Lasik Q & A
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All About LASIK Eye Surgery

What does LASIK mean?

LASIK is an acronym for the scientific term for the procedure. That term is “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis.”

What is LASIK?

LASIK is a type of eye surgery that corrects refractive aberrations in the cornea. A trained surgeon cuts a flap in your corneal tissue and reshapes the corneas of your eyes to correct deficiencies and improve your vision.

Are there any risks?

Side effects and complications do occasionally occur, however they are very rare. No surgery is foolproof, so there is a small risk involved. The most frequently occurring complications include dry eyes or inflammation, under or over correction, and vision loss. Surgeons do their best to reduce these risks by screening for the appropriate candidates. Patients with certain conditions like diabetes or an immunodeficiency condition have increased risks. If you are concerned about your personal risk level, an ophthalmologist should be able to provide you with more information.

How much will LASIK cost?

As the procedure becomes more common, the price of LASIK is going down. The surgery may cost anywhere from $1000 to $3000 per eye depending on the surgeon you choose, the method you choose, and the pre and post-operation services required.

Will my medical insurance cover LASIK surgery?

Because LASIK is a voluntary procedure for most people, the majority of insurance providers still consider it an elective or cosmetic procedure. It is gaining recognition as a viable alternative to glasses or contact lenses, and in Europe most insurance companies do cover it, but in the United States the surgery is rarely considered necessary enough to qualify for coverage. Because LASIK is so rarely covered by insurance, most clinics offering LASIK services offer a variety of payment plans.

Does LASIK work for everyone?

LASIK is not yet approved to treat all conditions. Furthermore, patients with certain structural abnormalities of the eye like enlarged pupils or thin corneas have an increased risk of complications. Consult with a surgeon to see if there is a procedure that will work for you.

Will I feel any pain during or after LASIK?

LASIK surgery is accompanied by a minimum of pain. During the surgery, few patients register anything above minor discomfort. Before entering the operating room, the surgeon will anesthetize your eyes via eye drops and may administer a light sedative to keep you relaxed. Immediately after surgery you might have a dull soreness in your eyes as they adjust, but this is usually effectively treated with little more than an over the counter painkiller like Tylenol or Aleve.

How many LASIK procedures are there?

As the technology advances, more and more procedures are being approved. Currently there are over a dozen FDA-approved forms of LASIK surgery. Some of the newest procedures include IntraLase, frequently called the “all laser” procedure because it uses a bladeless femtosecond laser to cut the corneal flap in place of the traditional microkeratome instrument. Another LASIK procedure that is gaining in popularity is photorefractive keratectomy (or PRK), which removes the outer layer of cells from the eye before reshaping the cornea.

If you still have questions about LASIK eye surgery, its risks, and its benefits speak with your ophthalmologist or a qualified LASIK surgeon directly. Additional statistical information is available on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s official website for LASIK at http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/LASIK.*


 
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