What I Learned About LASIK!
I have had bad eyes pretty much my whole life. When I was 8 years old, it was clear that I couldn't see, but I was so afraid of getting glasses, I did everything in my power to avoid being told I had poor vision. When I was seated in the back of the class and couldn't see the board, I would go grab a tissue at the front, read my assignment, and go back to my seat. When I had to get an eye exam with the school nurse, I would cry and pretend I was afraid of the machine, and they gave me a handheld test that was much easier to fudge. But soon it became too much, and I admitted to my parents that I couldn't see any longer and needed glasses.
I knew glasses weren't for me right away. They felt uncomfortable, I didn't like how they looked, and I disliked how I couldn't see through the sides of my glasses. Thankfully, my parents let me get contacts when I was 10, and I haven't stopped wearing them since. But anyone who wears contacts knows what a PAIN IN THE BUTT they are. If you have to sleep anywhere that's not home, and you're wearing contacts, it HURTS. Swimming is a challenge, and going camping is inconvenient when you have to put your contacts in and out. I'm a fairly active and outdoorsy person, so I have been cursing my bad eyes for as long as I can remember.
Recently, I have seriously begun considering LASIK. I have always seen LASIK as an option, but I was traumatized in 6th grade when I had to watch a LASIK surgery video on career day. But, I decided to put my fears aside and REALLY learn about LASIK as an option by attending an informational event with the Refractive Surgery Council (RSC) at The Maloney Institute — and I'm so glad I did! I learned a lot about LASIK that I did not know, and if you have bad eyes like me and are considering LASIK, I'm here to share everything I learned!
How It Works
LASIK involves using a laser to sculpt the cornea — it's basically like creating a contact lens on the surface of the eye. First, a thin, circular flap is made in the cornea using a laser. The surgeon then folds the flap out of the way. Then the corneal tissue underneath the flap is reshaped using another type of laser. The flap is then laid back in place.
It Has Improved A LOT Since It First Started
Someone messing with your eyes seems scary, I know. But it turns out, LASIK is very safe, especially with the latest advanced technologies and techniques. What shocked me was that in these recent clinical trials of over 16,000 procedures, NO ONE loss their vision In fact, the only real "side effects" of LASIK are potential dry eyes and glares at night — but these tend to happen with contacts anyway! Of course, there's always the "risk" you won't have "perfect" vision, but.... it will definitely be better than what you had before, that's for sure. Thankfully, that's not too much of a worry, as 85% of Maloney's patients actually end up with better than 20/20 vision after surgery.
The Risks Are Less Than Continually Wearing Contacts
A laser making a small flap in your eye sounds incredibly frightening, but it turns out it's actually more dangerous to wear contacts all the time. You are at a much higher risk for infections, from everything from wearing your contacts in the ocean to not cleaning your case out enough. This makes LASIK safer than chronic contact lens use, especially if you are someone who is active, spends a lot of time swimming or in places like the jacuzzi or sauna.
It's A Quick Procedure With Almost Immediate Recovery
I was most shocked to find out how short the actual surgery is. The whole process takes just a half hour to an hour from start to finish, including when you get into the office to when you leave. The actual LASIK portion is even quicker than that, at about 10 minutes. Most people's hesitation lies in their fear of being awake while someone is operating on their eye — that was definitely mine. However, the surgeons assured me that it's actually not much of a scary procedure for most people. You are given a relaxant before the surgery, so most people feel pretty loopy before the process begins. And you don't feel any pain. Once it's over, you can see improvements right away! It might take a few days to get completely blur-free vision, but the doctors made note that most patients sit up from the surgery and get excited at how clearly they can see the clock.
What Makes Someone A Candidate?
So now that you know a little more about the process, you might be wondering if you're a good candidate for LASIK. First of all, you have to have healthy eyes. This is something the docs can check during your consultation, but if you haven't had issues in the past, you're probably fine. Secondly, you have to have stable vision. If your vision is still getting worse, it's not a good idea to get LASIK at this time, as you run the risk of continuing worsening vision. LASIK can fix your current vision, but it can't prevent changes down the line. Typically, people's eyes stop changing around 25-27, so you can definitely still do this procedure if you're under 30. If you have REALLY bad eyes, and we're talking around the -8 to -10 range, you may not be a candidate.
After learning all this info, I think I am definitely going to consider LASIK. I'll keep you guys posted on my journey! For more information, you can visit the Refractive Surgery Council website. Thank you to RSC for sponsoring this post!