Discover why LASIK is a popular alternative to corrective lenses.
Do your eyes start to feel dry by the end of the day? Do you have allergies that make your eyes itch and burn, making your contact lenses feel awful? Does staring at a computer screen for hours on end dry out your lenses and blur your vision? Are you one of the 3 million contact lens wearers each year who say, "I don't want to wear my contact lenses anymore?"
Choosing LASIK to fix eyesight
According to the 20/20 Optical Report in 2011, more than half of the U.S. population needs vision correction. About 40 million of those people wear contact lenses. Each year, though, 7.5 percent of those contact wearers give up their contacts and either go back to wearing glasses or choose laser vision correction (LASIK).
Since LASIK got FDA approval in 1995, surgeons have used it 16 million times to help people to see better. With almost 20 years of scientific results and more than a 95 percent satisfaction rating, LASIK is the most popular and most useful cosmetic surgery.
What can LASIK correct?
LASIK was originally made to fix nearsightedness (myopia), where you can see objects up close but not far away. Today, LASIK can correct farsightedness (hyperopia), where you can see far away but not up close. It can also treat astigmatism, where you have distorted vision, which most people with astigmatism perceive as an overall fuzziness in their sight.
Although LASIK can correct these vision problems, you may still need reading glasses in time to fix presbyopia, an age-related vision problem. Presbyopia creeps up on people after the age of 40 and eventually affects everyone. LASIK can't fix it, but LASIK can adjust its effects to reduce your need for reading glasses.
Who can get LASIK?
To find out if LASIK is right for you, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do your glasses or contact lenses get in the way of your daily activities?
- Has your eyeglass or contact lens prescription been stable for at least a year?
- Are you 18 years of age or older?
- Are you in good general health?
- Are you not currently pregnant or nursing, and have you not been pregnant or nursing within the last six months?
If you can answer yes to all of these questions, you're probably a good fit for LASIK. But, you should remember that LASIK still may not be a good option for you because only a doctor can tell for sure.
Will LASIK work for me?
When considering LASIK eye surgery, first visit an experienced and credentialed LASIK surgeon to find out if you're a fit for it. After a complete eye exam, your surgeon will make a recommendation based on your prescription, eye shape and individual condition.
LASIK eye surgery is a life-changing procedure that can reduce how much money you have to spend on contacts or eyeglasses. Because LASIK is a state-of-the-art FDA-approved technology and gives consistent results, it is worth exploring. It doesn't hurt that so many LASIK patients are thrilled by the results.
Published on April 20, 2012; updated on May 29, 2014.