You can hardly turn on the TV or the radio without hearing ads about a new,
low-cost eye surgery to rid you of those bothersome glasses or contacts. But
how can you be sure you're not playing Russian roulette with your eyes?
WebMD Health professional Bill Lloyd, MD, is a board-certified
ophthalmologist qualified to perform laser refractive surgery. LASIK is one of
the most frequently performed operations in America. In order to shed some
light on this very popular surgery, Lloyd outlines ten important things to know
before undergoing laser refractive surgery.
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1. Know Yourself -- Why do you really want to have this
surgery? You will live with its results forever, so don't be caught up in a
fad. There are no guarantees. Many LASIK patients are still wearing
2. Know Your Surgeon -- Look for an experienced,
board-certified ophthalmologist. Ask direct questions regarding your surgeon's
experience and complication rate. Will your surgeon continue to take care of
you after the surgery, after surgery, or will you be redirected to a
3. Know Your Refractive Error -- The more nearsighted
(myopic) you are, the more likely you may need a repeat procedure
(euphemistically called "refinements"). Ask your doctor what the
chances are that you'll need a refinement.
4. Know if You Are Eligible -- LASIK is not for
everyone. People with severe dry eyes, certain corneal diseases, and other
select eye conditions should not undergo LASIK.
5. Know What Happens -- Be sure you fully understand the
entire procedure. Since you will be awake for the surgery, you don't want any
6. Know the Odds -- After laser refractive surgery, most
patients enjoy improved (not necessarily perfect) vision without their old
glasses. Nobody guarantees 20/20, 20/25, or 20/30 vision. If you hear such
claims, consider looking elsewhere.
7. Know the Risks -- Laser refractive surgery is
surgery. There is no such thing as "minor eye surgery." Complications
such as overcorrection, undercorrection, making the pupil off center, damaging
the cornea, inflammation, and infection can leave you miserable. You may hear
statistics about 2% or 5% complications, but if it happens to you, it's