April 2013

Medical Section: Vision Correction with Lasik: How to know if it's right for you

Author: Kenneth D. Farr, M.D.

LASIK has become an important option for people to correct their vision, enhance their quality of life, and reduce or eliminate a lifetime of dependence on glasses and contacts. LASIK has become one of the most popular surgeries, and allows people from all walks of life to turn their dreams of clear vision into reality in a matter of minutes. It is estimated that more than 600,000 LASIK surgeries are performed each year in the U.S. alone for the treatment of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

LASIK (which stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) is a procedure that uses a special laser to permanently change the shape of the cornea, which is the clear covering of the front of the eye. In LASIK surgery, precise and controlled removal of corneal tissue by this special laser reshapes the cornea, changing its focusing power and correcting specific vision problems.

New advances in technology have made LASIK even safer and able to provide a wide range of vision corrections. At Palmetto Eye Specialists, we’re pleased to now offer the exciting option of “All Laser LASIK”—also known as “Bladeless LASIK.” This innovative new technology uses a femtosecond laser to create a more precise corneal flap. All-laser LASIK offers greater precision and control and is a newer method to create a corneal flap than the traditional method.

The surgery, which is performed as an office procedure and takes about five to seven minutes per eye or approximately 15 minutes for both eyes, is truly a life-changing procedure for many. Following an initial healing period of two to three months, the effect of the treatment is lifelong, freeing people from glasses and contacts, and providing crisper, sharper vision.

How can you decide if LASIK Eye Surgery is right for you? A large percentage of nearsighted, farsighted and astigmatic patients are potential candidates for LASIK.

Patients should be 18 years of age or older, have healthy eyes that are free from retinal problems, corneal scars and any eye disease. In addition, the best candidates for LASIK are people with a lifestyle or occupation in which they are dissatisfied with their contact lenses or glasses.

For so many people, LASIK offers a long-term, and cost-effective, solution to correcting vision problems. In fact, as compared with eyeglasses and contact lenses, LASIK can pay for itself in a few years. Many employers have implemented healthcare options that make elective surgeries such as LASIK an affordable option, with plans (such as flex plans, cafeteria plans or health savings accounts) designating a limited amount of pre-tax dollars to pay for an employee’s predetermined elective surgery. In addition, our office also offers an affordable monthly payment plan in order to help fit LASIK into your budget, ensuring that LASIK can be an option for everyone.

If you are considering LASIK Eye Surgery, make sure that you consult with an experienced LASIK surgeon; the skill of your LASIK surgeon is crucial to a successful outcome. When performed by a skilled and experienced surgeon, LASIK is one of the safest surgical procedures available and has the potential to truly change lives. An initial consultation with any of our ophthalmologists is your first step in determining if this procedure is right for you and your first step in making better vision, without glasses or contacts, a true reality throughout your lifetime.

Dr. Kenneth Farr is the Medical Director of Palmetto Eye Specialists, with offices in Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Beaufort and Ridgeland. For more information, visit palmettoeye.com or call (843) 842-2020.

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