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LASIK Questions, Myths & Misconceptions

Max Parikh, M.D.

Medically Reviewed by Max Parikh, M.D.

Fact Checked
18 sources cited

Last Updated

In the realm of vision correction, LASIK eye surgery has garnered both fame and misconceptions. Whether you’re considering LASIK for the first time, contemplating a second LASIK procedure, or curious about alternative options like SMILE, this comprehensive guide will debunk myths, shed light on facts, and provide valuable answers to your LASIK questions. Let’s embark on this journey to clear vision and better understanding together.

10 Common LASIK Questions

How Much Is LASIK? Is LASIK Expensive?

While LASIK involves an initial cost, it can lead to long-term savings, eliminating the need for glasses or contacts. Not only will this save money in the long run – consider $5,000 dollars for LASIK vs. up to $20,000 over 45 years on contacts – it also maximizes the convenience of never having to worry about the hassle of glasses, and contact lenses, especially in emergency situations.

“As with any advanced technology, LASIK surgery can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000, depending on your location and your doctor. While this might look light a hefty price tag, the long-term duration of improved sight makes this procedure one of great value. Results last a lifetime. And after all, we are talking about sight.”

–  Tom Tooma, M.D., Founder/Medical Director

Various financing options and the use of HSA and FSA funds can make LASIK more accessible. Learn more about LASIK costs

Is LASIK Permanent?

“LASIK is permanent because it involves permanently reshaping your cornea. Yes, some patients may need LASIK touch up or enhancements at a future date. The rate of second LASIK procedures is approximately 1% within the first year and 5% afterward. However, that is not because of a poor LASIK experience. You may need the enhancements because of normal age-related changes in your eye’s lenses. Even if it came to that, most LASIK providers offer free enhancements after surgery.” 

–  Tom Tooma, M.D., Founder/Medical Director

Read full article regarding the question: How long does LASIK last?

Is LASIK Safe?

Contrary to myth, LASIK is one of the safest elective procedures worldwide. Numerous studies, including those by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have shown that complications are exceedingly rare, with over 95% of patients satisfied with their vision post-surgery. Rigorous safety protocols, patient screening, and advanced technology contribute to LASIK’s impressive safety record.

“Having done tens of thousands of these procedures, it is very rare for any complication and even if there is any issue, it is most often correctable with little inconvenience.”

– Dr. Bruce Madsen

Does LASIK Hurt?

One common misconception about LASIK is that it’s a painful procedure. In reality, surgeons employ numbing eye drops to ensure patients experience minimal discomfort during surgery. While some may feel mild discomfort from eyelid manipulation and corneal reshaping tools, pain is rare, and post-surgery discomfort is typically manageable.

“It is rare to ever feel pain but pressure is normal.  The procedure is usually only a few minutes per eye so any mild discomfort does not last long.”

– Dr. Bruce Madsen

Does the Flap Heal After LASIK?

During LASIK, a small flap is created within the cornea, but it typically heals within three months or less. Advancements in laser technology have led to thinner, faster-healing flaps. The cornea itself has remarkable healing capabilities, ensuring the flap is restored quickly.

Can You Get LASIK Twice?

Yes, LASIK can be performed a second time if necessary. However, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced eye surgeon to assess your specific situation and the feasibility of a second procedure. Learn more about LASIK Enhancement.

How Long After LASIK Can I Swim?

After LASIK, it’s recommended to avoid swimming for at least a week to allow your eyes to heal properly. Consult with your surgeon for personalized guidance.

LASIK VS. SMILE – What’s the Difference?

While LASIK is a well-established procedure, SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) is a newer option for vision correction. SMILE involves a smaller incision and may be preferred in certain cases. Discussing both options with your surgeon can help determine the best choice for your needs. Compare LASIK vs. SMILE to learn more about the differences in each eye procedure.

Can You Go Blind From LASIK?

“The chances of anyone going blind as a result of LASIK are next to zero. To put it in perspective, in my entire career of 23+ years, performing over 130,000 LASIK surgeries, I have only seen success. Everyone has been able to return to the same type of work they performed before surgery and everyone has been able to pass a driver’s license test. On the flip side, in the United States alone, more than one million visits are made each year to eye doctors and emergency rooms due to contact lens-related complications, including vision loss. It is much more likely to have vision-threatening eye infections with contact lens wear than with LASIK surgery.”

– Tom Tooma, M.D., Founder/Medical Director

How Old Do You Have to Be to Get LASIK?

The eligibility for LASIK surgery is not solely based on age; it depends on various factors, including the stability of your vision. Most surgeons recommend waiting until your prescription has stabilized for at least one to two years before considering LASIK. This means that your vision should not have changed significantly during this period.

Typically, individuals must be at least 18 years old to undergo LASIK surgery. This is because the eyes tend to stabilize in the late teenage years and early adulthood. However, some exceptions may apply, and it’s essential to consult with an experienced eye surgeon to determine if LASIK is appropriate for you.

In addition to age and vision stability, other factors, such as overall eye health, corneal thickness, and the absence of certain medical conditions, will also be evaluated during a comprehensive pre-operative examination. Your surgeon will assess your unique circumstances to ensure the best possible outcome and discuss whether LASIK is a suitable option for you.

7 LASIK Myths

LASIK Myth: LASIK Recovery is Lengthy, Difficult & Requires a Hospital Stay

LASIK recovery is quick and easy. Immediately after surgery, your eyes begin to heal. Most people can return to work and driving within a day or two of the procedure, says the American Academy of Ophthalmology. 

Some people experience mild discomfort, including dryness and itching, during the healing process. Everyone should expect regular checkups with their doctors to ensure they’re doing well. But long periods of feeling sick or unable to work aren’t expected.

LASIK Myth: LASIK Has a High Risk of Complications & Side Effects

LASIK complications are very rare. Fewer than 1 percent of procedures come with serious side effects. 

Some people feel itching or burning sensations after the surgery, and others have blurred vision. These temporary side effects tend to fade as the eyes heal. Eye drops can help with both issues, along with rest.

Some patients complain of glare or starbursting after surgery but that usually improves with time.

LASIK Myth: LASIK Can Only Correct Nearsightedness

LASIK is a versatile procedure approved for correcting myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. Unlike some alternatives, LASIK can address various vision problems in a single procedure.

LASIK Myth: Contact Lenses Are Safer Than LASIK

More than 45 million people wear contact lenses, and some believe these lenses are safer than LASIK. This isn’t true. 

Common complications associated with contact lenses include dry eye, infections, abrasions, and corneal abrasions. Some of these problems are serious and can steal your vision. 

LASIK is a surgical procedure that can cause discomfort as your eyes heal. But it’s not associated with infections and abrasions like contact lenses are. Some people find it’s safer than wearing contacts.

“Having seen thousands of individuals with chronic contact lens use, I have seen the damage those lenses can cause to an eye.  Often, I will see scars on an eye from chronic contact lens wear that is damaging to the eye and sometimes the vision. Lasik is often a much better choice than contacts for vision correction.”

– Dr. Bruce Madsen

LASIK Myth: LASIK Causes Dry Eyes

LASIK can cause temporary dryness in some individuals, but this typically resolves during the healing process. Long-term dry eye issues are rare.

LASIK Myth: Doctors Use LASIK on Everyone

Doctors use detailed examinations before LASIK surgery. They check your vision, corneal thickness, tear production, pupil size, and more. At the end of this examination, you’ll know if you’re a good candidate and meet LASIK requirements

If you’re not a good candidate, your doctor can discuss other options to help you see clearly. Together, you’ll find a way forward that makes the most sense for your eyes and your vision goals.

Are You Asking Yourself: Should I Get LASIK?

Anyone over the age of 18, suffering from nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, is a likely candidate for LASIK. If you have decided to have LASIK, you should search for the most experienced LASIK surgeon you can find. With experience comes safety and the increased likelihood of 20/20 vision, minimizing the need for enhancement surgery. It is highly recommended to seek out online reviews and referrals from various eye doctors and services before making a final decision. 

However, once you choose the right specialist and you have qualified for the procedure – after a detailed consultation – it simply comes down to quality of life. Many doctors in this field like to stress how much freedom LASIK can bring to day-to-day living. It is a procedure that allows patients, previously suffering from vision problems, to see the world through their own eyes – as opposed to relying on the crutch of contacts or glasses.

 LASIK has been credited with boosting confidence in patients and providing the security of having crystal clear eyesight for decades. A phrase that physicians in this field often hear is: “Thank you for changing my life,” and, “It is the best money I have ever spent”. So, for anyone who is looking to upgrade their eyesight and quickly get back to enjoying every aspect of life, a consultation is just a phone call away.

Contact Us

Don’t hesitate to ask your surgeon any questions you may have about the LASIK procedure, or topics such as how long does LASIK take, LASIK recovery time, or what to expect during and after LASIK surgery.

Read more about LASIK from NVISION.


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