- What is LASIK eye surgery?
- Is LASIK surgery painful?
- What if my vision is not 20/20 after the LASIK procedure?
- What are the long-term safety risks of LASIK vs. contact lenses?
- What is the real cost of contact lenses and glasses vs. LASIK?
- What if I blink during the procedure?
- What if I move during surgery?
- Can I make monthly payments?
- Am I a good candidate for LASIK?
LASIK is a 15 minute surgical procedure that uses laser light to reshape the cornea of your eye. The goal of LASIK eye surgery is to eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. LASIK is used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Our LASIK procedures are performed locally in our office in northeast Wichita.
No, LASIK eye surgery does not hurt. Although our eyes are very sensitive, anesthetic eye drops are used throughout the procedure. The great thing about LASIK is there is very little discomfort and the visual recovery is very fast. Typically at the one day post-op visit, a patient's vision is around 20/25. Our laser vision correction procedures are performed on Friday and you are able to return to work on Monday.
In about 3% of our patients, an enhancement may be needed. This is not to say that you will not see very well after the procedure. One eye may be 20/20, while the other eye ended up being 20/25. If this occurs and an enhancement is needed, there is no cost to you within the first year. If your vision changes after the first year, enhancements are an option, depending on the patient’s corneal thickness. Future enhancements are offered at a reduced rate, once you have your original procedure with us. You never pay the full price for the procedure again. We want to provide quality vision for a lifetime.
Contact lenses, although widely used with few complications, still carry risks. Every time you put your contacts in, you are introducing a foreign object onto the ocular surface. Each insertion of the contact lens is an opportunity to introduce a pathogen, virus or bacteria, and cause an infection. Contact lenses can also cause ulcers, edema, and alterations to the corneal thickness and curvature. For regular contact lens wearers, vision threatening infections are estimated to occur at a rate of 1 in 2,000. In comparison, vision threatening infections occur with LASIK at a rate of 1 in 10,000.
Another contraindication that contact lenses carry is associated with water activities. Contact lenses increase the risk of water related infections such as acanthamoeba. Wearing contacts in pools, hot tubs, swimming pools, or lakes, increases your risk of acanthamoeba attaching to the cornea. A corneal infection with acanthamoeba is often misdiagnosed and difficult to treat. In some instances, a corneal transplant is needed.
All surgeries carry a risk; LASIK and PRK are low risk but not without any risk. However, in comparison to long term contact lens use, refractive surgery is a good option for the long term health of your eyes.
Let’s consider the cost of LASIK versus glasses and contacts. There is a wide variety of cost for contact lenses. For simplicity, let’s use the value of $70 for the average cost of a box of contacts. In this box, there are 6 monthly lenses, so we would need 4 boxes for a year’s supply. Therefore, for a year’s supply of contacts, it will cost $280. If you are 30 years old and wear contacts for the next 20 years, the amount spent on the lenses alone is $5,600 dollars. This amount alone has covered the cost of LASIK. You can do the math for your specific brand and see how much you would spend. This does not take into account inflation.
What about contact lens solutions? The average bottle is going to cost about $10 dollars. The bottle will last about a month, so approximately $120 dollars a year on solution.
Glasses are less easy to calculate because higher prescriptions cost more. Also, if you add on anti reflective coatings, scratch resistant coatings, transitions, progressive lenses, etc, the cost will be even higher. So for simplicity again, let’s say you get a new pair of glasses every other year. Single vision glasses with a frame may cost $150, while progressives can go well over $300. For this example, let’s say you spend $200 every two years on glasses. Over the next 20 years you will buy 10 pairs of glasses at a cost of $2,000 dollars. This is assuming you only wear glasses and not contacts, and you do not purchase prescription sunglasses or additional pairs more than every two years.
To summarize, many people wear both glasses and contacts. Assuming average annual cost of contacts is $280, care products for those contacts cost $120 annually, and a pair of glasses purchased every two years would cost $100 per year, over the next 20 years, this individual will end up spending $10,000. At this rate, you could have LASIK a couple of times and still have money in your pocket! Although the upfront cost is higher with refractive surgery, in the end, you will save money, time, and peace of mind knowing you do not need glasses or contacts to see. And most importantly you are not putting your eyes at risk for infection each and every time you put in a contact lens.
Blinking is not a problem. Anesthetic drops reduce the urge to blink. In addition, a gentle lid support reduces blinking. Finally, a very effective tracking system compensates for eye movement during treatment. Don’t worry - blinking won’t be a problem.
All-Laser LASIK technology is safer because it eliminates the need for a blade. During treatment of your prescription, a very effective tracking system compensates for eye movement. Our current laser tracks eye movement at a rate of 6 milliseconds. To put that in perspective, the average blink takes 300-350 milliseconds. All-Laser LASIK uses the most advanced technology to keep you safe. With this technology, our instructions have changed from “Don’t move!” to “Don’t worry”.
Yes! We have a great financing programs available. Over 1/3 of our patients choose this option. The program is designed specifically for elective medical expenses. All-Laser LASIK can cost less than three dollars a day. It is easy to apply either by phone or internet.
LASIK is a good option for most people and most prescriptions. However it is not for everyone. The LASIK team will meet with you at your laser evaluation and discuss what the best option for you is. If you are not a good LASIK candidate, you may be a candidate for a different type of surgery - such as surface laser or a refractive intraocular lens.