Test Your LASIK Eye-Q

From Dr. George Simon of the Simon Vision Institute

So how much do you really know about LASIK?  There’s a lot of confusing information out there, and at times it can be pretty difficult to separate fact from fiction.  Truth is, modern-day LASIK is an extremely easy, safe and accurate procedure that can help eliminate your dependence on glasses or contacts, regardless of your prescription.

So take the test and find out how much you REALLY know, and what you should know when considering LASIK!

Question 1.  Having LASIK is riskier than wearing glasses or contacts.  True/False

False – LASIK is one of the safest and most widely performed procedures in the world.  In fact, wearing contact lenses actually poses MORE of a threat to your vision, up to 5x more, due to infections and the like.  While glasses are technically the ‘safest’ form of vision correction, they still pose considerable risks associated with emergency situations (fire, earthquake…etc), employment conditions (police, construction workers, firefighters…etc) and leisure activities (sports, swimming…etc).  If you’re still nervous, consider that 100% of LASIK Custom Vision patients can now legally drive without glasses.

Question 2.  LASIK is not proven or permanent. True/False 

False - Data and research for LASIK has been performed for more than 20 years, and it is a proven permanent and effective alternative to glasses and contacts.  Over 35 million procedures have been performed worldwide, with current standards of technology able to treat most any prescription, with results that often exceed 20/20 vision or the quality of vision obtained through glasses and contacts.

Question 3.  LASIK doesn’t correct farsightedness or astigmatism.  True/False

False - If you choose a center that has an experienced LASIK Surgeon and the most advanced technology available; chances are you’ll be a good candidate for LASIK.  Certain LASIK technologies have progressed to the point where even very extreme farsighted and astigmatic patients can achieve visual results that are better than vision with glasses and contacts.  Since all lasers are not the same, make sure your LASIK doctor has a choice as to which lasers will give you the best result based upon your prescription.

Question 4.  Your prescription needs to be stable for at least one year prior to LASIK surgery.  True/False

False – In the past, people were told that their prescription needed to be stable for at least one year before they could be candidates for LASIK.  The truth is that past changes in your vision are not accurate predictors for the future, and you may very well be a perfect candidate for the procedure.  The only way to tell for certain if you’re a candidate is to have a thorough exam and evaluation at a center that specializes in LASIK.

Question 5.  I’ll never have to wear glasses again after LASIK.  True/False

It depends – LASIK correction for myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism can eliminate your need for lenses to correct these conditions and is permanent. However, once we all reach our mid-40s, a condition called presbyopia sets in where it becomes harder to focus at things close up, causing us to need reading glasses.  Depending upon your age at the time you are considering LASIK, you should discuss how your vision can be customized to fit your lifestyle.  There are solutions to reduce or eliminate your dependence on readers and an experienced LASIK doctor with the latest technologies can discuss all your options.  So, if you’re considering LASIK you should pursue it sooner than later to get the maximum lens-free enjoyment.  Patients in there 20s can enjoy over 30+ years of great vision without glasses!

Question 6.  Glasses and Contacts give me vision that’s just as good.  True/False

False – With the current LASIK technology, and an experienced surgeon, you should expect to gain visual results that likely better than with glasses or contacts.  Imagine what life would be like with clear vision – all the time.  I’m sure most people can remember a situation or two where they missed out on a memorable moment due to their vision issues with glasses and contacts.  Plus, it’s an improvement in your quality of life.
Lastly – In many cases glasses and contacts do a poor job of correcting astigmatism, especially higher prescriptions.  LASIK is a better option for these patients who still have vision issues from astigmatism..

Question 7.  You’ll see worse at night after LASIK.  True/False

False – With older LASIK technology, there used to be instances where patients complained about glare and halos at night after LASIK.  Not the case anymore.  With the advent of the Intralase, Wavefront guided and Wavefront Optimized technologies, your visual outcome that might have included poor night vision are now factored into your treatment and corrected.  The result is vision that is actually dramatically clearer at night than with glasses and contacts.

Question 8.  LASIK is a painful procedure.  True/False

False – The most common phrase we hear at our office is “If I knew how easy the procedure would be, I would have done it years ago!”  There’s a natural desire to be afraid of someone touching your eyes or messing with your vision, but the truth is that LASIK is a simple and painless procedure that only takes a few minutes to provide a lifetime of better vision.  During the procedure, patients can experience a little pressure but once the procedure is over, generally within 10 minutes or less, there is no pain or discomfort.  The most common side effect is generally a huge smile that is hard to lose!

Question 9.  Recovery from LASIK takes a long time.  True/False

False - Most LASIK Custom Vision patients notice an immediate improvement right after their procedure, and you’ll see a dramatic improvement within 24 hours.  You can resume most normal activities, including work, the very next day.  In fact, most of our patients drive themselves to next day post-op appointment – without glasses or contacts!

Question 10. PRK is the same as LASIK.True/False

False - While both procedures correct your vision with an excimer laser, the manner in which they do so is completely different.  With LASIK, your surgeon makes a small flap in the cornea, which is folded back for treatment and then replaced after the procedure where it bonds quickly.  In PRK, the entire outer area of the corneal surface is scrubbed off with a solvent and a brush, and treatment then applied.  Due to the nature of eye healing, LASIK is a much more comfortable procedure with dramatically faster recovery times and less potential complications.  However PRK’s visual results are often just as good.  It does take many more days to fully recover from a PRK procedure, but it is a great option for people who have corneas too think for LASIK, or compete in contact professions such as boxing, since there is no incision ever made in the eye.

Question 11.  It doesn’t matter where I go to have my LASIK procedure.  All LASIK is the same.  True/False

False – The reality is there are HUGE differences in how LASIK is performed today as well as the follow-up care and results you’ll receive at different centers.  The two most important factors that will determine your individual results are the experience of the LASIK Surgeon and which technology is used for your specific procedure.  Do your homework: it may be worth driving a few minutes more for a lifetime of great vision.
EXPERIENCE – Every eye is unique, and by choosing a surgeon with the most experience you can be confident that his/her treatment options for you have taken into consideration your prescription and lifestyle needs rather than a one size fits all approach.
TECHNOLOGY – LASIK has been FDA approved since 1996, and some technology approved then is still in use today.  Today, you have options as to which laser will give you the best possible result. The latest LASIK technology is more sophisticated and precise than ever before which is why the results are so amazing.  You should consider centers that offer you options so you have a choice.
PROCEDURE – In the past, the first part of a LASIK procedure was performed with a bladed instrument that could lead to healing complications.  Today, the most sophisticated centers have replaced the bladed device with the Intralase Femtosecond laser – which has led to safer and more accurate results with no complications.

Question 12.   Custom Lasik is the same as Custom Vision.True/False

False – ‘Custom Lasik’ is actually a marketing term used to differentiate a type of LASIK technology a center uses.  There’s traditional Lasik and then Custom LASIK.  While Custom LASIK does provide benefits over traditional LASIK, it should NOT be confused with Custom Vision, which is an exclusive procedure developed by Dr. George Simon that uses Custom technology in combination with an individualized treatment plan for each patient based upon their needs and lifestyle.  LASIK Custom Vision™ combines the experience he has gained by personally performing over 65,000 procedures with the latest technology options to offer truly customized vision for the way you live.

Question 13.   All LASIK is the same.  There aren’t any differences in LASIK technology.  True/False

False - This couldn’t be further from the truth.  LASIK technology advances just like TV and computer technology.  There are dramatic differences between the latest lasers vs technology just a couple years old, which could mean the difference between a good result and a great one.  The most recently FDA approved lasers can correct wider ranges of prescription, can improve night vision clarity, and provide results that are consistently better than 20/20.  A sophisticated center will have both the VISX S4 and Allegretto lasers equipped with the latest computer guided programming to offer each patient a choice.

Question 14.  The place where your procedure is performed impacts your result.  True/False

True – LASIK lasers are extremely delicate – they need to be operated at the right temperature, with the right humidity to perform optimally.  Additionally, you want to choose a center that owns and calibrates their lasers personally.  Some centers rent out lasers and operating rooms as an “Open Access” facility.  This can affect your outcome because these lasers are not consistently operated, calibrated and maintained by the same staff that also cares for your vision.  It might not seem like a big deal, but why take the risk in trusting your vision to a surgeon and staff that might be unfamiliar with the technology and operating room?

Question 15.  LASIK is too expensive for me.  Glasses and contacts are simply more affordable.  True/False

False – There’s a saying that LASIK is ‘Better Than Free.’  That’s because not only is it an investment in your happiness and quality of life, it’s actually an investment that can save you money!  When you factor in the annual cost of glasses, contacts, solutions and eye exams, the average LASIK patient will save thousands over the expense of lenses!  So every time you’re spending money on those lenses and doctor visits, you could be using those dollars to invest in your future!
FINANCING – most caring Centers can offer great financing options including 0% interest with low monthly payments so the most advanced LASIK treatments will fit any budget.

Question 16.  There is no difference between $499 LASIK and the treatments that cost much more than that.  True/False

False – Some centers offer low prices as a way to attract candidates to their practices.  In most cases this bait and switch promotion is not available and your cost may actually be higher than other centers with better technologies,  In some places bladed and non-custom LASIK still exists at low price-points, but choosing to bargain shop for LAISK means risking a less-than-perfect result.  The truth is that to stay up-to-date with most advanced technology costs LASIK centers millions of dollars, so yes the procedure might cost more, but you’re virtually guaranteed a better visual result.   Besides, it’s your vision – not something you should risk for a deal.

Question 17.  The FDA regulates LASIK pricing.  True/False

False – Your cost of LASIK depends upon a number of factors and is determined by each Center.  Studies have shown that the average cost of all-laser LASIK ranges from $2,250 to $3,000 per eye.  Besides the cost of overhead and updated technology centers that have high advertising budgets, including expensive sports sponsorships, usually charge the most.  Some centers offer a “lowest price guarantee” which means you are assured the lowest price for the same all-laser procedure.

Question 18.  LASIK can be paid for from my FLEX SPENDING account. True/False

True – LASIK is eligible to be funded through flex spending accounts.  This means that you can pay for your LASIK with pre-tax dollars. However, the limits on flex spending are changing and soon the maximum amount that can be put aside is $2,500.  Since the cost for both eyes is generally more than this you should consider having LASIK now to avoid losing this valuable benefit.

So how’d you do?  Hopefully these questions shed some light into the reality that LASIK, when performed by an experienced surgeon on the best technology platforms, is safe, reliable, extremely accurate, painless and has a quick recovery. Everyone who is a candidate for LASIK Custom Vision at Simon Vision Institute should expect an amazing result, and vision that’s is better than glasses or contacts, without any of the hassle they cause.

What do you say?  Want to find out if you’re a LASIK Candidate?