgery. The FDA has approved laser eye surgery for people 18 and older, but most providers recommend that patients wait until their mid-20s after their prescription has stabilized.

Prospective patients should know that laser eye surgery may not fully correct the vision of all patients. Do you want to talk to a professional about laser eye surgery and see if you're a good candidate? Schedule an appointment with our optometrists today.

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