If you’re someone who has suffered from poor vision for most of your life, you’ve probably gotten used to those moments in the morning where you can only see blurry shapes before you put on your glasses or put in your contact lenses. Many believe that they can’t afford to get LASIK or that the procedure is too dangerous. Both of these assumptions aren’t necessarily true.

LASIK is a safe surgical procedure, but it isn’t right for everyone. The following is all that you need to know to give you the peace of mind you need to really commit to LASIK.

LASIK’s History

LASIK was a procedure that was invented more than 20 years ago and was approved by the FDA in 1998. The procedure’s longevity and popularity are largely due to its success.

In the United States, there have been more than 19 million successful LASIK procedures. Based on clinical data collected on this surgery, more than 96 percent of patients were highly satisfied thanks to its low risk of complications.

Advancements in Technology

LASIK is so safe due to its use of advanced computer-driven laser technology. It works by reshaping the cornea with microscopic precision. The precision and accuracy of these lasers are what guarantees the patient’s safety.

Another way the procedure ensures patient safety is by measuring your vision and eye’s anatomy in high definition detail before the operation. The information collected during this pre-operative evaluation is programmed into your surgeon’s LASIK platform to customize your treatment to your unique needs.

During the Procedure

Many people are concerned about moving during the operation. However, you have nothing to worry about. There’s a tracking system that’s built into the laser that allows you to move during the procedure. It follows your eye and temporarily shuts off when you move significantly. It doesn’t resume until you’ve safely repositioned yourself.

The laser itself is usually an excimer laser which emits ultraviolet light in a cool beam. It removes microscopic pieces of your cornea’s tissue, reshaping the surface and allowing your eyes to focus clearly again. While some places use a blade to create the corneal flap, other institutions like NW Cornea Institute have developed more advanced laser technologies. Many surgeons instead utilize a femtosecond laser to create a flap to avoid disturbing the surrounding corneal tissue. It works at high speeds and uses a short pulse rate for precision.

After Surgery Expectations and Care

Like any other procedure, you will need some recovery time. Immediately after the procedure, you may experience itching or burning around your eyes. You could also experience mild pain or some discomfort, which your doctor may suggest you take a mild pain reliever to relieve your symptoms.

Know that your vision won’t immediately be corrected. Most likely, your vision will be hazy or blurry for the first few days after the procedure. You may also be more sensitive to starbursts, glare, haloes, and light. You may feel tempted to rub your eyes during this time. However, doing so could dislodge the flap, leading to further treatment. If these symptoms don’t subside after the first few days, immediately contact your doctor.

Your doctor will give you in-depth instructions on how to care for your eyes after the surgery.

Are You a Candidate?

Part of the reason not as many people get LASIK include the cost and their eligibility. There are quite a few factors that could prevent you from being a candidate for the procedure. These factors include corneas that are too thin, corneas that are badly misshapen, bad cases of chronic dry eyes, corneal scarring, and severe vision problems, aka any prescription stronger than +6.00 diopters for hyperopia, more than 6 diopters of astigmatism, or stronger than -12.00 diopters for myopia.

Alternatives to LASIK

If you’re not a candidate for LASIK or are worried about the cost, there are alternatives to achieve clear vision. The cost can change depending on your surgeon and the tools used. If you don’t qualify for the surgery at all, you can look into procedures like PRK or Visian ICL.

There is a way to achieve clearer vision out there for everyone. It may just be just out of your line of sight.