Gulf Coast Eye Institute

Most Common Misconceptions and Myths about LASIK Eye Surgery

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Myth: LASIK Eye Surgery is Painful

Fact: The LASIK procedure is completely painless. At the time of the surgery, your surgeon will use medicated eye drops which will numb your eye and eyelids for the duration of the surgery. You may feel some discomfort after the procedure, such as a feeling of grittiness, itching or burning eyes. However, most patients report little to no discomfort after the surgery, and those that do are usually able to treat it easily with a common analgesic like Tylenol.

Myth: LASIK Can Sometimes Cause Blindness

Fact: There has never been a confirmed case of the LASIK eye surgery blinding anyone. That said, there have been a very few patients who have experienced serious complications, but they are extremely rare.

Your doctor will explain these small risks during your exam and will determine if you are a good candidate for the surgery based on you level of risk.

Myth: Complications Happen All the Time

Fact: In the early days of LASIK surgery, complications were far higher than today, thanks in part to newer technologies, innovative procedures, and more experienced surgeons. However, you’ll be happy to know even in those early days of the surgery, complications occurred less than 5% of the time.

Myth: Everyone Has Serious Side Effects

Fact: Serious side effects from the LASIK procedure are uncommon. However, there can be some temporary, minor side effects. Dry eyes is the most common side effect from LASIK and can be treated easily with eye drops. Less common side effects include seeing halos around lights, glares from lights, blurred vision, and difficulty driving at night.

Myth: The Long-term Side Effects from LASIK Have Not Been Discovered Yet

Fact: LASIK surgeries have been being performed for nearly 40 years, now. In that time, millions of people have had the surgery and to date, no long-term side effects have been reported.

Myth: LASIK Increases the Risk of Halos and Glare

Fact: Studies have shown three months after most patients who have had the LASIK eye surgery report having less glare and halos than when wearing their glasses before surgery.

In fact, in a study of pilots who land at night, 88% found their night vision to be better after LASIK surgery than with their glasses beforehand.

Myth: Dry Eye is Very Common After LASIK Eye Surgery

Fact: In two separate studies sponsored by the FDA, only less than 3% of patients reported moderate dry eye symptoms after three months of having the surgery. 23% reported mild dry eye symptoms in the same time period. However, after six months their dry eye symptoms had cleared up.

Myth: It Takes a Long Time to Recover from LASIK

Fact: Recovery from LASIK eye surgery is actually quite short, usually only a couple of days. However, your vision will take longer to fully stabilize, but by six months it will be stable and clear.

Myth: Contact Lenses are Safer than LASIK Eye Surgery

Fact: Independent studies have shown LASIK and long-term contact lens wear carry the same approximate levels of risk for vision loss.

Myth: LASIK Eye Surgery Hasn’t Improved Over the Years

Fact: The ever-changing world of technology and innovation, coupled with improved techniques shared by surgeons, has greatly improved the efficacy and safety of the LASIK procedure. In fact, LASIK has the highest satisfaction rate (95.4%) of any elective surgery, including plastic surgery and botulinum toxin injection.

Myth: Doctors Would Never Have the LASIK Procedure on Their Own Eyes

Fact: Eye surgeons are actually four times as likely to have the LASIK procedure, or any other refractive surgery, than the general populace.

Myth: The Effects of LASIK Eye Surgery Don’t Last

Fact: The vast majority of LASIK treatments provide patients with permanent vision correction. Rarely, some vision issues may come back, but it is highly unlikely. If there is regression, most surgeons will correct it at no additional cost. Age-related changes to vision are still up to nature, though.

Myth: You Will Have 20/20 Vision after the LASIK Procedure

Fact: LASIK eye surgery is not magic and cannot make everyone’s eyes the same. Everyone’s eyes are different and not all can be corrected to 20/20. Some patients will still need corrective lenses, albeit not as powerful as before the procedure, and some patients will have better than 20/20.

Myth: After You Have LASIK, You’ll Never Need Corrective Lenses Again

Fact: Time and age will continue to degrade your vision, even if you have had LASIK eye surgery. It’s important to continue having routine eye exams as you age.

Myth: LASIK is Only for Nearsightedness

Fact: LASIK was originally created to treat nearsightedness, but much has changed in the years since. Now LASIK can be used to treat farsightedness and astigmatism, as well.

Myth: You May Not be Eligible for LASIK Eye Surgery Due to Advanced Age

Fact: Your age does not determine your eligibility for LASIK. However, age related conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration do. The only age related restriction is for children whose eyes are not yet done growing and changing.

Myth: Everyone is an Eligible Candidate for LASIK

Fact: Not everyone is a candidate for LASIK eye surgery. There are many conditions that can increase the risk for poor outcomes like autoimmune disorders, uncontrolled diabetes, and eye diseases. Only your doctor can tell you if you’re an eligible candidate for LASIK.

Myth: It Doesn’t Matter Who Performs Your LASIK Eye Surgery

Fact: The LASIK procedure, like any skill, is perfected through practice and experience. When choosing a refractive surgeon, careful thought should be put into how long they’ve been performing the surgery, their success rate, and their willingness to provide patient references.

Myth: The Most Affordable LASIK Procedure is Just as Good as the Most Expensive One

Fact: Is the cheapest car as safe as the most expensive car? No. The same can be said about LASIK eye surgery. If a LASIK center is advertising rates lower than what their competition are, they may be cutting corners in the screening process or other areas of essential care. Or, perhaps their surgeons are new and don’t have years of experience under their belts like the more expensive options do.

Myth: Most People Can’t Afford LASIK Eye Surgery

Fact: As the LASIK procedure has become more common over the years, the technology has improved and more doctors are performing the procedure, the price of LASIK has come down substantially. Some vision insurance will even cover a portion of the procedure and financing options are usually readily available.

Have a LASIK concern or question not addressed above?  Contact us here and let us know how we can put your concerns at ease.

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