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An Outspoken Few Are Disillusioned With LASIK Surgery

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Age can also be a factor. Vision refraction, which determines how much correction a person's eyes need, may not yet be stabilized in patients younger than 25. The average age for LASIK treatment for nearsightedness is 39; for farsightedness, it's 49. "Medically speaking, you can have it done at any age, as long as there is stability in the refraction," he says.

So whom should you trust with your eyes?

When it comes to choosing a good LASIK surgeon, patients should have a "buyer beware" attitude, Waring tells WebMD. In the hype and price competition, there are "two-eyes-for-one" discount specials. You might "win a free LASIK" in a drawing. In one shopping mall, you can watch LASIK surgery though a storefront window.

"Patients need to have a shoppers' mentality, a critical mind-set, and probably need to interview more than one surgeon at more than one center," Waring advises. "Spend a good bit of time on the Internet, reading up on the subject and the different options.

"The basic warning should be, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. You need to be critical of discount claims, claims of perfect vision, any claims that don't make sense," he adds.

Talk to your friends, he advises. "If someone you know and trust has been to a surgeon and has had a good result, or who says this doctor is pretty honest, he didn't do my neighbor because his eye wasn't the right shape -- that's the kind of reference that counts. But don't be naive, because you can also have a good result from a crummy doctor."

Also, check out more than one laser center, Waring says. "Sit down and evaluate everything, the center, staff, doctor. There are centers where the patient doesn't see the doctor until 10 minutes before the procedure. ... You need a doctor-patient relationship, in case anything happens."

You should also evaluate the surgeon, he says. Some questions to ask include: What is your training? What are your results? Have you published your results in a scientific paper? Can you show me your results? What is your frequency of complications?

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