Lasik Eye Surgery: Good Option For You?

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

An estimated million-and-a-half people had laser eye surgery to correct their vision last year, a procedure often not covered by insurance.

Consumer Reports says the expense, along with the fact that you're dealing with precious eyesight, makes this an important decision.

The surgery itself is fairly simple. A laser is used to reshape the cornea, often reducing the need for glasses and contacts.

A Consumer Reports Health survey of 793 adult Americans who've had laser eye surgery since 2001 shows 80% reported being "highly satisfied" with the results.

But 53% of respondents experienced at least one side effect...such as halos, light sensitivity, or blurry vision.

22% still had problems six months after the surgery.

While every surgery carries risks, Doctor John Santa of Consumer Reports Health says one of the best ways to protect yourself is by doing your homework.

"When looking for a surgeon, you want a board-certified ophthalmologist who does at least 250 procedures a year," said Santa.

And make sure you go into the surgery with realistic expectations.

"55% of the people in our survey still need to wear glasses or contacts at least some of the time after surgery," said Santa.

And many people will need reading glasses when they hit 40.

Still, laser eye surgery can be an effective measure for improving people's vision.

It turns out the most common regret from those surveyed was not doing it sooner.

Consumer Reports Health says be aware not everyone is a good candidate for this surgery.

A reputable laser center will do a thorough prescreening and typically reject ten percent or more of prospective patients.

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