Getting a clear view of LASIK

This week’s blog on LASIK has been contributed by Dr Sandra Fiorentini, Specialist Ophthalmologist, Cornea, External Eye Diseases and Refractive Surgery Specialist

There is so much misinformation about LASIK that many people who wish they could be free of glasses or contact lenses hesitate to undergo the procedure and so do not benefit from all the advantages.

Inaccurate and misleading information in medical blogs, social media channels, and sensational press stories certainly create an element of confusion, fear and doubt among potential candidates.

Unfortunately, surgeons specializing in refractive surgeries are generally too busy to see all of this confusing information or have the chance to clarify the doubts or reassure on the fears.

The typical list of questions about LASIK usually relate to safety and the cost of the surgery.

After 25 years of LASIK and 55 million procedures performed worldwide, the current technology can be considered one of the safest with a safety record only bettered by the airline industry.

Put simply, visual impairment means a person cannot function in everyday life without using glasses or contact lenses – both of which work very well but which also have obvious disadvantages.

Comparing glasses with any type of orthopedic device to correct deformities – the solution given brings functionality, however, if the person has the chance to throw away the device, keeping the functionality, of course they would do.

Many daily tasks such as taking a shower, going to the beach or watersports, cooking and

using makeup, all become more of a chore with glasses and may encourage people to consider LASIK.

With contact lenses, the time and effort required for to manage hygiene and proper maintenance and the minor risks of contact lens intolerance or infection, may also steer people towards surgery.

Some contact lens users have lost vision and have needed a corneal transplant, or even lost an eye. LASIK, as with any surgery, does carry a very low risk of infection, however, it is only a one-time risk compared to a continuous risk of infection for daily contact lens users.

In terms of cost effectiveness, the total cost of contact lenses over a lifetime of wear is much higher than the cost of surgery.

However, it is also important to emphasize that LASIK or any other technique of refractive surgery is elective and so, a candidate can take time to consider the options and look for an ophthalmologist with specific surgery expertise and who can reassure on any concerns.

The ophthalmologist must ensure you are a good candidate for surgery based on understanding the potential risks and benefits for each patient case and enable a realistic expectation for the surgery – immediate outcomes and longer term results. Only after a detailed consultation you will be ready to make a decision.

Looking for the right professional ophthalmologist is vital because even if the doctor informs that you are not a suitable candidate for the procedure, which can happen in some cases, at least you can be sure you had a comprehensive eye checkup.

In the end, high quality professional services come at a cost, so be careful when you read media articles or see very low cost offers that reduce eye surgery to a standard consumer service like maintaining your car; we believe that your eyes and your vision deserve expert, professional care.

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