(09/12/13) - If you're tired of wearing glasses or contacts lenses, you've
probably at least considered LASIK surgery. Each year, about 700,000 people
undergo the laser surgery used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and
astigmatism, but a lot of people are still skeptical. Some new techniques cut
For 13 years, Chelsey VanDemark's mornings began in a blur, "I would look at the alarm clock and like all I could see is just blurry. Like I can't define between a person."
Tired of wearing contacts, she considered LASIK, but was apprehensive, "the benefits are I can see great. The risks are something goes wrong and I can't see ever again."
It's a concern ophthalmologist Sherri Rowen hears often, "we really do like LASIK today. We wish we could get rid of the fear factor."
In fact, she says contacts can be much worse, "if you have an infection from a contact lens and it's in the center of your eye, there's nothing you can do about it. You've lost vision."
Dr. Rowen says lasers are safer and more precise than ever, "there's not a lot of high end risks anymore like there used to be."
A study of more than 3,000 LASIK surgeries performed, using a femtosecond laser for flap creation, had a complication rate of less than one-half of one-percent. All of those complications were taken care of during the same procedure.
"The laser is better than anything we've ever had to create a perfect flap," Rowan said.
Studies from the American Academy of Ophthalmology report seven out of 10 patients achieve 20/20 vision or better following surgery.
"The predominance of patients walk out and say, 'I'm only sorry I didn't do this five to 10 to 20 years earlier,'" Rowen says.
Chelsey's vision went from 4/50, to 20/15, after the procedure, "it's definitely worth, worth the money."
Custom LASIK can cost upwards of $2,000 - $3,000 per eye. And even with LASIK, most people over the age of 40 will still need reading glasses. To know if you're a good candidate, doctors must evaluate the severity of your prescription, your age, and how thick your cornea is.
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