7 Common Myths About LASIK
We have written before about some of the most common questions we get from our patients (you can read posts here and here). But what about some of the misinformation about LASIK that people just accept as fact?
There are more than a few myths floating around out there. Unless you’ve asked a doctor specifically about them (and most people don’t), you may have accepted some of them as fact too.
So we’re here to set the record straight. The following are just a few of the myths people believe about LASIK surgery. After each one: the truth.
MYTH: LASIK isn’t actual surgery.
Sure, we’re not doing anything as dramatic as removing your appendix, but rest assured that the procedure to correct your eyes is just as important. LASIK is a surgical procedure that permanently reshapes the curvature of your cornea and is actual surgery...just a less severe one.
The underlying question here is: "Should I take this as seriously as other surgeries." The answer is "YES!" Like most medical procedures, there are risks associated with it, but in the hands of a skilled doctor, those risks are minimal.
MYTH: A surgeon's ability is solely determined by the number of procedures he or she has performed.
To believe the laser does most of the work is false. The skill level of your surgeon is incredibly important. And yes, lots of procedures can make one more skillful, but it shouldn't be your only criteria.
Your doctor is responsible not only for interpreting data, making decisions about which procedure best meets your needs, utilizing the machine, and manipulating the corneal flap during surgery, but he or she is also responsible for providing high-quality care before and after the procedure. Therefore, your doctor should be skilled at more than just running the laser. The number of procedures he or she has performed tells you very little about the nuances of having corrective eye surgery.
MYTH: The laser can damage your eye by cutting or burning it. (Or worse, can cause blindness.)
In our clinic, there are no blades used and therefore no cutting. Bladeless LASIK is performed using a femtosecond laser. This procedure involves breaking the hydrogen bonds between corneal cells, not removing tissue.
LASIK is a delicate procedure that is performed with precisely calibrated machines run by highly knowledgeable people. Each of our lasers is calibrated prior to each procedure. If they do not pass the calibration, they will not run. If the energy moving through the laser is incorrect, the laser shuts down, preventing any possibility of something going wrong.
To our knowledge, no one has ever gone blind from bladeless refractive surgery.
MYTH: The procedure and/or recovery takes so much time, it’s not really worth it.
Each patient’s recovery time can vary, but normally, your eyes will feel better within a couple of days. Here at Grene Laser, it’s the reason we schedule surgeries on Fridays. You’ll be able to use the weekend to heal and get back to work by Monday. The procedure itself takes about 15 minutes, but you’ll be in our office for an hour or so.
You’ll have to decide whether a few days of lying on your couch with your eyes closed (bonus if you can get a spouse and kids to wait on you) for a lifetime of better vision is worth it to you. ;)
MYTH: Night glare and dry eyes should be expected after surgery.
Again, every patient is different. Some experience dry eyes. Some don’t. Some experience temporary halos. Some don’t. These possibilities always exist and there’s really no definitive answer. Most times, those who experience these side effects only experience them temporarily - for a few weeks at most.
MYTH: All of the technology hasn’t been figured out yet/ we don’t know all the long-term effects.
Laser corrective surgery became widely available in the 1990s. The technology for it has been around since the early 80s. No long-term, negative effects have ever been associated with the procedure in that time. So what we’re saying is: we’ve pretty much got this thing figured out.
MYTH: LASIK is extremely painful
We prefer "temporarily uncomfortable" to "painful." Think of it like an itch. Does it hurt? No. Is it annoying? Only temporarily.
This is because the excimer laser removes extremely thin layers from your cornea. No other part of your eye is touched or affected by the laser. But because we're physically reshaping your eye, there will be some irritation. Again, you'll be back to normal within a few days.