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LASIK Surgery for Nearsightedness: Your Questions, Answered

By Amanda Vining
LASIK is typically a quick and painless procedure that can correct nearsightedness with positive results.

As many as 25% of Americans are diagnosed with nearsightedness at some point in their lives. When you are nearsighted, objects far away appear blurry and you also may experience eye strain, headaches, and eye fatigue. But there are ways to treat nearsightedness, including LASIK eye surgery. Here’s what you should know about treating nearsightedness with LASIK.

How LASIK Treats Nearsightedness

When a person is nearsighted, they will be able to clearly see objects up close but will have trouble seeing objects that are farther away due to a refractive error in one or both of their eyes. According to Mayo Clinic, a refractive error means that the shape of your eye prevents the light rays from correctly bending (refracting). The goal of LASIK is to correct the refractive error. 

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), during the LASIK procedure, two lasers are used to first create a flap on the surface of the eye and then reshape the cornea to correct the issue causing nearsightedness.

LASIK is largely successful when it comes to treating nearsightedness. “LASIK is a good treatment for nearsightedness, with a success rate of 99% achieving 20/40 vision, over 90% achieving 20/20 vision, and 96% satisfied with their vision,” Kelsey Kleinsasser, an optometrist at Summit Eye Center in Missouri tells WebMD Connect to Care.  

Life After LASIK

What is the recovery time for LASIK eye surgery? Undergoing LASIK for nearsightedness is a relatively quick and painless procedure. According to Mayo Clinic, the procedure typically only lasts about 30 minutes and patients are given numbing eye drops so that they won’t feel anything while the procedure is being performed. 

What are the possible side effects of LASIK eye surgery? LASIK does come with a few possible side effects, but they are primarily mild and short-lived. “The most common side effects from LASIK are dry eye, glare, and halos around lights and blurriness. The dryness is the side effect that can last the longest. Some patients will experience increased dryness for 6-9 months after the surgery, however, most are back to normal within 3 months,” Kleinsasser says. 

How long do LASIK results last? According to the American Refractive Surgery Council, LASIK permanently corrects the condition you seek to treat, whether it be nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. However, that doesn't mean your vision won't evolve with time. 

Does insurance cover the cost of LASIK?Depending on your insurance coverage, LASIK may be a costly treatment option. According to Mayo Clinic, LASIK surgery is usually considered elective surgery, so most insurance companies won't cover the cost of the surgery. It’s important to be prepared to pay out-of-pocket for your expenses.

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