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LASIK: How 15 Minutes Changes Lives

How big of a difference does LASIK make in patients’ lives? I talked to several people who’ve had the procedure to find out how the experience went for them and what it means to enjoy life without lenses. Here’s what they had to say:

A Whole New world

“To have one of your senses brought to the next level is just amazing. You have to experience it to believe it,” said Amie. “It’s changed my life and made it so much better — it’s that incredible of an experience.”

Isaac C., Washington, is able to enjoy riding his motorcycle more since the procedure. “As an avid Harley rider, I was constantly trying to find cover-up glasses or goggles,” he said. “Contacts would dry up and literally fly out of my eyes. It was frustrating and uncomfortable. The first ride after my procedure was like a whole new experience!”

Dean Ellis, M.D., a Kansas City-based LASIK doctor, said stories like these are what bring people into his office to ask about LASIK. “I think it’s for those who want more out of their vision than what glasses or contact lenses may provide,” he said. “After LASIK, you can get out of bed and go about your daily life more easily and naturally.”

For Matthew J., Virginia, getting more out of his vision meant he could pursue a lifelong dream. “Ever since I was six, I wanted to be a pilot in the U.S. Air Force,” he said. “The only thing holding me back was my vision.” After having the surgery, he called it, “the best gift ever.”

“I was about to earn a pilot slot in the United States Air Force,” he said. “I thought of my uncle who was denied a spot to fly when he was my age. Thanks to LASIK, I was able to fix my eyes and have my dreams come true.”

Like many LASIK patients, Kristi V., Georgia, was surprised by how easy the procedure was. “My life changed the day I walked into the office! I was welcomed warmly by the competent staff, and my concerns were put to ease. The procedure was quick, painless and highly affordable, Kristi said. “I was amazed to actually read street signs all the way home following the procedure!” Note: Like all LASIK patients, Kristi had a friend drive her home following surgery.

Dr. Ellis finds many of his patients are happy to find out how little time the surgery takes. “It’s 12 to 15 minutes for the surgery — they are in the office for less than 90 minutes,” he said. “Most get off the table and say if they knew it was that easy, they would have done it long ago.”

Worth the Investment

Although LASIK is generally a large expense for most people, many patients find they actually save money in the long run.

“I was frustrated with the cost and maintenance of glasses and contacts. I decided to have LASIK surgery after seeing the success my wife had. Now I enjoy swimming, basketball and playing with my children without corrective lenses. I have invested my vision, and it is by far the best decision I have ever made for myself,” said Milton.

Mary H., Connecticut, and Gary H., West Virginia, did the math and found LASIK saved them money when compared to the cost of glasses and contacts over a lifetime.

“I had been wearing glasses and contact lenses for over 41 years, and needless to say, I got really tired of paying for glasses every other year and contacts every six months,” Mary said. “When I added in the cost of contact cleaning solution and lens wipes cost, over four decades of glasses, contacts and supplies cost me almost $23,000!”

“I had LASIK surgery done on both of my eyes, and it was one of the best things I have ever done,” said Gary. “I have no more worries about cleaning glasses or buying them. You would not believe how much money you could save by having the surgery done. If you calculate how much you spend on glasses for the next three years, you could just about pay for the surgery.”

Industry research concurs. Taking the average cost of prescription glasses, prescription sunglasses and contact lens supplies over an individual’s lifetime shows that for many, the one-time expense for LASIK can be recouped in  five to 10 years.

As with any surgery there are risks and complications to consider, and results can vary. But the above testimonials give a glimpse into the potential benefits from LASIK.


Daily Finance: Is Lasik Laser Eye Surgery Right For You and Your Budget?

Davis Vision Center, Independent Study: LASIK In the Long Run: How LASIK costs compare to wearing glasses or contacts over your lifetime