- What is LASIK eye surgery?
- Is LASIK eye surgery safe?
- What’s it like to recover from LASIK eye surgery?
- How much does LASIK eye surgery cost?
- Can I finance my LASIK eye surgery?
Today, LASIK eye surgery is one of the most frequently performed elective surgeries in the United States. Since its approval in 1999, the procedure called laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, shortened to “LASIK,” has been performed over 20 million times to help people enjoy the benefits of corrected vision, perhaps for the first time in their lives.
What happens during LASIK eye surgery and is the recovery difficult? How much do these procedures cost? Let’s look at these questions to determine whether LASIK is right for you.
What Is LASIK Eye Surgery?
LASIK eye surgery uses a laser to change the shape of the clear, dome-like cornea at the front of the eye. By changing the corneal shape, doctors can correct refractive errors so that light can reach the retina of the eye. This can correct a number of vision problems such as:
- Farsightedness (hyperopia)
- Nearsightedness (myopia)
LASIK changes the shape of the eye to allow light to enter more freely. If you have clear vision without glasses or contacts, the eye is normally shaped, with a smooth curve like a marble. As light enters the eye, the cornea and lens at the front bend the light to shoot it directly to the retina at the back of your eye. However, if the curvature of the eye isn’t smoothly curved, the light rays won’t reflect back properly. Doctors call this a refractive error.
For example, if you suffer from nearsightedness, your distance vision is blurry. You may wear contacts or glasses to correct this. What’s causing this problem is a defect inside the eye. Your eye may be slightly longer or the curve of the cornea may be slightly misshapen. This causes the light that comes into the eye to focus just in front of the retina instead of directly inside it. This is what causes the blurring of long-distance objects.
Conversely, farsightedness causes blurry vision close-up because the light ends up focusing behind the retina instead of directly on it. Astigmatism can occur both with nearsightedness and farsightedness and it’s caused when the cornea or lens is shaped more like a football than a marble.
LASIK surgery can correct all of these conditions. During LASIK surgery, the eye is numbed and the surgeon uses a small cutting laser to open a small hinged flap to access the cornea of the eye. The laser is programmed to carefully reshape the cornea to correct the refraction error. Once the cornea is reshaped, the surgeon places the flap back and the eye heals with no stitches.
Is LASIK Eye Surgery Safe?
Doctors have been perfecting the LASIK procedure for over 20 years, meaning that they’ve had plenty of time to improve the techniques and the technology used to perform these surgeries. Did you know the precision laser treatment machine we use for this surgery was designed by NASA? For your protection, the equipment is designed to shut down if it detects any movement that could cause an error in the process.
LASIK remains one of the most studied medical procedures, with a complications rate that is less than 1%. More than 7,000 peer-reviewed published studies show that LASIK is as effective as it is safe.
What’s It Like to Recover From LASIK Eye Surgery?
LASIK can be performed in about 30 minutes. After the procedure, your doctor will give you numbing eye drops to help with the pain. You may have itchy or gritty-feeling eyes after the surgery, but it’s important not to rub them. Some doctors give you a shield for your eyes at night so you don’t accidentally rub them in your sleep until they heal.
You’ll have a follow-up appointment with the surgeon one or two days after the procedure to check for complications. These checkups usually continue for up to six months after LASIK eye surgery.
Most patients are shocked by how quickly their vision clears. Usually, vision is blurry for up to three months before the eyes completely heal and stabilize. There are some restrictions on activity during this time. For example, you may have to wait a few weeks before resuming vigorous activities like swimming or contact sports.
All surgeries require a healing process, so understanding the LASIK procedure, what it can do for your vision, and how to recover from the treatment are all important to learn before you elect to have the treatment.
How Much Does LASIK Eye Surgery Cost?
LASIK surgery can range from $2,000 to $3,000 per eye. The average is $2,199. Unfortunately, LASIK is not covered by insurance because the surgery is deemed elective and cosmetic in nature. With that said, there are some instances where your insurance provider may cover the procedure. For example, if your eyes were injured in an accident.
While the cost of LASIK may feel prohibitive, this is a one-time procedure that balances against the costs of purchasing glasses or contacts over time. The cost of LASIK should include everything from pre-surgery exams to all of your postoperative care.
Can I Finance My LASIK Eye Surgery?
You may be able to finance your LASIK surgery. Having several thousand dollars coming out of your pocket all at once may be cost-prohibitive. In addition to all the standard lines of credit available today, there are also LASIK financing companies. Some of them offer a $0 down payment and no-interest monthly payments as low as $200. Talk with your doctor’s office to see what options are available.
Imagine life without glasses or contacts. LASIK surgery is a safe, effective way to restore your vision. Talk with our team today about whether you are a candidate for LASIK eye surgery.