5 Ways to Overcome Your LASIK FearsAuthor: Dr. William Tullo
July 15, 2019
Many people long for freedom from their glasses or contacts. They may go day-to-day dealing with smudged glasses, ill-fitting frames, or finicky contact lenses. So, why don’t these people investigate LASIK eye surgery?
For some, LASIK remains a scary topic to broach with their eye doctors. People may have a fear of the unknown, or of the potential risks. The idea of a laser beam reshaping their cornea certainly does sound off-putting! But, the fear of the unknown could be keeping you from experiencing clearer vision. Use these tips to tackle your fears and learn more about LASIK.
#1 Don’t fear the unknown—Do your research!
It’s easy to remain fearful of something you don’t fully understand. There are also many myths and misconceptions floating around about laser eye surgery. Rather than let your fear drive you, do your own research into LASIK. There is a volume of clinically based evidence that shows LASIK is safe and effective.[i] Read the information available and be sure to write down any lingering questions for your eye doctor.
#2 Get referrals from trusted sources
Laser eye surgery has been performed in the US for over 30 years.[ii] Each year, more and more LASIK procedures are performed. The odds are good that someone you know has undergone LASIK and been pleased with the results! Ask your friends and family for recommendations. Poll your connections on social media. Getting a referral from someone you trust can make you that much more confident in your journey to laser eye surgery.
#3 Find a qualified surgeon
After you’ve gotten some referrals, look into the LASIK surgeons on your list and check their backgrounds. Eye doctors who perform LASIK are called ophthalmologists. These specialists have completed at least eight years of medical school and further studied specialized eye surgeries for at least another one to two years. Additionally, they have also been certified in treating LASIK patients using FDA-approved laser eye surgery equipment.
Your LASIK surgeons might also commit to career-long training and testing to maintain certification from the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO). Every 10 years, the ABO requires doctors show proof of progress in the field. The ABO website allows you to check an ophthalmologist’s standing at no cost.
Your regular eye doctor can refer you to an ophthalmologist for LASIK eye surgery. Often, your regular eye doctor will stay active in your LASIK pre-operative care and post-operative care.
#4 Don’t be afraid to ask questions
You’ve done your research and you’ve decided on a potential LASIK surgeon. Now, you should have a growing list of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask your questions when you speak with a LASIK consultant. Ask for details on the procedure, recovery, or even about the background of your LASIK surgeon. Feel free to ask your eye doctor about other qualifications, too: certifications, training, number of laser eye surgeries performed, and statistics related to those eye surgery results.
Having a prepared list of questions will ensure that you make the most of your consultation and get the answers you need to feel at ease.
#5 Have realistic expectations
If you have done your research, asked questions, and spoken to your LASIK specialist, you should have a better understanding of the procedure, predicted recovery, and expected results. Make sure your expectations are in line with what you have learned. You should understand what to expect in the first 24 hours after the procedure, as well as the coming weeks and months. Your LASIK surgeon will let you know when you can resume all your activities, as well as what to expect in your vision improvement. Patients will typically have improved vision after 24 hours, but your vision will continue to improve over the next several months.
When you understand the path to better vision, you can feel comfortable each step of the way! Don’t let your fear hold you back from exploring the option of clearer vision through LASIK eye surgery.
[i] American Refractive Surgery Council. (2016). Clinical research: The science behind LASIK. Americanrefractivesurgerycouncil.org. Retrieved from https://americanrefractivesurgerycouncil.org/clinical-research-science-behind-lasik/
[ii] History of Refractive Surgery. (2013). Eyedoctornetwork.org. Retrieved from http://www.eyedoctornetwork.org/history-of-refractive-surgery.htm