LASIK Surgery For Eyes: Seeing Without Glasses?
What is LASIK?
If you are an adult who has had a stable eye prescription for many years, you may be a candidate for a laser eye surgery known as LASIK. It has the potential to replace or reduce your need to wear glasses (or contacts). The FDA approved LASIK surgery in 1998 and about 700,000 Americans have this procedure annually. LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. It is a surgical procedure that changes the shape of your cornea permanently. The cornea is the front part of your eye and it bends light entering the eye.
If you do not have good vision naturally, you will need glasses or contacts. Glasses help your eyes in bending (refracting) light, so it properly strikes the retina in the back of your eye. If you need glasses, that means your eyes have what is called a “refractive error." Glasses correct your refractive error. With LASIK, your ophthalmologist uses a laser to adjust the shape of the cornea. After LASIK, your eye refracts light onto your retina with little to no help of glasses or contacts.
LASIK treats myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism (imperfect cornea). Myopia is when your eyeball has a steeper curvature than normal. Myopics can see objects nearby but cannot see those that are far away. Hyperopia occurs when your eyeball is flatter than normal. As a result, nearby objects appear blurry. Astigmatism is an irregular curvature of your cornea, hindering nearby and far away vision. People requiring glasses often have combinations of myopia/hyperopia and astigmatism. It's important to know that LASIK cannot reverse presbyopia, which are the vision changes associated with aging.
LASIK surgery can improve the life of many people with refractive errors, but it is not for everyone. Your ophthalmologist will review your medical history and lifestyle goals to see if you may be a good candidate. Generally, if you are an adult with healthy corneas and an eye prescription that hasn’t changed, LASIK may be appropriate for you. LASIK will temporarily cause dry eyes and visual problems such as glare, which self-resolve after a few months. Around 90% of people who have LASIK end up with vision between 20/20 and 20/40.
Cost For LASIK Eye Surgery
Laser eye surgeries are considered to be an elective procedure by most insurance companies. Unfortunately, this means that LASIK is usually not covered by insurance. and you are responsible for providing the full cost of the surgery. The average price for LASIK surgery in the US in 2020 was $2,632 per eye. Thus, LASIK surgery for both of your eyes will be about $5,000 out of pocket. It is important to understand that LASIK is usually only a one-time cost. From a financial perspective, there may be significant savings in the long term as you will save on the cost of recurring prescription glasses and contact lenses.