Common Myths and Misconception about LASIK Debunked

Anyone who has suffered from the effects of refractive errors like myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism for at least a year has probably searched for information on laser eye surgery to correct vision. While you may have weighed the pros and cons of the surgery, Great Plains Eye Specialists wants to dispel any untruths to give you peace of mind. Below are the most common myths and misconceptions about LASIK debunked.

Myth: LASIK can cause blindness. There has never been a single report that LASIK has caused blindness or been the sole cause of vision loss. It is common for patients to be concerned that they could be the very small less than 1% who experience a complication from LASIK, but most patients report a near 99% success rate with improved or significantly corrected vision, with as much as 20/20 or even 20/40 vision.

Myth: LASIK is painful. LASIK procedures begin with the numbing of the eyes with topical anesthetic drops. These drops block the nerve endings in the eye from feeling pain. Patients may feel a bit of pressure as the flap in the cornea is being created but there will not be any pain. Some patients are worried that the heat from the laser could burn their eyes. During LASIK, an excimer laser is used which emits a cool beam of concentrated light, not heat. The time the laser is focused on the eye is less than one minute, often only 15-20 seconds per eye. Some patients may experience mild burning or itching post-surgery, but these are common side effects that will go away within a day or two and can easily be treated with medication.

Myth: LASIK is unsafe because long-term side effects are unknown. LASIK was approved in 1999 by the Food and Drug Administration but refractive vision correction technology has been around even longer. With millions of procedures performed since its discovery, LASIK has been proven to correct vision for the long term with no vision threatening side effects. 

Myth: Everyone is a candidate for LASIK. Candidacy for LASIK is based on certain criteria that includes age, stable prescription and corrective power necessary to repair or restore visual clarity and acuity. One of the main factors to determine which type of laser eye surgery you may eligible for rests in large part on the thickness of your corneas. Too thin corneas is a disqualifier for LASIK surgery because sufficient corneal thickness is needed to create the flap during the procedure. 

Myth: LASIK does not last and I will still need prescription glasses or contact lenses. LASIK permanently reshapes the cornea. Although LASIK cannot guarantee completely perfect vision and some patients will still need glasses or contacts for reading or driving at night, generally patients have such a significant improvement to vision that glass or contacts are no longer necessary. Although the cornea has been changed, the lens of the eye can continue to change due to the natural aging process. If this happens, the need for glasses or contacts would not be attributed to LASIK, but age. 

For more information on LASIK, contact Great Plains Eye Specialists by calling 605-718-5123 or visiting our WEBSITE