Lasik Surgery – Is It Worth It
LASIK ( laser refractive surgery) has gained word wide acceptance over the last twenty years. It is performed for example in the USA on air force pilots and active servicemen in the navy and army. With between 16 and 20 million procedures already done worldwide it is considered one of the most successful elective (non emergency) surgical procedures. A worldwide review of the literature published in the very highly acclaimed journal, Ophthalmology, found the average rate of satisfaction after laser surgery to be 95.4%.
How long will it last?
The answer to that question depends on the severity of the prescription that was treated. People who were very near sighted before treatment (between -7 and -10) tend to regress a little over a ten year period. Though they become slightly more near sighted again, it almost always stays better than before the laser. Smaller and medium refractive errors tend to stay very stable beyond 10 years. Laser surgery can be repeated if regression occurs (provided the cornea is thick enough)- these re-treatments have been shown in the literature to be very effective and safe.
When older than 40 years old, reading becomes a problem due to presbyopia (the natural phenomena where the lens of the eye cannot focus on near objects.) reading spectacles is then often prescribed. When patients older than 40 present for laser surgery we often correct the one eye for near vision and the other eye for distance vision (mono-vision), although it takes some getting used to initially, this technique leaves the patient more spectacle independent.
When considering LASIK it is important to have realistic expectations, although around 90% of patients will end up with 20/20 vision without spectacles, 10% of patient may end up with thin spectacles to optimise their vision for driving at night etc. The main objective of the surgery is to give you better vision without spectacles than before.
The question still remains, is it worthwhile for you? That depends on your unique circumstances. If you are an individual with an active lifestyle and spectacles or contact lenses are impeding on the quality of your life, or if you are just tired of poor vision without them, LASIK is certainly a safe option to consider.
For the price of about 3 pairs of fashionable spectacles LASIK can also make economic sense.