Q&A with Dr. Chad: What to Expect During a LASIK Procedure
Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis — more commonly known as LASIK — is a type of laser eye surgery that corrects vision problems by changing the shape of your cornea, giving patients clear vision without glasses or contact lenses.
Is LASIK in your foreseeable future? Dr. Chad Overman, Delta Dental of Iowa’s medical expert for DeltaVision®, shares answers to common LASIK questions below.
Q: How can patients find a reputable LASIK provider?
Dr. Overman: A good starting point is your friends who have had LASIK. Ask where they went and get their honest opinion on how the experience went. If you don’t know anyone who has had LASIK, you’ll need to do a bit more research. Call LASIK provider offices and ask what their success rate is and how they define it.
Q: Are certain people not good candidates for LASIK?
Dr. Overman: LASIK is not for everyone. Your vision prescription matters greatly in determining if you’re a good candidate. Also, the thickness of your cornea matters because if it’s too thin, you will not be able to have LASIK done. Ask your surgeon if there are other options for refractive surgery for you, if your cornea is too thin for LASIK.
Q: How do I know if I'm a good candidate for LASIK?
Dr. Overman: The best way to know whether LASIK is right for you is discussing it with a qualified vision provider, such as an ophthalmologist (OMD) or optometrist (OD).
Q: What are the LASIK side effects I should understand?
Dr. Overman: There is discomfort and blurry vision for the first 24-48 hours. Lighting may also bother you for the first few days, but sunglasses help.
Q: Is LASIK a permanent vision correction solution? Or will I have to get maintenance procedures or wear corrective lenses on occasion?
Dr. Overman: This is very dependent upon your age and vision prescription. It is possible you could get many years of quality vision with LASIK, but once we get to our mid-40s, near vision will start to be an issue for LASIK patients just like it is for everyone else. You will need reading glasses after LASIK once you are in your mid-40s.
Q: Will my vision insurance cover LASIK? How do I find out?
Dr. Overman: For all DeltaVision plans, the member is responsible to pay 85% of the retail price or 95% of the promotional price for a LASIK procedure. Refer to your vision plan summary for full coverage details.
Q: Does the LASIK procedure hurt?
Dr. Overman: No, very few patients have described it as painful. However, there may be some discomfort during the procedure.
Q: What is the LASIK recovery experience like?
Dr. Overman: Within 48 hours, you should start to see clearer. The amount of swelling is different for everyone, and the use of eye drops prescribed by your surgeon may be longer for some. You will need someone to drive you home the day of surgery, but most people do quite well after the procedure.
Q: Are there any other key points about LASIK that patients should understand before undergoing the procedure?
Dr. Overman: Ask your surgeon if LASIK is the best refractive surgery for you. There are some alternative options out there that may be better for you. Far-sighted people need to be more aware that LASIK may not be right for them.
If you are in your late-30s or older and do not need to wear your glasses to read clearly at arm's length, LASIK may not be right for you, as you are trading better distance vision for upcoming poor near vision. Make sure you talk to a vision provider about all of your options before deciding upon a procedure.