5 Things You Should Know Before Having LASIK Surgery
1. Get to Know Your Surgeon
And vice versa, your surgeon should get to know you. Just meeting your surgeon on the day of the procedure can give to rise to problems. Does your surgeon know what your expectations are? What activities are important to you? What problems do you have now with glasses or contact lenses? All these and more are important for you to discuss not with a technician or a ‘counselor’, but with the surgeon. Only then can he/she correct your vision in the best way, suited to you, not some generic patient. Not only can the answers to these questions determine the right procedure for you, but also how the surgeon goes about doing the procedure and programming the laser. It may also affect the medications prescribed and the aftercare and post-op regimen. Most good surgeons do all the many types of laser vision correction (PRK, LASIK, LASEK, etc) and can tailor the procedure to your needs and wants.
2. Price should be the last factor in your decision in getting Laser Vision Correction.
In general, good laser vision correction is not cheap, nor is it expensive. Any price that seems too low or too high should be suspect. There is no such thing as cheap and good laser correction. If the price is low, something is missing – whether the technology is outdated, the experience of the surgeon and staff is limited, or the post-op care is reduced; beware. And the cheap per eye price advertisements are a come-on – no one who needs laser vision correction actually gets it for that price. Good results cost something and it is better to do the procedure right the first time than afterwards attempt to fix something that went wrong – that can end up costing much, much more – if it can even be fixed at all. These are your eyes, it is not a time to seek out bargains. With many different financing options available, laser vision correction is very affordable for almost everyone.
3. Not everyone can have the latest and most advanced technology.
If you read all the different lasik websites and listen to representatives of the different laser platforms, everyone has the best and most advanced technology. With about six laser machines available for laser vision correction and three or four femto lasers for flap creation, not all can be the latest and greatest. With consolidation of laser companies and competition between the laser makers, any new upgrade or renaming gets classified as the best and newest technology where really it is simply a marketing ploy to gain market share or publicity. For instance, iLASIK is a marketing term created when one company bought the VISX laser and then obtained the Intralase laser. Since they were losing market share they decided to rename the use of the two technologies together as iLASIK. Of course, many of us were using these lasers together for over 5 years before the name change and newer lasers are now out and gaining in use. So be cautious, a new name doesn’t always mean the newest or best technology. And since most laser vision correction surgeons were trained on one laser, they generally accept the hype put out by that laser company as fact. If you can find one, it is best to ask a surgeon who has used all the different technologies what is best.
4. Custon Laser Vision Correction is for Everyone.
To get the best results with the least chance of unwanted side effects, Custom laser vision correction should be done. It is appropriate for almost everyone. Unfortunately, not all lasers can do a custom treatment. It is about playing the odds – with non-custom treatments you’re betting you’ll be one of the small percentage of patients doing OK with no bad side effects. With Custom treatments, your chance of good vision without unwanted side effects is increased greatly, and with most laser systems well worth it.
5. All-Laser, Bladeless LASIK is not always the best choice.
Though appropriate for most people, there are times when a regular microkeratome may be more appropriate for the creation of the flap in LASIK than an all-laser procedure. If there is corneal scarring for instance, the laser microkeratomes cannot always make a good flap and the ‘bladed’ microkeratome is better. Of course, in the hands of a surgeon that doesn’t do a lot of surgery, the laser microkeratome is generally safer; but in an experienced surgeon’s hands the regular microkeratome is safe and effective and can make a great flap without the inflammation that some of the laser microkeratomes can produce. Always ask your surgeon what is best for you.