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I AM AFRAID OF LASIK

Sometimes when we say "I cant afford LASIK" or "I'm probably not a good candidate for LASIK,"what we really mean is "I'm afraid of LASIK."

Not that those other points aren’t legitimate. Many people actually save a lot of money switching to LASIK from contacts, and there’s a lot of good information out there on whether or not you may be a candidate.

As for fear, that’s a perfectly reasonable emotional reaction to the thought of eye surgery.

LASIK is a medical procedure and so you want to give it all the same careful thought and consideration that you’d give any medical procedure.

But if you’re one of the afraid, consider the following:

LASIK has helped a lot of people

It’s been around for 18 years, and more than 15 million around the world have had the procedure done.

Today’s LASIK is also highly advanced. It uses technologies that create a 3-D map of your eye to prep for your procedure.

As for its effectiveness, in a clinical study, 94% of people saw with vision 20/20 or better six months after the procedure without the aid of contacts or glasses. Slightly more than that, 95% of patients, were satisfied with the results of the procedure, according to a recent study.

So if you do decide to get LASIK, at least you know that there are a lot of satisfied customers.

Your LASIK doctor will take steps to help you with your fear

Besides talking you through your expectations and concerns, your LASIK doctor has a couple additional tools up his or her sleeve to make the procedure a bit more comfortable and a bit less scary.

First, many LASIK doctors will give their patients medication to manage their anxiety during the procedure. You can talk to your doctor more about this option, but it should help clear up some day-of jitters.

Second, many elements of the procedure are designed specifically with your comfort in mind.

For example, special numbing eye drops are administered before the procedure begins. Patients generally feel some pressure on their eye while it’s being prepped for correction, which usually lasts less than a minute.

Also, the LASIK machine can sense if your head or eyes involuntarily move, and it either shuts off or makes adjustments to automatically correct for your movements. So if your eyes moving inadvertently was a concern of yours, don’t panic, the procedure accounts for that.

This has helped some, but I’m still afraid

That’s fair. It’s a medical procedure, and all medical procedures come with some degree of risk.

LASIK has some side effects, for example. Common ones include, but may not be limited to, dry eye or visual disturbances (like glare, halos or starbursts), reduction of vision or the possible need for glasses or contact lenses after surgery. In the majority of cases, common side effects can be managed with additional medical treatment or resolve on their own within three to six months, but it’s a consideration you will need to make.

Fortunately, you’re not on your own. A good doctor will discuss your expectations and concerns with you, and assist you through the LASIK screening process. And if you know someone who has had LASIK, ask them about their experience.

To find a LASIK doctor near you, you can search here. Most do consultations for free, so you can at least get the conversation started. And let us know if you have any follow-up questions we can address for you.

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