How Do I Know if LASIK Will Work For Me?
What Is the Success Rate for LASIK?
The latest research into LASIK success rates — based on visual acuity and patient satisfaction — reports that 99% of patients achieve better than 20/40 vision and more than 90% achieve 20/20 vision or better after LASIK surgery.
Additionally, LASIK has a 96% patient satisfaction rate – the highest of any elective procedure, according to the Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.
What do these success rates mean for your vision goals? Let’s take a look.
Understanding the LASIK Success Rate
LASIK outcomes are measured by a variety of factors, including visual acuity – the sharpness of your vision – and overall patient satisfaction.
Visual Acuity is usually taken in a doctor’s office while you are sitting still. Most consider 20/20 (the ability to read the eye chart at 20 feet) to be “normal.” However, this measurement may not completely define the quality of vision for everyone. Some believe clarity, contrast sensitivity, and reaction time are just as important.
Patient satisfaction can be just as hard to pin down because people have different ways of reporting whether they’re “happy” with the results of their improved vision. They can point to a number of factors that impact their lives in different ways (playing sports, no more dry eyes, etc.). In the end, though, it’s hard to argue with a 96% satisfaction rating. No matter how they define "happy", the vast majority of people love their vision after LASIK.
Despite these measurements, it’s also important to remember there’s only one measurement that matters: Does LASIK give you what you want? Does it help you achieve your own vision goals? Is your lifestyle or your career enhanced?
The One Measurement that Matters: Why Do You Want LASIK?
Ask yourself what you expect to get out of laser vision correction surgery. Why are you thinking about LASIK? How do you think LASIK will make your life better?
A good place to start is to write down your expectations. This is extremely valuable both for you and your surgeon in mapping out a recommended course of action. A lot of people have heard good things about LASIK and expect that it will improve their lives. But they don’t always take a long, detailed look at what that means – what LASIK will help them do better or enjoy more. (Here's a story of one of our patients, if you'd like a specific example).
For you, LASIK success might mean getting glasses out of the way of your daily life. For others, having great vision 24/7 might be important for work purposes. Imagine pursuing someone through thick underbrush, and getting slapped in the face by branches. Or think of what a firefighter routinely has to deal with — smoke, water, and steam. There’s a good chance he or she will lose their glasses or have their contacts damaged.Not surprisingly, people turn to LASIK to perform their jobs better. For example, police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and other first responders need great eyesight. They work in conditions where it’s hard to wear glasses or contacts.
People in many other careers who need the sharpest possible vision to do their work — photographers, artists, engineers, and scientists — also turn to LASIK. But it’s not all about work either; people turn to LASIK for play and to follow their passions.
You might love playing in your softball league, or catching a frisbee in the park, or going hiking or camping. The conditions are challenging and the convenience of LASIK can transform that experience.
The same goes for swimming, surfing, or sailing. Sand, spray, and harsh sunlight don’t mix well with glasses or contact lenses, but they’re no trouble at all once you’ve had LASIK. And if you’re a skier who has to deal with snow spray and glare — the temperature may be different than for boaters and beach lovers, but the freedom you get from LASIK is just the same.
And of course, LASIK success doesn’t have to involve any activity at all. Many people measure LASIK success rates just by the pure pleasure of having the best possible vision, and the freedom to do without contacts – or to never again be forced to grope on the nightstand to find their glasses in the middle of the night.
For anyone with vision problems, there are a million reasons to consider LASIK. The good reasons – the reasons that lead to LASIK satisfaction and LASIK success – are the ones that matter to you, because you want to change the way you see in life. Your LASIK success might be measured by how much you’re enjoying your lifestyle and your life. Point is, there's no right answer. It's what works for you.
To find out more, come see us for your free consultation. No matter what you love to do in life, there may well be a LASIK success story waiting for you.
(source: American Refractive Surgery Council)