If you’ve struggled with poor vision, you’ve probably thought about LASIK eye surgery. Wearing glasses can be prohibitive and annoying, and remembering to switch your contacts on a regular basis can be a pain, but LASIK promises to reduce or eliminate your need for any corrective lenses.
The basic idea is to cut a small flap in your cornea, then use a laser to reshape your corneal tissue. Most vision problems are the result of aberrant corneal shapes, so this procedure can correct those problems and give you crystal-clear vision. The biggest problem for most people is finding a justification to spend the money; depending on where you get the procedure and what complications you face, you’ll spend somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000 per eye. That could mean $6,000 or more for a full procedure.
Is it really worth it?
First, think about what it’s going to cost you if you don’t get LASIK surgery. Assuming the procedure goes well (as the vast majority of procedures do), you’ll have near-perfect vision for the rest of your life. That means you won’t have to spend money on new contact lenses or glasses. If you’re like most people who wear corrective lenses, you’re probably spending a few hundred dollars every time you need to update your prescription or order new glasses, and hundreds of dollars a year on contact lenses.
Assuming you pay $300 to $500 a year on lenses and updates for your eyes, it would only take 3 to 5 years to fully make up for the cost of LASIK surgery. After that, not having LASIK surgery is actually the more expensive option.
LASIK could also open the door to new career opportunities. There are many jobs that require good, if not perfect vision, including military jobs, flying and navigation-related jobs, and jobs that incorporate elements of art and design. If you’ve been interested in any of these career fields, but you’ve been held back because of your vision, LASIK may be worth a great deal to you. Not only would you get the chance to pursue the job you’ve always wanted, you could also stand to make more money in the process, justifying whatever you paid for the surgery.
Don’t underestimate the amount of convenience you’ll have by undergoing eye surgery. When done, you’ll no longer need to rely on glasses or contact lenses to see clearly. That means you’ll save time in your morning routine, possibly accumulating to hours of time saved. You won’t have to constantly reorder new contact lenses. You also won’t be prevented from pursuing certain activities, such as avoiding playing sports because you don’t want your glasses to be damaged.
The true “value” of this benefit is going to vary from person to person, but it’s non-negligible. Think about how much these time savings are worth to you.
You may also want to consider the risks associated with LASIK surgery. The majority of LASIK procedures are completed successfully, with something like 96 to 98 percent of patients leaving with 20/20 vision. In fact, nearly half of patients end up with vision that’s better than 20/20.
However, there are some potential risks. In some cases, patients have an increased likelihood of experiencing dry eyes, and may suffer from dryness or soreness indefinitely. You might also suffer cornea damage if the procedure isn’t done correctly, and additional impact or trauma to the cornea could leave you with more pain and complications.
You may also experience some vision problems after your surgery. For example, you may notice a halo effect around certain lights, or you may have trouble seeing in the dark. In some cases, the improvements to your vision may gradually wear off; however, most LASIK organizations will give you a free readjustment, returning your vision to normal with another procedure.
Much of your risks depend on the quality and attentiveness of your surgeon. The more experienced and the more qualified a surgeon is, the more likely your procedure is to go well. Make sure you do your research before making a final decision.
The Bottom Line
LASIK is an expensive surgery, and there are many factors to consider before going through with it, including the potential risks you’ll face and the amount of time you’ll save by forgoing the need for glasses and contact lenses. However, if you suffer from poor vision, you’re going to be facing increased expenses in one form or another; if you don’t get LASIK surgery, you’ll be paying for corrective lenses for the rest of your life.
For many patients with poor vision, LASIK is not only the more convenient option, but also the less expensive one.