Angie's LIST Guide to
LASIK eye surgery

LASIK eye surgery is popular because of its fast results and lack of pain. This surgery improves eyesight and eliminates the need to wear glasses or contacts. This surgery removes tissue from the eye and reshapes it so the eye can focus light better. Although this surgery continues to grow in popularity, you should ask questions before going under the laser.


lasik surgery
Not everyone is an ideal candidate for LASIK surgery. Make sure you discuss the side effects with your physician before submitting to a procedure.

What is LASIK eye surgery?

LASIK, which stands for laser in situ kertomileusis, is a now-common outpatient surgical procedure in which an eye doctor employs a laser to reshape the cornea to help correct nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.

Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved LASIK eye surgery in 1989, roughly 4 million surgeries performed each year in America. Studies examining the percentage of patient satisfaction following surgery have ranged from 92 to 98 percent.

The price for this procedure ranges from $1,000 to $6,000 depending on several factors. According to Healthcare Blue Book, a free online guide that lists fair prices for healthcare services, the nationwide average for a simple LASIK procedure is $1,513. The fair price is what a health service provider typically allows from insurance companies as full payment, which is substantially less than the billed amount.

Are you a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery?

Although only your optomotrist or ophthalmologist can tell you for sure whether you qualify for LASIK eye surgery, a few factors can disqualify you. First, your eyes need to be healthy enough for surgery. If you have chronic dry eye, eye infections or pink eye, your doctor may recommend that you wait. Second, surgeons will only performed the procedure on adults with stable vision. If a patient has changing vision, surgery may only help for a little while. By law, doctors should wait when dealing with patients under 18 years of age. 

You may not qualify if you have a degenerative or autoimmune disease, which include HIV or AIDS, type 1 diabetes, lupus or celiac disease. These types of diseases often make it hard for your body to heal after a surgery, and they may also result in less successful surgery.

Prescription limits may also affect your options. In this situation, your eye doctor may suggest a different type of surgery to fix your eye problem.

Finally, if you are pregnant, recently pregnant or nursing, your eye doctor may suggest you wait before pursuing LASIK eye surgery. The increase in hormones during and after pregnancy can affect vision. In addition, medications often used before and after surgery may present a risk to the baby. Finally, many women have dry eyes during pregnancy, which can temporarily disqualify them for surgery.

Many doctors and specialists preform LASIK surgery, and you'll find offices solely devoted to this procedure. Be sure to visit Angie's List to find member reviews and licensing information for the best LASIK surgeons in your area.

What results can you expect form LASIK?

Many patients and doctors choose LASIK eye surgery because of its fast results. In most cases, patients notice better vision the day after the surgery, many with 20/20 vision or better. In some cases, patients have 20/40 vision, which is still good enough to drive without glasses or contacts in most states. Although some patients may still need to wear glasses or contacts following their surgery, their prescription might be lower than before.

Surgery can produce a handful of complications in patients, including an increased risk of infection. A condition called night glare might also occur, which produces a halo around lights and which patients most often notice in the headlights of oncoming cars when driving at night.

In rare cases, patients may experience regression, which produces success at first but over time causes the patient's eyesight to worsen. If you experience worsening eyesight, tell your eye doctor right away; you might need more surgery.

Finally, patients over 40 may still need to wear reading glasses. Likewise, patients who have had surgery may need to start wearing reading glasses as they pass 40. This is not a sign of regression and is normal.

Recovery time can vary, depending on several factors including whether you had both eyes corrected at one time. Immediately after surgery, you will need rest before leaving the doctor's office. When you go home, your doctor may recommend you rest for several hours. You will also need to take it easy for several days after the surgery. However, if no complications occurr, you may be able to return to work as quickly as the next day.

You may be told not to rub your eyes for several days after the surgery, which could lead to more problems. For some patients, not rubbing their eyes is difficult because of eye irritation. Most patients claim they do not experience pain following surgery, but they have complained of mild eye irritation and discomfort.



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