Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,
I have worn glasses most of my life. But, my office mate is encouraging me to get laser eye surgery. She says that I will not need glasses any more.
The laser eye surgery is called LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis). LASIK has corrected the vision of millions of people around the world. However, as with any surgery there are risks, and you may not achieve perfect vision.
WHAT IS LASIK
LASIK uses a cold light beam to create a thin flap on the front of the cornea and resculpt the internal corneal tissue. Depending on the specific technique used, the procedure could take 7-10 minutes, healing time one to three days, and the correction is permanent (UCLA Laser Refractive Center at www.uclaser.com). The cost for LASIK varies widely depending on where you live and technologies used, but could range from about $1,500 to $3,000 per eye (Segre, et. al. at http://www.allaboutvision.com/visionsurgery/cost.htm).
Although LASIK will correct distance vision, most folks over the age of 40 will still need reading glasses for near vision correction. Fortunately, a non-laser technique called NearVision CK (Conductive Keratoplasty) has been developed to correct vision for those with presbyopia who need reading glasses to compensate for fading near vision and have trouble reading books, newspapers, the menu, or computer screen.
NearVision CK uses radio waves to reshape the cornea. The procedure takes about three minutes and folks can return to work the next day. However, the procedure may need to be repeated in 5-7 years as the eye continues to age (UCLA Laser Refractive Center). The cost for NearVision CK is about $1,500 to $2,900 per eye (allaboutvision.com).
If you are interested in LASIK or NearVision CK, then see an ophthalmologist for a check up, get detailed information, and find out if you would be a good candidate.
Also, check with your health insurance company and find out if LASIK and NearVision CK are covered.