Because LASIK is such a popular procedure, a lot of misconceptions spring up about what can be expected. Let’s talk about some of these myths and the reality behind them.
Like every other medical procedure, LASIK is carefully calibrated and conducted for every patient, and as a result, each patient will have her own unique experience of the procedure, recovery, and life after the surgery.
Myth 1: I’ll still need glasses.
Some patients believe that they will still need glasses after LASIK because the procedure provides only moderate vision improvement. This is not the case for the majority of patients.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “you have a very good chance of achieving 20/25 vision or better after refractive surgery. More than eight out of 10 people who’ve undergone refractive surgery no longer need to use their glasses or contact lenses for the majority of their activities.”
Myth 2: LASIK’s side effects are severe and long-lasting.
Although LASIK is a minimally invasive procedure done with a laser, it is still surgery and the stories of patients throwing their glasses away and going back to work that afternoon distract from that fact. It’s a procedure that needs to be taken seriously, and recovery time is to be expected.
For the first day or two, the eye is healing, and it is normal to experience haziness, itchiness or other side effects. These are usually mild and temporary. In order to monitor side effects and make sure that the eyes are healing properly, you should see your doctor 24-48 hours following the procedure (and for intervals afterward over the first few months).
Myth 3: I’ll be sidelined from my favorite activities for a long time.
While it’s inaccurate to say that patients leap up from their LASIK procedure ready to take on the world, it’s also incorrect to think that a patient has to change her life significantly to accommodate having laser vision correction.
Your LASIK provider will provide you with details on activity restrictions based on your specific treatment and needs. However, the Food and Drug Administration offers the following recommendations:
- Wait one to three days before resuming noncontact sports, depending on your doctor’s advice.
- You may wait up to two weeks before using any products in the eye area like makeup or creams to ensure you avoid infection.
- Contact sports in which you are likely to be hit in the face, such as boxing, should be avoided for at least a month.
Deciding to have LASIK is an important decision that should be taken seriously. You should do so with a full understanding of the risks and benefits. It is a frequently performed, extremely precise procedure that, when performed by a skilled professional, has generally positive outcomes.