Lasik eye surgery is a type of surgery that corrects vision, generally distance vision such as nearsightedness. It uses lasers to remove tissue on the bed of the cornea. Lasik is a relatively simple procedure that permanently fixes your vision and replaces glasses or contacts.
While Marshfield Clinic Health System does not offer Lasik eye surgery, we can provide the exam, consult and provide co-management with some of our trusted partners through our eye care experts.
Why get Lasik eye surgery?
Because Lasik eye surgery permanently corrects vision, there are many reasons to consider the procedure.
“The number one reason many people get Lasik is convenience,” said Dr. Jill Dillon, a Marshfield Clinic Health System optometrist. “Especially for those who play sports or are active outdoors, many people don’t want to worry about contacts or glasses.”
Lasik is a good option for anyone who doesn’t want to rely on glasses or contacts. It can be especially beneficial if you work in a profession that requires you to be on call or wear protective head or face equipment.
Getting Lasik can save you money, as well. “It is costly initially,” said Dr. Dillon, “but over time, patients save money on contact lenses and glasses.” Lasik will last a lifetime. It may require enhancements over time due to natural eye aging, but the original corrective surgery does not cause a regression in vision.
Who qualifies for Lasik?
“The most common person who gets Lasik is a patient with moderate to high nearsightedness,” said Dr. Dillon. “Most patients are reliant on glasses for distance and are between 25 and 45 years old with low-level nearsightedness.”
Not everyone who wants to get Lasik surgery is a good candidate for the procedure, though. Patients who have corneal damage or scars cannot get Lasik. If you have very dry eyes, you are more likely to get dry eyes after the procedure and would not be considered a good candidate for surgery. Additionally, if you have an underlying condition like an autoimmune disorder or trouble healing, Lasik would not be a good fit for you.
What to expect
Before receiving Lasik surgery, you go through a consultation with your provider to make sure you are a candidate. This involves a general eye exam and dilated eye exam to check for barriers to the surgery.
If your provider determines that you qualify for Lasik, the actual procedure takes about 10 minutes. If you are getting Lasik in both eyes, your provider will correct both eyes the same day. They will numb your eye and give you a medication to relax. You will lay down in a surgical suite typically located in an eye doctor’s office and the scope that controls the laser comes from above.
“After the surgery, your provider will test a few things in your vision,” said Dr. Dillon. “Then we recommend you go home and take a nap.” Most people can see right after their procedure. There can be dryness for up to the first few months, so dry eye drops are prescribed. Your provider will see you the day after the procedure and your vision will be back to normal by about a month after the surgery.
Dr. Dillon encourages general eye exams yearly to catch any changes in your vision, but only a very small number of people need an enhancement to their Lasik to make sure the procedure continues to work.
“There can always be a risk of complications,” said Dr. Dillon. “You may eventually need glasses again because we often need glasses for reading as we get older. But for me, I love having no need for nearsightedness anymore. It was an initial high cost, but I believe Lasik was worth it for me.”
If you are interested in learning more about Lasik, Dr. Dillon recommends you talk to your optometrist. “A lot of people who ask about Lasik are not actually candidates. However, you should still ask if you are interested.”
Lasik eye surgery is not offered at Marshfield Clinic Health System, but our eye care experts can provide the exam, consult and provide co-management with some of our trusted partners.