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Seeing Clearly Now: The Truth About Lasik

Seeing Clearly Now: The Truth About Lasik

CREATED Sep 17, 2013

BALTIMORE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - If you're tired of wearing glasses or contacts lenses, you've probably at least considered LASIK surgery. Each year, about 700,000 people undergo the laser surgery used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. However, there are some new techniques that cut the risk.

For 13 years, Chelsey Vandemark's morning began fuzzy.

"I would look at the alarm clock and it was just all blurry," she said.

Tired of wearing contacts, she considered LASIK but was apprehensive.

"The benefits are I can see great. The risks are something goes wrong and I can't see ever again," Chelsey said.

It's a concern ophthalmologists hear often, according to Dr. Sherri Rowen, director of ophthalmology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, and clinical assistant professor at the University of Maryland.

"We really do like LASIK today. We wish we could get rid of the fear factor," said Rowen.  

In fact, she said contacts can be much worse.

"If you have an infection from a contact lens and it's in the center of your eye, there's nothing you can do about it. You've lost vision," Dr. Rowen said.

Dr. Rowen said lasers are safer and more precise than ever.

"There's not a lot of high-end risks anymore like there used to be," Dr. Rowen said.

A study of over 3,000 LASIK surgeries performed using a femtosecond laser for flap creation had a complication rate of less than 1/2 of one percent. Also, all complications were taken care of during the same procedure.

"The laser is better than anything we've ever had to create a perfect flap," Dr. Rowen explained.

Studies from the American Academy of Ophthalmology report seven out of ten patients achieve 20/20 vision or better following surgery.

"The predominance of patients walk out and say, ‘I'm only sorry I didn't do this 5 to 10 to 20 years earlier,'" Dr. Rowen said.

Chelsey was one of them. Her vision went from minus 450, to 20/15.

"It's definitely worth the money," Chelsey said.

Now she can set her sights on other things like playing fetch with her dog Cocoa.

Custom LASIK can cost upwards of $2000 to $3000 per eye. Even with LASIK, most people over the age of 40 will still need reading glasses. To know if you're a good candidate, doctors must evaluate the severity of your prescription, your age, and the thickness of your cornea.