If you don’t have 20/20 vision, you’re probably used to feeling around for your glasses or contacts in the morning. But imagine being able to jump out of bed and see more clearly. For many Americans, this is possible with laser correction surgery known as LASIK. But it can be hard to know where to start and what to expect when it comes to this procedure.
Laser eye surgery is a fairly quick and relatively painless procedure that can help improve your vision. But before you schedule an appointment, it’s important to have a consultation and recognize this is still an invasive surgery that may carry risks and potential complications.
With that in mind, here are five tips to consider before undergoing laser vision correction surgery:
1. Determine if you’re a good candidate
While LASIK is generally safe, the surgery is typically best for people with a moderate visual impairment that has remained stable, which usually happens between 20 and 30 years of age. LASIK has been approved by the FDA to treat myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism.
If you live with certain conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes or a weakened immune system, you may need to avoid the procedure. These conditions may make it more difficult for your eyes to heal after surgery, which may cause complications, such as dry eyes, persistent glare and even vision loss.
2. Switch from contacts to glasses
Your eye doctor may ask you to avoid your contacts and wear only glasses for at least one week before your initial evaluation and again before your laser eye surgery. This is important because contact lenses may alter the shape of your corneas, which may lead to inaccurate measurements during surgery and less effective results.
3. Research eye care professionals
Only an ophthalmologist can perform your LASIK. Look for a surgeon who:
- has significant experience
- is board certified
- has additional training or certification related to the cornea
For additional research, some public websites include patient reviews for specific eye care providers across the country. It’ll also help you confirm the surgeon is in good standing with all state and federal agencies.
4. Check your vision plan
Some vision plans may include coverage or a member discount for LASIK surgery, which may help improve access and reduce out-of-pocket costs. If you are a UnitedHealthcare Vision member, you may have access to QualSight’s more than 900 evaluation and surgery locations across 46 states.
5. Plan a ride
Your vision will be blurry for a few hours after surgery, so you must avoid driving. Give your eyes time to recover and adjust to the change in your vision, which may happen the next morning or several days later. Your doctor will give you approval to drive, which is usually done in the post-operative exam the following day.
If you think laser vision correction surgery may be right for you, consider these tips and make sure to consult with a vision care professional.