LASIK eye surgery uses lasers to precisely reshape the clear, outer layer of your eye, improving your vision. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) originally approved it in 1999, and it’s now one of the most popular elective surgeries, with doctors performing about 600,000 procedures a year.
If you’re thinking about getting laser eye surgery, talk to your doctor and consider these possible LASIK benefits—some of which extend beyond better eyesight.
1. Cost Savings
LASIK usually costs between $1,000 and $3,000 per eye. Over time, though, it might save you money—especially if you get LASIK when you’re relatively young. If you pay a few hundred dollars for glasses each year, plus a few hundred more for contacts, contact supplies, and an annual visit to your eye doctor, LASIK might pay for itself in a few years.
2. No Contact Lens Risks
“Contact lenses can on rare occasions cause severe eye infections. LASIK virtually eliminates that risk,” Neda Shamie, MD, an ophthalmologist and laser eye surgeon, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
In a 2015 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey, more than 99% of contact lens wearers reported practicing risky habits that could increase their odds for serious eye infections. Contact use raises the risk of eye infections and other eye injuries.
“I had LASIK done myself in 2014, and it makes everything from work to sports to travelling much easier,” says Jonathan Wolfe, OD, an optometrist who evaluates and refers patients for LASIK. “Additionally, I find it especially helpful in patients with moderate astigmatism, who can't achieve stable and clear vision with contact lenses, and don't like wearing glasses.”
4. Clearer, Better Vision
Better vision can improve your life in many ways. You’ll no longer have to worry about whether it’s safe to drive without your glasses, plan to take out your contacts when traveling overnight, or worry that doing what’s best for your eyes might affect your appearance.
Wolfe adds that even the best contacts move slightly when you blink. This can be annoying, and causes tiny vision distortions when the lens is not in perfect alignment.
5. Permanent Vision Improvements
LASIK permanently changes the eye, offering permanent improvements in eyesight compared to your vision before the procedure. That means you only have to see your eye doctor for your regular annual eye exams, instead of the additional appointments that are sometimes needed to keep your prescription updated.
Because the eyes do change with time, people may find that their vision begins to decline in their 40s, regardless of whether or not they choose LASIK. “The correction is permanent. It never wears off,” says Robert Maloney, MD, an ophthalmologist who performs laser vision correction. “By the same token, LASIK doesn’t freeze the vision, so natural changes in vision that would occur without LASIK can still happen after LASIK.”
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