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The Top Ten Lasik and other Laser Vision Correction Myths

FACT vs FICTION - Top 10 Laser vision correction Myths and the Truths Behind Them.

It can be confusing to know where to turn for information about laser vision correctionLaser vision correction is a technique that has the ability to permanently correct refractive errors of the cornea by means of a laser treatment. Several types of laser vision correction treatments are available. See Laser Vision – Introduction to Laser Vision Correction..  In the recent past, some media reported conflicting stories about these procedures.  As a result, many myths about the surgery have developed.  Below, we address some of the most common myths about LasikLasik is one of several types of laser treatments to permanently correct refractive errors of the eye. See Laser Vision – Introduction to Laser Treatment. and other Laser vision corrections.  For more information, or to find out if you are a good candidate, call us today!

MYTH 1: LASIK OR OTHER LASER VISION CORRECTIONS ARE NOT REAL SURGERY.

Fact:         Lasik and other laser vision corrections are surgery and should be treated as such.  With proper care, it is not a dangerous or risky procedure.  There are risks associated with these corrections, as there are with any procedure.  However, several clinical studies have identified the chance of serious vision-reducing complications as being extremely low.

MYTH 2: COMPLICATIONS AND SIDE EFFECTS, SUCH AS NIGHT GLARE AND DRY EYES, SHOULD BE EXPECTED AFTER HAVING A LASER VISION CORRECTION.

Fact:         As with any other surgery, there are risks associated with Laser vision correction.  Clinical studies of Laser vision correction have documented the risk of having a serious vision-reducing complication as being extremely low.  Many complications can be treated if diagnosed and treated at the early stages.

Moderate glare and dry eyes are common side effects immediately following these procedures, but typically last just 3 to six months.  Proper testing before the procedure can identify patients who are at a high risk for long-term risk for long-term complications.  Some of the advanced Laser vision corrections like Smile, have an extremely low incidence of dry eye due to the way it is done, and is the preferred technique in patients suffering from the condition pre-operatively.

MYTH 3: LASER VISION CORRECTION IS SO NEW THAT NO ONE REALLY KNOWS IF THERE ARE ANY LONG-TERM SIDE EFFECTS.

Fact:         Although Laser vision correction became widely available in South Africa during the mid-1990s, the initial technology was first developed in the 1980s.  The first patient to be treated in South Africa was during 1994.  To date, no long-term ill effects of the procedure are known.  It has thus been around for nearly twenty years.

MYTH 4: THERE IS ONLY ONE KIND OF LASER USED TO TREAT ALL PATIENTS.

Fact:         Actually, there are a number of laser options available that can be used to treat a patient's eyes.  After a proper screening and confirmation of the condition that needs to be corrected, a surgeon can identify the most appropriate method of laser needed to treat your condition.  Surgeons who have access to a wide variety of laser options, ensure that their patients are treated with the type of laser best suited for their condition.  Dr Potgieter have different laser options to choose from.  It is not a one-laser-fits all situation at Optimed.

MYTH 5: IT DOES NOT MATTER WHICH DOCTOR PERFORMS YOUR PROCEDURE. THE OUTCOMES ARE ALL THE SAME, BECAUSE THE LASER DOES ALL THE WORK.

Fact:         The surgeon's skill and the level of care he/she offers is an essential element in the success of any surgical procedure.  The laser is one of the tools that the surgeon uses to perform the procedure.  The surgeon must also create and manipulate the corneal flap or lenticule, which is a delicate surgical procedure.
two important contributors to the success of the surgery are the pre- and post-operative care.  This is best achieved if your surgeon works closely with your own personal optometrist, who is most familiar with your eyes and will continue to care for you years after your procedure.  The surgeon, the ophthalmic technicians and your own optometrist, where applicable, should work as a team to provide you with a quality outcome.

MYTH 6: THE BEST INDICATION OF A SURGEON'S ABILITY IS THE NUMBER OF PROCEDURES HE OR SHE HAS PERFORMED.

Fact:         While the number of procedures performed by a surgeon can be a good indication of his or her level of experience, surgeons should not be judged solely on the number of procedures they have completed.  Anyone considering the procedure should do their homework before selecting a surgeon.  Potential patients should first consult their optometrist to determine if they are a candidate and for recommendations on surgeons.  You should also consult your family and friends who have had a Laser vision correction to ask them about their experiences with surgeons.

MYTH 7: LASER VISION CORRECTION CAN END PATIENTS' NEEDS FOR GLASSES FOREVER.

Fact:         While Laser vision correction has proven to be overwhelmingly successful in reducing dependence on glasses and contact lenses, the degree of improvement may vary depending on the individual.  Each patient's need for glasses depends on how well he/she heals and the severity of the patient's original prescription.  Most patients with mild to moderate prescriptions can achieve 20/20 uncorrected vision or within one to two lines of the 20/20 line on the eye chart.  Such success can end a patient's dependence on vision aids for driving, sports and watching television or movies.  During the pre-surgical screening, your doctor should be able to determine the range of your probable outcomes.  Keep in mind, as a patient ages the need for reading glasses is quite common due to the development of presbyopia.

MYTH 8: ANYONE WHO WANTS LASER VISION CORRECTION IS A CANDIDATE.

Fact:         Not everyone is an appropriate candidate for Lasik, Smile or other forms of Laser vision correction.  In fact, potential patients evaluated by many reputable providers are routinely rejected as candidates for the surgery.  The best way to determine if you are a candidate is to undergo a thorough screening by your eye doctor.  PRKPRK is one of the laser treatment options to restore vision by permanently reshaping the cornea with an Excimer Laser. See Laser Vision – PRK. and Lasik can treat patients with myopiamyopia is also known as nearsightedness. It results from an eye that is larger in size compared to a normal sized eye and/or a cornea that is relatively too steep, causing the image to focus in front of the retina instead of on the retina itself. See Info on Eyes, Optics and Refractive Errors - myopia., hyperopiahyperopia is also known as farsightedness. It results from an eye that is smaller compared to a normal sized eye and/or a cornea that is relatively too flat, causing the image to focus behind the retina instead of on the retina. See Info on Eyes, Optics and Refractive Errors - hyperopia. and astigmatismAstigmatism is a condition caused by a cornea that has more than one curvature, similar to a rugby ball. The same image, therefore, focuses on multiple points in front of, on and/or behind the cornea, creating multiple and ghost images. Astigmatism may also be found in association with either myopia or hyperopia, which complicates the condition substantially. See Info on Eyes, Optics and Refractive Errors - Astigmatism..  At this time, Smile is only applicable in cases of myopia with/without astigmatism.  Appropriate candidates must be at least 20 years old, in good health and have healthy eyes free of diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma.  Appropriate screening is the first, and one of the most important stops in preventing complications.  Often complications result when surgeons operate on patients who are not appropriate candidates.

MYTH 9: BECAUSE THE OUTCOMES ARE ALL THE SAME, THE CHEAPEST SURGERY IS NO DIFFERENT THAN THE MOST EXPENSIVE ONE.

Fact:         The old adage, ‘You get what you pay for,’ also applies to Laser vision correction.  Patients should remember that they only have one set of eyes and it's probably not a good place to compromise.  Patients should be cautious of discount centres that may not be as focused on patient screening and care.  Consumers should make sure they are comparing equivalent care and experience when doing their research.  Often the more expensive procedures include added benefits that discounters do not offer.  These added benefits can include lifetime commitments and follow-up care with your personal eye doctor.

MYTH 10: LASIK IS STILL BEING DEVELOPED AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES ARE CONTINUOUSLY BEING INTRODUCED. PATIENTS MIGHT BE BEST SERVED TO WAIT UNTIL BETTER TECHNOLOGY COMES ALONG.

Fact:         The current Lasik technologies provide better outcomes than ever before.  Many refractive surgeons themselves have had Laser vision correction performed on their own eyes.  While we see great outcomes for those patients who are found suitable to Lasik, there are still patients who are not candidates due to their unique situation.  Newer technologies introduced recently, like FLExFLEx is one of the the latest techniques to restore vision by permanently reshaping the cornea with a femtosecond laser. See Laser Vision – RELEx - FLEx. and Smile, may make Laser vision correction available to a wider group of potential patients who are not ideally suited to the Lasik technique specifically.  There are, therefore, other alternatives to Lasik.