Laser Eye Surgery 101

Throughout my career, one of the most popular discussions that have been raised by my patients and even my friends is regarding laser eye surgery.  There are some common questions and concerns regarding this procedure and I will address them here.

Is Laser correction surgery safe?

It is a safe procedure if you are a good candidate.  There are many factors that are considered including your prescription, overall change in prescription in the past few years, age, cornea thickness and ocular health.  If you meet all the criteria, you will be an excellent candidate and the procedure is safe.

What are the different types of laser correction?

There are several different types but I will discuss the most popular two.

  1. LASIK (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis) – This operation involves creating a thin flap on the eye, lasering the middle part of your cornea, and replacing the thin flap on the eye.  The advantage of this type of surgery is the quick recovery time and it is ideal for patients with low prescriptions.  This would not be a good option for active candidates that play a lot of contact sports because the flap may dislodge with great blunt force.
  2. PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) – This operation does not involve any incisions.  It is essentially no-touch laser surgery.  The disadvantage of this
    type of surgery is a longer period of recovery time, which may take up to 3 months.  The advantages of this surgery are that higher prescription patients can still be ideal candidates and there will never be a flap to be worried about.

How much does it cost?

You may read on advertisements that the cost for each eye can start as low as $490.  But be aware, you should expect to pay an all-inclusive package around $3000-$4000 for the overall procedure.  There are many hidden costs including your prescription, pre-operative exam, surgery itself, medications and all the post-operative exam costs that are not mentioned in their advertisements.

What are the common complications?

The most common complication is experiencing “dry eyes” after the surgery and this may be temporary or permanent.  Other complications may include haloes during night driving, infection, light sensitivity, or ghost images. This is why it is very important to ensure you are a good candidate before you do the surgery to reduce the risk of these complications.

Each individual is different and it is best to have a consultation with your optometrist to see whether you are a good candidate or not. 

Dr. Sherman Tung OD, FAAO  drtung@avenueeyecare.com